An Afternoon Chat with the Woman Who Lives on the Bridge.

I am walking along a bridge.

There is a river below. It leads out into the ocean a few metres away.

It’s been a mixed experience sort of day. I landed at the nearest branch of a bank I have an account with, to sort out an issue with my banking details.

Navigated the physical terrain with public transportation to get there desirably early. There was a humongous queue outside. It wasn’t even clear why the queue was there.

Bought a face mask from a nearby shop. I had like six face masks at my living space, but I forgot to take one along. Asked around a bit to acquire some information about the reason for existence of the queue. Didn’t get anything too definitive.

I needed to see the customer service. The security guard outside didn’t seem like he was letting in people who needed to see the customer service. For some arbitrary reason.

I believed that debating with the guard about the soundness of the incumbent entry-granting policy would be an entirely pointless venture.

Usually these guys don’t exercise much initiative when they are on the job and under pressure. They become pretty authoritative about effecting the directives of the bank employees they perceive to be their superiors- without regard to the cogency of those directives.

I had to lie to the guard. It was a second-order lie. I lied about my intended activity in the bank. He asked a question regarding the necessity of my physical presence in the bank to carry out said activity. Another lie occurred to me and I relayed it to him.

You Nigerian people are not going to kill me with frustration. I need to get something done please.

He let me in.

There were a number of other issues I still had to navigate, after getting in.

Eventually I landed in front of a Customer Service attendant.

The trip to the bank did not end with anything significant done.

They said there was a network issue.

Jesus Christ, network issue. Do these people know where I’m coming from at all?? Network what??

The attendant said it had something to do with the mast. Something something mast something network something.

I experience periodic signal outages at my current residence too.

Nigeria does not have 24-hours electricity, and so power outages are endemic.

Or no, no no. Depending on the location, sometimes the anomaly is having electricity every once in a while, because an absence of electrical power is the default situation.

I imagine the telecommunications companies have gasoline or diesel fuelled electricity power generators at the location of their masts. And so whenever power from the electricity distribution companies goes out, whoever is responsible for keeping the place operational, goes ahead to turn on the backup generator.

In my opinion, the periodic signal outages at my residence happen when the mast generator guy is asleep, and is understandably incapable of turning on the backup generator after a power outage.

That’s what I feel is responsible for the outages at my residence. I don’t know what’s behind that at these banks though.

I am walking along a bridge.

There are some scribblings in the sand by the road.

They catch my attention. I turn to read them.

“Thief”. Random sequence of numbers. “Car”, or something like that. There are words all over the place.

I am trying to make sense of what I’m reading.

The text is written as continuous sentences comprising of individually meaningful lexical tokens, but as a whole each sentence is completely incoherent. It takes me a while to come to this conclusion- I first consider a number of options involving the possibility that I am faced with some sort of code I am not familiar with.

Eventually I am reasonably certain the writing does not make sense. I focus my attention back up to the road, and continue with my journey.

There is a woman seated by the side of the bridge. She is seated on the sidewalk, with her head bowed.

I have seen her here before. Multiple times actually, along this road. So far I’ve usually been in a vehicle passing by, and she would just be visible for a brief moment as the landscape streamed by the window.

She looks despondent. And sad. And deflated.

I believe she has been here for like weeks now. I wonder what’s going on.

I go closer.

I go even closer.

I approach her. We begin to talk.

She smells. She smells bad. It’s probably been a few weeks since a bath.

The odour is somewhat disturbing, but I’m pretty certain I’ve smelt worse.

We keep talking.

She was the one who made the scribblings by the road. Ah okay.

To a certain degree, her speech is like her scribblings. She’s making mention of meaningful individual notions- sometimes even meaningful phrases or sentences, but as a whole I find her incoherent.

Every once in a while she breaks into a ramble about detergent. And tea. And self-worth. And “American University Hospital”. And Bola Ige. I know very little about Bola Ige- I know he was a pretty prominent Nigerian- I used to hear his name a lot when I was very very young.

She keeps talking.

At some point I realise I’m going to have to periodically interrupt her- to infuse what I perceive to be some structure and overall meaning, into our interaction.

I ask some questions, trying to make some sense of how she got to be in this position.

The general incoherence is still there, but some illuminating information emerges every once in a while.

She ran away from somewhere. Somewhere in a different part of the country.

She used to make tea. Sell tea. And bread. And margarine. She talks about it with fondness. She enjoyed making and selling tea.

Someone overdosed on cocaine. The person was poisoned. By a friend. The person who was poisoned with cocaine was her husband. Husband? Boyfriend? Partner of sorts.

Partner attempted to physically abuse her. She attempted escaping his harmful influence. He persisted in doing her more harm.

She has a child. Girl? Boy? It is not clear.

Child was taken away from her. By who? I mention some of the names she calls every once in a while. Was it this person? This one?

