The afternoon did not turn out as expected. My sister was supposed to pick me at the airport but as soon as we landed and I checked my phone, I saw a message from her: the fuel in her car would not be enough to drive to and fro the airport. I would need to ‘cab my way to her place’, oh drat! Stupid fuel scarcity!!
Then the cab guys started with their mumbo-jumbo and I was so not in the mood. One already took my luggage, wheeling it towards the cab and spewing price I didn’t care about.
“Oga, abeg, wheel this bag back to where we dey come from. I no sabi talk much. I no fit shout.” I was getting flustered.
“Ahn ahn, aunty, I no go wheel am back o, how I go do that kain thing nau? Oya, make you add small money…”
I stood still. I honestly did not have the energy to haggle. “Oya, carry my bag back to where we dey before. I no go again sef. Wetin?”
Of course, it was all shakara, which seemed to work at that moment. We agreed on the price – my offer…gaskiya! We were out of the airport in a jiffy. We were not far gone when he decided that where he was taking me was worth more than the price I was willing to pay. “He had no idea it was ‘that far’. He was not even sure the fuel in his car would take us,” he claimed. I told him to take me back to the airport. Did I really mean that? Definitely not! Na shakara oloje. He agreed to take me back but he obviously did not mean that too. He started mumbling and sorts, the thing dey grate my nerves raw. Hian!
“Oga, na wetin na, you wan make I dey beg ni? If e no do you, carry me go airport.”
“Me sef dey beg, aunty. That price no good at all. Even if na 500 naira to eat, make you help me put on top.”
Ooookay. An additional 500 naira would not hurt because truth be told, going back to the airport was not an option. So, we settled ‘out of court’.
You can imagine my chagrin, when after cruising some miles, the car began to ‘cough’.
“Oga, wetin dey sele o?”
Oga talk say no shaking, all izz well.
We cruised some more, car coughed some more, sputtered uncontrollably, and went lifeless. Which kain yawa be this ooo?!!
I stood there in the hot sun, pitying myself as each second passed, and wanting very much to scourge the cab driver with a cruel whip. He was frantically waving down possible cabs, to take me on my journey and to help him to the nearest filling station or black market, as the case may be. Cars were just blazing by, car owners not even giving a hoot. I bore no grudge against them. I could not, as no be dem kobalise me. Chai, see my life outside!
I could not bear the humiliation of the hot sun any longer so I picked my phone, to call my sister, perhaps she could ‘arrange’ a cab from her end. Just then, a grey hyundai creta sped by, stopped a short distance away, and reversed. The driver stepped out.
“Seems you have a little trouble here. Can I help?”
He was absolutely good-looking, with all the sleek and posh. His face spotted beautiful sparkling eyes and a dainty left cheek dimple…yummy! He was f-i-n-e and he wanted to help but errr, he be stranger o and for we country, there is such thing as ‘posh kidnapping’, abeg, I no dey! Cab driver jumped at the offer. He was desperate as I was, but unlike me, he didn’t care.
“Oga, abeg, you fit help us? Na fuel finish for my car.”
“Where is the lady going?”
Cab driver told stranger where we were headed.
“Hello.” Stranger greeted. He flashed a dazzling smile.
“Hello.” I responded. Me sef flash my own less enthusiastic smile.
“The cab guy said there’s no fuel to go on. I am actually headed same route as you. I don’t mind helping…” he studied my uninterested face, “that is, if you don’t mind me helping.”
I shifted my weight from the leg I stood on.
“Your cab driver will come along too,” he must have sensed my apprehension, “he needs to get some fuel.”
I weighed my options. Oh, what the heck! I will plead the blood of Jesus!! I hopped into the car. AC blasted fully. Omo, see what the devil wanted me to miss. Abeg, I needed this cooling of my system.
I relaxed in the passenger’s seat like I had always taken a ride in stranger’s car. Well, the Lord is my shepherd and though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil. Amen somebody! Korede’s ‘Godwin’ was jamming with full force and as I like song and dance reach, I couldn’t resist. I subtly sang and swayed to the music.
“You do love to dance, don’t you?” Cute dimple smiled at me.
I smiled shyly.
“Are you in town for a while? I could take you dancing.”
Oh why you gon’ cross the line like that, pretty boy!!!
I turned cold eyes to him. His smile froze.
“Errr, I am sorry. That didn’t come out right.”
That shouldn’t come out at all, period!
“No qualms.” I responded. I could not afford to be impolite. I couldn’t risk being dropped off mid-way.
He tried to do damage control.
“I am sorry. I was way out of line.”
“Forgive me?” The dimpled-cheek smile was on. How does one resist dat kain smile na? I forgave him.
“Sure,” I managed a stiff smile, “it’s alright, really.”
