Nowhere in The Delta (2)

Mide’s Abor with Olamide Longe

Email: Twitter: @araokian

However, it had turned out to be more atrocious than fun. Only a few of the roads we travelled had seemed like something from this century, most were more like pre-historic roads interrupted by modernisation.

Many pretend tarred roads had been washed off. Dual lanes became single lanes without any warning. Several times, other users had veered off to bushy untouched sections.

I witnessed a lot of ingenious driving, and saw carcasses of totalled and burnt-out vehicles. I shivered at the thought of what had become of the occupants. I tried to imagine what I would have done.

Tam had been the lawful road user; he stayed on his lane, never once joining other drivers in their inventive driving; not even at my prodding. He reached out now and rubbed my back. “I’m sorry.”

I sighed. “How long do we still have to go before we get there?”

“We’ve two hours and some.” He let out a big yawn.

I swallowed my cry of protest. “You are tired,” I said, instead.

“I think seven hours of driving will do that to anyone. I think I’m done. Want to take over?”

“We’ll spend the rest of the journey in a ravine.”

“How morbid.” He slowed down, if he could go any slower, and pulled the car into a clearing. He killed the engine.

“What happened?” I gaped at him.

He rolled down the windows a bit and then reclined his seat. “I am bored.” He let out a huge sigh as he stretched out.

I choked on the words that tried to rush out of my mouth.

He reached beside him and grabbed a bottle of water from the pack that was on the back seat. He held it out to me. “You really need to calm down. We are in a good spot.”

“You are putting me on. Don’t tell me we’re spending the night here.”

“You want to drive?”

“I can’t. I don’t know this part.”

“So we sleep.”

“I can’t believe this. Is this supposed to be some kind of test or something?”

I looked about us. It was quite dark. All I could hear were the night sounds of different creatures; apparently, not only humans snore when they sleep. His face was in the shadows, the light from the dashboard giving him a peculiar glow, peculiar in the eerie sense. I reined in my imagination.

“Test? What do you mean? I will only sleep for a couple of hours, three at most and we continue.”

I almost banged my head against the dashboard. I ground my teeth.

“You really need to calm down.”

“You really need to stop telling me to calm down. Just stop.”

“Well, you’re acting like it is the end of the world.”

“Isn’t it?” I could barely make out his face. I needed to see his face. Was he laughing at me? Did I detect laughter in his voice? I put down the water bottle and searched for the small torch I carry about in my purse. God help him if I detect any sign of amusement on his face. I switched on the torch and faced it towards the car roof. It’d have been rude to turn it on him. I turned to look into his face.

He was waiting. “Where is your sense of adventure?” he asked quietly.

“Seven bridges, you said. We have yet to cross one and you are stopping to sleep?”

“I wouldn’t dare one of them at this time. It’d be quite dangerous.”

“And stopping here isn’t? Only God knows what is lurking in the bush. Or, who for that matter.”

“Don’t allow your imagination to gallop ahead of you, okay. Right now, at this moment, this is the safest place on earth.”

I stared at him speechless for some second. “Your imagination just skipped on you.”

He chuckled. I felt the back of my seat fall away. “I am done driving for now, so you might as well just follow suit and catch some sleep. Now, I’m sorry I didn’t prepare you for this, but it is…well, it is a journey.”

“What does that mean, it is a journey?

“It means expect anything. You can never be prepared.”

That was weighty. I gathered he was referring to more than this road trip. His eyes confirmed this.

“And he tells me now.” Helpless, I reclined, too.

He sighed. “That’s more like it.” A few seconds later he added, “Thanks for agreeing to this; I couldn’t have asked for a better companion.”

Another one with a deeper meaning, I’m sure. I nodded without looking at him. I wasn’t in the mood for mushy. I tried to count the stars. They were numerous, scattered all over the heavens. Where were those that formed an anchor, could they be sighted in this part of the world? You’d have to be ingenious to be able to link stars and create images. I could try my hand at it tonight since there was nothing else to do. I’d be ingenious to his crazy.