In the Uber ride, she looked forward to the end. She told me that. But he didn’t know.
She had become terribly impatient, while he seemed to have sunk deep into an annoying comfort zone.
They met four years ago.
Back then she was the Madonna of the times, and he was not quite the rodeo man that fit her profile. Not by many miles.
But he made her laugh. And there were few things she liked more than laughing.
When they went on their first date, he opted to eat nothing. He lied his stomach had been rumbling and he would just rather watch her eat, and not upset his bowels further. It would be years later before he confessed the real reason was that the bill of N5000, which her meal had incurred, was the only fund he had on him.
He liked to surprise her. Not even the mild, random kind of surprises, she said. He liked to put up the extreme of surprises. One time he pretended to have forgotten her birthday until nine o’clock in the night when he made one of her friends lure her to a party he had secretly planned in her honor. The icing on the surprise was that her parents were in attendance.
Another time he pretended he wouldn’t make it back for Christmas because work had him stationed outside Lagos, supervising a project. But he made an entrance on Christmas Eve, bearing lots of gifts. The excitement was overwhelming.
But all that seemed to peter out with time.
It had been four years. They became a redundant cycle of activities that now threatened to stifle her due to non-progress. He would call her in the morning, lunch time, and late at night. And they would talk about the same things.
Friday evenings, he would take her to the mall. They would see a movie, and then hang out afterwards. On weekends they would pursue personal interests.
She couldn’t do it any longer, she eventually told herself. She needed progress, something like marriage. But it seemed farther from his mind than the stars from earth.
Then came another Friday.
He showed up at her office in an Uber ride, exceptionally amused like a schoolboy on a dream prom date. He picked her up, and ordered the Uber driver to chauffer them to a karaoke bar on Isaac John in Victoria Island.
And then he made jokes as they drove along. She ignored them.
He made funny face. She ignored them.
He tickled her on the sides. She ignored him still.
Her mind was set that this would be their last date if he wasn’t prepare to take their commitment to the marriage front. She maintained her indifference until they arrived the karaoke bar.
As the place was packed full on a Friday evening, the driver just managed to pull up somewhere that was barely the side of the road. He asked her to remain seated while he went around and got the door for her. He was that excited.
She didn’t care.
What followed next was like a bad joke in a nightmare.
He threw the door open, pranced off his seat from the Uber ride, and got swept away by a car that had swerved nervously to avoid a ditch in the middle of the road. His body rose high in the air and came down with an eerie thud, crumpled and lifeless.
She passed out in the Uber.
Many days later when she was revived, she told me, they had told her that a beautifully cased ring had been found in his pocket.
The reason for his amusement was now lucid.
Recalling how she conducted herself, she had known only pain and regret since that day.
For a master of surprises, it was his biggest show.
But it was not the end she had looked forward to.