I’m leaving on a jet plane….don’t know when I will be back again……
Dozie looked back at the airport crowd one last time. For a brief moment he observed more vividly what was going on around him: people telling themselves goodbye, people struggling to get their luggage checked in, security trying their best to seep through peoples’ luggage to find anything ‘illegal’ so they could get some ‘token’… “Naija will never change” he thought to himself.
The day had finally come. He was leaving his beloved country to go and further his education in the United Kingdom. He had gotten admission into one of the universities in London to study Business Information Technology. He still had mixed feelings about leaving. During his NYSC his parents thought it would be best for him to leave the shores of his fatherland to go get his Masters degree when he was done with the service year. His brother and sister were there already. Emeka had left a couple of years back for his Bsc while Nneka had left a few months ago for her masters as well. He had missed them a lot and was looking forward to seeing them but the one reason he still felt a little bit of sadness was that he was leaving his sweetheart behind Behi. She had been his girlfriend for some time now and he never knew he would be in a relationship for this long. He had grown to love her much more than he could ever imagine. It was still quite funny how they met it was a year and a half ago.
There was a play showing at the Muson Center in Lagos and there was a crowd of people at the venue which made the whole place quite disorganized. Trying to make his way past the crowd into the theatre, he accidentally bumped into her and knocked her glasses off her face. The horror in his eyes was unbelievable when before he knew what was happening, someone pushed him from behind and he stepped on the glasses. “Snap!!” one of the lens broke. He looked at her and he wasn’t sure but he thought he saw tears form in her eyes.
“Look at what you have done….can’t you be more careful?”
“I’m really sorry I didn’t do it on purpose…”
“Oga!!!!!!!! move na”
Dozie snapped back to reality realizing that it was his turn to get his luggage checked in. He quickly told the man who was quite elderly at his back he was sorry and moved briskly to the security guard to check his luggage. He would be flying British Airways obviously (that is the only airline he had ever flown if he was travelling out of the country). He had been to London a couple of times for summer holidays but this time was different. He was going to school and not only that but in January when winter was at its peak. He shuddered at the thought of how dreadful the cold would be. He had heard a number of stories of how cold it was at that time of the year. If only Behi was coming with him…
“You can go now sir”
His luggage had been checked in and he went away and headed straight to immigration. His thoughts drifted back to Behi. Oh yes…. he had apologized for knocking off her glasses and immediately offered to buy her a new pair. Nothing money couldn’t take care of. However he was shocked when she told him he shouldn’t worry and walked out of the crowd towards the exit of the building….he couldn’t believe it. Well in the state of all that was happening he did notice that she had pretty brown eyes. Why wear a pair of glasses over those eyes…he thought to himself. Anyways he decided that he would look for her after the show at least to buy her a drink or something and really apologize for the glasses hopefully she wasn’t leaving the show…
In the midst of all the hustle to enter into the theater for the play he was very sure he heard his name. He was right as he felt a tap on his shoulder. The crowd was starting to lift and he was able to turn around and see who it was. It was Vivian. They had decided to go see the play together as they were into stage plays and acting. He had met Vivian in secondary school and they were in the drama club. She was a cutie but he never saw her as the kind of girl he could have something with. She was more like a little sister who always brought all her troubles (mostly about boys) to him. Although he had tried to make a move on her but it did not work. They had managed to keep in touch well after secondary school even though they didn’t go to the same university. Her boyfriend just broke up with her and was dating someone else barely a month after so she was going through the heartbreak phase. Being the “big brother” he was, he heard of a play that was showing at the theatre. The name of the play was “Kakadu” and he surprised her by giving her a call that he had gotten tickets for them to go see the show together.
“Finally…I have been looking for you. Thanks for making me come for this I really needed to leave my house”
“No problem dear” he said and gave her a big hug.
They finally entered the theater and settled down into comfortable seats to watch the play. Dozie silently prayed it was worth it as he had heard so many good things about the play. He looked at Vivian by his side and wanted to ask her how she was but she was busy with her phone chatting away. He felt like playfully snatching the phone away from her but on second thought that would be inappropriate because the play hadn’t started. His eyes drifted back to stage and he began to observe how it was setup. Brown calabashes and traditional decorations were used to decorate the stage. He hadn’t been on stage in a while and he admitted to himself that it felt good to be in a theater again though he wasn’t acting. At some point he felt rather uncomfortable…. for some reason he wasn’t just at ease. He looked around the theater back and forth for some time and there she was: The girl whom he had knocked her glasses off staring at him furiously.
