I walked down to her and sighting me she hugged me passionately in a way she couldn’t have done before. “I nearly died Will, it was God that saved me” she said, almost crying. I pressed her head on my chest using my hand to pat her back telling her all will be fine. “Hope you are not wounded anywhere?” I asked and she replied “No”. I cleaned her tears and gather her stuffs scattered all over the place as Temmy and Mark joined me. We were able to get all her stuffs except her big travelling bag stuck at the back of the bus that was conveying them. It took the intervention of some guys that uses axe to remove the booth cover before we could force out her bag, though now damaged with some of her stuffs. We loaded her luggage into my car by squeezing it in as the booth was already filled with our luggage.
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Me: I think we should take you to the hospital
Uche: No, I’m fine
Me: You never can tell, it is better they carry out a proper check on you to ascertain that
Temmy: That’s true, you might not feel some of it now because of the Adrenaline but by the time you wake up tomorrow, it’ll be a different story.
Uche: I’m fine. My aunt’s husband is a doctor. He’ll check me when I get to their place.
Me: Where is their place?
Mark: So you were heading to PH?
Uche: Yes, I wanted to sleep over at my aunt’s before going to the camp tomorrow.
Temmy: You are posted to Rivers too?
Uche: Yeah, my aunt’s husband work it for me
Me: Just rest for now and call your aunt when there is network so we can know where to meet her
Uche: Thanks Will.
Hearing I’m going to be on the same camp with Uche for 21 days should normally send me into worrying mode but I unexpectedly felt okay about it. Maybe it’s because I’ve never seen this side of her before. I’ve always known her to be a strong personality trying to disturb my peace at every chance she get but she seems gentle and cool now, maybe it’s because of the circumstances surrounding it. That hug she gave me also did some magic.
The journey continued and we were all analyzing what could have caused the accident. The car was obviously on the wrong side of the road as we met it on the lane going into the city. All these while, Uche was silent and look more like she was sleeping until she spoke up gently to me.
Uche: Will, where are we?
Me: We are almost there, we just pass Bayelsa
Uche: It’s getting late, I should call my sister.
She pulled out her phone to call her sister and that was how we discovered the phone screen has gotten broken at the upper part and would not even come up.
Me: Do you know her number off hand?
Uche: Yes I do
I gave my phone to her while she called aunt to meet us at a place where it would be convenient for us to continue our journey to the place we’ll sleep over.
Uche: Will, thanks for today.
Me: Thank God, it’s was a mere coincidence we were there.
Uche: You didn’t tell me you now have a car.
Me: How did you know it’s mine?
Uche: (She points to the congratulatory card of our supervisor I hanged on the mirror) I remember our supervisor gave us that after our external defense.
Me: Oh, that’s right. You guessed right.
Uche: Will, you can form o.
Me: Why did you say that?
Uche: You’ll be doing like you don’t have anything in school, fooling everybody into believing you are just an average guy.
Me: (Laughs) Uche believe me, I’m just an average guy like every other normal guy. I’m not as rich as you think. This car surprises even me.
Uche: Congratulations anyway, even though what you did is not good at all.
Me: What’s that again?
Uche: Since after our final defense, you did not see me or hear from me yet you did not bother to ask. Or didn’t you notice I wasn’t at Engineering induction and school convocation?
Me: (Why would I ask of you to ask for more trouble?) Truth be told, I noticed you weren’t around, but I thought you travelled and decided not to be there just like some others.
Uche: Why won’t I want to be there? I have good grades and I’m not having any issue with the school authority.
Me: I know, so why weren’t you there?
Uche: I was avoiding our supervisor
Me: (This is a new one) Why will you be avoiding him? I thought you guys are very close.
Uche: Yeah, he wants something else
Me: (What’s more else than you guys dating?) Something else like what? (I have to pull her legs a little)
Uche: You know what I meant Will
Me: Truth be told, I thought you both were seeing each other.
Uche: (She looks at me mischievously) Why will you think like that about me?
Me: Uche that’s what you always portrayed. That’s what everybody think.
Uche: That’s a very wrong assumption. He did ask for it but I instead arranged two other babes for him.
Uche: No, they are indigenes
Me: Prostitute I guess
Uche: Something like that. I paid the ladies.
Me: So what does he want again?
Uche: After the duration of my money elapse, the girls were demanding from him. He also said one of them stole his money.
Me: So! What’s your business with that?
Uche: He said it’s me he wants and vowed not to allow me graduate if I refuse him.
