Stan jumps up like a child who suddenly finds out that he wet the bed. He looks at the alarm, and immediately,his eyes pops out as though another alarm suddenly goes off somewhere inside his head, and he shouts:
“Eh! Six !”
Stan makes his way round his six- by- four spring bed that is the only standing furniture in the ten-by-eight room, apart from the water can, buckets and a round dirty miserable looking stove that he inherited from his roommate, on graduation. He pulls off his boxers, and grabs his towel that is a witness to many holes, here and there. The brown threadbare towel hastily finds itself secured around his tiny waist.
He is in luck: he fetched some water when the tap ran two nights before, and did his cleaning business in the rest room, the night before. Stan grabs at the first bucket he sets his eyes on, hangs his worn-out looking bathing sponge round his neck, finds and grabs at the morsel of black soap that lay idly on the windowsill, throws the door open, he jumps out through the narrow door and rushes towards the end of the house, very close to the back where they have the only bathroom in the compound.
Stan’s face degenerates on meeting the long queue. He is torn in-between disappointment and confusion: the queue. Clara, the Olosho busily chews her gum, with her towel, barely covering her from here to there backside –he has never had enough money to eat, much more, patronise her like Nnamdi and the others, Emeka carries his chewing stick, up and down with his two buckets of water and a little bucket ; he will not be coming out, so soon.
Wale and his girlfriend is busy, giving each other bathroom eye while their buckets sit close to their feet. The list goes on and on till it gets to his turn. Stanley knows that it is a lost battle. He takes a good look at the line for the last time, hisses, lifts up his bucket and turns to the direction of his room.
Immediately he gets to his room, the towel goes flying to the bed. He picks up his face towel from under his pillow, dips it into his bucket, takes some soap, and starts the rub-and-shine business. He survived his five years in school --plus a year strike-- through this method. Stan finishes in no time, dresses up, and dashes out towards Ikota road. He boards the next available bus, and the journey begins to Law school, Victoria Island.
On getting to Chevron drive, the traffic builds up like crazy. Stan looks at the time, it is already thirty minutes past seven. His interview is at eight and he has not gotten to the tollgate, yet. The traffic jam loosens-up a bit, and they find themselves on a queue, passing through Lekki phase one. As the bus moves, his mind goes to what he has on the table if offered the job: his parents’ wellbeing, his sisters at school, he needs to get married before forty, and the list didn’t stop at that.
They halt at the toll gate and the conductor calls for the fare. Stan reaches into his pocket and comes out with nothing. He frowns; where has his money gone? At that point, he notices that he has not come out with his file in the first place. Stan starts to sweat profusely, inside his coat. His hands turns soggy and his head feels light. He goes back to his room while inside the bus, he sees his file, on the bed, and beside it, his dark brown wallet. He gives out a long confusing sigh. Unfortunately, the road is blocked once more, Stan is at the edge, and it is ten minutes to eight.
An idea comes to his head: he gradually put one feet down, followed by the other. He looks around, but there is no sign of the conductor. He brings his whole body out of the bus, and at a leap forward, strong arms grab him from behind, but he makes effort to free himself as more hands make for his coat and trouser, lifting his feet off the floor.
Stan throws his feet in the air and struggles, all to awake, soaked,and in a fight with his pillows and foamless mattress. He jumps out from sleep to the blaring of yet another alarm.
Stan jumps out of the bed and grabs his water. He runs to the direction of the bathroom, this time around, hoping to make it early for the interview with his file and wallet intact.
Written by Oluoma Udemezue.
Udemezue Oluoma loves to read and write; she also enjoys movies and meeting new people. Oluoma believes that life is nothing without a little touch of romance, thriller and reality. Catch her on: firstname.lastname@example.org, Udemezue, Oluoma Judith on Facebook, Instag- oluomaudemezue, and Twit- @Udemezueoluoma.