Meanwhile, I called Luke Abanyam, my host in Makurdi, who picked me up in his car, and took me home. His wife, Hannah had cooked a sumptuous breakfast to welcome me to their city. After eating, they both left to go to work, since it was Friday morning. I promptly fell asleep.
By the time I woke up and freshened up, it was almost time to meet with Sewuese. She had promised to meet me at a local restaurant at 5:00pm that day.
After waiting for Hannah, who worked as a primary school teacher to come home, I ate and left in a taxi to meet Sewuese.
Nervous and excited, I alighted at the designated meeting place, paid the fare and strolled inside. It was already 5:10pm, but there were very few customers at the restaurant. I looked around a bit. Everyone seemed to be there with someone else.
“She hasn’t come,” I surmised.
I picked a seat at a table for three and sat facing the entrance.
Ten minutes later, a BBM message arrived on my phone:
I’m here o.
Almost immediately I read the message, I looked up to see a young woman walk into the restaurant. She walked with the confidence of a queen, wearing dark blue jeans, which flared slightly below the knees, and a bright yellow t-shirt, which in all its simplicity showed off her shapely figure. She wore dark shades and the moment I laid eyes on her, I knew she was the one.
“You must be Sewuese,” I said as soon as I reached the place where she stood. She smiled and nodded and I gave her a bear hug.
“And you must be Bolawa,” she said, smiling as I leaned in and hugged her again for no particular reason. I could barely contain my excitement.
Could she feel my heart beating violently in my chest? She was more beautiful than I had imagined and I grinned sheepishly more than once as I checked her out.
“Ahn ahn, remove your shades now, make we see your–”
I had started speaking, but stopped mid-sentence in shock. I knew there was something strangely familiar about her face, but I didn’t quite get it, until she took off her shades.
Staring at me, right there in Makurdi, was what appeared to be a female version of Tony, minus the red, Apollo-ridden eyes. Large eyes, full lips and a well-carved nose.
“Jesus! Jesus! J-e-s-u-s! What is this?!” I screamed, horror written all over my face. I was beside myself with fright, and took a few steps back.
“What is it?” the poor girl asked, confused.
“But I just … You were ….” I began.
“What is it now? Tell me what’s going on?”
“On the bus … Tony … Are you Tony?” I blurted out finally, knowing I was asking a stupid question.
“No, I’m not … Wait, wait ….” said Sewuese, folding her shades and hanging them on the front of her t-shirt. “Just wait,” she said again, as she reached into her tiny coin purse and pulled out a passport-sized photo.
“Is this the person you saw?” she asked, walking over to me, and handing over the photograph to me with trembling hands. I looked at it, and sure enough, there was Tony, the young man I had met on the bus, grinning at me.
I couldn’t believe it. How was this possible? What was his connection to Sewuese?
“Yes … Yes, that’s Tony,” I shouted pointing at the picture as if I expected him to jump out and explain himself. No such luck. “Oh my God … Yes, that’s Tony. But, but how come …?”
Sewuese gave a heavy sigh, and without taking her gaze off my face, she said:
“His name is … was Sesugh, but we all called him Tony. He was my twin brother–”
“What do you mean he was?” I asked, knowing the answer, but still refusing to believe it.
Sewuese put me out of my misery.
“He’s dead. He died in a car accident exactly one year ago. He had gone to visit my uncle in Lagos, and on his way back to Makurdi, he–”
The moment she said the word “dead,” the truth dawned on me. All the puzzling pieces of my trip to Makurdi finally fit together: the handshake, the tingling sensation, the fact that no one else saw or heard Tony. It all made sense. Horrible, unbelievable sense.
I did not wait for Sewuese to finish her story. I ran out of that restaurant in terror, and somehow found my way back to Luke’s house. Without giving him or his wife any explanation, I packed my belongings, and that same day, I got on a bus going to Lagos.
The bus was almost full when I entered and the driver and conductor were still waiting for two more passengers before leaving. I pulled out my wallet, paid for the two extra seats and shouted to the driver in urgent tones:
“Oga, I take God beg you. No wait for any person again. Na now now we dey leave Makurdi! No waste time abeg! Do quick, abeg!”
Miraculously, he agreed and the bus was on the road just a few minutes after I boarded.
As soon as we got on the road, I deleted Sewuese from my list of contacts. Then, I called my church. A lady answered the phone and I said:
“Madam, please when is the next deliverance? Please, I need deliverance!”
– THE END –