The airport was busy. I had arrived Lagos close to an hour ago, but I did not want to leave just yet, so I walked to the food court. I wasn’t particularly hungry, but food was my preferred type of distraction from the stress of my auntie’s theatrics and my family’s meddlesomeness. The buzz of activity there was also an additional incentive.
I made my way to a restaurant serving rice that claimed to be original Nigerian Jollof. As I sat, I briefly considered switching on my phone but decided against it. I needed a few more hours away from my family. Maybe months, I thought wryly, as a waiter made her way to my table.
“Can I get anything for you today?” she asked, gesturing towards the menu.
“A new family?” I muttered. I cleared my throat before she could reply and requested for the ‘original Nigerian Jollof’.
“Ah yes! That is our head chef’s specialty! Our restaurant is quite new, but our chef is renowned for her cooking skills. She was recently on that cooking show, SOUP-er Chef! and her Jollof won second place!”.
I had no idea what show she was talking about, but the accolades served to increase my anticipation for the food.
Minutes later, I had the first taste of my order. It was original alright. Overly priced original white rice and stew, sporting chopped vegetables. Disappointed, I pushed the food around a couple more minutes, paid and walked outside the airport to hail a taxi.
A yellow cab rolled to a stop beside my luggage. The driver, a bald-headed man wearing an ill-fitting sweater that seemed too hot for the weather, bent his head to look at me.
“Oga madam, where you dey go?”
I gave him directions to the doctor’s quarters at the new hospital I would be working at and got in the backseat, hoping to discourage any conversation. After a while, I gave in and switched on my phone.
5 messages from my mother. 3 from Aunty Isioma and a couple others from unknown numbers. I groaned coincidentally as the man drove quickly through a pothole.
“Oga madam, no worry. I no go wound you. I sabi this work well well. Nobody for Lagos sabi drive pass me”, he assured.
“Okay”, I said. “Just be careful”. I looked back to my phone. The messages from my mum told me what I already suspected. She had known what the meeting was about. She was sorry for the ambush but admittedly hoped I would be convinced to marry at the meeting. She wondered if I had arrived safely and wanted me to call her.
Aunty Isioma’s messages were less contrite. Apparently, I was a spoilt ingrate who never took advice…
A loud thud and subsequent screech brought the taxi to a stop, my attention now on the road as I lurched forward. The windshield was broken from sudden impact. The taxi driver stared straight ahead, wide-eyed with his hands glued to the wheel. He had just run someone over!