It’s independence day and I’m so indifferent to it. I think of Kosi as I extract some toothpaste from the tube lying on the bathroom sink.
My youngest brother ambles up to me, towering and intimidating.
“You’re travelling today?” he asks.
“Definitely” I answer him, flashing him a smile.
He barely reciprocates the smile and walks to the sitting room, spreading himself over the sofa.
“It’s independence day and NEPA didn’t deem it fit to supply us electricity”
“It’s sad” I say in between mouthfuls of frothing paste.
Some of it seeps down my jaw and I wipe it off almost immediately.
“How is Kosi’s pregnancy going?” He asks spreading out Whot cards on the center table.
“Well, she told me that her inducement is very soon. It’s surprising that natural labor has eluded her”
He peers through the passage and looks at me aghast.
I smile, “don’t worry, you know nothing about gravida”
He still says nothing and focuses his attention on his toe nails.
My small bag is packed and I’m on my way to the park. It’s barely dawn and now electricity comes up. I have just worn some perfume and picked up my small bag and the twenty thousand naira on the shelf.
“Tell mummy I’ve traveled to Lagos” I instruct Stephen, my youngest brother.
“It’s all right. I wish you the best of luck” he says.
I walk down the streets thinking about my father’s ill health, I’m having a premonition that he might die after all but I must expunge such negative thoughts from my mind. I get into a tricycle bound for PTI Road and alight by Agofure motor park.
The journey to Lagos is set to begin.
It’s almost evening and I reach Lagos. I alight at Anthony bus stop and a bike ridden by a crazy Fulani man conveys me to the hotel where I’m billed to stay in anticipation of the competition.
It’s not as cozy as the hotel I resided in the previous year at Benin City but it’s fairly ok. This is Lagos and things are a tad more expensive than any other place in the country. I get to meet other contestants for the Spelling Bee from other schools and one of them is star struck at seeing me.
“So you are Efe?” She asks.
“I am” I answer familiarly perplexed.
“I’m Rhoda, I heard you were the runner up last year” she says stretching forth her hand for a handshake.
“Well, that’s history. This is a new phase altogether now”
She smiles and walks on to be with her girls.
It’s nightfall. My mind isn’t at rest. I have another nightmare and daddy’s death becomes more vivid with each passing nightmare. I comfort myself with thoughts of Kosi, my pregnant girlfriend. I send her several WhatsApp messages and she wishes me the best of luck. She’s heavily pregnant now and I wish I can be there for her. My mind is laid to waste apropos the next day’s contest. I feel ill-prepared, I feel unhappy. Kosi’s delayed delivery and daddy’s deteriorating health are taking a huge toll on me.
I eventually slumber off, a note opened across my chest.