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#OnMyWayToWork: The Badly Dressed Man

Hey guys, I have noticed my trips to work have been quite eventful. Maybe because I’m new in Lagos, maybe because I’m a writer and being observant comes with it or maybe because I just see things that aren’t there. Whichever way, I’m going to be doing a fun weekly series of things that happen on my way to work. Who knows you might be the first to know how I met my husband when I finally meet him (I hear these men now show up in odd places). You can subscribe to our website so you get a notification when I make an update. Be my guest while I bare it all. Talk is cheap, now let’s get down to brass tacks!

I think he is following me but I’m not sure. I’m in deep thoughts. I worry I won’t get to work on time. I worry my make-up is too much. I worry I will soon run out of cash. I worry I need a haircut. I just worry. He is closer to me now. With one look I take him in. I always do that, size people up. He had on an oversized plain trousers, faded t-shirt and black worn out sandals. ‘Tueh, bad taste in fashion!’ I conclude.

A bus is coming screaming my destination. I run towards it and quickly slip inside as I have learnt to do. My buttocks makes contact with the wood and it feels like iron on iron, uncomfortable. I’m lucky to get a sit near the window today and I watch the cars in traffic. A young boy selling chips is frantically calling out to people in cars. It reminds me of the town I come from but there, it won’t be so noisy, everyone won’t be in such a great hurry and we won’t be stuck in traffic for so long.

“Is that your food you are carrying.”

I look beside me to see who is talking and it’s him, the badly dressed man. I had completely forgotten about him with all the rush.

“Yes, it’s my food.”

“Wow. You are going to work?”

“Yes.”

“You look so young. Are you done with school?”

“Yes, I am.”

With every question he smiles. All I see is yellow teeth and the black tired face of a man that seem to have gone through so much in life. I wonder why he keeps smiling and why he is so ugly and old. He appears to be thinking of what to say next. I keep a straight face. I don’t intend to help. I begin to recalculate the money in my purse for the third time in one morning. I make a mental note to postpone the charger I want to buy. That way, there will be enough money for the week. The conductor starts making his rounds and I begin to search for my purse. The badly dressed man tells me he’ll pay and reliefs sweeps over me. I smile and say ‘Thank you’. I notice he isn’t that badly dressed after all and his teeth is milk colour not yellow.

He says, ‘My name is Oluwaseun. What’s yours and what do you do?’

After I tell him, just like a time bomb waiting to explode, he begins,” I am an Engineer. You know engineering? We design machinery for national and international companies. I travel a lot due to the nature of my work. Last month I traveled to…” He keeps going on and on and I pretend to be interested. He talks about how big his job is, how he has businesses apart from his job and how meeting me must be fate.

He only pauses when he wants to begin another sentence and I keep smiling. When we draw close to my bus stop he asks for my number. It feels like we have gotten to the point I can’t say no. It feels like I owe him. I feel sorry for myself and take his phone and type slowly. The bus stops and I stumble out. He waves goodbye but I ignore it. I know I’m in trouble for the next couple of days.

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  1. A lucid and vivid description of events. I was imagining myself present in the bus, I like the story; it was quite interesting!

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