Strolling. Erm, more appropriately, walking. I used to call it ‘strolling’ until too many people commented that ‘stroll’ is defined by a more leisurely pace than I often adopt… a more-at-ease pace #rolls eyes. Anyeway, yes, walking. It’s an activity I really enjoy and love to do. There’s just something about stretching my legs one after the other at an even pace with the wind in my face and loud music in my ears that absolutely ‘does it’ for me. So I walk a lot. Every time I can, for every excuse I can grab. And, like a ritual, I stroll every Sunday evening. Every Sunday evening, like the one just past….
I walked out of the house smiling with Jon Bellion wailing about getting his Munny Right through the headphones plugged in my ears. My head was starting to evaluate the past week, as its template for planning ahead for the week just launched. It does that by default every Sunday evening when I wear my black shorts aand converse… the top usually doesn’t matter. Very indiscriminate mind that it is; I am so proud of it. I closed my eyes to enjoy the fresh breath of out-of-the-house air- there was no smells of food or laundry in the air, just grass and nature. I love that smell. I smiled, and started the progress: leg out, other leg next; brisk steps away from home, and security….
40 minutes later and 5 minutes away from home, I was listening to Lana Del Ray croon about Florida Kilos when I noticed a bike ride too slowly and too close to me. I was looking at the ceiling of the house, in a hurry to get home, and the fellows on the bike were too ugly to make me want to look at them closely. I continued my strutt, and it became a dance of some sort when the song switched and Usher went “Baby lemme love you down…”. I must confess though, there is something about listening to that song via headphones on high volume that makes it soo… #words fail me.
Too late (I promise to never ever again take a walk without wearing my better functional pair of eyes, my glasses), I see the bike with the ugly fellows come back and cross me. Real Nollywood style: all jumping down, jaws opening wide and closing, and making wild gesticulations. I do not wait to bother with listening to what they have to say; I have watched too many Nollywood movies to imagine that ugly males with bloodshot eyes wearing black and crossing lone females on silent streets (my once-upon-a-time favourite quality of my street) can be up to any good. I turn round and start to run real fast. Usher is saying “Oh my God…” and I’m thinking the same thing: except he is marvelling at some no-doubt beautiful woman that has him twisted in sexual knots and I’m running from some dangerous ugly males who have me twisted in scared-knots.
Oh fuck no!
The engine of the bike revved, and my mind was thinking things the type of which are in Friday the 13th and unsavoury news items.
Rape, kidnap, ritual killing. Damn! damn!! hot damn!!!
All these are really scary thoughts, and Adrenaline- God bless that hormone- propels my legs, and my mind, faster.
Cheap cigarettes. They are doused in cheap cigarettes.
I don’t even know if there are expensive cigarettes, but my mind is busy analysing that I can smell them; which means they are too close to me for comfort, and I really do not like their smell.
I feel the breeze of their presence and my legs take me lower into the dry drainage by the street, wide enough to accommodate my tiny frame and give me space to run like mad in it. It would be harder for them to swoop down to grab me when I’m way lower than they, because they cannot risk losing balance on their bike. I really like the way my mind thinks unbidden sometimes. My legs won’t stop running, and now Usher (I have decided that the man has a crush on me) is saying that nobody kisses it like me… hmmm, delicious. I stifle the urge to laugh at myself; Lord save me from the thoughts that run through my head sometimes- they can be astoundingly naughty and unbelievable sometimes. I briefly think about the incredulity of feeling school-girl-grinny-and-flattered when there are scary fellows wanting to do God-knows-what to me.
I fly out of the drainage (yeah, I also didn’t know I had wings until that moment) and swap my phone to my left hand so I can propel myself to run faster with my right hand. My pursuers switch to my right hand side, and my brain kicks in that they want my phone. I do a quick recon:
Contacts? Backed up
Information back up? Did last Thursday
Any details outside my Google accounts? No
My head bows as the guy at the back of the bike reaches for my hand and I twist it back out. They are swearing profanities now; they hadn’t expected a struggle, let alone the chase I’m putting them through. Of course my brain forgot to never run when faced with people like this because they could be armed (that selective memory of mine, and perhaps, Uncle Adrenaline). A hand touches my arm and I recoil at the feel of it- rough, dirty, angry. I get goosepimples and an unpleasant shiver. It sets a pause in my run, and I feel- more than hear- my blouse get ripped. I hate unwelcome touch, so I look to the floor, and send the phone far from me. A car is coming; I can hear it now, music out of my ears. They rush off, the one behind jumping off to pick the fragmented pieces while mouthing off at me as they take off. I am by then just watching passively; feeling like an observer, not the person who was just in all of that with unknown scary goons. It is then that I feel the burning on my hands; I have some bruises (curse this soft skin sometimes, though)….