Photo Credit – Google

A truck passed and bathed the sodden crowd huddling under the bus stop’s awning in halogen light. At that precise moment she looked my way, and I smiled at her. It was pure instinct and I wasn’t expecting any reaction to be honest, but she smiled back, and suddenly the miserable weather was forgotten. Such was the power of that dazzling smile. It completely hypnotized my soul.

****

Only one word can describe the day I just had.

Crazy!

The crowd at the clinic had been endless. Children with all sorts of ailments and their grumpy mothers besieged the place as if an epidemic had descended on the city. The other nurse had gone off at noon to attend to a domestic emergency leaving only me to attend to the melee and when I finally handed over to the nurses on night duty I was so tired that I could barely walk. Every bone in my body ached as if I’d been panel beaten, and my head hurt like mad.

As if that wasn’t enough the heavens opened up as soon as I stepped outside the gates of the hospital. I had no umbrella, and in a few minutes my expensive new wig was thoroughly soaked, same as my clothes. I was dripping like fresh laundry by the time I got to Obanikoro bus stop.

There was a crowd of stranded commuters waiting for the next BRT bus and I joined the throng under the protective canopy. All I wanted to do then was just lie down and cry from frustration, until the truck passed by and I turned and saw him smile at me.

****

Her smile was so magnetic that I didn’t know when I moved closer, dodging a puddle or two to get to her side.

“Hi,” I greeted.

The noise of the other commuters swallowed my voice, but I saw her smile widen so I bent down and tried again.

“Hi,” I said, raising my voice. “You’re wet.”

She giggled like a teenager and stood on tiptoe to reach my ears.

“Hi, you’re wet too mister. I have an excuse though, my name is Tutu.”

This world is such a crazy place. One moment you’re standing at a crowded bus stop, worried about how to get back home after a long hard day at the office and the next all your troubles are forgotten as you bask in the heat from the dark eyes of a total stranger.

****

I’m cold, tired and bedraggled, and I have always been a conservative mommy’s girl, but something tells me my life’s going to change tonight. My intuition is never wrong but one cannot be too sure, so I suppressed the butterflies dancing in my tummy and checked one more time.

“Where are you headed,” I asked, clenching my fist. I had to stand on tiptoe again to reach him.

“Yaba. You?” he replied, then continued. “Oh, pardon my manners. I’m Demola.”

I let out a silent whoop. He needn’t have bothered. Now I had my confirmation. Fate is usually fickle customer, but I know for sure that she’s in my corner and playing nice this evening. Maybe the universe was compensating for my earlier travails.

“Yaba too?” I answered; then stuck out a hand. His wet palm totally swallowed mine, but I liked the feeling.

We smiled again, together.