Drowsily Ezinne opened her eyes as she tried to take in her surroundings. She heard the driver make an announcement but couldn’t make sense of what he was saying because her mind was yet inactive, unavailable to the world around her. She frowned then sighed in relief, she was grateful that her body finally came around to allow her mind rest. She clicked the home key button of her phone and the light came on, her large digital clock showed that it was fifteen minutes past twelve. She groaned, it was so late and there was no way she would get a bus to take her to her village at this time and she didn’t have money to hire a cab. She turned to her neighbor with whom she had gotten acquainted with after the stop over, he was smiling at her, gracefully she returned the smile. He had come into the bus before she did when the passengers where called back into the bus to resume their journey and so she had had to disturb him as well as other passengers before she could get back to her space beside the window. She had said more than 5 apologies before the man smiled and told her that it was ok. Of course because she was used to being mad at, she had quickly assumed that the man was mad at her too.
Little did she know that he was lost in his own troubles. They soon got talking and she found out that his mother was fighting for her life against cancer and he had just returned from South Africa just to see her before she passed. He was still mad at his sister for thinking that by keeping him in the dark for the past four months was keeping him from worrying. Ezinne had listened attentively to his story oblivious of hers. His problems shrunk hers to the size of an ant and she had to ask herself if her own troubles would ever be considered by this man a great deal just as she had considered it. Well, except for the fact that her own mother had died a long time ago and she sure should have gotten over it, right? But she hadn’t, her own mother passed while she had been in the secondary school but the memory of her never left. Being the only female child had won her a lot of love from both her father and mother, so while her mother called her ‘Nnem o’ her father called her ‘Omalicha m’. She smiled sadly at the fond memories and Chuka, her seat neighbor noticed, he asked about her life and before long she was reliving her childhood memories with him. Eventually he smiled and relived his too. They talked so freely like they were childhood friends who had somehow grown up in different parts of the world. She made sure to avoid mentioning that she was married to a man against her father’s wish, of whom she was certain her mother, in her grave disapproved of too. They had chatted so happily for the rest of the journey until they were both exhausted and decided to sleep. And by the time she closed her eyes, the heaviness in her heart had dissipated and somewhere in her she felt light.
After all that discussion and her subsequent rest, Ezinne was now sure that her father still loved her. He may be disappointed in her choice of a man yet she was sure he still loved her. They had talked severally after her marriage and he had never exhibit any signs of anger. She racked her head to see where the breach had started, she remembered that after putting to bed, her husband had mentioned something he said her father had said which angered her and after that day she never called him back and he didn’t call her. Well she had been expecting him to call since he had been the one who offended her husband and herself but looking backwards now she realized that Chukwuma might have just made it up to break her relationship with her family and probably had told her father something that made him stop calling.
She joined the rest of the passengers on the floor in the park and had to make a choice between joining some of those whose family had come to pick them and sleeping in the bus park. She chose the later, her father was not expecting her and so there was no use barging in on him at a time she was certain he would be in bed. She was just about to make herself and Chizaram comfortable into a cushion she had found in the park when she saw Chuka coming to sit beside her.
“You are still here? I thought you had left” she asked.
“Without saying good bye? Impossible” he replied her good-naturedly. “Hey little one, you are finally awake” he played with Chizaram’s cheek and she responded with a broad smile.