It’s a Saturday lecture and you’d arrived late. The sun had been annoyed and there was sweat all over your face. You were at idumota main market when you saw the text on your phone. Your face contorted and your brows furrowed in surprise. It was not the sudden announcement that a lecture will be holding by two, that vexed you. At least you were getting used to this as a sophomore. It was the traffic.
The journey from Idumota main market to unilag is roughly one hour but the traffic would extend it. You hated this, walking into class late and the whole class turns and stare at you as if you’d just grown an extra head. You’d laughed when Shelley said people who live in Lagos spend half of their destinies in traffic but now you gave it a second thought and the humour quickly drained. You shrugged and your legs lifted reluctantly to the bustop.
It was nearly quarter to three o clock when you reached class and the lecture was half way through. The seats were all occupied and then you concluded it was going to be a standing class for you. Suddenly the figure of a young man at some corner, advanced towards you. You pretended not to see.
“Hello miss, you look tired. Sure you don’t want to sit?”
You looked at him, at his eyes. They’re large oval and lit brown like sweetened honey. A strange multiplicity of sensation seized you and you felt a chill. It was indeed, a long time you felt this way. You smiled and obliged. Your body was present in class but your mind wasn’t. You felt light in your heart and your eyes fixed at a point in the air with a kind of wonder. His face became more and more familiar to you and it wearied you.
After lecture that day, you searched your memory for a name to put up with his face. It took two days before you remembered and your eyes lit up. “Odinaka! I’m very sure he’s the one”. The following day, you approached him with an air of confidence.
“Are you Odinaka Nwakoli?” You asked. His lips lifted up slightly at the end and he said yes. Just before you tried to utter another word, he asked you.
“Are you Sylvia? Sylvia Godwin? “
You nodded with a wide spread smile while he burst into laughter.
“ Chineke! Sylvia you’ve grown oo. I never thought I will see you again “
“ Me too Odinaka ” You said and a gentle light stole over your eyes.
“ So what’s up, how has everything been? I almost lost my mind when family moved from Aba to Port-Harcourt and I lost contact with you ” he said.
“Everything’s been fine. I’m so happy to see you again. “
“You look fresh oo. I’m pretty sure you just got in. “He said. “Just wait till Lagos stress and all the fresher wahala gets into your skin.”
You laughed, he laughed too. The conversation afterwards flowed effortlessly, ran into another seamlessly. You did not realize you’ve spent close to half an hour standing, talking, laughing. That’s the way Odinaka had always made you feel back in secondary school, you just don’t want to check time when he’s with you. With him, time can wait. You manage to check your watch and it stared accusingly at you.
“ I’m late for class.”
“ Oh that’s true. ” he said realizing. “ Sorry I made you late “.
“ It’s nothing “
“ And this your hair is beautiful “
You smiled again, this time more broader. Odinaka and his fast apologies and compliments.
“You’ve not changed one bit “You said.
“ I’ll see you after class ” He smiled
As you left, you remembered old times with him and laughed inside. You laughed because of his poems and that he had once called you soul food. You laughed at how everything is beginning to fit into mama’s words that whoever is meant to be in your life will always gravitate back towards you, regardless of how far they wander. You laughed because home is not where you’re from, it is where you belong. Some people travel the whole world to find it, others find it in a person.