Everywhere was dark as the driver parked the bus.
“Damn! What did I get myself into like this? How would we continue this journey from here?” I sighed.
I looked at my wristwatch & it was 11:34pm already.
I remembered how Mumsie warned me repeatedly against leaving home late for a journey to a new place I haven’t been before.
I remember how I got to the park few minutes past 11am.
I hated travelling during broad day light and I was just going to Imo state afterall. A friend in the Corper’s group I joined the day before mentioned it was only 6 hours from Lagos. So I figured if I leave Lagos around noon, I will get to Owerri around 6pm and make my way to the camp ground located at Eziama which was roughly an hour from Owerri.
I went to Mazamaza park in Lagos to board a bus to Owerri. One of the popular transport companies was charging Eight thousand naira to take us to camp direct.
“Eight thousand naira just like that! Is it not to Owerri? It’s too expensive sef” I thought.
“Bros, Owerri by bus here is just Three thousand five hundred naira. We will drop you at the park where you will get car going to camp for just Five hundred naira” I heard behind me.
I turned round & saw this young man making gestures towards me.
I walked towards him as he pointed to a bus parked close by.
In the blink of an eye, a guy from the bus rushed towards me & grabbed my bag saying “Bros, make I help you put your bag for inside the bus”.
I followed him closely behind as we walked towards the bus.
Soon after I sat down just behind the driver’s seat, a young lady entered the bus & sat beside me.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her as she was beautiful & curvy.
“Damn! All these owerri girls will kill me las las. Their father! God bless NYSC ooo” I said to myself as I smiled at her.
Two hours later, the vehicle was full & we embarked on the journey.
“Sorry are you going to owerri?” I asked her.
“No, I’m going to Aba. We will pass through Owerri though” she responded.
“Oh! I didn’t know. Thought everyone was going to Owerri” I said.
“No, they loaded Onitsha, Owerri and Aba together since it’s along the same route” she responded.
“Oh! Thanks. First time traveller to the East so I’m a bit edgy” I said.
“Forgive my manners miss. My name is Oluwadamilare. Dare for short” I said smiling.
“I’m Adanne. You can call me Ada for short” she giggled.
We shook hands & kept on talking.
As soon as we got to Shagamu, we had to stop as the driver needed to check the radiator.
“Chai, this radiator don dey leak again sha” the driver said out loud.
“Abeg, make una no vex ooo. Make I quickly go find mechanic come” he added as he took off.
30 minutes later, he came back with a mechanic who got to work immediately.
I wasn’t bothered as I was having a good conversation with Ada.
It was past three by the time we boarded again & continued our journey.
We got to Benin bypass around 5pm and stopped to eat in one of the roadside restaurants there.
“Mehn, I’m seriously hungry. I need to eat some solid food” I told Ada
“Well, follow me. I hope you like Garri & Afang soup?” she asked
“I haven’t tried it before. But I will trust you and eat whatever you order” I said.
“Madam, how much be our money?” I asked as I washed my hands.
“Ada, you people are enjoying ooo. Mehn, this food is sweet. I think I will continue living here even after my service year” I added.
“You are not serious” Ada laughed.
I settled the bill as we walked back to the bus.
“Dare! Dare!! Dare!!! Stand up. The bus has spoilt again” Ada said as she shook me lightly.
I opened my eyes slowly and looked at my watch; it was 7:10pm.
“Where are we?” I asked as I slowly got up.
“Asaba” she replied.
“Make una no vex. Be like say the accelerator comot. I go try fix am now” the driver said almost in tears.
I couldn’t say anything as most of the passengers were already shouting & insulting the driver.
I looked at Ada & I could see frustration all over her.
“I’m tired. I hate stuffs like this. Just imagine how fine the exterior of the bus is. One won’t know it’s a walking corpse” she said tiredly.
I just stood there thinking of how I was going to find my way to the camp ground that night.
My phone rang. I looked at the caller & it was Mumsie.
“How do I start explaining to her now? Abi which kind of trouble is this?” I sighed.
“Hello Ma, network is bad ooo. But if you can hear me, I have almost gotten to Owerri. I’ll call you when I get there. Bye ma” I said hastily as I ended the call.
“Oya make una enter back. Make we continue our waka” the driver said after few minutes.
“I just find way manage am. So we go dey go slowly till we reach our destination” he added.
We boarded the bus yet again & proceeded.
“We don dey Owerri already & na here I fit manage the vehicle reach” the driver said as he pulled over.
“What do we do now?” I asked Ada
“Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t have friends in Owerri and I obviously can’t get a bus going to Aba this late” she sobbed.
“Well, it looks like I would have to find a cheap hotel around here to sleep for the night. I hope you won’t mind joining me?” I said as I checked my wallet to know how much I’ve left.
She drew in a deep breath and said “What choice do I have?”
She cussed her luck in Igbo as we walked along the road.
Few minutes later, we checked into one of the hotels we saw.
TO BE CONTINUED!!!!