The Pink Street Saga – *Shebi*, I want to see Pink Street? Today, I have irrefutable proof that my mother’s prayers follow me everywhere I go. I went through stage four stupidity!
First, I am here to say that a floating idea is a very bad one if you execute it without a lirru-bit of research. Today, I almost landed in hot trouble. So, I started my 3-5km walk with a 99% chance of seeing the splendour of the sun as it rises. Jejeje o, I had already begun the usual route that I know, when the devil whispered, “Toyo, that Instagram story”!
Now, my flatmate (that one that I reported in April for almost dragging me to a party) uploaded an Insta story of a scenic place with sky umbrellas in the background two days ago. It was picturesque as she stood at night looking very happy holding a glass of wine. I now said to myself, “Toyo, if you go to that spot and watch the sunrise ehn, it will even look spectacular. Instagram and my brain want to koba mi!
That was how my trial for the day began.
Second, there is this rule that says “trust your eyes first and then every other operating sense organ can be added to it” must remain sacrosanct. I disobeyed it today. Even though I did not know the name of this place or where it is located, my desperation to fulfil my imagination made me go the extra mile. I opened my Google Maps app and typed “Umbrella Street”. It started to give me feedback on different stores that sold umbrellas. My friend would you getat! I tried another keyword; “Umbrella Street in this city” – It showed me much more nonsense. Finally, out of frustration, I typed “places decorated with umbrella sky” and vroom, it showed me the street as the top feedback amongst others. “The Pink Street”. Toyo, wa sere! O ti get e!
At this point, shebi my brain is supposed to pick the cue and give me a warning sign to mind my damn business? Iro o! My brain suddenly gained independence to conveniently pick and choose fright and flight defying even what my eyes could see. I selected the location, google maps estimated my journey from where I stood at 11 minutes having already walked about 2.3km. Ki lo ku? Let the exodus begin.
Third, having a curious brain can be very bad for you. Why do I say this? I had passed bus stops I knew and saw some nice statutes and even two police stations, till it all began to come off. Google said turn right ⸺ It was an alley. Shebi I suppose turn back to where I was coming from? Tor, “Toyo the Goat”, proceeded further. The alley busted into unfamiliar territory with street graffiti I didn’t know how to interpret. Then my mind for a tiny moment remembered that the buildings of the alley although very tall had visibly cameras installed everywhere. If a fly even pass kperen, them go see the x-ray.
Strange! I know there are cameras everywhere in this city, but never have I been able to visibly see any. All are hidden. And here, it was not just one that boldly hung on the wall, it was almost like intentional surveillance. I turned 360degrees and for certain, I must have taken my paparazzi snapshots on all the cameras mounted. Suffocated by the cameras I took another look at my map, it said to keep going straight. I kuku raised the phone to my eye level. No need to bend to ask Google, let us move eyeball to eyeball. I kept walking straight. My feet had entered the no-retreat no surrender mode.
For a moment there, I asked myself, those cameras, why are they hung on every wall? opposite, adjacent, horizontal, why? Before my brain could process the whys, I saw the rail tracks, and then the arch where the rail although did not pass through, diverted to the right. I thought the GPS would say “turn right” just like the rail. The map kept pointing straight. Google ema lo shoriburuku o! I used the VPS to ascertain that the straight was truly straight, it picked the buildings around me and kept pointing straight. I was now 5minutes away.
A train just passed me viam and then I could see that it was an ori ta meta junction and an arch right ahead with a small tunnel. We are getting somewhere Google! All of a sudden, there was a stench, I looked for where the stench was coming from, it was a refuse pick-up site. Although the dirt was neatly packed in recycle bin bags, it was overflowing. A complete eye-saw.
Why is dirt overflowing here? As I was still walking, another smell blew past me, e wan resemble hemp, abi na cigar? I was sniffing my nose like a pig to ascertain how dangerous whatever it is that I just perceived when all of a sudden, two funny-looking Blacks came out of nowhere and brushed past me. Shebi that should have made me finally turn back? like yi se pada? I was there busy making a fuss about their hair with the scowl of “you people will never survive it back in my home. Olopa ko ma ma mu yin shere shere ni! “
Fourth, never do a mental check and not follow through with the analysis. Clearly, I did a mental check ⸺ I don pass alley, take snapshots, even pass where train no dey carry person go, still, come jam awon onirun werey ton walk fast-fast, and yet, I still dey do aya gban-gban dey waka go where I no know. Toyo, if na play, wake up! Now, all things considered, I wasn’t dreaming at all, I was indeed walking and inching closer to the entrance of the arch. I aborted my mental check with no analysis.
