Episode 5. ‘Vision 2020’

It is better to be sorry than to be lost and dead.’
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If you have ever been sitting beside people in a church while trying not to look at their faces, then you will know how difficult it was for me to sit beside Tosin in a BRT bus and not look at her.

I did all I could to keep looking forward until my neck started to ache, crying out for me to turn it sideways.
When the corner my eyes caught something through the window of the seat, I could not turn to look closely and enjoy the sight.

My head just sat solidly on my neck and I maintained my focus onwards and forwards.
And for one reason or the other, Tosin too didn’t bother to make me talk.
If she had tried, I would have quickly answered her so that my neck could rest. But she kept mute too, and both of us concentrated on our lives.

I heard a beep on my phone and I checked the screen. It was a text message from the friend I was going to visit at Ikorodu.
‘When you get to Agric bus stop, let me know.’ The message read and I nodded.
But the problem was, I had never been in ikorodu all my life, and didn’t know where the Agric Bus stop was located.
And the beautiful helper that was gently sitting beside me, I had made her my enemy and I couldn’t ask her help anymore.

‘I will use Google Map,’ I thought, ‘Thanks to internet; I cannot be defeated and embarrassed.’

‘Agric Bus stop, Agric Bust stop…’ I repeated in my mind over and over, so I wouldn’t forget.
I put on my location and typed the keywords on Google Map.
But as the phone began to pinpoint my location and calibrate the map for the distance and landmarks, my phone warned me that the battery was low.

I checked the screen and realized I only had 7 percent battery.
‘Come on, come on…’ I tried to quicken the internet network with my pleading.

But right before my very eyes, my battery dropped from 7 percent to 6; and just as I was still clenching my teeth in worry and frustration, the 6 dropped to 5.
‘This phone is so foolish.’ I said angrily at the phone, and it seemed it heard me.
The battery dropped itself to 4 percent.

I finally realized it was the nature of my phone battery. It might stay steady for a long time without dropping its level; but when it does, especially in the single digits, it drops drastically and quickly.

As I sat there and used my hand to wipe the screen, I also held the phone with both hands, mentally begging the battery to stop moving.
But it didn’t stop.
My lips were spread in pity across my face, and my eyes dropped in their lids as if I wanted to cry.
Despite the sorry look on my face, the battery level dropped until it turned 1.
It stayed on 1 percent for some moments and I became hopeful.

The map finally located my position and drew a line to the Agric Bus stop which was still some appreciable distance away.
I wanted to smile but something within me warned me to be careful of the way I used my happiness.

It was a good advice.
Just after a minute, with the bus now almost at the bus stop according to the map, the phone displayed its brand name colourfully on the screen and everything went black.

Just as the phone went off, the first thought that came to my mind, albeit belatedly, was the fact that I didn’t know my friend’s phone number offhandedly.

And instead of getting the number down before the phone went off, I was busy crying out for the battery to stop moving.
In what was one of the most foolish things I had ever done, rather than copy my friend’s number onto Tosin’s phone and ask her to direct me, I had decided to keep mum and be stubborn.

As it all dawned on me, sitting inside the BRT bus, I finally gave up and dropped my back against the seat.
My hope was gone, and with it were all the pride and foolishness I had been displaying since I saw the Judas man.

And amidst all these, my mind cleared and it became clearer to me how I had made mistakes.

Just like the biblical prodigal son who returned home, I decided it was only Tosin that could save me and help me out.
‘Even if she can’t see me as a friend since I had blown my chances, let her just see me as a stranger and help me out.’ I also thought in the manner of the prodigal son.
‘I will arise and go back to my father, my helper Tosin, and I will say to her, Tosin, I have wronged you before Heaven and the earth…’ the verse of scripture mocked me.

And so it was, as the clouds hurriedly passed on above the bus, and the sun began to go out of the sky as evening set in, I turned to Tosin and looked humble.

‘Please, where is the Agricultural Bus Stop?’ I asked her in the lowest of voices; looking at my feet in shame.
She was reading something on her phone and smiling when I talked. ‘What did you say?’ She asked.

I slowly raised my head and managed to ask again, ‘Please, where is the agricultural bus stop?’
She frowned and looked confused. So I decided to explain better.
‘The friend who I am visiting in Ikorodu said I should call him when I get to the Agricultural bus stop.’

When I finished speaking, she tried to stop herself from laughing but failed.
I thought she was mocking me and I didn’t mind, I had accepted my fate.
‘You mean Agric Bus stop?!’ she said and started laughing again.

The old man that was in the seat before us also started to laugh.
I quickly smiled and nodded, trying to make sure the laughter and my news didn’t get to the rest of the bus passengers.

‘Which one is Agricultural Bus stop?’ Tosin said again, and I began to suspect she was deliberately punishing me for not speaking with her since I got on the bus.
‘Sorry, I meant Agric bus stop.’ I corrected myself.

‘Don’t worry. Many of us will come down at the bus stop.’ She said while still smiling.
‘Thank you.’ I said humbly. ‘Thank you very much.’

That war being won, I started to think how I was going to call my friend without his phone number.
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#VJW
#VictorJamesWrites

The next new episode 6

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