Aban­doned at the Air­port

The Borneo Post - Good English - - Front Page - By Ivie Eke

I HAVE never liked air­ports.

‘I don’t un­der­stand. What do you mean you are not com­ing to pick me?’

I could al­most hear Busayo shrug­ging over the phone. He loved to shrug, my happy-go-lucky boyfriend.

‘I’m very busy at work so I won’t be able to come to the air­port’. Si­lence.

‘Okayyyy… so let me just take a cab and meet you at your of­fice’, I said.

Si­lence.

‘I just feel that you should just take the next flight back to Abuja’, said Busayo.

My brain went numb. ‘I should go back to Abuja?’

‘Well…yes. Your com­ing to La­gos was your idea, any­way. I just need some space’, said Busayo.

That got me go­ing. ‘So, Busayo, let me get this straight. You knew I was fly­ing from Abuja to spend the week­end here with you in La­gos. You knew when I booked my flight. We spoke on the phone twice this morn­ing; when I got to the air­port and when I boarded the plane. At what point be­tween that time and now did you de­cide that you needed space?’

Si­lence.

‘Well…ac­tu­ally…’ He cleared his throat. ‘I haven’t felt happy with this long dis­tance thing we’ve been do­ing. It’s not been great for me, An­gela’.

He ram­bled on..

I was no longer lis­ten­ing to him. My mind drifted to my par­ents in Ow­erri, my el­der sis­ters Agatha and Alexa and my friends who had told me to break up with Busayo long be­fore his Bank had trans­ferred him from Abuja to La­gos in De­cem­ber last year.

Pas­sen­gers and air­port staff gave me space as they walked around me.

Busayo was still on the phone, ask­ing if I was al­right.

I sud­denly loathed him. It was as though the lov­ing feel­ings for him which I had floated into La­gos on had evap­o­rated, leav­ing venom in its place.

‘I hate you’, I said into the phone.

I got up, picked up my hand­bag and hand lug­gage and walked into the near­est toi­let.

A woman was walk­ing out as I walked in. Her eyes opened wide at the sight of me, and she was out of there in a flash.

I heard my phone ring­ing in my bag but I ig­nored it, as I was cap­ti­vated by my re­flec­tion in the mir­ror.

I had a ‘wild-eyed’ ex­pres­sion on my face.

I heard the toi­let door open and an air­port se­cu­rity woman ven­tured in cau­tiously.

‘Aunty, I saw you sit­ting on the floor just now. Hope ev­ery­thing is okay?’ She stood by the door, ready to flee at the slight­est sight of crazi­ness.

‘I am fine’, I replied qui­etly. She nod­ded, and left, shut­ting the door be­hind her.

I got out my face wash from my toi­let bag, and I washed off all of the makeup from my face. I checked the time; it was 2:45pm. My re­turn ticket was sched­uled for Sun­day af­ter­noon, and I won­dered how much it would cost me to resched­ule my flight for that evening.

I didn’t bother to reap­ply my makeup; I just put on some lip gloss. I re­moved my wig and stuffed it into my trav­el­ling bag; it needed to be brushed prop­erly and I sim­ply wasn’t in the mood. I tied my shawl tur­ban-style over my corn­rows and was sat­is­fied that I no longer looked like a jilted woman.

I still felt slightly dis­ori­ented; I felt like I had just washed away my four-year re­la­tion­ship down the drain with my makeup. I took a se­ries of deep breaths, picked up my bags and walked out of the toi­let.

The ar­rivals area looked the same, with peo­ple walk­ing over the spot that I had pre­vi­ously sat on. There was no in­di­ca­tion that any­thing sig­nif­i­cant had hap­pened there.

I was sud­denly very hun­gry. I walked to a res­tau­rant close by and opted for Dodo and stew, some­thing savoury to cover up the bit­ter­ness within me.

I felt guilty for not call­ing my par­ents af­ter I had ar­rived in La­gos.

I called my fa­ther.

‘Chika! How was your flight? How is La­gos?’ My fa­ther al­ways sounded like he was smil­ing. And he never called me by my English name.

‘It’s…I’m…’ I didn’t have words left in me. ‘What’s wrong?’ He asked, sound­ing alarmed.

I told him, brac­ing my­self for the ‘I told you so’ speech.

In­stead, he said gen­tly, ‘It’s okay. You will be okay. Can you come to Ow­erri? Don’t worry about the money; I will re­fund the money for the flight. Just come home’. I al­most cried. Yes, I told him. I would come home.

Later, as my flight to Ow­erri was an­nounced, my phone rang. It was Busayo.

I didn’t take his call.

As I was seated and try­ing to put on my seat­belt, a What­sApp mes­sage came from him. ‘Baby where are you? I am here at the air­port’.

I stared blankly at my phone, not un­der­stand­ing what I had just read. ‘Ex­cuse me Ma’am; you need to switch off your phone now. We will soon take off’, said a well made-up flight at­ten­dant.

I smiled and nod­ded at her as I switched off my phone.

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