Time they say flies when you’re having fun. It develops wings and takes to the air without recourse to any other person. It insulates you in an embryonic world where only you exist and all others cease. Time then, becomes a rush, and all you can do is go with the tide. For the currents are too strong for you to swim in. Time becomes the master and unwittingly, you become the slave.
Justin never knew this, but after his third fight with Ugochi about spending time with her, with them, he started making concerted efforts to change and start functioning in his private life as well as he did with his official. It wasn’t easy, but he tried.
After six months in marketing, he got promoted. His superiors couldn’t deny that he was an asset, and his market share rivaled that of his departmental head. How he did it, his superiors wanted to know, his colleagues on the same level begged him to slow down. Like a man possessed however, Justin had a mission. He wasn’t going to sell stock options all his life, so he remained focused and ignored them.
He made efforts to be with Ugochi though, and Segun also got blessed by her tenacity. Segun got to see his friend who would otherwise have drifted away. After the promotion; in order to celebrate, Justin invited them out to celebrate. As usual, they argued and fought about where to go, what to do there and the concept of fun. Then Segun had a bright idea when it became obvious they would argue through lunch.
‘Why don’t we just go to Tarkwa Bay? Even if we never enter the water itself, the boating experience from Bonny Camp would be something, and I’ll even allow you two experience the Atlantic Ocean together.’
Ugochi’s jaw dropped. She wanted time in the cinemas, a romantic comedy where she would allow Justin hold her hand and experience rhythmic heartbeats together. He wanted to see an action thriller, guns and sex with no meaningful storyline. Then Segun in his usual busybody way had offered a line so attractive Justin was already grinning. She felt like smacking both of them for being childish.
‘Beaches are overrated.’ She rolled her eyes upset.
The smile gradually left Justin’s face as he laid a hand on her shoulder. ‘No love, beaches are not rated highly enough. We get to experience the sunset in an ambient environment where we can walk off into the sun!’ The grin was back, and he was giddy at the thought.
She shrugged. ‘You two can have the time of your life together, I’m not going to any nonsense beach with you.’
They were at an impasse again, then Segun, calmly suggested that both parties come to a compromise. ‘How about this,’ he held up his hand at Ugochi who wanted to silence him. ‘We all go to the cinema, see your whack romance movie, then we go to the beach. We can even rent one of the houses there and I get to bring a date.’ His smile was congenial.
It was Justin’s turn to be surprised. His friend was an evil genius. He knew Ugochi would never have agreed with the suggestion, but the idea of spending an entire night with him where technology would obviously not work, was something she would desperately cling to. He relaxed and watched her.
She felt two sets of eyes on her and hissed. ‘So you two have finally decided to conspire against the dame abi? No problem, I’m not going.’ She stood up and walked away.
Both men sat there, watching her go, flummoxed at what she really wanted. Women, Justin thought, there’s no understanding them. They both left the lunch room wondering what to offer her.
Then she called Justin later that night and agreed to go. He was sufficiently at a loss for words as he grunted through the call. The following day, preparations started in earnest, and a week later, they were done. Agreements had been made, money changed hands. All that remained was for them to get into the boat and sail away.
And they did.
Segun brought a chocolate skinned lady who Justin couldn’t help oogling. She was fleshy and well rounded in proportionate areas that made Justin lust. Segun introduced her as Funmi and Justin kissed her hand, causing Ugochi to stew. She didn’t want him fraternising on what should be their getaway.
They all got in his car and he drove to the Silverbird Cinemas, they saw the movie which as it turned out they all liked. Then they got in the car and drove to the army cantonment at Bonny Camp. There, they left the car and made the short jaunt to the ferry stand on foot. Their boat was already there, waiting for them.
They all got in, strapped on their orange life-jackets and the captain switched on the engine and guided the boat away from the dock. The main attraction for their boat was that they had agreed to allow it list in the middle of the lagoon allowing the soft evening breeze blow on their faces so they could all pretend they weren’t scared of the water. At least for a few minutes.
Finally, they got to Tarkwa bay, had their boat tied to a moor and the captain stalked off having determined that they would no longer be needing his service that evening.
They watched him go, then the four set out to claim their house, settle in and explore the beach. Funmi and Ugochi stopped on entering the house. For a place that was being rented for a night, the house had a lavish design. Ugochi kissed him to show her approval. The rent would obviously have left a dent in his bank balance.
They went into separate rooms, Ugochi and Justin, Segun and Funmi. They emerged thirty minutes later dressed and ready to confront the beach, then Justin’s phone rang. It’s shrill ringtone broke through the quiet and having moved away from the Lagos bustle, it was an unwelcome noise.
Ugochi glared at him. Segun hung his head and gently patted Funmi on the back. They went out leaving Ugochi and Justin. She shook her head in disbelief, hurt that he had made himself available to distraction.
She stretched out her hand, ‘give me the phone.’
Having spied the caller details, Justin knew he couldn’t miss the call. He had been expecting Mr Adam’s call all day. He raised up one finger and answered the call. ‘Good evening sir, I’ve been waiting for your call all day.’
‘Justin, I’m afraid I have bad news. The shit has hit the fan, we’re in terrible soup.’
He paused momentarily, unable to speak. Ugochi who was angry at him saw him go white and her anger changed to concern in a few seconds. She watched him nod his head, grunt a few times, then like in horror movies, watched as the phone slid from his hand and he started falling backwards. She did not react fast enough.
He crashed into the floor of the house heavily and at the same time, Ugochi’s wail rent the air. Segun who was having a discussion with Funmi outside rushed in and found Ugochi trying to revive a supine Justin. ‘What happened?’ He queried.
Her tears would not allow her auditory sensors work. She made a lot of noise, none sensible, and had become a mess as she fought to revive the man she loved.
Segun got a bowl of water and splayed both of them. Justin came to with a bang. He jumped up and started running out. Segun caught him. ‘Chill dude, what’s the hurry?’
Justin paused for a few seconds to calm himself. Then held Segun’s gaze as he said calmly. ‘Segun, my life is over.’
© Derin Gbadebo 2013.