An Unusual Christmas In Ibadan – Episode 2
© Kayode Odusanya
The journey that was meant to take not more than two hours had taken 4 hours. Apparently, a lot of people were still traveling to their villages for Christmas and majority have to go throu-gh the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to get to wherever other p@rt of the country they were headed. Ngozi stretched as she got out of the space wagon at a very busy place called Iwo Road. Susan had advised her to take a motorcycle ride straight to the man’s house to make her trip fas-ter. She yawned and looked around as people c@m£ and went. It was almost like she was still in Lagos. The only difference she noticed was the dozens of little white cars all over the place used as cabs.
There was a really big electronic Billboard in the middle of the highway showing a Milk commercial over and over. The little girl in it brou-ght a smile to Ngozi’s face as she crossed the road. The white colored cabs parked side by side and their drivers had their heads out the car window, shouting the different locations they were headed. She clutched unto her l@pt©p bag as she took in it all, moving here and there as she got out of people’s way.
She brou-ght her iPad and positioned it up in the air to take a selfie. The little box like cabs behind her looked like Lego blocks in the background, and they served for a great artistic background for petite looking Ngozi in a red dress. Just as she was about to take the picture, she felt someone’s pres£nce behind her. With her hand still up in the air holding up her phone, she turned around and almost screamed when she was face to face with a madman.
The fear that traveled throu-gh her b©dy made her press down on the phone and it took multi-ple sh0ts; capturing her facial expression of fear and that of the smile on the face of the mentally ill man in rags.
She took a few steps back and the man stood there smiling at her. His hair was in thick dre-ads, and the rags he had on ba-rely covered half of his tall lanky b©dy. Ngozi looked around and saw no one had really noticed what just happened. She took a de-ep breath, turned around, and slowly walked away, looking back every now and then, praying silently the man didn’t decide to follow her.
The thin and tall lady let her into the compound. Judging from her look, Ngozi could tell she was in her late twenties. When they had spoken on the phone, she sounded a lot polished and Ngozi wasn’t expecting to meet a plain looking lady in Ankara dress with no earrings on. They walked to the back of a duplex, and the lady led her into a boys quarters. Ngozi st©pped in her strides for a second when she saw him, but when she noticed the lady didn’t look shocked, she walked into the room.
In the center of the room was the man; sitting directly un-derneath a ceiling fan which was off, wearing just trou-sers of a Yoru-ba native wear, with nothing covering his upper b©dy. Ap@rt from the rug on the floor and the two other chairs opposite him, the room was empty. Another thing that felt odd to her was the fact that the expressionless look on his face didn’t change when she greeted him. Without saying anything, the lady left Ngozi in the room with him.
She felt really awkward, standing there in the silent room, clutching her l@pt©p while the man occasionally fanned himself with a News Paper. “How old are you?” He finally said without looking up at her.
“24. I’m 24, sir.” Ngozi said and Moved slowly into his view. He waved the news paper in his hand at the cane chair opposite him and Ngozi walked over to take the seat. She was seated facing him now, thinking of how to start the interview. The man looked like someone that must have been muscular in his youths as flabby flesh was here and there around his arms and his stomach area. He had a lot more grey hair than black hair and it made his afro look unattrac-tive.
Her stomach made a growling sound as she went throu-gh her l@pt©p bag. She had a rule of never eating before long trips, but she thought she would have been done with the interview before noon. It was 1pm and the interview hadn’t even started.
The man didn’t look like someone that wanted to talk at all and she wondered why he had agreed to be interviewed. She pu-ll-ed out her iPad and went to the mock sh0ts the gra-phic arts guy at the office had made of how the interview would look in the magazine.
“Sir, you can take a look at how…” She was saying as she got off her seat and walked towards him. “This is how the story would look in the magazine when we are done.” She said with a smile as she handed the tab to the man. He collected it and nodded his head as he inspected the colorful magazine layout. Then he pressed the back bu-tton on the iPad and was about to hand it back to Ngozi when he froze. He tapped the screen of the tab and she walked over to his back to get a clearer view of what had caught his attention. “Oops! Sorry. I thought I deleted that.” Ngozi said and stretched out her hand to collect the tab but she noticed the man was shaking all over now. “Are you alright?” She said with worry in her eyes. She walked around to his front and the man looked her in the eye for the first time before shouting, “GLORIA!!!”
To be continued
An Unusual Christmas In Ibadan – Episode 2