“… Borrowed, borrowed heaven…,” The Corrs sang from Uloma’s earpiece, and she moved her head and sang along quietly as she looked out the bus’ window.
She was happy, well as happy as she could be. All her plans seemed to be falling into place; she was finally going for service, and it was not too far from Lagos which was her home, but neither was it to close, giving her the needed space from her family. She had space to be independent, but she could always go back home from Edo state, where she was posted, if things go bad and she needed the love and warmth of her family.
Another reason she was happy about the distance from home was that she loved travelling. She loved watching the trees and grasses on unoccupied lands pass by, she loved seeing how other people lived, she loved observing.
She knew that the coming 365 days would give her some of the desired exposure and then according to Funmilayo, she would face life proper.
At the thought of Funmilayo, the look of happiness on her face turned to a frown, unbeknownst to Uloma.
Since Funmilayo went to service before her, because she went to a private university and had her results processed faster, she had become proud. How dared she tell her that she would know what life is after she was done with service. Not just that, she had also said she, Uloma, would be expected to get married, and to make matter worse, she had said it in the presence of her boss who had laughed along with her.
Uloma didn’t blame her though, she was the one who had decided to visit her at her office to let her know she would be travelling for service. It was not her fault at all.
“But she apologized,” a voice whispered.
“Yes she did, but she can go to hell with her apology,” Uloma replied herself. “Over my dead body will I forgive her. It’s about time each of us went our way.” She ended.
Forcing the thought of Funmilayo and her numerous texts and ignored calls from her mind, Uloma allowed her mind wonder what NYSC camp would be like. She had heard different stories of different experiences at the camps, and she wondered what her personal experience would be like.
The different tales made her confused on what to expect, so she decided to think of what she hoped would happen there.
Who knows, she might find the love of her life there!
Or she might get connection to a great job there!
The possibilities were endless, but no matter what, she would ensure she has a great time, she promised herself.
She had just looked out the window again, watching the terrain pass by when she felt her phone vibrating. The intensity of the vibration told her that it was an incoming call and not a text. Uloma hated drawing unnecessary attention to herself and so whenever she knew she would be in the midst of people, she put her phone on vibration mode. Even though her phone is usually on the vibration mode, she still chose ringtones which she believed were cool.
Her present ringtone, Asa’s Satan Be Gone played in her head as she brought out her phone to check the caller. The caller ID brought back the frown.
Why won’t she leave her alone? She was no longer interested in the friendship, is it by force? Funmi could keep her apologies to herself, why she, Uloma, would keep the forgiveness Funmi so longs for.
She was okay without her.
Uloma knew that disrespect starts little by little, and before you knew it, you are seen as a nuisance. She wasn’t going to wait for Funmilayo to disrespect her openly before she put her in her place.
Ignoring the call, she turned her gaze back to the road. Funmi should go to hell with her apologies as far as she was concerned. She was beginning a new life, and won’t allow such kinds of people disturb her mind or follow her into the new life she was carving out for herself.
She was trying to see if she could recognize some of the plants in the overgrown bushes the bus was swiftly passing by when she felt another vibration and she knew it was a text. Her uncle was supposed to send her some money, so she hoped it was the credit alert coming in and quickly checked.
Biting back the expletives which threatened to pour from her mouth, she mentally insulted Funmi who had decided to send her a text. Again.
Hello dear, I guess you are on your way to camp, or have you arrived? Please I’m begging again, forgive me. I was joking and didn’t mean to annoy you. Have fun and stay safe at camp. It’s an experience of a lifetime. Enjoy it. Hope you’d reply me.
“Is she mad? What’s her problem?” Uloma thought. “Also what’s her business with how I stay at camp? Talking to me like her child, nonsense! If she likes let her kill herself, I am not forgiving her until the day I die, let her get used to it.”
As she moved to put her phone back into her bag, she felt the driver swerve sharply just as a woman behind her shouted, “Driver, take it easy o! We have people waiting for us to arrive safely.”
Uloma had just turned to see who was speaking when the bus hit something, something hard enough to cause the passengers to scream out.
If she had lived, Uloma would have told how her perceived death happened in what seemed like slow motion.
She turned back to see what the bus had hit, only to be welcomed by shards of glass piercing her face and her eyes. The reflex move to protect her face came late, and she felt her hand fill up quickly in what she wished was not blood. She felt herself thrown around as the bus kept at its somersaulting motions, each turn shutting up some of the shouts from other passengers forever.
For some reason, the ear plugs were still in her ears and she could still hear the music reechoing “Borrowed heaven.” Uloma remembered her last thought before the accident, “I won’t forgive her until the day I die..,”
“Borrowed, borrowed, Heaven…” the Corrs sang on as Uloma realized this was the day she was going to die and she might as well forgive Funmilayo.
“I forgive you,” she said to herself, just as her head hit something hard, sending her into darkness and relieving her of the borrowed life.
Hours later, the medics will find the phone still playing ‘Borrowed Heaven’, and the earplugs still firmly in the listener’s ears, even though she was long gone.
Uloma kept her promise though. She forgave Funmilayo the day she died.