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Right Next To Hell (RNTH) The Place Called Lagos

Author:Lucky Okezi Category:urban Update time:2024-06-11 09:22:24

“Lagos”, they say is the home to many, yet owned by none. I doubt! From what I have seen, it’s a place governed by the thugs that terrorises bus owners, “danfo”, as rightly called. The pick pockets who steal your money without you knowing, your purse, swapped with paper, or probably a material you do not recognise. How your phone leaves your hand and you think you still have it with you until you get to your destination, then you realise it’s gone. Let’s talk about the good Samaritan on the streets whom you will meet, they stretch out their right hands to help, with a smile on their face, their dark brown teeth reflecting the sun. Be careful now, they say. But yes, be careful. For with their left hands they have snatched away your choice treasure. Their advice resonating in your head as you go, hoping to use it next time you see a nice person on the street. It is better to fear a harmless cat, and stick to the dog baring out its teeth, for who can tell what will befall you, if you should give the cat a kiss?

rLagos is such a place, where the caretakers are rogues, thugs and crazy louts. The passersby are stressed out with heap load of work, duties they didn’t sign up for, but had to embrace along the line. Their minds time travels, leaving their body abandoned in space, no wonder the many accidents, some unaccounted for. The actual landlords, rules from the sky, pretending to be blind to the activities out there. Within their chambers, they pass laws, even themselves won’t keep. A no mans land is somebody’s hometown.

rI turned back to look at the lady carrying a black bag that has just bumped into me. She did not say sorry, instead she yelled at me for looking at her. It was as though it had become a norm to bump into people, and not care to say sorry. Just when I was about to turn, I felt a hand grab my ass. I reacted with a slap. It was an elderly man. I wanted so much to spit into his face, and dip my fingers into his eyes.

r“What is wrong with you young lady? You don’t have the picture of an elderly man in your house? Is that how you were brought up?” the man queried my up bringing. I should curse his old age for not having respect for himself. But I decided not to say a word as some passersby had stopped and were throwing insults at me for slapping an older man. A young man walked close to me, took my hand and dragged me out of the scene. I had been trying had not to cry after everything I had experienced since I stepped foot in Lagos, but this triggered me, and I ended up crying. The tears flowing down my cheeks and kissing my shoulder.

r“Why are you crying?” he asked me. I shook my head not willing to reply. I knew myself all too well. The moment I get to open my mouth, whatever I get to say will be accompanied by a loud cry. This was not the time for me to talk.

r“You look like you are not a Lagosian. Where are you from?” he asked.

r“Bayelsa!” I replied, letting the tears flow even more.

r“Oh! I see!”

r“How long have you been here?” He asked me. It was getting late already. Everywhere was getting dark, and I knew things would get worse for me by the time it is night, and I do not find a place to lay my head till dawn.

r“I just got here today. It is my first time in Lagos?” he looked at me probably in doubt. Perhaps, because I was not carrying any luggage or anything with me.

r“Are you serious. How long did it take you to get here from Bayelsa?” he asked. Oh! I did not actually come down from Bayelsa to this place.

r“Sorry, I’m from Bayelsa, but I came down from Warri to Lagos. It was supposed to be a maximum of 6 hours drive, but due to the holdup somewhere here in Lagos, I reached the park around 3pm. So it was more than 6 hours,” somehow, I was beginning to feel comfortable with this young man even though something warned me not to.

r“Hmm! So?” he asked.

r“I’ve lost everything I came with. My luggage, my phone, and even my purse which contained my ATM card,” I said. This time, I was unable to control the tears. This stranger hugged me and told me I will be fine. And when I finally got uncomfortable enough, I broke the hug and stopped crying. Then he offered to let me use his phone to call whosoever I had come to visit in Lagos. And if I knew the address of the person, he was willing to take me there. He seemed nice.

r“Thank you! But I do not know anyone around here. Not that I don’t know anyone, I just don’t have anybody’s contact offhand,” I said. He smiled and told me it was fine.

r“I am also not from around here. The first time I came to Lagos, I had my difficulties. Even staying in Lagos has not been easy, but things are better now than before,”

rHe stopped talking to stare at me. Then he asked me if I could call home. I felt really stupid at that point. Who was I to call? My mother? No! I already cut her out of my life three years ago. I had stopped talking to my brother as well. I shook my head.

r“I don’t have anyone!” I said. He looked at me with pity in his eyes. He shook his head and sighed heavily.

r“This is a serious case. You are a lady, and you should have someone. What about your boyfriend?” I felt disgusted at that question. The last time I had a boyfriend, we did not even last over two months before we broke up. Apparently, he was sleeping with my best friend. Or he was my best friend sex partner. And my best friend had talked him into seducing me. Well, let’s not talk about that. Just know that I do not have a best friend, or a boyfriend.

r“How on earth have you been living without people around you? How do you even survive?” he sounded shocked that a girl would be without anyone close to her.

r“So, what do you intend to do? Will you come with me so I can take you to one of my female friends? Perhaps, you can just sleep there, and tomorrow we get to talk properly. After all, you must be tired,” he said. I wanted to hug him at this moment. He seems to be genuinely nice.

r“Thank you!”

r“Thank you so much!”

rI felt so grateful that I could not control myself. I kissed his cheek and gave him a hug out of excitement. He has relieved me off the trouble of finding a place to sleep. So, strangers can actually come in as god? I used to think nice people no longer exist. He even saved me from the crowd. Let me not mention the fact that someone threw sachet water at me, which landed on my back and had wet my shirt and trousers.

r

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