We were on a bike en route our school, two joyous friends, soon to be graduates of one of the most prestigious private universities in the country. As far as we were concerned, we were graduates as from the moment we wrote our final paper, the upcoming ceremony was just a necessary formality.
‘Dennis, hope you didn’t forget anything at the pool’ I shouted over the noise of the bike as we sped along the secondary road leading to our campus. I was still feeling a little giddy from the excitement of being a graduate, coupled with our time at the swimming pool and the glass of red wine I took on our way out.
‘No man, everything is in the bag’ he shouted back
No sooner had I plugged in my headphones to drown the ambient noise with some good music that I heard a loud bang, and I felt the bike shake as the Okada man struggled to keep us upright. It didn’t take my brain too long to process the fact that the bang was from the back tire, which was directly under my seat.
‘That was our tire, please just be calm’ I called out to the bike man, thankful that my voice didn’t betray me as we wobbled back and forth on the road and that there was no other vehicle on the road.
‘Guy abeg no press brake o’ Dennis said to the man as he battled with the handlebars of the bike.
With the speed at which we were moving, I knew it would be very tough for the Okada man to maneuver and successfully park the bike without spilling us all into the road so I made a quick decision to jump off the bike into the bushes. I regretted my decision the minute I was airborne. The sentence ‘My life flashed before my eyes’ had a whole new meaning as I experienced first hand what happens to people that have had close shaves with death. I tried to position myself so I could land on my feet but to no avail, I hit the floor with my butt and laid on my back as I glided through the grass. I reached out for branches and boulders to try to stop moving but ended up with scratches and cuts. All this while, several thoughts were running through my mind ‘How do I explain to my parents that a few days to my graduation, I had a bike accident after I had been warned countless number of times to avoid boarding bikes? or what would I say I went to do out of school when I was supposedly preparing for my graduation ceremony? ‘ This and many others were going through my mind, but most important was the thought that I could lose my life. I looked up and noticed that Dennis was also trying to jump off the bike but his tight trousers got caught on the metal carrier of the bike. ‘I hope the bike doesn’t injure him this way…’ I was thinking but my thought train was brought to an abrupt end when I hit my head against a huge piece of stone, and I blacked out.
I woke up to mind-numbing pain at the back of my head and on my butt. My hands had scratched blades of elephant grass and they itched, but it was nothing compared to the pain I felt on my backside. Miraculously, my phones were still in my hand though the screen of one of them was shattered. I noticed I had some missed calls on the other one and as I tried to check them, it made the ‘battery empty’ sound and went off. I was lying in the bushes, not sure if I could still walk and my phones were off. I knew from watching a lot of action movies that one should not be in a rush to get up after an accident, so I started by making sure I could move my head though it hurt an awful lot. I knew my hands were working already so I moved my waist a little, then my right leg and the left one. I did a mental assessment of my injuries and concluded that I would survive albeit a lot of pain.
I got to my feet and gritted my teeth as another bout of pain shot from my backside to my head. I staggered out of the bushes onto the main road and tried to flag down a cab or another bike but to no avail. It was already getting late and I knew the okada men wouldn’t pick up stragglers on a lonely road.