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THE BAD NIGHT THAT LINGERED ON

When I woke up this morning, I felt strong, hale and hearty. It had been a rewarding 3 hours nap from 3am to 6:02am. It is short right? Don’t worry I got used to it during my service year. Don’t bother asking me what kept me up all night. Is it not that Npower website, so much traffic during the day, I had to keep vigil on its behalf. Not funny shaa. Anyway as I was saying, I felt everything but happy. I was sad, I don’t just know why. Okay maybe because even after keeping awake almost all night for something important, the aim was still defeated.

And then it started coming, signs of rain. The weather changed instantly, blueish cloudy sky took over from the bright morning atmosphere. Rain was about to come, and from every indication, it will be a heavy rain. I hate rains… Not in the real sense of hating, but believe me, whenever it is about to disrupt my already planned day, I hate it with passion. I needed to run a quick photocopy somewhere outside the estate, I needed also to see someone down at Computer Village Ikeja, and at 1pm, prospective employer would want to see me at Domino Pizza, all these things today, and the rain chose to come at this time. I cursed under my breathe.

Bike! I flagged down an elderly Hausa okada man, a familiar face around the estate. He must have picked me up once or twice in the past, I can’t be too sure anyway. There were so many of them this morning, under the heavy rain, hustling for daily bread. The country too hard ooo, I secretly remarked. “Oga where you dey go?” He enquired in the Nigerian pidgin accent. “Sawmill side Oga, just immediately after Afrimed specialist hospital”, I said almost out of breath. The rain was really heavy. I didn’t wait to hear the hundred naira he was telling me. That was the price actually, I was so happy he didn’t even increase it because of the rain. I boarded, and the journey began.

My phone started ringing, it was him, the man I was supposed to see at Ikeja. I didn’t want to lie again, I have done that a lot today. I didn’t pick. I had to beg the bike man to increase his speed a little. “No dey rush me Oga, haba. Ip na ply you wan ply, gwo henter heroflane”……. He retorted. He said so many things and was still saying, I heard some, I was hearing even though I wasn’t listening. All I want is to get to sawmill ASAP and get done.

He literally maintained his speed, just a slight increment. I was happy shaa. We passed GV Lounge, and was now close to Twin Dash Kiddies day care. I saw the vehicle, a black Lexus 330 SUV with tinted glasses. The driver, a lady, was obviously distracted by something. Maybe she just quarreled with the husband, or boyfriend I can’t be so sure. Or maybe a client has disappointed her yet again, trust all these allied workers and their wahala. Anyway, whichever one it was, she was really troubled judging by the look on her face and her reckless attitude on the wheels. I was afraid. I needed to warn my driver, but Oh God, I remember the last time I talked to him, he wasn’t too generous with nice words in his reply. The state of the nation is really taking its toll on all of us, I don’t even blame the poor man. But I had to warn him still, I didn’t just know how to.

As we took the next turn after Deeper life Church national headquarters, shortly before FCMB Gbagada, it happened. In a twinkle of an eye, I was off the bike, I can’t tell how. I couldn’t see the bike, neither could I place the whereabout of the bike man. My documents nko? I could see them floating freely on the air, same way the crispy naira mints flow at an Igbo man’s wedding, especially those business guys based at Onitsha. At that instant, I wasn’t feeling anything, only my head just hurt a little. Guess I hit it against the tarmac. I didn’t just know what happened, but I know that my life may not remain the safe afterwards.

Somewhere across the other side of the road, I could see her from the corner of my left eye, the Lady in the Lexus. She was crying, or weeping I guess. She was banging on her bonnet, cursing someone, maybe me or the bike man, or someone else. I can’t just tell. The Lexus SUV was crashed against an electric pole, the left headlamp bashed beyond repair. The side mirror of the drivers side was also affected, very badly, and the windscreen had a terrible shattering line across it… This is serious, I thought to myself. Did anyone die? Will I survive this? What caused the accident? I asked nobody in particular, I am not even sure anyone heard me.

I could faintly hear people saying “Thank God nobody died… God just saved this lady… Chai, this poor fine boy…So many mutterings I couldn’t hear very well.

Someone was searching my pockets, another was asking me some incoherent and inaudible questions… I could barely hear her. What’s your name sir? Where are you from? Are you hurt? How do you feel? Do you have relatives here in Lagos? Too many questions, and I guess the processing speed of my brain was affected too, I could barely mutter an audible response.

Finally the one searching my pockets saw my wallet and drew out my ID. The lady started calling my name… Chijioke! Chijioke are you there? Can you hear me? She was calling and knocking on something, maybe door or anything close by. I could hear her, I could hear the knock though very faintly.

Are you not in there? She was almost shouting now and has graduated from knocking on the door to banging. It was louder now, and I could hear her clearer… It was my landlady…”Chijioke come and remove your brother’s clothes from the line, the rain is heavy and may pull them down”, she said finally with a loud voice and shit!!! I jumped up.

I had fallen asleep on the couch while waiting for the rain to stop…

The time was 08:06am and my day just got started.

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Written by Ubaka Chijioke

Ubaka Chijioke

Ubaka Chijioke is a writer as well as an entrepreneur. He is the Co founder and director of financial services at Workspayce Solutions Limited.

Workspayce is an online platform that promotes all services obtainable in Nigeria.

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