My gaits were sure and precise as I walked towards Chevron, my phone was ringing again, that would be Maami, I had already told her I would be spending the night with Boda Tayo ìn Ikotun, but trust Maami to always call.
This time, I reached into my bag blindly for my Android phone.
It was indeed Maami.
“Hello mummy” I answered sharply and added a smiling emoji in my head after I noticed my voice had been too sharp.
She wanted to know where I was, if I had left my ‘office’, well, not really office, I had gone to deliver an outfit to a client on the Island. Maami also reminded me to use a BRT. I assured her I would as I ended the call.
I didn’t blame Maami, Lagos had become a war zone, a risk, a fear, a phobia…so much that we all feared for our lives. I was one of the very careful ones, I, Bámiṣé, BRT to the rescue on broke days, Bolt rides on the “Bambam” days.
It was dark when I walked to the terminal, not so dark, but dark in the books of Maami. I was lucky, a bus was available, I quickly searched my bag again for my card, the bus would take me to Oshodi and I’d join another that would take me to Boda Tayo’s area.
My card was hiding in the Always sanitary pad I had thrown in my bag that morning in case I got a visit from my monthly visitor, I quickly scampered into the bus and headed to a seat at the back, hoping the bus would fill up quickly so the journey would commence.
I bowed my head and got busy with Instagram… “Gistlover” was still not available, so I settled on “Instablog” to catch up on all the gists I missed in the morning… I noticed the bus had moved, surprised, I looked up.
That was fast. Bus filled already? I looked around to see if I was lucky to be sitting beside a fine young man, who knows, love could happen on a moving bus!
I looked, but there was no fine man sitting beside me, neither was any behind me or in the seat before me. No, there was no fine woman either! I was a lone passenger!
I looked up, and I could spot the bald scalp of the driver far away in front.
“Sir!” I called out….
I heard a grunt that sounded like a response.
“Sir, ẹ gbé èrò ni?”
I wanted to know why he didn’t wait for more passengers, all these government officials who cared only for their own salaries!
The typical “Oga ta, Oga o ta…”
“In front” he replied.
That would delay me, but fine… I dropped my head back to my phone, reading scary tales, praying they wouldn’t happen to me, happy tales, dropping my “God When” comment, I saw a love tale on BellaNaija that moved me to tears and I prayed silently that my love story would make news on Bellanaija one day. I had to make the news, well, if not love, maybe one of my designs someday!
My driver had still not picked any passenger… I was thinking about it when Amina buzzed me, asking where I was, I told her, I also told her that I was alone in the bus… I even made a video which I sent to her. I playfully told her not to tell anyone except something happened to me. We laughed about it…
Even when Aminat told me to alight at the nearest stop, I laughed again.
Of course nothing would happen to me, I serve a living God, I prayed that morning, and this was a BRT sef!
Begone oh Paranoia!
This is a BRT.
I noticed a stop, the door opened to admit three men and a woman… They looked straight in my direction, two of them started walking towards me. I dropped my phone in my bag sharply and held the bag to my chest.
We were on a bridge but my head suddenly stopped working, I didn’t even remember the name of the bridge, I still don’t…
An indescribable fear gripped me, my period, the reason I threw that Always sanitary pad in my bag suddenly flowed, the two men came straight for me.
“O wa o!”
I screamed, telling him I had reached my destination even though I knew I didn’t live on a bridge, I gripped my bag tightly and jumped to my feet as these men reached me, I can’t describe their faces… I can’t… my fear had blinded me.
I looked over their heads at the driver whose scalp I could still see, I also noticed the other man, but I couldn’t register what he was doing… I knew a woman got on the bus too but before I could look in her direction, one of the men had grabbed me!
In that moment I felt my life, not my heart, jump into my mouth, the fear could have killed me…but “I shall not die, but live and…”
I was thrown to the floor of the bus and I screamed! They would rape me! oh no!
“Take my phone!” I screamed before a hand landed on my mouth shutting me up. I tasted pepper, and salt and death.
I tried again but no sounds came…
Until I felt it, my skirt was torn off me, I tried to scream again but the hand; of pepper, salt and death!
My pant came off next, maybe he’d stop, when he sees the blood…
“Yes, the blood, the sign that I must not be touched, the blood…the blood, the sign of the blood”
Then I felt a pain.
I can’t describe it.
Try. Describe it.
No, I can’t.
It was not physical, even though it pierced my body, still it was not physical, it was more. It was HELL. I had landed in hell, even though my destination was Heaven.
I felt him slice my womanhood off, with no surgical precision or finesse!
I wasn’t screaming anymore, the fires of hell had embraced me!
The knife moved again, and he sliced more, deeper, cutting into my soul!
And with every slice, I was pushed deeper into the flames…
I raised my voice in silence as I screamed with a voiceless sound…
“Eloi Eloi Lama Sabach Tani…”
Did you hear?
For in that moment, cut open, half empty, I was kicked off the bus… to continue my journey to heaven.
And there, on that cold slab.
With Half of me gone.
I waited till you came to take me home.
I am Bámiṣé.
The one who passed through Hell on her way to Heaven.
BRT ni mo wọ̀