PULL OVER (Episode 3)

*****

I went seriously under the weather, but now I am back! Enjoy…

Zoya’s POV

There was improper circulation of fuel, which caused fuel scarcity. The scarcity caused Lagosians to wake up as early as 4 AM to queue for fuel. It was only past seven in the morning and the traffic on the road had tripled as citizens were trying to park on the center of the road just to join a queue of any suspicious fueling station. The thoughtless display of some Lagosians; jumping queues that were not moving in the first place added to the normal early morning traffic and bustle of Lagos.

No one respected the law and anyone in uniform because everyone was affected. Some people were lamenting that this was the worst government ever as the president was prone to traveling to various countries to sign treaties and plans without checking in to see the needs of the people. Others even went to the point of saying the budget for the president and his entourage for one trip was enough to solve major problems and crisis, but all this were just talks, no one was doing anything about anything, they were only looking for how to get their share.

The current fuel crisis made every road or street with fueling stations with suspicious fuel tanks sources of concern for commuters. Public buses were not left out of the drama as they had also increased the price of every destination by a hundred naira. All this was what I, Ehizoya Ainabe, was thinking as I was stuck in the slow-moving Lagos traffic.

The buzz of my phone brought me back to my surroundings and the suddenness of the vibration made me scramble into my D&G office bag for the object. I unlocked the screen, pulled down the notification bar and saw it was an instant message from Manir and I quickly responded.

Manir:

Morning beauty…

Slept well? 7:07 AM

Zoya:

Morning

Lol

You can say that cos you’ve not seen me yet 7:08 AM

I did 7:09 AM

I smiled into my phone as I subconsciously adjusted for the new passenger who less than a minute ago was relentlessly begging the conductor reduce her fare from one hundred and fifty naira to one hundred naira. The bus conductors this morning had greedy eyes because most of them purchase fuel from the black markets around. For this conductor to agree to her plea, then he was obviously new to the job or his fuel source was stupidly cheap.

Manir is typing a message…

The bus moved from the bus stop with a lurch that got me swaying. Living in Lagos and going by public transport could make you a steady seaman or in my case, sea-woman. I don’t know if the buses were selected and placed on the road based on how bad and rickety they were. I am yet to enter a bus that would not make squeaky noises or tilt from side to side.

Manir:

Don’t doubt my judgment, if I say you are, you are. Ok? 7:12 AM

Zoya:

Lol. Yes, boss. 7:13 AM

I am replying him too fast, but I don’t care. Manir and I have been social media friends for over four years. I’ve gotten past that stage of making him wait for my responses. I don’t have to play the if he delays in replying you by two minutes, multiply by two and delay in replying no matter how interesting the topic was. I could call him my bestie, but Chiluba was already that, lol, or not. Let me rephrase that, Chiluba is the female bestie while he is the male bestie. However, compared to Chiluba, he is just a figment of my imagination.

It all started with one trend on Twitter that I had responded to, and he too had replied my tweet and from there, he slid into my direct message and we continued chatting. One thing led to another and we exchanged Facebook usernames, as I was reluctant to give him my phone number. We kicked it off from there as well. He liked all my pictures and when it was time for me to do the same, he had limited pictures, which were actually cute but not as clear or much as mine. He told me that he was not photogenic hence, him posting pictures would not do him justice.

We never got around to exchanging phone numbers and it was perfect that way.

From missing him when he wasn’t online or on a full business schedule, to him missing me when I was writing exams or out of subscription our bond started growing stronger. We got chatting when I was in my finals during my first degree in the University and our friendship went through my second degree, which I was opportune to carry out in the UK because of the Commonwealth scholarship I got.

We have talked on everything from childhood, politics, relationship, sex, marriage, goals, career and at some point, it felt like we were in a relationship. I wished we were. We were just phone buddies to each other. When he went on dates he told me, when he meets new girls or has questions about the woman race, he turned to me and I did the same. I had given up on us dating, if ever and was enjoying our bond. I enjoy our current relationship as it is void of drama.

Zoya:

Where are you? Prepping for work? 7:19 AM

All attempts to hookup or hangout have always foiled – I was having a test or an interview or he was out of town. Right now, the latest excuse is that I need to focus on my new and challenging job. I love the idea of seeing him, but I don’t want to ruin what we have built. Imagine meeting someone whom you share intimate details of your relationships with – family, friends, romance, and work.

Yes, ahh… my job.

My job for the past five weeks involved organizing my boss’ meetings, birthday reminders, taking dictation and minutes, getting information from others for him, in short, the best way to put it is to say, to get to my boss, like the main boss of all other bosses, you have to get through me.

Prior to my latest position, which they fashionably call Personal Assistant, I was an intern and my hyperactivity got noticed by the top boss, you can imagine? I didn’t even know why but I would call it a miracle because my two months at Andero Limited were getting boring and predictable. With this new post, my life was on the edge, it is fun! Well, considering the fact that I haven’t been asked to cook for him on her job description.

“Conductor change o,” I called succinctly in my not-so-cool pidgin English to the bus conductor. They have this habit of intentionally forgetting to give passengers their change and I have fallen victims a lot of times. Today though, even though I am bothered by my lateness and chatting with my man crush, I plan not to forget my seven hundred naira change.

My phone buzzed in my hands.

Manir:

In the office, already settled 7:22 AM

Zoya:

Waoh, so early

Sure your eyes are clear and opened? 7:23 AM

Manir:

Nawti you 7:24 AM

Told the secretary here to get me coffee. Had to be in on time, my uncle needed me to handle some stuffs for him. 7:25 AM

Zoya:

Oh, how the mighty has fallen. Lol 7:25 AM

Manir:

y do you say that? 7:26 AM

Zoya:

Tot you worked for yourself. 7:26 AM

Manir:

I do. 7:26 AM

Although I have my own stuff, it’s still under his company kinda… we have to keep abreast of each other’s work.

It’s a little complicated though. 7:27 AM

Ready for work? 7:30 AM

Zoya:

On the road, already and it looks like it is going to rain. I hope I beat it. 7:30 AM

It was as though I called the rain down after I hit send. Now I am stuck in a slow Lagos moving traffic, with rain preparing to beat me once I alight the once-irritatingly-hot-bus that is now warm and comfy. Thank God my office building is by the road, not too far from the bus stop. The only problem is that I normally resume by 9 am but two days before, my boss who is currently on a trip sent me an email me to prepare a document for a client coming in at 7:30 am today. Let’s do the maths of when I would be into work with all that is happening.

And it has started raining. I seriously need to get a car. 7:32 AM

Manir:

Pele.

All in good time.

Thought you resumed by 9 am. Hope your boss isn’t working your ass out with this position. 7:37 AM

Zoya:

No.

I’m actually enjoying it. 7:38 AM

“Adeniji!!!” The bus conductor piped. His voice was quite funny considering that his counterparts had thick thuggish voices.

“Owa ooo” I called as I quickly typed and sent ‘TTYL’ to Manir.

“My change please,” I said politely as I tried alighting as graceful as possible from the eighteen-seater bus with two people blocking my exit while trying to snatch my change from the conductor who was reluctant to let it go – hah, better luck next time man.

I gracefully got down without falling headfirst into the road as other people out on the road and late for work were trying to board the bus even without knowing the destination. Anything to get out of the rain I was gracefully entering into.

I really need a car. I know a lot of twenty-four years old in Nigeria own cars, just not me yet.

Thanks for reading, I’ll love to hear from you. Please, please comment…vote and share with others…. thank youuuu…

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