Monday, June 29, 2009
The Last Days
I woke up late this morning, gulped down a glass of water, and went out for my morning run. The everyday sights and sounds of a Lagos morning surrounded me, but now that we're down to our last days here my senses were heightened; I noticed everything more.
Traffic cops directed cars and people, keeping everyone in line with their presence if nothing else. As cars stopped at their direction, young window-washers, most of them rail thin, rushed up with their detergent-filled Gatorade bottles and orange squeegees, aggressively offering their windshield-cleaning services; most of them were turned away. The clothing resale shops were opening up, merchants hanging their hangers in the window and chatting up the window-washers who were taking up their corner posts again. As the shiny SUV's prepared to cross their intersections, small beat-up motorbikes sped by them loudly, carrying one two, even a family of four people on a two-wheel bike.
Later I walked up Calvario hill to sit and write for awhile. A group of kids is playing soccer in front of the church steps; their voices fill the air. They've made goal markers with piles of rocks that don't stop their rubber ball from rolling into the street again and again. A car drives past carrying three teenage girls in dark sunglasses, laughing as they turn up their bass-heavy music. As they pass the church, they suddenly notice where they are and solemnly cross themselves.
The sky grows dark; the wind picks up. It begins to rain. I move for cover and the rain stops just as quickly as it began. I look out over the landscape, the vastness of it visible from here. Through the shrubs and palm trees, over the brick rooftops, along the flat plain to the mountains beyond - I can see all of it from right here. Again it begins to rain, but the distant mountains stay bathed in sunlight.
I think I'm going to miss this place after all.