A car suddenly vrooms to my front. This didn’t stop me o, I only paused for a moment to be sure I wasn’t in his way. I muttered to myself, “why so rude?” without looking at the driver because my eyes were fixated on the arch. Now for the umpteenth time, Shebi I suppose wonder “why so rude?” Mba! To be honest, I was about to get scared for the first time when the driver vroomed to my front, but before the fear could gain confidence in me, my eyes! Oh my eyes that will not lead me to sin, spotted the street graffiti and the floor that suddenly turned fuchsia pink. Eehh eehh – America wonda! I was enraptured, google now said, 2 minutes away, like a butterfly I floated into the tunnel. Na so them dey catch mumu o!
“Toyo, you no fit suffer all these suffer come turn back”. Disobeying Google at this junction was not an option. Little did I know that the car owner was certain this skinny girl would never walk the street to the end. She is either lost or very stupid. Thank God he waited to see which one I was – stupid or lost.
Finally, I arrived at my umbrellas spot, they were hanging from the sky. I was a lirru-bit ex-disappointed. Other than the pink floor, the umbrellas didn’t stretch the whole street as I thought, but only covered a portion. In fact, the street pink floor was more captivating to me than the umbrellas. Then God too now pour sand sand in my garri, the sun did not rise instead a cloud formed. Haa! Oluwa mi, why now? Aba! Where is thy sun? I consoled myself and started to take pictures from different angles. Unsatisfied, I decided to do a video, and then boom!
From my phone screen, as I was doing a 360degrees cameraman capturing, I realised the street was deserted and very littered (obvious aftermath of a street night party), at angles 10 to 65 I saw the pink people in one corner; between angles 70 to 150 one person here, another person there standing strategically at the entrance to buildings looking weird and talking to other persons in the buildings (it couldn’t have been a coincidence, abi is my mind whining me?).
Between angles 150 to 220 as I was still turning o, doing cameraman, all these I didn’t see with my naked eye, but through the screen of my phone as I captured with my camera lens I saw a group of about ten people scattered at the junction where the street was divided by another intersection street (and that was also where the umbrellas ended) smoking weed like chimneys, drinking and very noisy. Then someone persons at angles 270 and then me at 360.
As soon as the party people saw me and my phone, they weren’t as loud anymore. The awon onirun werey that passed me before had appeared at angles 260. Pretending the umbrellas was my aim, I did some back and forth 180 degrees and I saw a few people from their windows upstairs wondering who had just entered. I was not in the right place at the right time.
They all already saw me with my phone and could tell what I must have been doing for the past 3-4mins that I was there turning-on-my-own to do what nobody sent me. I started to hear, “girl”! hezz! Come! hey! Join us! Whistling! My mind went straight to @exoduscry which I have been following on Instagram. See, in that mini-second, my mind as we all know scanned the whole world. Like a puzzle, every piece fell into place….the cameras in the alley, the man with the car before the tunnel, the deserted streets, the awon-onirun werey, the pink floor and damnnn, the umbrellas! Now, it was hard to stop the video nor could I take a step forward. All of a sudden I realised I was putting on white and pink sportswear with white running shoes. Ha, Toyo, afi gba ti o wor one-chance.
Everything aligned in my head. I stood immovable and only then did I stop recording. My brain now did the final straw, it went extreme – “Toyo, what if you’ve walked into a crime scene?”, what if these people sell you like the testimonies at @exoduscry? “What if they rape you from front and back? What if your mummy never sees you again? I remembered a few instances from my DPP case files from the time I was a Prosecutor, and my heart began to race. Thank you, brain, you do well.
Now sweating, my brain gave me one instruction – R-U-N. I repeated it to myself, Toyo, you must run as fast as your tiny legs can carry you. From the corner of my eyes, I saw three boys walking very hurriedly toward me from angles 90, 270 and 360, I started to step back slowly to know if it was another coincidence or if I was the target. My brain repeated R-uuUuu-N! I said my come holy spirit prayer, jumping straight to the “oh incline unto my aid O’ Lord; please make haste to help me”. I sprinted out and they charged after me like I was a part of them. E come be like say my running was not running.
I got to the beginning of the arch’s tunnel, sped past the car that was parked when I was proudly floating in, and the driver vroomed right into the street behind me creating a barrier between me and my pursuers. What I know is, I didn’t stop until I got to the front of one of the police stations I had initially passed. Breathless, I went to the floor and sat like an almajiri.
That was where the consequences of my actions clear for my eye and I began to give myself the best pep talk of Y2022, saying “Ki lon ma worry e Toyo? Kini problem e?” The policemen merely thought I was tired from my morning exercise, one of them gave me a hand to get off the floor. How do I want to shalaye my morning escapade of shebi na me wan see pink street?
I thanked the officer and he asked if I wanted water. Baba, yes, give me water. He gave me, I thanked him and was on my way home.
On the whole, after that church that I went to goan lick father’s hand, this is the second place I am never coming to againnnnn. I ended up with a good number of satisfactory pictures and with the rain starting on my head. As soon as I got to the entrance of my house, the rain stopped. God, thank you o! You do well by giving me sprinkling rain. God must have been like, sunrise ko! Sundown ni! That was how I survived whatever it is that could have happened. Good or bad. tor, another lesson learnt.
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