One thing I’ve learned in the rainy seasons I’ve been on this side of eternity is this. Just when you think it’s all going great, something is around the corner to remind you of the uncertainties of life. Having a great week? Your car will start acting up. It’s your birth month? Chickenpox. Football season is really kicking into gear? Coronavirus. Starting to finally understand your lover? They leave.
There will be times when you wish to take a break from life in itself. But that’d mean dying and you’re scared of dying. Is it weird that I’m not? I mean, to die is to live forever, no? Maybe you fear because one too many restitutions have yet to be made. You still haven’t told your neighbor the real story behind their cat’s death. In your defense though, you mistook the cat for a witch. Who knows, she could have been both?
So I did something for myself. I decided to go on a trip. Boarded a bus to the South in search of a semblance of peace, and a deeper understanding of the chaos that is our society today. The sign on the bus read “Port Harcourt”, a city named after Lewis Vernon Harcourt, a rapist. Oh, the irony! It’s also home to the best ‘bole’ and fish, so who cares really?
We had done a few hours. The driver was playing some premium ‘highlife’ music and we were all having a swell time. Then it began! Just a few hundred meters up ahead, something bizarre happened. Suddenly vehicles ahead of us were making a U-turn, driving against the traffic. As they passed by us, the drivers and passengers were waving their hands frantically for us to follow suit.
But our driver knew better. For reasons best known to him, rather than slow down, he hit the throttle. Just up ahead, I saw masked men running in our direction, shooting! They were being chased by another group in uniform who also opened fire on them. It was terrific. Roadside hawkers were running in every direction. The passengers in my vehicle were screaming at the driver! I’m numb, reviewing everything before me in slow-mo.
His senses finally returned to him. Swiftly, he put the vehicle in reverse, sped backward, turned into a small clearing, parked, opened his door, got out and fled! This mad man didn’t even have the decency to use the central lock so that we could all get out. The cute babe beside me I’d been eyeing all journey long took another route. In one swift motion, she was gone through the window. Someone eventually got the door open and I managed to get out, last!
As we fled into the bushes, I couldn’t help but think. Why is all this happening? To be fair, there in bushes, it seemed a lot safer. I suddenly remembered how to breathe. And as time wore on, when we imagined the coast was clear, we emerged from hiding and walked back to the vehicle. It took the driver another fifteen minutes before he eventually showed up. This man must have run to another town! We resumed our journey. Awkward silence all around.
As we crossed the Niger bridge into the city of commerce, I breathed a sigh of relief. Into the vehicle park we went, the driver killed the engine and got out. He circled back to the side door, opened it and informed us that he was now headed to a different destination. What! I couldn’t quite believe my ears! Then it hit me! Each passenger had obliviously boarded the bus headed to a different destination. Of the passengers, we had about four different destinations and the driver was going to none of them.
While some of the passengers were grappling with the driver, those with a lot of luggage were the worst hit. I was able to secure some money from an associate of his to board another vehicle to my destination. I’m blurring out the part where I was running after the bus for a few minutes because the local touts wouldn’t let them stop and pick passengers. I was getting to Port Harcourt and nothing was going to stop me.
I finally got to the city, tired and starving. Moving around in the city in the night time is high risk and I had been warned about the possibility of getting robbed. I got to T-Junction before my sister’s estate and just right across the road, I saw young men kneeling with their hands raised to the sky. Apparently, the police were doing a stop and search. At this point, watching on as one of the uniformed men used the butt of his gun to knock one of the men out cold, I really began to wonder, is there really chaos everywhere?
Or am I the chaos?
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