Beads of sweat rolled down my face as I stood under the harsh Nigerian sun, waiting for a taxi. My legs ached, fatigue drilling into my every bone. The people around me were no help at all as different voices rented into the air.
“Buy your fresh mangoes!”
“Bus-stop Gate! Ojurin!”
“O n pa ayan, o n pa efon!”
My head ached! I could feel a migraine coming up. I had been standing on the same spot for more than 30 minutes and I was getting tired. A convoy of cars belonging to Deputy Governor passed by and my inner evil personality was at the verge of cursing the leader for their lies and deception. I mean, everything is so expensive these days. All of a sudden, a black Range Rover parked in front of me. The hawkers, whose noise contributed to my raging headache, all rushed forwards as they tried to get the attention of the person inside.
The door of the car opened and in my head, I could hear Jessie J pitching to ‘Bang Bang’ as the person came out. She looked vaguely familiar. Her skin shone with affluence. Her poise and posture was so cool, calm and collected. She was tall. Her face had a don’t-mess-with-me expression coupled with a it’s-my-face-that’s-just-tough look. The necklace around her neck glittered and it took me a lot not to go over and test it with my teeth to see if it was real gold.
The lady looked at me, her deep brown orbs penetrating into mine. My heart leapt to my throat. She beckoned to me, trying to tell me to come forward, with a huge smile on her face. I looked round, hoping she wasn’t making a mistake. I was so frightened! A man with a round face poked me at the side.
“Madam, e be like say that aunty dey call you,” He said in broken English. I nodded and took tiny steps forward. The lady continued smiling at me.
“Ife! Longest time!”
Her voice triggered old memories. High school memories. It can’t be!
“M—m—ma—Mojola?” I managed to eke out. She nodded and pulled me inside her posh car, not minding my dirty clothes. Immediately I entered the car, the cool air from the AC calmed my frazzled nerves. The car smelled so good that I could have died and called it heaven. She squirmed in her seat, trying to make herself comfortable.
“How have you been?! It’s been a long time o. What have you been up to?” I couldn’t bring myself to speak. I took heavy swallows.
“How did you become like this?” I whispered
“This, my friend, is the reward of hardwork. All these years of studying has eventually paid off.” She grinned like a Cheshire cat.
“How about you?”
I wanted to say “I’m fine” but I surprised myself by bursting into tears.
“I haven’t gotten into school yet’”
There was a suffocating silence in the car.
“Do you know what my watchword is?”
I shook my head. No, I didn’t.
“A stitch in time saves nine’”
I laughed. “Mr Yemi’s saying?”
Mojola gave me a look and I felt remorseful immediately. There was another moment of silence.
“You know, a stitch in time does save nine’” We looked at each other and laughed.
And it felt good.