As I walked into the motor-park located in the popular Saw-mill area of Ilorin, the capital of Kwara state dressed in a white fitted polo T-shirt and a back three quarter shorts. I had my small sized traveling bag on my right band, while I held my phone and tablet with my left, my bag pack was strapped to my back. I was returning to Ibadan after a very stressful semester at school. I calmly walked towards the segment of the park where Ibadan bound vehicles were parked and loaded with passengers in turns. “Schoolboy, this is the car in turn.” One of the park’s staff approached me as he collected my box, at the same time trying to wrestle me of my bag pack but I resisted his goodwill. I stood defiantly as I took my time to check the said vehicle next to travel. It was an ash-coloured Toyota Sienna. More like a space bus which could take six passengers excluding the driver. As a 300level student, I have come to understand the different means of traveling and which is most comfortable. I have at a point in time travelled by land ( buses and cars) there was a time I travelled by rail because I extravagantly expended my allowance ( transport fare inclusive) I know how boring traveling by this space bus could be, because, with seven people inside the vehicle, striking a private conversation could really be impossible at time. And with this journey I intend to make now, there is no way I was going to travel by this space bus. Therefore, I decided to wait for the next eighteen sitter bus in turn. “I will wait for the next bus.” I told the park worker who stared at me in disbelief. “You mean you will wait?” He asked. “Yeah.” I replied. “Go over there and sit.” He gave my box to me, while I made for a shed made from wood and sat down on an empty bench, putting my luggage in front of me. I watched with fascination, the way and manner with which the park workers conducted themselves, how the drivers approached travelers, how the traders marketed and sold their wares. Just then, my eyes fell on a beautiful damsel walking towards my direction. Judging from her appearance, one could tell she is also a student. I was so engrossed and carried away that I didn’t know when she got to where I was. “Hi.” She waved her hand across my face. And action which brought me out of my reverie. “Hello.” I stuttered. “Please, am going to Lag and I don’t know where to get the right bus. A friend asked me to take an Ibadan bound bus first and from there board a bus to Lag.” She explained her predicament. I stood at loss of what to tell her or advice her to do, but deep down, I knew whatever advice I had to give must be to my advantage. Judging from her appearance and stature, I knew she is a 100level student and it is the belief that year one students are naive and ignorant of so many things. I was out to have a fling (as it in my nature) with this young girl. Even though she is mate with my little sister who is also a year one student at the prestigious University of Benin, I am determined to forge on with her regardless of the age difference, even though the thought of someone doing the same with my sister angered me. “Well, Lagos bound buses are not easy to find here by this time of the day. Twelve o’clock. Except you are stopping at Agege. But, to other parts of Lagos, you either come in the morning or you take a bus to Ibadan, then take a Lagos bound bus from there.” I explained, even though, right behind the shed we were was where Lagos buses are arranged, but I knew I stand to gain a lot if I traveled with her. Leading her to where the Lagos bound buses are means a loss to me. “How much is Ibadan from here?” She asked. “1k.” I replied. “And Lagos from Ibadan is?” She asked. ” one thousand five hundred naira.” I answered, but to backup my claims, I added. “Lagos from Ilorin here is three thousand naira.” “So, that means I will be saving five hundred naira by splitting?” She said. I smiled happily. “Yeah, and you could even save more with….” I stopped before I said something out of place. “With what?” She asked. “Never mind.” I smiled. She stared at me intently, as if she could see through my lies and deceit. “My name is Ella.” She extended her hand for a handshake which I took warmly. “Chris.” I replied. She sat down beside me as we talked and gisted. Luckily, she is a Mass Communications student and her oratory skills is top notched. While me being a student of History and International relations, I am pretty good at holding conversations. Ten minutes into our conversation, the shed was almost filled and by then, an Ibadan bound eighteen sitter bus was loading already. “Let’s get ourselves where to sit.” I said as we stood up with our luggage, even though she had her handbag and a traveling bag when she first came, in the spirit of being a gentleman, I helped her with her traveling bag which is two times the size and weight of my own, while she carried my bag pack and her handbag. We got comfortable seats at the back where we could easily keep a close look on our luggage kept in the trunk. “Let’s grab something to eat.” She said. I braced myself up as we made for a local