My alarm rang and I woke up with a start. It was 5 am. I looked at my phone and wondered why it woke me up by 5 instead of 6:30. It wasn’t my regular alarm, this was a reminder; I had a flight to catch by 8am. I didn’t remember any such flights. Where was I going? And to do what? The ‘mail’ icon on my phone was blinking so I opened my mail. I’d gotten a mail from the Human Resource manager of my company reminding me of my scriptwriting conference in Port-Harcourt. Apparently she’d booked the conference for two months but this was the first I was hearing of it.
I wanted to reply the mail saying so but I changed my mind. There was no big deal. A trip to Port-Harcourt wasn’t a terrible idea and I didn’t have to spend a dime of my own money.
I got ready and by 6:15 I was at the airport. I’d just stepped into the airport when I got a text saying my flight had been postponed for one hour. I wasn’t angry, I’d made a vow never to get angry at Nigerian airlines anymore; it was a waste. I looked around for a comfortable chair where I could sit relaxed. There was a good chance the postponed flight would also be postponed. I found a chair and sat.
I’d just sat for less than a minute when somebody joined me on the chair. I caught a glimpse of her from the corner of my eye and stopped. No, it couldn’t be. I slowly turned around and looked and yes, it was!
Adesua Etomi was sitting beside me.
Enter, all my shyness demons.
I could not believe this. She was my biggest crush in the world and I’d dreamed of the day when I would meet her. I’d dreamed of all the good things I would say to her and blow her mind. I’d also planned that if things were going really well, I’d call my parents and tell them I’d found the one, even on that first meeting. But I was doing none of that. I sat still, not moving any part of me; afraid to scare her off.
I looked at her from the corner of my eye and thought of all the good lines I could use to open a conversation. I’d exchanged tweets with her before, severally. I did a post for her birthday and she replied. Using a lot of emojis, I should add. Maybe if I showed her my Twitter/Instagram handle, she would know who I was. How would that conversation start though? ‘Hi, check out my Twitter handle’? That was stupid.
I was starting to sweat because I had been sitting still for too long. Maybe all I had to do was say ‘hi’ and the conversation will flow. Maybe.
I turned to her. “Hi.”
She looked at me and smiled. “Hello.” And she went back to her phone.
Okay, maybe not.
I had to do something. This encounter was going on my blog and it couldn’t go there if it doesn’t go past ‘hi’ and ‘hello’. I was a frigging writer, why were words failing me now? Okay, if this was Adam Ademola meeting her, what would he say? I shook my head, Adam wasn’t the right character to channel. Mark? Martins? Faruk! What would Faruk say? He’d probably start with something funny.
For a few minutes I thought about jokes I could open the conversation with. I threw away one terrible joke after the other; I was never going to find the perfect… wait a minute, a joke just came to mind. It was perfect.
I was about to turn to her when her phone rang.
“Hey,” She said. “Yeah, the flight was postponed.” Pause. “Okay, I’ll meet you outside.”
She stood, nodded at me and walked away.
That was it? How could I write a blog and talk about how she nodded at me? I shook my head and relaxed on the chair, I was just a sad ol’ geek.
I closed my eyes and dozed off.
It was almost 9am and the flight was not postponed any further. I started on the line to enter into the plane and to my surprise saw Adesua Etomi getting on the same flight with me. What if I ended up sitting next to her? That would be awesome! But who was I deceiving? She was probably in First Class and I trust my stingy HR boss, I was sitting in Economy.
We entered the plane and I was right. Adesua sat in First Class, segregated from me. I felt like a second class citizen sitting at the back of the bus.
But something happened that turned my life around. I was upgraded to First Class.
I wanted to stand and shout Hallelujah but I was afraid I would be sent back to Economy or off the plane so I just beamed a huge smile and said the Hallelujah under my breath.
As if that wasn’t great enough, my seat was next to Adesua’s. It felt like a dream, I couldn’t believe the kind of luck I was having.
“Hi again.” I said, as I sat. I wasn’t going to dull it this time.
“Hello.” She said and before I could say anything added. “Are you lordjoshwrites?”
I nodded so vigorously, smiled so sheepishly, I must have looked like an idiot.
“It occurred to me it was you after I left earlier so I went to check your picture.” She stretched her hand to me. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”
I shook her hand. I still could not believe this was happening.
“What are you going to Port Harcourt for?” She asked.
Finally I found my voice. “I’m attending a screenwriting conference.”
“Well, except there are two screenwriting conferences going on in Port-Harcourt today, I’m speaking at your conference. Giving the actor’s point of view.”
“Wow, I can’t wait to hear your presentation.”
“Want to hear it now?”
“Of course.” I said. “Wait, no. I’ll wait to hear it at the conference.”
“That’s fine then.” She said. “They’re sending a car for me, maybe you could ride with me.”
“That would be crazy awesome.” I said.
We sat in silence for a while. I could not believe what was happening to me. I was already writing a letter to my kids; ‘How I met your mother’.
“Do you mind if I take a picture?” Adesua said.
“Sure.” I said. “As long as you agree to send it to me.”
She giggled. Oh such a sweet sound.
She lifted her phone to take the picture then my phone began to ring. Who on earth was calling me at this kind of time?
I looked at the phone, it was my alarm and it said 6:30. That was weird.
I looked up at Adesua and her phone but they were not there. In fact, there were no other people, there was no plane.
Oh my God! It was a dream? I was still at the airport?
No wonder, why would Adesua want to take my picture?
I opened my eyes wider and looked around; this wasn’t the airport. I was on my bed! There was no mail from HR! There was no flight! There was no screenwriting conference!
Well, smack me on the head and call me Sule.
There was no Adesua!