Me: So how did you go about your clearance, especially with him?
Uche: I told him I’ve agreed and tricked him into signing it but I run away afterwards.
Me: That sound more like the Uche I know, very sharp.
Uche: (Smiles) I was lucky he signed; it’s more like he was extremely happy about something that day.
Me: You know you caused most of it right?
Me: Uche your dressings were always suggestive. Even we your mates believe you are one of those girls.
Uche: The man did it to even the “SU’s” in our department.
Me: I know the man has the evil habit no matter what you wear, but what you wear can stimulate his evil and he will make you attracted to him even on a day he wasn’t willing.
Uche: Thank God I’ve escaped him
Me: Yeah, but I’ll advise you watch your dressing, if you don’t want similar situation with maybe your boss.
Uche: Thanks. Are you going to the camp tonight?
Me: No, we’ll sleep over in PH and proceed to camp tomorrow.
We dropped Uche off to the reception of her sister who was already waiting for us at the stated junction. We then proceed to the manager’s house where we comfortably parked the car while the three of us were given a well-furnished room to sleep. The manager was not around by the time we arrived as his house help made sure we have everything we needed.
The manger knocked and entered our room later in the late evening to salute us. Sighting him, I felt a funny reaction in my body system. It was like we’ve known each other before or maybe I’ve seen him somewhere before but I could not recollect. I was dumb silent as he salutes us with funny remarks. He asked for both Mark and Temmy’s names as they responded accordingly but he surprisingly called me by name. That increase my suspicion about us meeting before but I discarded the idea believing he got to know my name from Daddy Orire. “How then did he recognize me or has my picture been sent to him?” While in this thought, he asked me to follow him outside the room to which I did.
Manager: Yemi how are you?
Me: I’m fine sir
Manager: I noticed you’ve been silent all these while. Hope there is no problem?
Me: No problem sir, I’m just trying to get use to my new environment.
Manager: Is it that different from where you are coming from?
Me: Not really, but I’m new in this part of the country.
Manager: Don’t worry, you’ll enjoy it.
He took me to a newly completed lodge in the compound and we went inside the rooms. The lodge was beautifully designed with two big and one smaller room, a very big sitting room, a well-furnished kitchen and a combined toilet and bathroom of a very high standard.
Manager: Do you like this place?
Me: It’s wonderful sir. I really love it. One can sleep in this bathroom if care is not taken
Manager: (We both laughed) The TV cables and dishes will be fixed before the end of this week. By the time you come back, any other thing you need will be fixed. You just let me know.
Me: I don’t understand sir
Manager: This is where you’ll stay for your service year.
Me: Wao! I’m surely going to enjoy this service.
Manager: (Smiles) I’ll need your call up number and I’ll need you to send your state code to me immediately you are been given on camp.
Me: Okay sir:
Managers: We’ll need it to officially and specifically ask for you from NYSC
Me: Thank you sir. I’ll do that.
Manager: You are welcome
Manager: I’m listening
Me: We are two
Manager: I don’t understand, two how?
Me: I mean you’ll request for two of us
Manager: I was only told about you
Me: He’s my close pal from childhood and we studied the same course.
Manager: Who is the fellow?
Me: Temiloluwa, the other guy in the room
Manager: Alright but I can’t take the third person
Me: I believe you can still take him too. Help me look into it sir
Manager: You studied same course also?
Me: Similar sir, he studied Agricultural Engineering
Manager: Let him look for farm then, our company’s farm are not in this area.
Me: (Smiles) Agricultural Engineering is not just about farming sir. It’s application of engineering principles to farming, but how can they apply what they don’t know. Which is why they are first engineers and then farmers? They can perform almost at every place a mechanical, food and civil engineers can function.
Manager: You have a very good point there but let’s stick to you and your best friend first.
Me: Alright sir. Sir, it’s like we’ve met before
Manager: Really? Where is that?
Me: I can’t figure it out but I have a great feeling we’ve met before.
Manager: You might not be entirely wrong, or maybe I resemble somebody from your side.
Me: I’m not sure sir.
Manager: Try to remember. We have a lot to talk about when you come back from camp.
We left the lodge and I went back to meet the others where we were staying. I tried to search if he really resembles somebody I knew before but I couldn’t really stamp it on anybody. Though I felt more like I’ve had that conversation or similar one before but I still could not ascertain where or to whom. By the time I come back from camp, I’ll like to know the connection between Daddy Orire, the manager and the caring I’m getting from them.