It had been a cold day; the evening sky was star studded, breath taking and filled with smog. Apiyo stood at the bus stop coughing in to her handkerchief, her eyes stinging and tearing from the diesel exhaust from the bus engines. The queue was so long, she had been standing only 20 minutes but she felt very faint. The smog was only making things worse.
A young man peering through the window of a bus beckoned her and pointed at a seat next to him. Apiyo stared at him. She looked behind her to see if he was talking to someone else, and then looked at him again. He smiled and pointed at her nodding mouthing, “Yes you! You!”
He pointed relentlessly at her. Apiyo tapped the shoulder of the gentleman in front of her and said loud enough for people around to hear, “I am standing right behind you. I will be right back.” She pointed at herself then at the man who was beckoning her through the bus window. The man nodded in acknowledgment. Apiyo walked carefully and steadily she was coughing much more frequently now.
“Fffit?” Apiyo responded very apprehensively. She was a bit baffled by the man.
“You don’t recognize me do you?”
The man laughed, Apiyo was so confused and startled. He knew it had been a long time, but he couldn’t understand why Apiyo didn’t have the slightest idea of who he was.
“Have I aged that badly Apiyo?”
Apiyo’s eyes widened, brows now saluting at almost 60 degree angles. She took a few steps back.
“No…no…don’t be afraid, why don’t you hop into the bus? There is space for another next to me.”
“Ok? Who are you? What do you want from me? How do you know me?” Apiyo’s voice was now ringing through the bus stop, people began to stare.
“Apiyo Relax… I am Wellington….”
“Welington who?” Apiyo cut him short. “What do you want from me?” she was shaking her wrist from his grip through the window.
“Just hop in and we can talk, I blocked off this seat when I saw you. Let’s talk calmly, what I have to tell you will be particularly startling…”
Apiyo walked off. Wellington quickly hopped off the bus and followed Apiyo to the queue that she was in. “Damn it! Double damn it, not today!” The queue had not moved, she was stuck with some weirdo she couldn’t shake off.
“Did Edu go to Gari High School, he always rambled on about it? Does Dad still read the newspaper aloud at Breakfast? Does Mama still cook Nyoyo on Sundays. God that…”
“Drove me crazy” They both chorused together. Apiyo’s jaw dropped. How did he know all of this? She looked at him closer, and began to examine his face with her hands. Could it really be? It had been 20 years since…since…the incident. She believed in resurrection but not in this form.
“We thought you were dead…” Apiyo began to tear.
Wellington spread his hands out like…like…It was him. Apiyo hopped on to him in disbelief. Screaming, “Wellington! Wellington! We missed you; we thought…we thought…” Apiyo’s tears streamed down her face as did Wellington’s. After 20 years, he wasn’t dead, if he was alive, then where had he been?
“What? What? What? Where? Why did you leave us…”
“Shhh…let’s get you something to eat, you still have rotten eating habits Apiyo. You are so skinny… I will explain to you over the meal then we can head home together.” Apiyo nodded submissively and hypnotized in confusion.