Nigerian writer, Jude Idada has taken to his Facebook page to pen down a touching real life experience he had with a frustrated driver who says the lagoon is calling.
Narrating his encounter with the suicidal driver, he wrote;
” The Taxify driver I rode with yesterday was various shades of deep.
Even his humour.
He was not a small man, neither was he big, but he was lanky, full bearded, pot beliied with an average height.
His stomach sat upon him like an alien.
It was incongrous to the frailty of his stature.
It made you smile.
Because it made him look comical.
And when we drove across Third mainland bridge as we raced to catch the play The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives at Terrakulture in Victoria Island.
He looked over the dark expanse of water that percolated menacingly fall below the bridge.
“I have to deliver to the owner of this car, N40,000 every week. He works for an oil company. Makes good money but his heart is very cold. I have told him that the days when drivers of Taxify and Uber deliver that kind of money are long gone, but he would not listen. Every day more than a hundred new vehicles enter this business. Yet the riders do not increase. What that means is that it is more difficult to get rides. This is past 7 and I have only done 4 rides today. I have made just over N6,000. How will I make N40,000 a week, if Taxify takes its 15% share, I fuel this car, I service it? What will be my share after it all? I have four children, there are school fees to be paid, food to use to feed them, medical bills as they are young and fall ill often, my wife has gone back to school, there is house rent waiting. It is like I am in slavery. I want to just give him back his car, but if I do, what else can I do? Lagos state civil service I was working for, grade 6 officer and my take home pay was just over N27,000 a month. I tried to go to construction site to work, but after one week, I was sick for three months. I want to farm. No land. I want to trade. No capital. Even to steal, no courage. This car is my saviour and my nemesis.”
All this while he was staring at the darkness of the water.
Totally oblivious to me.
As though he was speaking with something only he could see.
Then he sighed.
“That is why I hate taking trips across the bridge. Every day that water calls out to me. It tells me that it can end all my pain. I just want to park the car, get out and just jump into it. But then I think of my children. It is not their fault that they were born into such suffering. If I die now, what will happen to them? Even if any man marries my wife, will he raise my children like I would have raised them? I tell you, death is a seductress. It tells you that it can take away your pain in an instant. It tells you that when you land in that water you will not drown, once you slam into that water, it is like slamming into concrete. You will die instantly. Just like that everything will end. But will it truly end? Is that the solution? Will I be able to rest easy in death if I know that the children I have brought into this world are alive and suffering? No. That is the dilemma of this life. The end of your suffering is the continuation of the suffering of someone else. Yet the owner of this car, a bachelor, who pops champagne every weekend and carries all the fine girls in this city, says to me, if you can’t give me 40k every week, give me back my car and I will get someone to drive it. I have told him that death is knocking at my door, and he says, it is your business if you open the door for him, just give me my 40k.”
Then he fell silent.
And finally he whispered.
“If I survive this year, it will be a miracle.”
When he dropped me off, I exchanged numbers with him and collected his bank account number.
And when I was done watching the play.
I sent him a little something.
“Thank you very much my brother. But please is there a way, you can find me something else to do? This money will finish, but my suffering with continue. I am living on borrowed time.”
Here I am living without any fear of tomorrow.
Not having too much but having enough.
And there he is.
In the grip of hopelessness.
And the seductive easy escape of death.
November 3, 2018.”