She breaks into another ramble about detergent and self-worth.

She is saying something about combining detergent with tea, and how the mixture will significantly improve the community.

I have no idea what she’s talking about.

She is talking about the people she used to live with. Used to be friends with. They all seem to me, to be cruel and devious and unthinkably vindictive people. She is probably also like that, to some extent. That’s probably why she could live with those people. That’s what I feel at least.

She says the people who overdosed are in the American University Hospital, something like that.

She is definitely traumatised. She looks like she’s trying to uncoil after a severely psychologically damaging experience.

I have no idea what could be done to help her. I have like no clue.

I wonder how she gets food though. She has been on this road for weeks. She smells- she smells really bad, but she does not look malnourished. She is talking too energetically to be famished. There is a very suspicious looking loaf of bread beside her. I have no idea where she got the bread.

I don’t understand.

If she decides to give me some inestimably valuable secrets involving how to effortlessly procure food, I won’t mind. I won’t mind at all.

We keep talking.

At some point I feel like I’ve had enough. Continually attempting to inject some sort of coherence into the interaction is becoming tiring.

I’ve had enough for today. I tell her I need to go.

She nods in acknowledgement and keeps on rambling indignantly about detergent and self-worth.

I continue on my way.

Conversing with a Cocaine Dealer.

I used to be so famous!

He pronounces the word “famous” strangely. I think it’s amusing.

But he is looking severely despondent right now- I cannot afford to laugh. In fact, I do not think I am capable of laughing right now- I myself am not in the most flamboyant of situations.

All over this island. Everybody knew me. Calling my name everywhere.

Famous! Everybody knew me!

He is hungry.

I just made some rice. I put some spice and cloves and chopped garlic in it. There’s this interesting seasoning I’ve been trying recently. It’s in a bright yellow pack. It’s really tasty. I put some of that in the rice too. And then I broke some eggs over the rice when it was almost done. I’m not quite sure what that method of cooking eggs is called. I don’t think that’s poaching.

He takes a spoonful.

Mmm. This rice is sweet.

Usually when someone from Nigeria describes food as “sweet”, they mean the food is delicious.

Thank you very much.

I am glad he likes my cooking. I know the food tastes good and so I am not so much in need of his culinary validation, but at least the compliment could be perceived as some sort of compensation for my shortened ration.

We keep talking.

I am trying to get some perspective on what happened to him in the first place.

How did all of this happen?

I don’t know, I don’t know!

He is dejected. And confused. And disoriented.

I feel sad for him.

I was kicked out of the apartment because I was behind in my payments. Now I have no place to stay!

That Cape Verdean girl never gave me rest. Always causing me trouble and spending my money as quickly as I was making it. Ah!

He is staring into the blank space ahead of him, like his past is right in front of us.

He looks like he has a bitter taste in his mouth.

Where is she now?

She left, she disappeared once there was nothing anymore!

Oh man. Oh man.

Did you love her? 

He did not even wait for me to finish.



He is wringing his hands.

She is not the woman of my love!!

The woman of my love is in Praia!!!

Oh man. Oh man.

We keep eating.

So what’s the plan now?

Ah, I just need some money.

He begins to gesticulate with his hands.

Once I mix the four gram with the eight gram, I’ll begin to multiply the money. I have my people. My people know me. Once I tell them I’m back, they’ll begin to come. Once that begins to happen, things’ll gradually get back to normal.

He is talking about grams of cocaine. He is extremely confident in his proficiency as a cocaine dealer. I can see him already counting the money with his fingers. He just needs some capital.

I have some research funds coming from an NGO in Nigeria in a few days. It’s not much, but it’s something.

I caution myself, so I do not begin to actively consider a possibility involving a narcotics investment.

We keep talking. I try to offer some words of encouragement. Ask some critical questions with the hope that they would inspire some proactive, optimistic thinking. Try to up his mood and motivation somehow.

He looks at me with a faint smile.

Ah! You are the one I should have been talking to since all these days!

All the people I used to spend my time with, they would never tell me anything like this. They would never ask these kinds of questions. Ah I love you so much!

I’m not quite sure how to feel about his compliments. I am going to need all of these evidently laudable cognitive qualities to convincingly prove themselves in my life first.

Mister Smart Guy whose life is not smart.

We keep eating.

Image Credits:

Time Has Passed.

Time has passed.


I look at your face, but what I see is something else.

I see the face of the person I was in love with.


I listen to your voice, but what I hear is something else.

I hear the voice of the person I was in love with.


I am disoriented, because the person before me is different- starkly, different, from the person I perceive.


Who are you?


Who are you really?

I am not sure.

I really am not sure.


You look like her. You look exactly like her. You bear her name and you appear to exist in what I perceive to be her physical body.

And trust me, I know what her body is like.


But who the hell are you?


You look like her.

