It’s so surreal that I am leaving Naija this evening. You know the feeling you get when you are stepping out into the unknown. It’s both trepidation and excitement.
Peju organised a surprised send forth this afternoon. I was surprised to see most of my friends at work. How did they get off work to come?
We shared and laughed off our heads as my friends shared funny moments at work. Peju recalled the visit we made to the Kiri Kiri prisons at the start of our career. How I was dressed to the nines on that fateful day only to meet inmates who cared less how I looked but when they would one day be free like me.
I wiped away the tears that fell freely. I was leaving valuable friendships and family behind. At this moment, it was hard to remember why I was going away.
I received quite some gifts and keepsakes.Peju presented a framed office group picture. It was one of the Bank’s award night where we had won the Branch of the year.
“Wow! Where did you get the picture? It is beautiful. See our Manager looking every inch the business guru.”
“Is that all you see?” Peju asked with a glint of mischief in her eyes.
“Unlike you, I see a guy smitten by you and who is yet to come to terms with what to do, but it is written all over him.”
“I hate to put a snag to your fantasy, Peju. The guy is not available. Please don’t put me in trouble. There is one correct babe around. In these days of jealous girlfriends, jumping around with acid. I don’t want to be a victim.
“You sure Drew is taken?”
“100%, like I know my name.”
Peju looked so comical with the look of disappointment on her face that I lost the battle to stifle my laughter.
“Stop playing cupid Peju. I am fine with or without love. Romance does not define my life. I should not be jumping straight into the arms of any guy who gives me a second of his time. I am not desperate.
Drew and I are good friends who understand each other. We have a great friendship that I would not destroy because I am unable to differentiate between friendship and lust.
“It’s just that the signs are all out there. That guy adores you,” argued Peju.
“He does, I agree but not in the way you are thinking. He adores my work and dedication while we worked together, turned mother hen when I fell ill, and we have fallen into the rhythm of having a platonic friendship.
“Recipe for true love,” remarked Peju.
“I give up,” I muttered, exasperatedly clueless how to make Peju understand her romantic dreams for Andrew and I were never going to happen. The thought alone filled me with sadness, but it was not something I could explain. The logic would be once he gets married, the dynamics of our friendship would change.
“Is Drew aware you are leaving today?” Peju asked undeterred.
“Yes, I went to tell him last night. He was mad. I could not comprehend why he was more upset that the rest of you. You could think he was losing a multi-billion dollar contract. His ranting might be justified, but I do believe it was overboard but all I did was apologise for peace sake rather than aggravate an already bad situation.
But you know what? You all will be okay, and within one week, you would have forgotten whether I am around or not. Moving to the other side of the globe is better than moving to the other side of the universe. A big thanks to technology. We can always communicate with ease.”
“Would my babies be talking to you on the phone?”
“Yep in their gibberish language. I will be cooing blowing the twins kisses. I promise to come in every three months just for them. I do take my Godmother duties seriously,” I assured Peju.
I could see her trying not to tear up, and I did appreciate. I was not sure I could hold off my tears if she started hers.
“I am trying to be strong, and little things like the twins were tearing me apart,” I mumbled incoherently hugging my best friend fiercely.
The day went in a blur. I was finally able to catch my breath when I took my seat on my plane. Six hours of sleep was a luxury I was looking forward to with delight.
I had barely settled down to begin my anticipated sleep when an air hostess came over to inform me of a change in my seat from economy to first class
“There must have been a mistake,” I argued knowing what ticket I booked and how much I paid. It was nothing near a first class.
She checked my seat number and name and reconfirmed if I was Lana of which I affirmed. All my explanations that she must have the wrong Lana seem to fall on deaf ears.
“Please, could you identify your hand luggage? I will help you with that while you follow me. We are very sorry for the inconvenience.”
I chucked. How inconvenient is moving from economy to first class?
I was still trying to figure out what was going on but I guess there would be an explanation. I hope the airline does not come back with another mix-up story as I definitely will not go back to the economy class.
Sinking into the plush cream leather seat, I closed my eyes savouring the luxury that engulfed me and like a lullaby lured me to nap.
I must be dreaming.
Why am I seeing Drew? He is seating opposite me on the plane working on his laptop like he was doing last night at his place. I was on a plane and not in his garden.
Rubbing my eyes, trying to distinguish between dreams and reality. I stretched like a shire cat and observed around me.
Shaking my head, in a bid to wipe out the image before me. How could my subconscious be conjuring Drew? Peju had messed up my head with all that talk. Laughing out loud, I assured myself I would be fine.
I picked the bottle of wine before me, reading it to be sure it was non-alcoholic. I needed my sanity to be intact when the air hostess discovered that she made a mistake. Wrinkling my nose with disgust, the mere thought of going back to economy class filled me with distaste. The airline would hear a thing or two from me if it came to that.
I poured out the wine into the wine glass and took a sip enjoying the taste of the grape. No need to worry about the future.
I almost dropped my wine glass with fear.Now I needed to visit a psychiatric doctor.I was not only hallucinating Drew being on the plane with me, but it had gotten worse that I could hear his voice.