By the time Akin got to Isale Eko, it was 11:00 pm. He’d never stayed out so late but couldn’t have avoided it. As he slugged up the street to his mother’s rooms, he noticed some stores were still open. He hadn’t bought food in the traffic because he wasn’t sure they’d been prepared in sanitary conditions. It was too late to eat however so he decided to just get water.
“Give me one pure water,” he asked the boy in the shop. Bagged in plastic, it was a cheaper alternative to bottled water and the only kind his wallet could accommodate. But, when he bent to retrieve said wallet from his laptop bag, Akin felt a poke in his back.
“Bros, don’t make any sound if you want to see tomorrow,” a gravelly voice instructed.
Akin froze. His first instinct was to turn around and slap the crap out of his assailant. He grew up in this Lagos. He could hold his own against any area boy. After all, he would have become one of them if he hadn’t got a visa to America.
“Is your wallet in the bag?” Akin’s assailant pulled the laptop bag away from him and riffled through the sides. “Good. I was looking for a laptop. What’s your password?”
Akin responded by rote, overcome by the unreality of his situation. He was being robbed and his assailant was asking for his password?
“Where’s your passport?” If he’d thought the question about his password was bizarre, this blew his mind.
“I don’t have one.”
“Okay. Pass me your jacket.” Akin took it off and handed it over his shoulder.
“Pass me your trousers.”
“Are those Giorgio Brutinis? Oya, bring them.” Akin took off his shoes and handed them over. He was left in his shirtsleeves and socks.
“I like that shirt o. But since you already dey cold, I go let you go. Say “thank you.”
Akin walked to his mother’s rooms in shirt and socks. Early the next morning, he picked up his passports and suitcase and headed to the airport.
(Excerpt from Renike comes to America)