You speak with her voice.

But the words coming out of your mouth give me no choice but to conclude you are somebody else.


Do you even remember me?

Do you remember us?

All of the time we spent together? All of the places we went? All of the things we did?

Do you even remember any of that?


Do you actually remember, or are you just pretending?


Evidently everything that happened, is now nothing to you but a faded memory.


I, am now nothing to you but a faded memory.


I am now nothing.

Nothing but a faded memory.


I guess this is my plight.

To live the rest of my life constantly enshrouded by the poignant nostalgia and searing frustration of loving someone who no longer exists.


Image Credits:

On Stoic Hearts and Scar Tissue.

I wonder what my heart looks like.


There in my chest, pumping- always pumping. Never for once stopping for air- never for once stopping to catch its breath.

— Pumping. Always pumping.


I wonder what my heart looks like.


Scarred. Definitely scarred. Very scarred.

Strange: The insulating protection offered my ribcage did absolutely nothing to shield my heart from emotional scarring. Absolutely nothing.

I hope the scars do not affect its pumping. I hope they do not restrict its movement or anything like that. Scar tissue might not stretch as much as normal tissue- could prevent the heart from expanding as much as is needed to adequately pump blood.

No wonder I get lightheaded at times. Not enough blood being pumped. Not enough blood being pumped at all.


I wonder what my heart looks like.


I wonder what it does with all of that pain from lost love- from love not just lost, but forcefully torn away. Jarringly detached.

My heart is definitely scarred. Definitely.

Hm, I just realised something. These scars are probably going to last forever. Till the end of my life at least. Wounds heal yes, but scars- scars are a different ball game entirely.

I’ll probably always experience this painful throbbing every once in a while. Probably always. Consequence of the scarring. Implications of scar tissue. 


Of love lost. Of smiles gone dark. Of little happiness bulbs conclusively detached from electricity.


I wonder what my heart looks like.





[ Image Credits: ]

Necromantic Monologues and a Police Van.

Ilha do Sal (The island of Sal), Cape Verde.

Sometime in 2017.



Hey Hey Heeyyyy

How’re you doing. Good?

Yeah? Great. Great great great. That’s absolutely great to hear.

What did you do?

Today. Today, what did you do today. Tell me.

Tell me. Tell me tell me tell me. I want to know.

I’m smiling. You can see I’m smiling, can’t you.

Hmnn. Haha.

Wait- your nails. You painted your nails. Afresh. You painted them a new colour.

Hmm, they were some other colour the last time I remember. Some strange one. One with some name that I had never heard before. One that I didn’t even know was an actual colour.

Come on- come on help me out here.


Aha yes! That’s it! That’s it- Nude. That’s it.

Wait, how is nude even a colour? How does that work? Like, how does that even work?

Or you know what? Forget it. I don’t care. I like it. I like you, and so that automatically means I like it. By extension. By association. By whatever other synonym happens to exist in English. Whichever one. Take your pick.




Hey. Do you know I’ve started painting my nails? No? Not at all? Well I have.

I started out with black. I like it. I really really like it.

Here. Take a look.

I don’t know if I bought a standard product however, I don’t know. I feel like my fingernails look like I just poured wall paint on them.

Haha. Yeah. Like actual wall paint.

I mean, you can see it right?

Doesn’t it look like there’s wall paint on my fingernails.



These Nigerian people? They do not get it. They do not get it at all.

Haha. You should see the way they look at me. You should see the way the women look at me- with their own unpainted fingers.

I mean, of course not all of them- some of them paint their nails. Some. But really you should see the ones who don’t. And how they look at me. With my sheeny shiny nails.

Haha. You’d get an immense laugh out of it, I’m sure.




Ola.  [Hello]

Ola, Bo’tarde. [Hello, Good afternoon]

I raise my head. It’s a police van.

The letters “P O L I C I A” are spelled across the chassis in bold white letters.

The men inside are muttering something in Portuguese Creole.

I’m staring at them- I’m still entirely in my head. Not yet conscious enough of my physical surroundings to make sense of what is happening.


Fala Creolo?          [Do you speak Creole?]

Fala Creolo?          [Do you speak Creole?]


Muaso menche. Poc.          [Somewhat. A little]

I am not sure if I am articulating the first expression correctly. I make an augmenting gesticulation with my hands.

Muaso menche.          [Somewhat]


You have to come with us to the station. You’re tresspassing. You have to come with us to the station.


I take a look around me. I am outside the city. I’m not particularly sure of how it was that I got here.

I remember I was going for a walk. No precise idea of where.

I’m not particularly sure… What?

How? ……….


You have to come with us to the station. You tresspassing. You have to come with us to the station.


Into the Police Van.

Into the Police Van Mayowa, into the Police Van.

Into the van you go.


No handcuffs this time Mayowa.

No handcuffs this time.