Sunday, April 26, 2015

When In Nigeria - Chapter 1

Photo by: Google

After two months of traveling around the world, Patricia finally made it to this side of the wall; her motherland. She’d had heard a lot about Nigeria from friends but it was not enough. Although her parents had told her that she was born in Nigeria, the only home she’d ever known was France. No one knew Patricia was coming to Nigeria, not even her parents who also lived in France and never once encouraged her to come back home. As she stepped out of the plane; her feet on my mother’s soil, she knew she was home. She picked up her luggage and with nowhere in particular to go to, Patricia headed for the exit sign.

With her head held high, she cat-walked to the exist sign. She was putting on a show for the men who walked passed her with the way she flawlessly swayed her hips as she walked. When Patricia’s legs began to wobble in her six inches red bottom heels, she figured the shoes she had on was the wrong one for this journey. She endured it for a while but when she began to notice everyone’s eyes on her, she knew her pain must have been written all over her face by now. And then, almost as if the devil had finally had enough of Patricia’s strong wit, she tripped. 

A young lady rushed to her aid. “Are you okay?” she asked worriedly.

“Yes, I’m fine.” Patricia answered, embarrassed as she saw some other women began to snicker. 

“Please do you have an extra per of sandal I could borrow? Slipper will do also; please I just need to get of these heels.” The lady smiled but Patricia knew she was probably thinking the same as the other women who watched. “Who sent her to wear the shoes in the first place?”
 
The lady stared at Patricia pitifully and said, “Oh well today is your lucky day.” She went into her hand bag and handed Patricia a slipper that was at least a size bigger than what she wore. Patricia thanked the lady.

“Are you sure you’re really okay?”

“Yes, yes,” Patricia answered, smoothing her toe nails with her right hand. “If that’s all, I will be going. My brother will be here in no time.”
 
“Please wait,” Patricia gathered the shoes she once wore. Handing them to the young lady, she said, “Please take this, I don’t know how else to thank you… please manage this.”

When the lady sighted the sole of the shoes, her eyes popped open in amazement.

“Are those…”

“Yes, and I want you to have them.” Patricia left the two thousand dollars heels she’d recently bought in New York a few days ago before she came to Nigeria in her hands of the woman who helped her. Picking up her luggage, she limped out like an injured lioness. Now, all I need is a nice place to stay.

When Patricia came outside, she immediately wanted to go back in when the sudden gush of lonly air swept her hair flying back. No one was waiting for and on her. Everyone seemed busy. A taxi came to a stop in front of her and when she saw other passengers hop in, she followed along. 

After driving a long way off to nowhere and the driver having to make stops to pick up other passengers, Patricia grew fatigue. Some minute later, the taxi man asked for his money. Patricia saw other passengers hand him a bill that looked nothing like what they used in France. Everything was moving so fast. “Sir, this is all I have right now.” She  handed the driver a hundred dollar note. The driver’s once frowning face became brighter when he realized the amount of money Patricia was handing over to him. Before the taxi driver could collect the money, someone stopped him. “Here is your money. No be 200 naira?” 

Ade had noticed something was off about the woman sitting in the front seat of the taxi he’d board not too long ago. He'd watched her carefully through the side view mirror of the taxi. She was bad at acting; the look in her eyes gave her away. She was either lost or she was not from here. Ade confirmed his assumptions when he saw her hand the driver a hundred dollars note. He’d wanted to keep quiet because he had no business interfering, but something prompted him to speak up.

Patricia turned around to see who spoke. There were three other passengers in the taxi with her. Her eyes fell on the man who was now digging his hands into his pocket. The stranger gave the taxi driver some money. The taxi driver hissed as he folded the money in his hand. Patricia smiled naively back at the Good Samaritan and he nodded in return. The taxi came to a stop and the young man stepped out. Without thinking, Patricia asked the driver to quickly open his trunk so she could get her luggage out. She took off with the stranger afterwards.

“I didn’t get a chance to say thank you.” she said behind the broad shoulders of the man who’d helped her. Ade heard her voice and stopped. He hadn’t even notice she was following behind him. When he turned to face her, Ade felt a bad that he’d made her have to walk fast to keep up with his pace.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were following behind.” He stated. 
 
