I was walking to the bus stop this morning. It was early and the sky was dark with a hint of the orange of the day creeping in around the edges. The few cars on the road still had their headlights on.
A motorcycle passed me, slowing as it approached the junction.
There was a passenger on the back of the bike. He was a sturdy man, above average height, broad shouldered with large arms. His beard was carefully trimmed in that fashion conscious way, sideburns drawn down his face merging with the beard and a thin line of hair forming a moustache around his mouth.
He had on a muscle t-shirt that would be tiny on anyone. It was tight around the chest, tight around the arms, choking him. A tattoo poked out of the top of the shirt and crept up the left side of his neck.
He got down from the motorcycle. He was wearing unlaced high-top sneakers, there was a patch of hairy leg and above them cargo shorts that hung down to his calves. The shorts had pockets everywhere.
The okada man was waiting.
The husky man searched for money for the ride. He checked the front pockets of his shorts. Then the back pockets. He checked the tiny pocket inside the front pocket. He bent forward to check the cargo pockets down by his knees.
The man did all of this while carrying a newborn. It was tiny, still wrapped in that white fluffy cloth that brand new babies come in. He had tucked the infant under his arm when he was on the bike. Now, at five in the morning, he juggled it from bicep to bicep as he looked for change.
I stood there staring at him, making no attempt to hide it, watching people as they walked past and thinking, “Is anyone going to stop the man with the stolen baby?”
He paid the bike man. He jogged across four lanes of express, dodging cars as they zipped past. He jumped over the middle divider, and trotted across four more lanes of traffic, protecting the baby’s head as he ran.
Welcome to Lagos, little human.