Since then, every instance of having to come back to the buzzing city was attended with old memories - the good and the bad.
I retired to bed that Friday night hoping for what would finally be the most peaceful and work-free weekend since I started working for my new firm; I had no idea how wrong I would soon discover I was.
I woke up on Saturday morning with a mental list of to-dos; fun things that were sure to flush out the stress the previous 2 months of work had dumped on my soul. I quickly proceeded to conquer the most difficult task of my everyday life - taking a bath. I sang in the shower, danced in my towel and fantasized about my loaded get-away.
As I made my way back into the room, I noticed the LED indicator of my android giving away its usual color whenever I had a new message. The few minutes that followed turned out to be the worst moments of that weekend - I read a mail notifying me of a week-long presentation in Ibadan starting Monday, in 2 days! Those few lines seemed to format the compartment in my brain that was home to my to-dos. All I could think of then was preparing slides and traveling all weekend!
What would normally have been a straight, or almost straight journey was elongated by the new developments in the aviation sector of the country. The main airport in Abuja had just been closed that week for renovations; all flights had been re-routed to Kaduna. Nothing spelled mental stress than the four-fold trip that was about to take away my longed-for peace. I had to first travel to Kaduna from Abuja, take a flight to Lagos, then travel by road to Ibadan!
I spent the rest of the day preparing and editing slides for the week-long presentation, then packed for my trip the following day.
After a bumpy ride to Kaduna amidst potholes, ditches and death traps, I arrived the airport with twice the head pressure when I started the journey. Oh, and yes there was a foiled armed robbery attack too, thanks to the army. I learnt of the looming 2 hour flight delay which later turned to 4 on arriving. Later in Lagos, I waited another hour for my luggage to find me; some were not so lucky. I finally arrived my hotel in Ibadan at 8pm on Sunday evening, 11 hours after I left Abuja.
My routine for the five days that followed was basically the same: wake up, leave at 7am, return at 8pm, sleep a little, prepare more slides, repeat process. I was finally free again on Friday evening, with a flight waiting in Lagos for Sunday afternoon and a totally free Saturday in a place that used to be home - Ibadan.
I began my mental permutations about how not to die of boredom the following day; and tried a recon on all those I knew or thought were resident in Ibadan among my small circle of friends. So it happened one of my favorite persons was in town and she offered to deliver me from the cold hands of death by boredom that Saturday.
Yes, finally my day was made in advance. The plan was that she would ring my cellphone at noon when she'd be free and take me on an all expense-paid road trip to the new fun places that had springed up since my last visit to Ibadan.
11 am on Saturday, I exited the bathroom and dressed up quickly, waiting for that liberating call from the dark hole of solitude fate doled me. I sat patiently on the couch in my hotel room and ordered a cold drink to calm the storm of rumblings in my belly. I would have called her but she did mention her meeting would end by 12 and she'd call immediately. I leaned back a little, the fan was on and the air conditioning system was working perfectly; I turned on the music to complete the perfection.
I opened my eyes and was blank for what seemed like 5 minutes. Something was wrong but I could not place a finger on it... then it dawned on me that I was expecting a call as my phone rang briefly.
A quick glance at the wall clock left me in shock! 6pm! I dashed to my phone expecting to find about 50 missed calls and 2 or more messages expressing gross disappointment and what nots. The only notification I found was that of my daily evening alarm, and I discovered my phone had been switched off, as my Screen displayed a question of whether to turn on or stay off!
The number of rhetorics that filled my head was increasing geometrically. How did I sleep straight 7 hours? She must have been calling me since. I was wrong to stand her up like this, I felt like I had hung her out to dry.
So I called after rehearsing an apology, and before I could get into it she started apologizing about how she was so sorry to have stood me up and not even call or text, her meeting had extended unplanned and the volume of work piled up, a few other things came up according to her that made her lose track of time totally and she actually forgot she promised to ring me until I called her just then.
She was still at work as at that time. The tone of her voice revealed how really sorry she was. All I said was "it's okay, I understand". This is how the prodigal son must have felt when his father received him, I thought.
Should I have told her I actually slept off?
Written By Oluwatosin Fatade