Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Meet Fatima

I see them everyday…stroll gracefully and make that call…my friends told me to try and do the same thing, but I feel shy! I am a lady…there more appropriate ways to inform your customers of your ware…besides, I dey school na!

I know there is the internet, but in this trade, that will get you nowhere. So I decided I will follow the crowd. I see Simi gallantly announce her presence without shame an
d customers flock her. I asked Simi how she does it, and she told me the secret: “Remember what you are doing this for”.
So, I propped myself early in the morning while having a bath. I recited my script all over and over again.

It was rush hour. Just like everywhere in Lagos, the cars moved swiftly, shifting from lanes to lanes during traffic. Something about walking on the road looking like me is the feeling of stage fright; and it did hit me. I couldn’t help having that feeling that everyone was looking at me. Tunde could be sitting in one of those cars. And what is most scary is- I might not get to see him when he sees me.

With the thought of Tunde, the words could not come out of my mouth. I thought about the social stigma. What about my friends laughing at me?

An hour passed: And the words did not come.
I tried again after two hours …I still couldn’t say those words.

After 4 hours, I had barely made any money. So I stopped moving to rest, watching as the city’s hustle and bustle and my ‘competitors’ beat me to it.

The traffic was heavy…this is Ojuelegba. Just then a bus conductor highlighted from a bus looking strikingly like my brother Abiodun, speaking with harsh voice and swearing profanely, with words I cannot even repeat….and I thought about my brother.
I thought about him not making it to school…because daddy decided he doesn’t want us anymore after he started seeing Aunty Carol.
I thought about mummy….all she has done to get me this far, final year in secondary school.

I imagined my brother being this bus conductor and the disappointment on my mother’s face and in an instance, the words came flowing out from me, as it did with Simi and everyone on the street with me in the same trade struggling for the next meal…….

My name is Fatima. I hawk bread. 

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