Kalu Fortune 1 year ago

Road Trip

It was the festive season once again. The season of feasting and spendthrift engagements. I left school for home, and like every other Student, my pin money was exhausted. I had experienced quite a productive semester just being myself and serving God. My CGPA finally hit the 4.0 threshold out of 5.0 (if you decide to write that off, try studying industrial physics at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri). On transit to Abuja, where my family resides, I was discontented at the driver’s incessant complaining about the economy. The economy wasn’t affecting only him; we were all victims, and his grievances weren’t part of the services I’d paid for.

The elderly man next to him kept engaging him in conversations; the consequence of having my phone’s battery flat, I became an unwilling listener to the entire discussion. Such road trips take a lot of time; I doubt I’ve ever spent less than twelve hours on a journey back home. I had anticipated being asleep after a few hours, but unfortunately, I was still very much aware of the world. I was so uneasy, as though I had a fiancée whose father I was about to meet for the first time. I really needed a way out of listening. Somewhere along Lokoja, the bus became quiet as though the mute key on everyone’s vocal cord was activated. Finally, silence had broken through. The silence triggered a memory; a friend at school once told me she had eighteen years of debt. She was eighteen years of age at the time. This was very difficult to process at first until she explained it.

‘Ella, how in the world do you have such an amount of debt to your account?’ curious as I asked. ‘Well, my family is weird, and my dad is nuts. He has a compartment attached to his bookshelf where he keeps the receipts of all the expenses he has ever incurred on each of his children’s accounts. I have three siblings, and we each have sections in that compartment.’ Ella sounded serious while saying this. I literally had my mouth open while she replied, and in a bid to wind up her reply, I jokingly said, ‘so hospitals sorta charge for birth deliveries and all that stuff, right?’ She exhales, ‘Yep, that’s available too.’ ‘What! Did he put that on you? But that’s on him.’ I replied after a 

brief pause. ‘He sure did! He sure did!’ Ella exclaimed. I fell asleep while recalling this, she seduced me into her net, and the quietness in the bus was her making. All that didn’t last long. I was yet drowning in her love when a tap on my shoulder impelled me back to reality. ‘Bros no dey loose guard, commot make I come down na.’ urgh!’ it was the guy next to me. We had reached the point in the journey when downtime is taken. The passengers got off the bus to empty their bowels and freshen up. I had foregone food all day, as is my custom whenever I go on road trips. But on this faithful day, I betrayed this tradition. We were at Lokoja, and that meant 80 percent of the journey was complete, so I had a few helpings of meat pie and soft drinks. The stuff looked like meat pie at first until I downed it and then realized it was simply an empty dough. I didn’t move far. I was within the bus proximity, patiently waiting for the elapse of the break time so we could continue the journey. I observed one of the passengers returning to the bus, but just as he reached the bus, he took an ephemeral stare at it, ran past it then he started screaming. 

‘Driver, wait for me! Oga, wait, na! I still dey hia!’ He was sprinting toward the highway as he screamed, ‘make una stop that man! Him wan leave me for hia go Abuja!’ As he ran toward his doom, he was intersected by an elderly man at a distance very close to the highway.‘Will you calm down?’ The old man insisted. ‘Baba no calming down anything, driver them don leave me for hia,’ sudorific as he replied.‘Which driver, sir?’ The old man asked. ‘You no dey see, you blind neh.’ He replied with disinterest. The senior citizen succeeded in calming him down; I did watch surprisingly from a distance when I discovered the young man was drunk. ‘Is this guy deranged? Demented! Him dey craze? Which kind werey this guy be sef ehnnn?’ I spoke aloud. ‘Who gets drunk on a road trip? Who does that? Now the entire car will reek of alcohol.’ 

The rest of the journey was much more unpleasant. The latter house was indeed greater than the former, an absolute nightmare. We had to free all the windows on the bus, the stench was intense, and the air-conditioning was insufficient. All through the ordeal, this pigheaded fella slept the entire time. The relief I felt on alighting the bus for my home was ecstatic. While still in transit, I felt pressed a few minutes into the journey’s continuance, but I bullied it. It seemed successful at first until my bowels began to make a lot of trouble. As we approached a pump station, I called out to the driver. 

‘Bros. I’m pressed.’ ‘Thank you, chairman.’ He said.‘Is this guy alright?’ I said softly, ‘I’m really pressed.’ I insisted.‘Thank you, Chairman; nobody don appreciated my driving since morning.’ He replied. It then hit me; he thought I said, ‘I was impressed. ‘Shit! Shit! oga I wan shit, my belle dey disturb me.’ The whole thing was embarrassing. I resolved never again to break my fasting culture whenever I go on road trips. One really doesn’t get more embarrassed than that. The entire journey had been unpleasant to me; the relief I felt on alighting that bus for my home was needed, as was anticipated.

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