I sit in my car. The long line of traffic, the hot sun heating my already heated body.
I cursed myself for the umpteenth time. I always forget to repair the air conditioning.
Lagos traffic had taught me a thing or two about patience.
Glancing at my mirror, I see my two little girls, Ngozi, 5 and Somto, 7 impervious to the heat, sleeping peacefully at the back seat. I smile. After the three day visit to my sister’s house and all the fun they had, it’s no wonder they are exhausted.
As a working single mother, such fun memories are rare due to work schedules but I’m glad I did it.
‘Maybe I’ll take them to Abuja next’. Boooooooooooooom!!!!!
I hear a loud bang, followed by screams.
I try to look out barely able to see anything and then I could see everything. Fear came like a friend accompanied with adrenaline. My first thought are my girls. I try to open my side door but it’s blocked by a car. In a frenzy I try the others, the same problem. I can already see the smoke. Large, black, thick and angry.
The heat became heavy.
I look back at my girls, sweating but miraculously asleep. I release a breath I never knew I was holding.
I wind up the windows, unbuckle my seatbelt and move to the backseat to join them. The movement causes Ngozi to stir and wake but Somto sleeps on.
She notices something is wrong. For the first time, I curse her childish perceptiveness.
‘Mummy, it’s hoooot’.
I sit in between and carry them each on one lap.
Ngozi tries to turn, but I distract her with a song and her laugh and joy warms my soul. Somto oddly, sleeps on.
I hold them both to my chest and whisper, ‘I love you’.
A tear drops from my eyes as the angry flames envelops us all.
For the souls that lost their lives the evening of June 28, 2018. At the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway due to a Tanker explosion. The lives of over 50 people were lost in one negligent act. May their souls rest in peace. Amen.