A part of me knew I could die if I stayed longer, we hadn’t gone half way to the market but immediately I saw we were not on the highway, I voiced out my concern.
“O ga apu ebea!” ( I am alighting here in Igbo language), I shouted. The bus conductor pulled the door, and it shrieked in pain the bus stopped and every single soul in it scrambled out like little children on a school bus.We were all white in the face like we had seen a ghost. Not that we had reached our destination but because we wanted to meet our loved ones again in one piece. The conductor burst out in laughter saying he never knew we loved our lives so much, the preacher man who was still muttering his blood of Jesus, glared at him and that him cracked him up the more. While some of us were too shocked to speak, the fat lady was still going at the driver just like 10 minutes ago.
“Ekwensu”, ajo mmuo( devil, evil spirit) she spat
“Amosu” ( witch) he replied.
As I stood there waiting for my balance from the conductor my mind did a quick rewind on what just happened .Minutes earlier a man on an oversized, dusty, rumpled black suit had cleared his throat and asked us to join him in prayer. We sang and prayed. Then he began preaching, while talking he was vibrating like a ringing phone, matter of fact he actually spat on me, he knew and he didn’t apologize. He preached about not being afraid of anything but he is the one right now, shaking like a leaf while muttering blood of Jesus. The old woman who had been shouting at the top of her lungs,
“Driver jiri ya nwayo!” (driver take it easy) sat on a cement block, trying to catch her breathe. Then I remember as she spoke it felt like those words only fueled him more.Then in his defense he replied that why will someone on the passenger seat tell him what to do at the steering wheel.
This had infuriated the fat market woman who had been complaining of how tiny the space behind the chairs were.
“You must be a mad man” she said angrily at the driver.
“You are madder than me” the driver spat.
I remember as we were swerving from left to right, screaming out to the driver to slow down but it felt like we were pouring water on a rock. Then I bumped heads with the guy on headphone. I didn’t find it funny and I voiced out my anger but in mild words.
As if to spite us the passengers, he stepped on the brakes, which made us jump in our seats, hitting our heads in different places. The bus was not a rickety one but with his driving it felt like one. He was over taking all the vehicles on the highway most times without horning.
Then everyone starting screaming. He would speed off, with every pot hole he passed, we all felt the pains on our bodies.
Now I don’t know if this driver felt he was Vin Diesel in fast and furious (because he was bald), but yet again this was real life.
The lady that had been tapping away at her phone decided to wake up and smell the coffee. The guy on headphone had taken them off . Every single hair on my body stood attention. The preacher man was so scared, he kept screaming, Blood of Jesus! Blood of Jesus! When he got close to a big trailer, that he tried over taking. We shouted louder, the old woman behind him almost gave him a slap on the head The fat woman couldn’t hold it in, she started raining insults on him.
“ Onye Ara, ifuro na idika Ihe e ji atu Aja”( mad man, can’t you see you look like what is being used for sacrifice). She also told him, he was a wizard and wasn’t able to impregnate a woman. While the driver who didn’t know much insults was just saying the few he knew. He alternated between saying just two words.
“Amosu!, Ekwensu!”. They were at that till they left the highway. The driver didn’t want to give up.
As we were about to leave that place, the old woman said she would have looked at the driver before entering the bus. I raised an eyebrow. She said the younger he is the more reckless and stupid he will be. I chuckled. When I looked at the driver, he was young and also he had sprayed his hair green, and that was where the problem started.
I left there to look for another bus going to market. This market was the reason I was in this mess.
Arueze Chisom Precious, a passionate writer can be reached through email@example.com