New-York-City-SkylineThe city is beautiful, especially at night, when the streetlamps cast their orange glow on the tarred roads, and when the lights from the buildings and ships set off the stunning beauty of the water. It is a view I’d pay to see over and over again, of serenity and breathtaking beauty.

The city is hot at night, but sometimes, it’s breezy; sit outside and the wind will caress your skin gently, as though to blow away every atom of stress.

It is stressful at times. You wake up at the crack of dawn, struggle, push and pull against other city dwellers to take a bus to your job, which is several miles away. On the bus, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to sit by the window. There, you will inhale air tinged with exhaust fumes. Otherwise, it’s the smell of yesterday’s sweat and exhaust fumes laced with a smidgen of air. You could also be so unlucky as to sit by the door, right beside the conductor as he hangs on the bus, yelling for more people to get on. The wind will blow the horrible stench you perceived from him when you entered, from his shirt, right into your face. That way, you’ll be too nauseous to think of much else save getting off the bus. Or, you could be visually assaulted by the pubic hair and the butt crack of the bus conductor alternately. Because his shirt is too small and it rides up as he hangs on the bus. There’ll be no belt holding his dirty jeans in place either. Sayonara, breakfast.

You’ll barely manage to get to work in time, but that’s ok; the boss won’t be at work yet, so you’re covered. If you’re lucky, you have the kind of job that suits you, whatever it is. Or you could be an introvert and have a front desk and customer service job; though you may mentally plan out graphic murders, or even come close to spiking someone’s cup of tea or glass of water, you’ll make it.  And when it’s time to head home, you run, push and shove again, just to get on a bus. If  you’re lucky, you’ll find one in time, if not, someone will push you back and take the last seat, then you’ll have to wait for another bus and repeat the cycle. When you finally get on one, let’s hope you’re wearing something with long sleeves and that it isn’t white, because sweat and sticky skin will assault you from all sides. You and the other commuters will also be seated like sardines in a can, but it’s okay, you’ll get home soon. Or you could get stuck in traffic. In which case you’ll start to type furiously on your Blackberry. When the battery runs out, the beauty of the city will take your mind off the moment as you soak it all in, because where you’re headed, stinky gutters and pot holes await you. If the rickety bus you got on doesn’t give up on the way, you’ll finally get home, tired, hungry and oh so sticky, but there’ll be no electricity. If you’re the woman or the Ekaete of the house, you’ll prepare food for your family with the dim lighting of a lamp, trudge to bed wearily very late and wake up early the next morning to do it all over again.

The city is dark and dangerous. Often, we hear stories of theft, kidnappings and killings. Sometimes we even hear gunshots in the middle of the night. Why, only yesterday, our neighbor was slapped silly and robbed of her things.

I love the city people, at least some of them. I love the view, but mostly of the water and tall buildings. The city is full of energy, rush, life. But the city is not for the faint hearted. Or those who intend to remain sane.


  1. Quite descriptive of Lagos. I could almost paint Lagos on a canvass just reading the piece. Maybe its because am a resident and can easily smile and laugh at a narrative so thick you could pull at it!

  2. Oh.. The smile of satisfaction on my face when I’d read the whole page… I wish you saw it.. Perfect.. I saw myself in that.. thank you!

  3. There’s this song I love by this lady- Aduke. Heard it like 2 weeks ago at Terra Kulture. It was lovely. This reminds me. Thank you

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