ANOTHER KIND OF SURPRISE
He lay staring at the ceiling remembering his chat with Toni the previous night. They had argued back and forth on how she wanted him to attend her Aunt's birthday party and how he didn't think it was important. He knew he was justified if he didn't attend, and he knew he could always placate her afterward. Yet there was something about her that always made her win an argument, there was something that always made it impossible for him to deny her most things. Now, here he was mentally rescheduling most activities for that day, to make sure he attended the party at all cost. She wasn't expecting it, but he knew she would go bananas with joy, and that was all he wanted.
With the sunlight streaming in from her opened window, she gradually came into consciousness, rubbing her eyes as she made to open them. Reaching for her phone to ping Dayo was the first thing that came to her mind...then she remembered the argument they had had the previous night and his insistence on not coming for her Aunt's party. Putting up an "angry face" on her display message instead, she decided to ignore him for the rest of the day.
It was almost 2pm when he rushed back home and started to pack his things, he had hurriedly gone about few activities for the day, and even succeeded in getting a ticket for himself, even though it had not been his preferred airline. Who cares though, as long as he ended up in Lagos one way or the other. He picked out his overnight bag and grudging began to throw in his clothes, perfume, hairbrush... "Damn, things you do for love" he muttered under his breath, as with hands on hips he paused to think of why he was doing this. He loved her madly he concluded in his heart, and this had been the case since they had first met two years ago. With a smile on his face, he did a quick check on the things he had packed before hurrying to the airport.
Taking a seat to catch her breath for a minute she scrolled through the numerous messages Dayo had been sending her all day. His words were sweet, apologizing and trying to make her understand why he couldn't make it over for the party, even promising to make it up to her. Smiling she put away her phone, got up and continued on her errands....She sure wasn't as pissed as she was yesterday night during their argument, besides she honestly knew if there was anything he could do, he would have been here. Still she was bent on making him beg and grovel, just for the fun of it.
He noticed she still had that "angry face" up on her display and had replied none of his pings. She sure was one hell of a case and he loved her for it. He imagined her reading his messages and ignoring them, simply bent on making life miserable for him. Chuckling softly, he began to imagine what her expression would be when she saw him at the venue of the party...it would be hilarious for sure. "Baby please talk to me" he again sent to her while at the waiting lounge...He knew he wasn't going to get any response...and he did not.
She had been so busy all day, ensuring all things were in place; food, drinks, caterers, servers, decoration..."Ha..." she sighed when the party eventually started and she had a chance to rest her feet. Dayo...she thought and excitedly fished out her phone looking forward to more "I'm sorry, I love you". After she read the last message he sent her, she finally decided to give him a break... "I'm really not angry babe, just wish you could be here"...she had scarcely typed when she heard her Aunt (not the celebrant) call her name. Off again she went.
After they had all boarded and the plane was ready for take off, the voice of the air hostess making her routine speech floated through to his subconscious. He read her response and was elated. Of course he knew she had just been intentionally giving him a hard time, still he was glad it was over. He hurriedly sent Toni a last message before he had to turn off his phone. He then secured his belt, laid back and closed his eyes counting down till they got to Lagos... "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now in Lagos and would be making our landing very soon, please ensure that your seat belts are secured...". Excitement started to course through him at the thought of seeing her very soon. Thinking of it now, he had missed her much, and he was actually glad he had decided on this trip. "She would have a fit" he thought, laughing out loud and earning a strange look from his seat partner.
News of the plane crash had filtered into the party hall, and dampened the mood of everyone except her. God forgive her, but she was elated, not because people had died, but because she kept thinking it could have been Dayo, with her foolish insistence that he come for this stupid party. She went about looking for her phone, not remembering where last she had placed it. Still looking for her phone she ran into her Aunt - the celebrant, "Ha Toni, thank God Dayo didn't come o... Oya go and call him now and apologize okay"... She nodded and continued her search, all the while thanking her stars and thinking of the sweetest words she would use to psyche him.
She finally found her phone with a friend of hers whom she had earlier given it to. She punched in Dayo's number, and waited unsuccessfully for it to connect, over and over again. "Terrible network" she hissed as she opened her pings. Scrolling to the last message she received from him, the words that greeted her eyes were; "I'm on my way babes, leaving the airport now...wanted it to be a surprise. Call you when we touch down...Love you"
(This was published in the "Dana Crash Anthology - So we do not forget")