The queue at the banking hall is ridiculous, you shake your head as you enter inside. You walk towards the last person, ‘Is anyone behind you?’ you ask.
She shakes her head no. She has long, natural hair and her fingernails are the colour of her shirt - purple.
‘I am now,’ you say, then head towards one of the cashier’s table to pick a deposit slip. You want to send some money to your cousin at school, his exams are around the corner. Students tend to need more money during exam periods – you will never understand why. There is contemporary instrumental music, Yanni, specifically, playing in the background. You do not understand what the big deal is with contemporary instrumental music. People say it is music for intelligent minds, you think that is ridiculous, the kind of music a person listens to has absolutely nothing to do with his intelligence. In fact, your theory is that some people listen to this kind of music so that other people will think that they are smart, not necessarily because they like it.
You fill the slip and go back to the long and contorted ‘S’ shaped queue. You try to start a conversation with the lady in front of you, you want to speak good English, but there is no translation for what you wish to say in good English. ‘This queue na wa oh,’
She smiles. ‘Honestly, it is something else,’ she says, ‘if I knew I would have come later in the afternoon.’
‘And it’s not like it is the end of the month when government workers are coming for their salaries or anything.’
‘Everybody needs money every time.’ She says and smiles.
‘Except me.’ You say.
‘Then what are you doing here?’ She laughs.
‘I came to deposit,’ you say, then you show her the deposit slip that you have carefully folded into two, over wads of one thousand naira notes.
‘Hmm,’ she says.
Ten seconds pass then someone begins to scream about fifteen people forward from you.
It appears that a man has collapsed and is lying unconscious or dead on the floor. It doesn’t take too long for a crowd of people to envelope him, you join that envelope of people. Someone tries to resuscitate him by performing CPR. He unbuttons the unconscious man’s shirt then feels his lower neck for pulse. After that, he blows into the man’s mouth and begins to press in his chest. ‘1. 2. 3. 4., 1. 2. 3. 4.’ He keeps saying but the man on the ground does not budge.
‘Let us take him to the hospital.’ Someone else in the crowd suggests with urgency in her voice.
A well dressed man joins the man performing CPR, he is wearing a lavender shirt well tucked into a black trouser. He asks the man performing the CPR to step aside, then he bends towards the unconscious man, and begins to whisper something. It seems as if he is praying, he is praying. Every time he says ‘In Jesus name,’ he says it with more intensity.
‘Wetin this man dey do?’ A man in the crowd says. ‘Abeg make we carry this person go hospital now.’
And suddenly, the unconscious man coughs, and then again, and again. A few seconds of absolute silence and surprise passes and the man who was unconscious sits up. It seems rehearsed to you, as if it had been preplanned, but it was not.
‘Praise the Lord,’ the man who offered the prayers shouts.
A lot of people in the crowd roar a literally thunderous ‘Halleluiah,’
The man who was unconscious is helped to a sit and offered a glass of water, he sips gingerly.
The queue forms again almost automatically, that long, contorted ‘S’ that infuriates you.
‘God is good.’ The girl in front of you, the one that you had been talking to before everything began says.
You smile. The episode reminds you of an argument you had with an atheist friend of yours, you like to argue with him because he always tells you his own point and never tries to convince you that he is right.You had told him that his problem was that he liked to have an explanation, an analysis for everything, that there were certain things that just existed and could not be explained, they could only be believed, religion was one of such things. ‘All the time.’ You say to the girl.
You wish that friend of yours was there with you and saw the miracle you saw, the miracle that unfolded before your very eyes. You would have asked him a single question, a very simple one: ‘Explain this?’