A sudden thunder accompanying a heavy downpour sent shivers down Christiana’s spine. At that moment she started to wonder why she was so nervous by thunderclaps but she knew deep down that the thought of Bayo was responsible for her anxiety. She had been feeling so tense ever since she saw Bayo nine years after they departed affectionately. She had always imagined that he would have changed, but she never knew the transformation would be so awful. His once good-looking face now so dreadful made shudders run through her lean body and drove away her sleep. She remembered how she would look out of the window from her room to gaze continuously at his strong masculine build while he trimmed the flowers in the garden and how she had imagined his well-built body in her bed. She had fantasized her life in the future with Bayo. Although she tried to push his thought away, but the memories she had with him rushed through her mind unconsciously. When she couldn’t stop to picture the night his mannish physique kept her warm and how they kissed passionately, she decided to roll her eyes away from her daughter’s picture because she knew it was sparking up more thoughts of him. She shifted her gaze to the cream curtain which was dancing to the tune played by the furious wind. Wittingly, she listened to the rain beating relentlessly against the window like she was listening to her favourite hip hop music to drive away his memories.  However, when a cool breeze sent a cold sensation through her skin, she started to think about how the cold night would have made her sleep like a baby if only she had not seen Bayo. She found it hard to believe that the face that once charmed her had become so frightening and very unattractive that she couldn’t stand to stare at him for so long. Just a quick glance at him made her heart bleed. She wished his present demeanour had not marred her memories of him, she also wished she had not passed by that road where she saw him in his present state. Actually, that was not her usual route, but her chauffeur had driven her down that route because it was shorter. The decision didn’t turn out to be a good idea though.

Earlier that day, Christian was fuming in her car because she was stuck in traffic and was running late for an important meeting with a client. Several times she expressed her anger by hissing. Out of annoyance she said, “I told you that I don’t like Oshodi for anything. I told you!” She hissed again.

“Sorry Madam. Oshodi is the closet place we can pass if we have to get to Ikeja very early. I am sorry, Madam,” Christiana’s chauffeur, Adamu said softly.

Adamu had to carefully steer the car forward through the tailback caused by the rowdiness of the street. In anger she had asked him to keep pressing the car horn to clear the raucous road, but it didn’t help the situation. The chaos was caused by one ‘area boy’ who violently extorted money from several ‘bus conductors’. Some of the ‘bus conductors’ begged him as he violently demanded money from them, while some engaged in a long argument with the street urchin before they gave him some money. As this was ongoing, passengers kept wailing expressing their dissatisfaction with the delay.

“Don’t worry madam, we will soon move,” Adamu said when he realised how tensed Christiana looked. He had been watching her from the rearview mirror of the car. “People in this area are always very unruly, but we will soon move, Mah,” he added when he realised that his boss didn’t stop to look frightened.

“Just make sure we don’t go through this route again,” she said. “We must not pass through this road again,” she emphasized. “No matter how late I might be.”

Christiana trembled as she watched the ‘area boy’ moving confidently towards her car. Quickly, she asked Adamu to move the vehicle forward, but he reminded her that they were stuck. He looked more dreadful than Christiana had imagined an ‘area boy’ should look.  A big wrap of marijuana dangle between his black lips. His protruded eyes were red and a long scar ran from his forehead to his cheek.

Wey my money?” the ‘area boy’ stared into Adamu’s eyes but he ignored him. “You deaf?” he barked, but Adamu behaved deaf. “Wey my money?” he asked again, however Adamu disregarded him. Violently, he picked a stick and smashed it against the windshield of the car. Adamu got out of his car with anger. Just like being possessed by a malevolent spirit, he seized the ‘area boy’ by his throat and slammed his rugged body against her boss’s car. Although, the ‘area boy’ tried to fight back, Adamu proved he was stronger. Hawkers, street urchins and many passengers who watched the scene with amusement hailed Adamu. Even Christiana watched him in astonishment. She never thought a lanky man as Adamu had such great strength. The ‘area boy’ ran away from the scene when Adamu loosed his grip on him and people hailed him the more. He looked at Christiana with pride like he was a hero, always ready to save her anytime.

In a flash, the raucous road became deserted, people who had been enjoying the scene took to their heel when some ‘area boys’ rushed out from one corner of the road toward Adamu. They were all unkempt in appearance. Before Adamu could enter into the car to zoom off the road, barrage of blows unleashed by the ‘area boys’ sent him on his knees. And immediately, Christiana bent over in her car. Her heart together with her hand shook as she pressed the keypads on her cell phone in an attempt to call the police. Mr. Adamu cried out after he realised they were about to strangle life out of him. His sympathetic cry made Christiana fly out of her car to plead on his behalf.  Swiftly, the ‘area father’ stunned at her presence loosed his grip on Adamu’s throat. Her presence stilled the chaos. His blood shot eyes bored into Christiana’s eyes made her heart bleed. Regardless of the praises his clique rendered him by raising their hands above their head with one leg each suspended in the air, the ‘area father’ ignored them. Quickly, Adamu stood up from the floor panting for air. At that moment, he turned to Christiana and hastened her to get into her car so that they could drive off instantly, but she stood still like a tree. She couldn’t just believe she just saw Bayo.

……………….To be continued