I think I have a sad soul, one of those people created to pretend they are happy, make other people laugh and then go to bed sad, unsatisfied, empty, depressed… . Everything seems so wrong yet I don’t know what they are.
We get to the bustop where the tout I like stays and it knocks me out of the bad mood and back to reality, the front seat of a bus driving me to work. He approaches the conductor with an outstretched hand and the conductor slips a crumbled naira note into it. He begins to say something but the driver pleadingly mumbles in Yoruba and he lets him go, albeit reluctantly. The scene fascinates me, everyday.
The tout is my friend but he does not know it. I look out for him everyday and get disappointed when it’s just the short guy who works with him that is there.
He is charcoal-dark with scars on his face and he has a seemingly unattended wound on his leg. He looks stern and smart and kind. He always has on long stockings, faded shorts and not so clean t-shirt. He stands there with a stick collecting money from drivers and they don’t argue with him as much as they do with others. He understands them and they understand him. I think he is a king, king of the jungle.
I wonder how he does it with the wound on his leg and mutter a prayer for him, for the tout who is my friend, for the tout who is king.