SHE'S BEAUTIFUL BUT I DIDN'T STARE AT HER

in fiction •  last year 

images.jpgGood stories live in the buses. I am in a bus headed to Port Harcourt from Calabar. The stories here are a line of excitement. By my left side is a woman with a baby, a baby girl, beautiful and restless. In front of me is a girl and her lover, they both are inside a loud mostly stupid conversation. They're peeling banana, unwrapping groundnuts, biting snail meats, they're forming hawker's delight. Their laughter is a reoccurring chatter, before them is a boy with a bushy but beautiful hair. He is calm, firm on his seat, his shoulders are out, worldwide President of Sweet boys association. He is in the bus but he is not with us. He is in another world with his earpiece. The fine girl by my other side is studying a novel. I stare at her. I remove my eyes. I stare at her novel. I remove my eyes. I want to talk to her. I close my mouth. She is fine. My mind tells me. I tell my mind that at the next point we stop I want to buy banana and groundnut. She is fine and I could start a conversation with her but I don't want to share the #200 banana and groundnut I want to buy now with anybody. I bone face. Immigration officers are asking us useless questions about state of origin and Local government area. I buy my banana. I buy my groundnut. I collect my #300 balance and secure the two notes deep inside my pocket. This life is hard, one has to be careful, I advice myself. The driver taps his pedals while I feast on what I have just gifted myself. I do not stare at the girl. I do not stare at her novel. I like concentrating in the things I do and when I chew in public I do so in style. 20 minutes after I had made sure there was neither banana nor groundnut remaining, I turn to the girl and say to her: what's the novel about, who wrote it? My voice carried the scent of ice cream, banana flavor. It was too refined that even mother wouldn't guess it was mine. The girl is really pretty. She's Igbo. We're still talking and the driver is carrying on just fine. And it's a beautiful road trip...

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