#LoveLiteratiContest – ‘Love in Unfortunate Events’ by Oyaghire Nkem

Love Literati contest - shortlisted submission - elsieisy blog
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The time was 5:17 PM.

As the bus entered a pothole, there was a jolt accompanied with creaking and then some adjusting but no matter how many times I tried to adjust, the weather was still too hot, the bus too tight and the chair too uncomfortable.

Underbridge had never been this far. I needed to get out of Ikeja, I had plans, very special plans.

Ikeja, a labyrinth of traffic. Getting in was not as difficult as getting out especially at 5 on a Friday. The way I had always managed to conquer the labyrinth was the same way I planned to conquer it today, with patience and Netflix. But something was wrong today, as it was every year.

Curses are annoying things that creep up on you and ruin a perfectly good day. They can only be sensed in a pattern, each episode of unfortunate event leading to the final show that either drives you to madness or to end your life, especially when a particular day every year feels like it is cursed. But not today and not this year!

“Owa o” yelled a woman in the row behind mine. As she struggled to get down at Allen her bag scratched my back and instantly I knew she had drawn blood. Third unfortunate event in one hour.

Unfortunate event one: My internet was bad, so no Netflix. Unfortunate event two: my skirt had ripped as I was struggling to enter the bus, so my patience was running on its last battery. The next unfortunate event will result in the death of someone, definitely not me.

As the bus drove past the woman whose bag had taken my blood, I saw a blur of red and white. Of course, she is celebrating the day of love. I wonder, did she get a cake? Did someone surprise her with flowers which spurred another question. How practical is fresh flowers in a weather like this?

By the time I was done speculating on the life span of fresh flowers I was at Underbridge. The time was 5:45, there was hope I would get there on time. But first bole.

The woman smiled as I approached.

“Customer how you dey na. This your cloth fine o”

“Thank you madam, abeg give me ₦100 own”

As she wrapped the bole in the newspaper, she asked “You dey celebrate valentines shey?”

The way she said Valentine with an ‘s’ conjured the image of two days of love, waiting for me to just revel in the abundance of this non-existent holiday. To which I smiled in response.

Explaining my loneliness or how the prospect of romance in my life was as fleeting as a day in Ikeja without traffic would not be appropriate.

When she was done, money and bole exchanged hands and I was off. I had to get to my appointment by 6. Anything later and that will be the final event for my cursed day that will lead to madness or death.

5:58

“What size of popcorn will you like to buy?” The lady asked.

“I will have medium please with a bottle of water” I said with a small smile.

As I walked away from the concession stand “Enjoy your movie” from the popcorn lady followed me.

Movies are one of the loves of my life and what better way to spend Valentines day than with one of my lovers?

As I settled in to enjoy the film, I could feel that day’s curse lifting, no one was dying by my hands this year.

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