In the garden there was you and there was me
Everything was perfect in between……..
-Show Dem Camp, The Garden.
She moved from side to side as she tried to settle in her chair. Although this was her favored spot, she could not ignore the jitters riddling her. Having a view of the clouds promised to be soothing, but something felt amiss. Maybe it was a premonition that something was not right. Her eyes roamed to the back of the plane half expecting to catch a glimpse of a sign; an ominous sign that all was not well. Passengers rushed into the cabin wanting to secure a spot by the window.
The cabin was divided into rows of two seats. Families of different sizes squeezed their way into the narrow aisle separating both rows. The rowdiness was unbearable for the passenger in front of her as he struggled to put his bags in the overhead bin. Someone bumped into him and he turned to look, cursing under his breath as he adjusted his shirt and squeezed in his bag.
She wished people could bump into him so he would have to stretch again. Not that she wanted to punish him, but putting the bags required that he stretched a bit, which lifted his shirt and revealed his lower abdomen. This she wanted to keep seeing.
He closed the bin and scanned the plane. People settled in their seats as hostesses tended to their questions. He bent to see her staring at him and smiled.
‘I’m taken’ he said reading her thoughts
‘Oh yeah?’ she asked, laughing.
He took her hand in his and she saw his ring. She loved how he wore their relationship like an attire and was adorned by it. It made her feel subsumed in something larger than her. Sometimes she felt she didn’t measure up to him. It came to mind in her dark times, a side to her they fought hard to kill.
Her watch buzzed. She rummaged through her bag making a mental note to switch to airplane mode before the plane settled in the air. Her jitters worsened if she knew her phone received signals mid-air. Her husband thought she was finicky, to her every safety precaution was necessary for this means of travel. She lost two friends to the plane that crashed into houses in Lagos killing one fifty three passengers on board while trying to make an emergency landing. Although the crash had nothing to do with phone signals, she felt safer knowing she took precautions. She unlocked her phone and saw messages from Funmilayo.
‘What’s up?’ her husband asked hearing her hiss
‘Its Funmi . She’s mad about the project show dem camp just released. It’s all over her Whatsapp and every platform she’s on’ she said.
‘She’s only being like-
‘I know’ she said holding a hand to his face. ‘Listen to this’ she said handing over her phone.
‘Fade, you have to listen to this album aswear, these guys are men of the year if ever there’s a thing like that. And ghost, oh my ghost. I am eloping with that man soon. Please don’t tell Abel. I still want my marriage intact. Love you.’
‘You traitor’ he said
‘She would be surprised if I didn’t do that’ she replied
She read other messages. She turned to see her husband close his eyes and adjust in his seat. Soon he would let out a light snore and will be impossible to wake. The trip was needed, assuring a rest in between and afterwards. She looked around for what to do. The book in her hand didn’t have the same allure it did before she boarded. Her mind roamed till she remembered Funmi’s request to listen to the album. She put her headphones on.
I heard the whisper rise gradually. It was faint like I was in the distance and soon my consciousness gave in. I blinked weakly, turning in my seat to face her. Her eyes were dancing in delight as she nodded with her headphones on. Her eyes were on her phone reciting words I guessed accompanied the song. I was enthralled by what I saw. It was a delight to know music still had such an effect on her. I watched her for a few minutes and tried to sleep. She tapped me.
‘Okay?’ I asked, waiting to hear what she had to say. She looked at her phone like she had won the lottery. Her excitement was contagious.
‘Guy’ she said, sounding like someone possessed by a spirit. I have mixed feelings about her calling me this even though I knew where I stood in her life.
I smiled, wondering what caused the excitement. I remembered reading somewhere that dating is like collecting information about someone until you realize you don’t like them. They were wrong.
I put the headphones on and listened waiting to get intoxicated too.
……Everything was perfect in between
Time stopped as I listened to every word said by each artist. They encapsulated emotions so palpable I could digest endlessly. I saw myself reflect in their words, the strings in the song taking me to new heights. I was glad someone said what I couldn’t with such precision. She watched me play the song over again, each time showing her delight. She beamed at me as I took the headphones off.
‘I know!’ she said in a muffled scream. My face said it all.
‘How do you-‘
‘I know!’ she said
‘Everybody has old wounds that needs some dressing’ I said
‘Life moves fast but taking things slow can be refreshing’ we said in unison and let out a deep guffaw.
‘Wow. That was a trip’ I said
‘Touché, my love. Touché.’ She said collecting the headphones. I closed my eyes; taking a trip in my mind’s eye back to the garden I still saw in my dreams. Sometimes I could make out her hands as she led me, other times I was waiting for someone I knew wouldn’t come. But it was here time stood still and the wheels of life changed on me.
To be continued…..