“How do I look?” I asked John, hoping for a positive reply.
“You look good. Why are you even asking?” he replied looking at me furiously.
“You know Paula’s gonna be there and I have to look good so her eyes will be fixated on me.” I said, smirking.
“It’s 7:45am, let’s bounce else we’ll be late. And you don’t want to get Mr Andrew mad. Believe me.”
The atmosphere was poise, although it wasn’t raining. Everyone had assembled at the bushed as expected. I could sight Paula from where I was and she was looking very beautiful. Almost like she wore that dress because of me.
“Thank God all of you came. Saved me the trouble of going to your dorms,” Mr Andrew yelled. The look on his face depicted relief.
“Now if you’ll all be silent as I call out your names. Once you hear yours, just say ‘present’, that’s all.” It went on for some minutes and eventually we were all in the bus. The sky seemed cloudy but no sign of rain. John and I sat down together while Paula sat with her roomie- Vickie (short for Victoria). We weren’t allowed to talk inside the bus, as Mr Andrew’s eyes were filled with seriousness.
John whispered into my ear, “Hey, have you noticed how frequent Vickie keeps looking at this angle?”
“Um, I wouldn’t know. I’m concerned with why Paula hasn’t looked this way since the journey began.”
“Dumbass! She knows you’re looking at her that’s why she’s pretending not to look.” He said, pointing towards her.
“Oh!” I said, scratching my head. “And what’s about Vickie looking at this angle?”
“I can’t actually tell.” He replied, staring at her.
“Maybe she just like this view.” I responded sarcastically.
“Alright, Everyone!” Mr Andrew shouted. I never understood why he kept yelling, maybe it was his nature. He continued, “We’ve arrived at the Museum. Now I want you all to listen carefully. Behave yourselves very well or else…….,” he ended his statement, leaving us to conclude it.
The Museum’s entrance was astonishing. It got us thinking we were in heaven. A gentleman walked up to us, he wore a well-ironed long sleeve shirt and jeans trouser. “Hello, my name is David. I’ll be your guide for the day,” he said with a smile on his face that seemed almost too genuine.
“You heard him!” Mr Andrew shouted, signaling for us to follow him.
The gates were designed perfectly likewise the paintings on the wall. The museum was filled with statues, sculptures, artifacts, paintings from various artists.
“This here, is a painting by Mr Ade. It was painted in 1979 at Benin Kingdom.” He pointed out to the painting and began narrating the story of its existence. I took that as an opportunity to move towards Paula.
“Hey.” I poked her waist. She turned around and smiled.
“I thought it was someone else.” she said, smiling.
“Who else could touch you like that?” I asked rhetorically.
“No one, of course.”
Looking back towards John, I noticed him talking to Vickie and she was smiling unnecessarily.
“Um, your roomie, Vickie, does she have a boyfriend?” I asked, with my eyes still focused on John.
“Um, what sort of question is that?” she asked, looking furious.
“I just wanna know if she’s currently dating someone.” I said confidently.
“Are you into Vickie now?”
“Vickie? No, no. Oh th-that wasn’t what I was insinuating.” I responded, stammering. “I just…..ah, never mind.”
“Better.” She said with a frown on her face then turned around.
‘You had to ruin the moment,’ I said to myself. I asked the question wrongly and made Paula upset. David on the other hand was still talking, “the muesem has a notable collection of Nigeria art including pieces of statuary and carvings and archaeological and ethnographic exhibits.”
* * * *
“Alright. Hope we all enjoyed today? I never got to go to any muesem when I was in the University. So that’s something. If you’ll step into the vehicle and we’ll be on our merry way back.”
Everyone got back into the bus and couple minutes later, we were on the road. The sky was getting darker by the moment and we got stuck in traffic. Eventually, the bus got moving again but unfortunately broke down.
“What’s the problem?” Mr Andrew asked the driver, looking at him with anger written all over his face.
“Err, it seems the engine is over-heated.” The driver responded with fear. “The bus won’t move anytime soon, we’d have to call a mechanic to come check it.”
“Don’t you know how to fix a car?” Mr Andrew asked with rage.
“I’m afraid that’s not in my job description.”
Mr Andrew turned towards everyone, “well, well, well, seems we’re gonna have to sleep at a motel.”
The rain came down intemperately, the sky was benighted, the winds were blowing furiously, the only obvious noise was that of the thunder.
“This is gonna be one hell of a night.” John said, looking at me with a smile on his face.
WRITTEN BY PRAISE OSAWARU