Once upon a time during the period when things got tough for my family, my Mom sold bread, sliced bread. She would collect a particular quantity of loaves and sell to get a commission.
I was already in junior secondary school 1. She would give me a plastic basket, walk me to my bus stop where I would board a bus and wait for me to walk me home until I was old enough to do it myself. My bus stop to Alapere, where I would collect the loaves used to be ₦10 (ten naira only). It increased to ₦20 and is now ₦50. God dey sha 🤣
When she didn’t have enough for transport fare, she would tell me to stay back but I would not agree because I knew how this commission and even the loaves would help feed and/or support us.
Àlàyé, don’t goan be thinking this is why I love bread o. We sold sliced bread and my best kind of bread is the unsliced one.
I discovered that any time I walk home, I sold one or two slices as most people assumed I hawk… That’s how my hawking bread business started. My Mom would wonder why I’d come home late on some days. I didn’t tell her I walked certain (dangerous) places to make sure I make sales. I only told her I had customers and usually get delayed because of change which is partly true.
On one of those days I was too tired to walk home for two reasons.
Physically tired because the loaves weren’t delivered in time and I stood for long.
Mentally tired because I’d observed some guy always waiting at a particular stop for me. He didn’t look friendly. He tries to begin small talks but his eyes showed otherwise.
I flagged a bus only to find out that it was almost filled up and wouldn’t contain my basket and I. As I was about to alight, the passengers started to shout and adjust. Something like, I should manage as they’d been waiting for too long. They tried to adjust but there still wasn’t space.
Fam, I’m remembering this day and I’m crying. I don’t know why. I’ll keep typing. Please pardon any typo error. My eyes are currently glassy.
There were older women in this bus and they said something like, she’s a small girl…carry her please…put the basket this side… adjust small… I was in the bus and my hands were too full. I had to keep my glasses on, hold my basket, make sure my book of sales doesn’t fall off and keep my purse too. A man offered to “lap” me to ease stuff. There was too much noise. Passengers and driver talking about helping people and how we would soon reach our various stops and how one or two persons have helped people before.
I felt something move. I kept apologizing to the man at every movement or show of discomfort for inconveniencing him. I tried to stand in front but he would say it’s fine to sit. The other passengers who tell me to sit too so I don’t get injured.
In no time, I was at my stop, I alighted and paid the driver. He rejected it as the man who “lapped” me said I didn’t have to pay.
My Mom was waiting at the stop already with worry in her eyes. I told her I was fine and tired and that there was a delay. She collected my basket and we walked home. It was on our way home I discovered that part of my dress at the back was kinda wet. I touched it and it felt like mucus. I told my Mom and explained that probably someone had tried to clean their nose and it splashed on me. One has to be very careful at bus stops o!
I got home and had a warm bath before I slept off.
Few years later, I got to know that it wasn’t mucus. I also understood that the man wasn’t moving his legs because I was heavy. This man was dressed in some sort of religion regalia as a cleric.