The Lagos boat ride was in 30 minutes. Tolu had offered to pick me up at Tinubu Square. It was a five minute drive from his Law office in Marina. I hated to keep him waiting. He has a short fuse, especially on rainy days.
“Hurry up girl, I don’t want to be late” I called to Bola who trailed along behind me.
“I’m going into the plaza. I told you before”
“But I’ll be late; Tolu will leave without me for sure”
“Please, please, just a few things really. I’ve run out of make up, I need to get it now or there’ll be no more time” she pleaded, half running into the plaza.
Women and make-up. I scoffed.
I leaned on the wall outside the building, almost shivering. My jacket not enough respite from the cold. It had rained all day, stopping just in time for me to make up my mind about the boat ride. Tolu said it’ll keep my mind off my troubles, at least for a night. I sighed.
I watched people come and go from the building, my mind vaguely aware of my surroundings. Most of them were young, probably students from the university.
There were middle aged women too, trying to shop for the weekend I presumed. Monday was a public holiday, workers day. Appropriate.
After a few minutes of watching nothing in particular, I noticed a woman leave hurriedly, she bumped into an old man. I thought I had seen her before.
She was dressed in clothes a few sizes too small. Her blouse was popping at the buttons, her jeans, way too tight. She rushed off. I shrugged. She’s probably late for something. What do you know? It could be the boat ride.
Suddenly aware I had been waiting much too long, I stretched my neck, searching the sea of faces.
I thought of going in to look for Bola but dismissed the idea, too many shops in there. I leaned back again swallowing my anger.
A few minutes later, someone brushed past me. I looked up. It was the same lady I saw earlier on with the tight jeans. She wasn’t wearing jeans now; she had on a skirt, all flared and bouncy. She had a wig too. I smelt a rat.
My crazy sense of adventure.
She sure looked like trouble, going in and out of the plaza, with different clothes and a wig. She glanced around and across her shoulder as she walked. I kept a fair distance. She stopped suddenly and slowly looked back in my direction. I pretended to browse through a magazine stand. She walked on, very briskly this time.
She walked into a store. I looked up, Roy’s Robes, a boutique. I stepped in, looking around. A young girl approached me, all smiles.
“Good afternoon Sir, may I be of assistance?”
“Oh, no problems I know my way around” I lied.
The odd looking lady walked amidst clothes, touching this, checking that. I noticed she chose the racks at the far corner of the store. I watched, managing to stay out of sight.
She picked up a skirt, holding it to the light; she turned it round and round. She held on to it and hurriedly walked to a secluded hanger. The clothes were hung round in a circle. She bent low and walked right in. I watched. Before I could wonder what she was up to, she pulled it on, right under her bouncy skirt! I let out a slight scream, my eyes wide.
“What on earth…...”
She noticed me. She hurriedly made her way towards the door. I broke into a full trot and stopped her.
“Out of my way” she said, under her breath.
“Sorry ma’am. Not yet.” I motioned to the Security guard who came right over.
I explained all to him, his eyes widened.
“Ma’am, could you raise your skirts please?”
All eyes turned towards us, silence ensued. You could hear a pin drop.
“What! How dare you. Do you know who you are talking to? I have my rights….”
On and on she raved.
I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned and stared straight into Bola’s eyes.
“I’m ready, can we go now?”
“You bet, and have I got something to tell you?” I said laughing, “I think I should consider being a Private Investigator”
She shook her head, wondering what I was going on about.
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