food canteen where she ordered a plate of rice and a bottle of yoghurt. While I ordered a bottle of malt, because I am not a fan of eating before traveling, and aside that, I don’t eat in public. In short, I don’t eat anywhere outside my family. At exactly 1:30PM, the bus set out of the park and as it sped towards the Kwara state airport, I made a mental note of having not seen a phone with Ella since we hooked up almost two hours ago. As the bus sped past the popular Eiye n korin, towards Ogbomosho, I felt a head resting on my left shoulder. Alas! Ella was asleep. “Which kind bad market be this?” I asked myself angrily. With the way she warmed up to me at the park, I was expecting a journey during which we would talk more and get to know each other better. More of the reason why I paid for her meal, paid for her transport, and even got her snacks and juice for the journey. “Uncle, we don reach Ogbomosho?” A guy seated to my right asked. “I resemble Google map for your eye?” I replied angrily. “No vex o.” He said. “Stupid people. You embark on journeys without knowing where you are headed.” I muttered. I still kept my hopes high until the bus sped out of Ogbomosho and approached Oyo town. Ella was still asleep and in less than two hours time, we would be in Ibadan, and my struggles would be in vain. “The devil is a liar.” I muttered as I started praying inwardly for God’s favour. The journey from Ilorin down to Ogbomosho to Oyo town seemed longer than the journey from Oyo to Ibadan. Even though it has to be shorter considering the distance involved, but the Oyo-Ibadan happened in a flash. As the bus throttled down from Moniya in Ibadan towards the motor park in Iwo road, I angrily woke Ella up. “My investment must not be a waste.” I reasoned. Are we in Ibadan already?” She asked. “No, we are in Onitsha.” I replied rudely. “How can you sleep all the way from Ilorin to Ibadan?” I asked. “Is it bad?” She asked. “No, it’s not. I should have allowed you to continue sleeping so the driver can carry you home and wife you.” I replied. “Funny you.” She bursted into laughter as she hit my chest playfully. But, I wasn’t trying to be funny. I was desperate and I have less than ten minutes to rewrite my fortunes. “Can I have your number?” I asked. “No.” She replied. “Pardon?” “I don’t have a phone.” She replied as she swung her head towards the window. That moment, I knew I have lost the game, but I still had the feeling I will use my charms on her when we arrive at the park. I was ready to stay with her until her bus is full and try my luck one more time. I felt like running from Ibadan to Ilorin the moment we alighted at the park and Ella walked grabbed her bag and entered a bus heading to Lagos. Alas! She was the last passenger, and the driver subsequently shut the door. I stood transfixed beside the window where she sat and looked at her pleadingly. “Sorry dude, you can’t have my number cos you tricked me, you played me.” She began. “You would have won me over if you had led me to the Lagos park , but you choose not to. I have taken my pound of flesh by not giving you my number. And thanks for making me one thousand naira richer.” She concluded just before her bus moved. How could I be so stupid? And to say I paid her fare from Ilorin to Ibadan. Truly, I made her one thousand naira richer. In disappointment, I made my way out of the park, after all, I only lost one thousand naira and the over five hundred naira I spent on her meal. God will repay me, I concluded. I got to the bus stop where I stopped a bike which will convey me to my father’s house, that was when it dawned on me that my wallet was missing. Did I make this girl one thousand naira richer? Certainly not, because I just made her over five thousand naira richer. “Oga, where my money?” The okadaman asked as he held my shirt angrily. “What’so going on here?” A familiar voice asked. “This foolish boy no wan pay me.” The man replied. “How much is your money?” She asked. “Two hundred naira.” He replied. The lady removed a five hundred naira note from her purse and gave the man. “Keep the change.” She said. “You see your life?” The okadaman faced me in mockery. Even though I felt ashamed of myself that moment, I kept a straight face regardless. “Thank you very much Bisi. In really appreciate it.” I faced my helper. “Don’t thank me, thank God.” She replied before walking away. Imagine Ella scamming me, down to the Okadaman embarrassing me, and now, Bisi, my ex-girlfriend destroying my morale and my hard earned reputation as one of the biggest boys in the area. Whoever it is I offended must be spiritually connected in the high places. But, truth be told, the next time I hear the names, Ella and Lagos, I will run without looking back.
*** THE END*** PLEASE KINDLY COMMENT BELOW IF THIS SHORT STORY DESERVES TO WIN THE CHALLENGE
SHORT PROFILE- My name is Durodola Olawale, I am a writer as well as a student. I have written quite a number of books, most of which have been published electronically. You can keep up with the latest about me and my stories onwww.penprimus.com My pen name and moniker is D9ty7.