I’m walking down the road, having just come out of
the bank. I’m irritated and upset because what I went in to
do didnt go too well as in Cargo never reach Wharf, and I’m
mumbling to myself and trying to see how I can solve the
problem logically, who to call, who NOT to call, so many
calculations going on in my head. I don’t realise I’m talking
to myself and a passing shoe-shier thinks I am addressing
him and asks me to sit while he polishes my shoes. I don’t
have anything better to do at that moment and my shoes
are actually in need of a shine so I sit down under his
umbrella shade and take off my shoes. I begin to make calls
as the shoe-shiner polishes away. I make a call to Abuja,
another one to Port harcout. Port picks and assures me
everything will be alright that I should be a little patient.
Abuja doesnt pick his call. I’m getting more irritated by the
The cobbler finishes polishing my shoes and hands them
over. I wear them and hand him his fee of N30 and begin to
walk away, by now I’m so frazzled I just want to get to a
cool place and think.
Suddenly out of the blue this girl arrives, mid-twenties, fair-
skinned, her eyes bright, her cheeks painted a bright red
colour and her hair dirty orange. she’s wearing a white long
sleeved T-shirt and over that a yellow short-sleeved one.
Her skirt looks like it has been deliberately plastered with
dirt and her shoes might be different colours. She jingles
the cup in her hand and I immediately recognise her as a
But it is her smile that elicited this write-up. Unbridled,
unchained, undemanding smile. Completely innocent and
full of joyous rendering. Even though she seemed to be
asking me for something it was more like she was the one
giving me something, something that money could not give.
All the stress left my body in an instant, all the irritability
disappeared like dew in the early morning sun, and i found
myself smiling at this total stranger.
Her smile widened. “Good afternoon sir, please help the
“At this time of the day, isn;t your rag-day over?” I asked. i
wasn’t interested in her reply, I just wanted to feast my
eyes on that smile for as long as possible.
As if in response to my wishes the smile widened and
ecstacy overwhelmed me. She said something i can’t
remember. i was completely enveloped in that smile of
hers. I drank from it like a man strranded in the desert
drinks from a water hole he just found. I dipped my hand
into my wallet and pulled out a note with a couple of zeroes
and gave it to her. She positively grinned now.
“Thank you sir!” She squealed and was off.
“No, thank you.” I said under my breath.
As I resumed my steps I realised things werent so bad after
all. I walked more lightly with a spring in my steps. A smile
had giving me the relief that a delayed alert hadnt.
Source: Nairalander’s diary 5minmadness