“Oh no, you’re fine.” Patricia laughed nervously, shifting her luggage to her other hand.

“I can help you with that if you don’t mind.” Ade offered.

“Oh no, I can handle this. And thank you for paying for my taxi fee. It seems since I got here everyone has been helping me.”

“Since you got here, are you new to Nigeria?” Patricia nodded. “I knew it from the way I was looking at you in the taxi…” Clearing his throat, Ade continued, “You didn’t seem to…”

“Fit?…”  Patricia completed. Ade took her bag from me and they began walking.

“Are you here to visit family?”

“Well not exactly… No. I'm all by myself.” Patricia came in front of him. “Please, is there a hotel close by you could lead me to? I’m sorry if I'm bothering you but like you said…”

“Don’t worry about it, I will figure something out for you.” Patricia smiled. They walked silently, daring the other to speak first. Patricia took that time to carefully access him. He had on a simple t-shirt and dress pants with a pan slippers. He was quite a handsome man. Patricia admired the way his mouth curved into a smile whenever his eyes wandered on her. Every now and then, Ade caught her stealing glances at him which made Patricia fair colored cheeks turn red.

“Are you hungry? I know a place around here where we can get something to eat.” Patricia who had forgotten that the only food she’d eaten all day was the one she was served in the plane. She gently patted her stomach, nodding her head to his request.

“What part of Lagos is this?” Patricia had to ask because it didn’t look like the part her parents had shown her while she was growing up. It was obviously not the same as France either. The streets were crowded. Everyone seem to walk freely. The loud sounds from the motorcycles that sped pass her made her jump.

“This, this right here is the heart of Lagos. Everyone and everything you will ever need is here. Now, we are not the richest but we make it work.”  Ade answered, leading Patricia into a fast food joint.

“You should try this,” he said while swallowing. “You can’t live off just rice if you’re going to be staying in Lagos for long.” Patricia made no comment as she watched him roll up a white substance that looked like a dough in his hands. Patricia allowed Ade’s statement settle in. Was I staying in Lagos for long? She shivered at the thought of that. I can’t imagine staying here for more than two weeks at the most!

When they finished their meal, Patricia offered to pay. She had money, just not in the currency they used in Nigeria. Ade frowned saying, “With those your dollar notes? Nah, I got this.”

“Can’t we just get on a taxi to go to the hotel or something?” Patricia asked. 

“Are your legs hurting?” Ade replied. Patricia who felt she was already too much of a burden to him shook her head in denial. 

“Yes, we could get on a bus but…” Ade paused. He felt his trouser pockets. “Don’t worry, it’s not a far walk from here.”

Truly, ten minutes later they came to a very secluded area. The day had falling into night. Patricia didn’t know if she should be scared or not. She’d been walking with the stranger for most of the day on her own freewill. She somehow trusted him but it didn’t seem like they were anywhere close to a hotel.

Patricia stopped walking as panic kicked in. She figured she needed to be smart about this before she regrets ever trusting a stranger.

“What’s wrong?” Ade halted too. They were almost close to his home.

“I really appreciate you helping me but really, I which you would just get me settled in a hotel.”

“Oh.” Ade laughed when he realized what she was probably thinking of. “Come on, I'm not going to hurt you. I figured you’re not used to this place and taking you to a hotel will be even worse." Ade lied. He knew that taking Patricia to a hotel was probably the best option for her but somehow, he just couldn't let her go partly because every time he looked at her, her eyes screamed confusion. "I mean no harm.”  Ade added. Patricia was still hesitant.

Ade saw fear in her eyes time around. He knew who he was but the woman in front of him didn’t so he offered an introduction in hopes that it will help her calm. “Okay, my name is Ade. My house is a few blocks away. I’m not going to bite you and if you don’t believe me, I can just leave you here now and be on my way. No stress.” Ade bore Patricia’s father’s name. Since Patricia trusted her father with her life, she guessed she could trust another Ade. Patricia took a deep breath and a step forward.
“Small girl.” Ade chuckled.

TO BE CONTINUED…

3 comments:

  1. Read through dear and correct some mixtures of first and third person. I love your stories.

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    1. Hey Claribel C.J.... thanks for pointing that out. This was first written in first person, I'll go back and fix it now. thanks for reading again.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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