Oblivion

Oblivion

I went to bed with an ache in my back. You haunted my dreams. I woke up trying to decide whether I was daydreaming or truly dreamt of you.

No exercise for me this morning. I will lump it together with tomorrows. The room is in shambles. I have to fix it, but not this morning. I grabbed the barbing kit, put a N1000 note in my pocket and went out to the next street to the tree under which my barber plies his trade.

There was a MOPOL (mobile policeman) on the seat. He was having his head shaved while having a lively conversation with the barber. He got up once done and started to walk away.

The barber asks for payment.

“I paid you last time” the MOPOL replied.

The barber called after him “419 MOPOL.”

We all smiled.

I sat down and told the barber that I was trying to grow my beard. So not to shave it off but he could “shape” it.

The MOPOL walked by again, and said he was going to the next street. The barber commented that the exercise was good for him, and added when he was out of earshot that the MOPOL needed the exercise, or how does he explain his sizable potbelly (which the policeman needed to lose).

Once done, I handed him the N1,000 naira note. His fee is N200. I told him to add the balance to the other “thing” (a side “venture”). He knows what I am talking about. I had given him N2,000 several weeks ago. He said he still had N1,200. The N800 should put it back at N2,000. No pain no gain.

Work was work. I should go (to the church) for (the weekly) fellowship, but various things were going on, and I watched 6PM come and go. Inertia. I couldn’t get up to go. Excuses. A colleague mentioned that Oblivion (the film) was out. I checked the Genesis Deluxe Cinema’s website and found that the last showing was for 8:50PM. I decided to go see the film. I left the office at 8:10PM only to find a gridlock on the road. It didn’t look like I would make it to the cinema before the film started, and I hate to miss the opening sequence of any film. I would try. I got to the cinema about 5 minutes late. Parked my car in a vacant lot between two jeeps and went in.

Paid and walked into the cinema hall. Fortunately, they were still showing previews of other films.

I walked up the aisle and found that a choice seat almost where I would have chosen even if I had come in earlier was still available. An Indian couple sat at the edge of the row, and several girls sat towards the other half so the seat almost dead center was free.

I sat down to enjoy the 2-hour film. The Indian couple talked from time to time. Not too much. It was nice (for them) not to be alone. It seems a lifetime ago when I was sitting in that same cinema (maybe even the same hall) next to you. I was glad I was wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt because I could feel your arm against mine. I didn’t move it, and neither did you. The feeling was delightful. I could have sat there till the Sun went down, and the moon came up. But that was a lifetime ago. The wheels of time move quickly.

Tom Cruise delivered as usual.

It is 11:15PM and I was the last person out of the hall.

There were suddenly lots of young people coming up the stairs unto the top floor. Strange for that time of night. I walked past them and out into the night. I see a “Department of Medicine, LASU” bus. Maybe the throng just arriving were students. They looked young enough.

I walked towards my car. I passed a man leaning against his car. He said something to me that though I heard did not register at the time “That car has hit your car.”

My car was in view and there was a Toyota Corolla next to it. It was too close for comfort. In fact, it looked as if it was physically resting against mine on the driver’s side (of my car).

I was a little alarmed. I could see into the car and it looked as if the driver had his head on the steering wheel. I walked up to the car and tapped the boot. The car came alive and the driver reversed a little and drove sideways and stopped a couple of feet away. The driver came down. A young chap about my height (or maybe slightly taller). He looked at the front of his car.

I looked at my car and there was almost no damage. There was a small scratch on the side of the bumper that could have been made by something as small as a screwdriver.

Then he came round, tried to smile and apologized. He asked about my car and I told him there was almost no damage. He stretched out his hand and I shook it. I found the situation odd, so I asked him if he was drunk. He shook his head (difficult to tell if that was a yes or no). I noticed there was a girl in the passenger seat with her head in her hands. I asked if she was OK. She raised her head and looked in my direction. The chap opened the door and held the girls hand. I guess she was OK but probably embarrassed. She was really pretty.

The chap went back to look at the front of his car. He seemed to have run into the wall more than he had run into my car. He staggered a little. It was obvious he was more than a little drunk. He realized it and he was obviously embarrassed.

I asked if the girl could drive. He said no. I said I don’t think he should drive. He said he is not driving right now. I told him I think he should chill a little. Maybe get a drink of water.

He apologized again, shaking my hand. The other fellow that had spoken to me while I was approaching my car had walked up to us. He inquired if the damage wasn’t too much and the chap responded that he had run more into the wall than into my car. The other fellow went away.

The chap went back to sit in the driver’s seat. He leaned over to the girl with his arm either around her or on the back of her seat. Not sure what he was saying.

I drove off, then reversed again. I wanted a look at his license plate. If we meet again, I wanted to remember. His plate number read “EPE 4xx AL” (I am leaving out the 2 middle digits – replaced by the “xx”).

Hopefully, he would stay there for quite a while: Oblivion was just a wrong turn or decision away (for him and maybe for the girl also).

I am on my way home.

Another day.

Just like the rest.

Alone.

Hopefully to oblivion.

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