He was being a gentleman, I shouldn’t be giving him much grief, so I relaxed again. Timaya’s ‘Ogologomma’ was on and well, I swayed still. He cast a sideways glance and smiled secretly.
“Go on, say what you want to say. I can take it.”
He laughed out loud. Oh, the sound, ’twas musik to my ears.
“No ma’am, I think I will just drive in silence.” His lips quivered with unspilled laughter.
“Okay then mister. Suit yourself.”
“Tega is the name. You called me mister, I thought I might just give you the real name.”
I simply smiled.
We continued the journey in silence. Cab man alighted somewhere to continue his search for fuel. We got to the junction that led to my sister’s house and I asked to alight. He wanted to take me to the house but I told him I’d be fine trekking the short distance with my luggage. Though he appeared ‘innocent’ enough, I still couldn’t be careless. Dem no dey write am for face, abeg.
“Thanks for the ride,” I offered him a ‘sincerely grateful’ smile.
“My pleasure. Thanks for the company.”
I reached for the door.
“Soooo, I didn’t catch your name.”
Mr. dimple, wetin you wan take my name do na? No be say you go see me again.
Well, we no go kuku see again, so I gave him my name, thanked him once more and was out of the car in a jiffy before the idea to ask for my number could form in his mind.
Fast forward to 5 days after the encounter…
I was at the Galleria, with my sister, queuing for popcorn. As I looked around boringly, I sighted him – my dimpled rescuer! I quickly averted my gaze so he wouldn’t see me but too late, he already did and was headed my way.
E be like say dem send this guy, walahi!
“Hey,” he called my name, “fancy seeing you here. What are the odds?
You tell me.
“I think someone is stalking.”
He laughed. Oh, I loved the sound. I laughed too. Not forgetting my manners, I introduced him to my sister and vice versa. We got popcorn. Instinctively, I knew I was stuck with him for the time being because I was almost too sure he would not let go. My instincts no deceive me; he hung around like a flea, and since it was a must for me to enjoy the movie I went to see, I readied myself to bear his company…which turned out to be fun, actually.
Movie ended, ‘to your tents oh Israel’! I knew he wanted to either ask to see me again or ask for my number but I slipped off too quickly before he could identify what hit him.
A week after movie night, I was back to base. Holiday over! I returned on Sunday, to resume work on Monday. I work in a school and students were resuming too. Part of my assignment for the first few days of resumption was to check-in students. At some point, one of my students came to be checked-in. She hugged me excitedly and we exchanged pleasantries. Someone was right behind her, helping to drag her luggage to the check-point.
My heart skipped. That voice sounded too familiar. I looked up to meet a pair of smiling eyes. It was him! I was speechless for a moment but quickly found my voice.
“Tega?” I queried, “what are you doing here?”
My student was puzzled, “Do you two know each other?”
“Let’s just say we’ve had some interesting ‘running into each other’ episodes – thrice now!” I responded.
“What are the odds, eh?” The amusement never left his face. He was enjoying himself.
“Oh, yeah?” I caught on the amusement. “The odds are that you have been stalking me. Who are you mister? Who sent you? Who do you work for?”
“No one miss, no one. I work for myself.”
“Well, you are clearly trespassing. How did you find me?” I gave a mocking shocked expression.
Deep throat laughter. Oh, my, it sounded so good.
“Well, I tagged you the last time we ran into each other and simply picked on your trail.” He smiled that dimpled-cheek smile of his. “So, you work here…you didn’t tell me. If I knew, I would have volunteered to drop my niece off every time.”
Oh, she’s the niece…I see
“You didn’t ask.” I was enjoying the banter now.
“You didn’t let me.”
“Well, you didn’t tell me you planned to stalk me for the rest of your life.”
“I didn’t plan to, but now, I might just put it on my to-do list.” He winked.
Eeeeeeeeeh, see me see outdoor flirtation oooo. Get a room!
My student stood there bemused, wondering how her teacher and uncle knew each other. We totally forgot our manners.
Proper introductions done; checking-in completed. My student happened to be his big sister’s daughter and since he was visiting them at that time, he offered to bring her to school. He also offered to hang around and wait for her, while she got settled in her room. Of course, that was a cover, he knew what he was doing.
This time around, I was completely relaxed around him. We chatted, laughed, chatted, and laughed some more. He really tickled my funny bone and stirred my mind intelligently. I noticed I could converse with him endlessly. He requested my number, I surrendered. No more shakara-ing!
And today, after hours upon hours upon days of endless phone conversation, we had the ‘debut’ date…and the rest is…well, the rest is mystery.
Ooooops, pardon me, I forgot to tell you that dimpled-cheek stranger is a figment of my imagination. A girl is free to fantasize, right??
© 2016 AyotundeElegbeleye
Jesus is LORD!