Behi sighed loudly as she looked at one of the many pictures of her and Dozie on her phone. She couldn’t believe he was going away for about a year plus. Thoughts swarmed into her head about what the days ahead would be like. Would they be able to survive this long distance? A little smile crept at the sides of her mouth as she recalled how they had met.
She had gone for a play which her best friend had invited her for because she was one of the actresses. She was very reluctant to go as she really wasn’t into plays but Osas was her best friend and she decided to go and give her some support also, she didn’t have to pay for the ticket because Osas had gotten one for her already. According to Osas she had struggled to get the ticket for her. Her contact lenses were due for replacement so she couldn’t wear them and had to wear her glasses. She had often deceived herself that she didn’t need them but who was she kidding? If she didn’t wear them she wouldn’t even see the road well enough to drive talk less of watching a play in a dimly lit theater. So off she went wearing her frames and lo and behold on getting there and struggling in the crowd some dude had knocked her glasses off her face and before she could realize what was happening he had stepped on it and smashed one of the lenses. She was more than furious she didn’t want to come for the play and now she came and her glasses had gotten broken. How was she supposed to watch the play?! The guy who knocked her glasses off looked quite sympathetic but she was still so furious. In order not to let her anger get the better of her as she was already asking him rather harshly why he couldn’t be more careful, she told him not to bother and walked away to get her other pair from her car. Thank God it was there. It wasn’t as strong as the one that just got broken but at least she could still see with them. Luckily for her, her seat was in front so she could see the stage but not as well as if she had the other pair on. She became furious again but decided to look around the hall. There were couples, teenagers, elderly people…and there he was…the dude who had knocked off her glasses. He was sitting beside some girl who was really engrossed in her phone. She was really mad at him as he kept looking back and forth until their eyes met. She froze for some seconds immediately it happened suddenly feeling uncomfortable she felt she had to use the bathroom and then looked away from him and stood up and left the theater.
Her trip down memory lane was interrupted as Osas popped her head into the room.
Osas stepped into the room and it didn’t take her up to two minutes to see that her friend wasn’t happy and of course she knew the reason. Dozie was leaving for the United Kingdom for his masters.
“Have you heard from him yet” she asked
“No…he would be busy checking in I’m sure he would call when he passes through immigration”
“Baby G don’t be sad ok… you people love each other so much and I believe you guys would survive this”
“Thanks hun I hope so too….”
“By the way there’s this new movie I want us to go and see if that would lift your spirit”
“Hmmmm don’t really think I want to…just want to wait for Dozie’s call”
Osas saw the look in her friend’s eyes… gosh she was so in love with him. She went up to her and gave her a big hug and suddenly remembered one gist she was yet to give her.
“Ah eheen….I have gist o”
Behi looked at her rather suspiciously and said “Hmmm aunty what have you done this time?” Osas always had one story or the other about her escapades
“It’s not about me this time now…haba”
“Then who?” Behi asked her eyes lit up as she was suddenly interested.
“It’s about Princess and Ogo.” She started chatting and Behi listened to the gist her friend had for her.
Finally gotten past immigration and all the other check points Dozie decided to get something to eat from a store while waiting for his flight. He quickly brought out his phone to call his sweetheart Behi.
“Hey baby how are you” he asked when she when she picked up
“I’m fine” she said and he could tell she had been waiting for his call
“Finally done checking in just waiting for the flight now”
He could tell she wasn’t happy at all. After all the time together it wasn’t hard for him to know when she was happy or sad or…
“I miss you terribly already”
“I know baby I miss you too”
“Do you think we can do this…I’m scared for us”
“Baby we can…I know It’s going to be difficult but we can pull through”
“Ok baby…I believe you…I…I…I love you”
“I love you too baby so very much…”
“I’m sorry it’s taken so long for me to say this and I’m sorry it has to be over the phone.”
Dozie couldn’t believe his ears…she had finally said those words with her lovely voice. He knew she did love him but it had been so difficult for her to say it. He could feel the sincerity in her voice and then he felt his eyes get watery. Whoa was he really about to cry in this airport? he had no idea she had such an effect on him. He pulled himself together and said
“It’s okay baby I’m so happy you said this. The only thing is that I wish I could see you and look into your eyes when you did. I promise I would do whatever it takes to make things work out”
“Okay baby I will do the same you have my word”
“Will call you again when I am about to board okay”
“Awwww sweetie don’t go now…” he could hear the hurt in her voice
“Okay baby I’m still here”
They talked for a while before they finally hung up.