“The Lord Jesus can save you from this evil world. If you forsake your sinful lifestyle and accept him as Lord and savior, he will come into your heart, he will save you from the ruler of this world…”
I wonder who her Lord Jesus is and what kind of potion he gave to her, to make her boldly disturb and condemn people.
“One day this world of flesh will end, only Jesus can save you. The kind of music you are listening to, will it take you to heaven? The kind of clothe you are wearing, does God like it?”
On and on she goes, reciting the things her god does not like, her voice rising in pitch as she nears the greatest sin. My ears are itching for an eargasm when her voice returns back to normal, no peak. Disappointed, I hiss and turn my attention to other passengers.
The woman in the dirty ankara and blue scarf in front of madam preacher is eating her amala and staring straight ahead. I wonder how she can be so calm with all that noise going on directly behind her head. Maybe she’s still recovering from that failed eargasm too.
Madam preacher says something that sounds terribly like fuck. But I’m probably imagining it, who says fuck in the middle of a sermon? The tiny ball in her neck rises and falls with each word, I’m afraid it might just fall off if she talks too much. Maybe she’s afraid too, maybe that’s why she couldn’t give me an eargasm.
She brings her preaching to a close with an altar call and an excruciatingly lengthy prayer. Her prayer reminds me of my mother, “This road will not suck our blood, we silence every blood sucking spirit on our way, we will not die young, we shall not die, but live to glorify the Lord.”
It’s the kind of prayers I would have taken seriously some five years ago. The kind of prayers my mother says before each journey, the same prayers she said the day she lost her legs while travelling to Benin.
Madam preacher is now on the phone, “Elder James, it’s not like I don’t want to see you but I cannot be traveling anyhow on these bad roads without anything for me too na. I no fit dey risk my life anyhow.”
Somehow, she reminds me of the girls in my hostel when talking to lovers that do not belong to them, the kind that save their girlfriends numbers with plumber1 and outsource their familial obligations to sex-starved wives.
“This is something we are supposed to see and discuss but I can’t just come and meet you like that. Iha kwu something something.” I don’t understand what she’s saying but the ball in her neck is throbbing up and down, like it’s about to pop out and hit elder James square in the face.
She cuts the call and the only sound to be heard is the heavy humming of the bus. My heartbeat aligns itself to it
A phone rings beside me. Ìyá mí leko, the big madam with one line of black pencil where her brows used to be answers the call.
“Àní mi ò sí larand sẹ́, mi ma supply yín tí nbá dé.”
The couple beside me are gossiping about the man’s aunt, Aunty Toyin. She has never been married yet she thinks she can give them advice on how to plan their wedding, she will not do, she will not allow others to do. Mtcheew…
I imagine Aunty Toyin a no nonsense Madam with enough money to build a house in Lekki and sponsor family events. Maybe she’s even sponsoring some part of the wedding, maybe that’s why she’s opposing the event center idea and suggesting that they use a garden for the reception.
I feel sorry for Aunty Toyin. I imagine her crying at night because she’s spending her hard earned money on another person’s lavish dream wedding without having gotten married herself. It must hurt, I think.
Almost everyone in the bus is asleep now. The only sounds to be heard are the humming of the vehicle and my heart beating in rhythm to it.
It’s peaceful, as peaceful as it can get on a road that’s been known to swallow people whole.
Madness is genius in disguise…
I feel the onset of a poem in my head.
A small car has just rammed into the bus, on madam preacher’s side.
The words get stuck somewhere in her throat as her blood trickles down the window.