TOLL GATE, IBADAN
I bought three bunches of bananas for a hundred naira. This is an act I used to do without giving it a thought until I told a friend about it some months ago. This friend loves fruits but lives in a country where buying them is a budgeting decision.
There are many things we take for granted: little things, big things. Like how, at the peak of the season, mangoes are considered a nuisance in my house. We pack them in bags, give them to people and throw the rest away. Whereas, two towns from where I live, they are sold for a premium.
Our whole existence as human beings is sometimes an exercise in taking things for granted. It often takes strangers, unexpected events, or a grave illness for us to pay attention to life’s little things. We don’t think about swallowing food until we have a sore throat, or what it takes to swing our arms until we have whitlow, or what it takes to breath until we lie on our beds at night, unable to sleep because of catarrh.
We take freedom for granted: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom to be whatever we want to be. And of course there’s nothing we take for granted more than life. We expect to be here perpetually, and make promises about tomorrow like it’s a given.
On the last day of November, I drove past a crowd gathered on the road in Oja-Oba. In the middle of the crowd, a man was pounding his fist on the chest of a motorcyclist splayed on the ground. The man was gone.
Sometimes it takes the gruesomeness of death for us to appreciate living.