Traffic Lights

Kelani wiped his face with a dirty face towel and sighed. His polyester flower patterned shirt clung to his sweaty body, he had rolled up the sleeves and undone the first three buttons revealing his hairy chest and protruding belly. The light turned green and he drove frantically, trying to go beyond the traffic light before it turned red again. He felt another vehicle bump into his but he was more concerned with getting out of traffic, he made a mental note to check it later. He was seven cars away when the light turned red. He hissed angrily and wiped his face again, he couldn’t afford to be stuck in this traffic, he needed every naira he got these days and every moment spent in traffic was a waste of time, money, and fuel. He leaned his head against the headrest and wondered when he would get out of the holdup, he was approaching an intersection and he could see that the cars that had passed the traffic light were at a stand still. Even when the light turned green, they were going nowhere soon.
He looked at the sidewalk and watched a pregnant woman waddling on, he knew he should take pity on her because it was a very sunny afternoon and she was very heavy but he felt nothing but contempt for her. He turned away from her, his wife had dared to tell him she was pregnant again despite the fact that they already had four children.
He was still trying to pay off the owner of the bus he was using, his children’s school fees were constantly rising, his siblings were constantly asking for financial assistance and he had other obligations. She had told him this morning as he was getting ready to leave for work and he had been speechless for about ten seconds hoping she was joking but the fearful look on her face, the wringing of her hands and the tell-tale glow on her face told him she was indeed telling him the truth.
“How could you have let this happen?” he had asked her confused and angry
“We did it together so why are you angry?”
“Why am I angry?” he asked choking with fury and walked out hurriedly before he could hit her. Even now as he thought about it his heart was beating faster, recalling her nonchalant attitude to the situation. He had decided during the day that he would tell her to abort the baby, he thought of the money he was supposed to get today, he would give that to her to take care of it. His mind became heavy with guilt, he had never asked her to do such a thing but these were desperate times and it was a cheaper option. She would be furious, stunned even that he would suggest it but he would put his foot down, he was the man of the house and she had been foolish enough not to take care of her business.
He thought of allowing her to have the baby and leave her to the financial implications, she seemed to always have money. Her buka must be doing well these days and he was sure she had other businesses she was involved in; women would never tell you they have money. It would never work, he would always have to bear the financial burden because he believed a real man should be responsible for his family.
“Boss, boss!” Fatai his conductor called hastily
“What is it?” He snapped
“Isn’t that your wife?”he said pointing to a fair, pretty, plump middle-aged woman who had come out of a fast food restaurant with a man who Kelani recognized as his neighbour. He lived four houses away and often hired him to transport goods to his warehouse. His wife the kind nurse had even treated their son when he was ill two weeks ago. It couldn’t be, he reasoned that they may have just met coincidentally at the restaurant even though that didn’t make sense because she owned a buka and didn’t even have the kind of money to splurge on fast food. He’d never had any reason to doubt her, he’d even married her a virgin. Kelani watched open mouthed as his neighbour put his arms around his wife’s plump waist, smiling at her and then opening the door to his car for her.
The passengers stared at Kelani wondering what he would do; some of the men wished he would go and confront them, some of the women understood why she was having an affair-it was a matter of money really, while the others were amused.
The light turned green and the impatient drivers behind him began to honk their horns. It was then that the couple turned towards the road wondering what the noise was about. She saw his face and she knew she was in big trouble, placing her hands on her head she began to kneel.
Kelani revved his engine in fury getting ready to move but the light turned red again. When he turned back towards the restaurant they were gone.
“Where did she go?” He asked Fatai
“Back into the restaurant”

4 Replies to “Traffic Lights”

  1. Awww…. . I really think this should be a series o. I stumbled on your Facebook page recently and all I’ve been doing is read your stories… You are doing an amazing job and I so love the way you write.

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