She was a teacher. That was all.All her dreams of working with a consulate, tours across Europe and other countries where the languages she spoke so fluently were spoken had all kind of been frozen and locked away somewhere. Life had happened and kept happening.
All that mattered to her now was staying alive, paying her bills and keeping her job as a language teacher in the Secondary School where she taught. The pay was decent, the kids were mostly well brought up and ambitious children of the very rich and she had the luxury of a staff quarters. She loved her apartment, it was quaint and had been furnished by the school. She had lived there alone for slightly over a year before June, her school-daughter from her days at the Federal Government Girls College, had moved in with her.June was special. The kind of girl that all things seemed to be perfect with. It always seemed to Becky that her darling school-daughter had a special waiver signed by the Almighty Himself. She didn’t think June had had to break a sweat for anything in her life. Right from the moment she’d known her as a 9year old JSS 1 student, the girl was always in luck. Wealthy folks, only girl, flawless skin, long hair, painless menses. Ah! That last one made her green with envy. Her own period was horrendous. June just seemed to have it all on a plater of gold. Becky could hardly think of anything at which she bettered June. Well, she was older and had served 2 years ago. June was four years younger and was presently doing her NYSC.Becky looked at her watch, put aside her German novel and left the staff room. It was time to teach the SSS 3 French class. It was a class of 11 bright kids she always looked forward to teaching. Today they were going to see the second half of a French movie and at the end discuss the characters, plot and execution. She knew learning a language was easier when a bunch of people were speaking to each other in a relaxed atmosphere. Here she did her best to excel as a French teacher, back in the university, she had done her best as a student of French, German and Portuguese. Being that she practiced French often, she had no problems with fluency. It was the other two she had to work at staying good at. She read books, listened to tapes and bought movies to maintain her command.2:13pm, Thur.June turned on the AC and flung herself on the bed. “Whoosh!” she exhaled. It was her 4th month in the FCT and she was nowhere close to getting used to the heat. She was at least glad she’d gotten such a place to stay. It was convenient and comfortable. Staying with her FGGC school-mother was fun too. Since the day Becky had left secondary school, they had not set eyes on each other. Three years ago, they had reconnected on Facebook and had soon exchanged numbers. So, on coming to the FCT, Becky’s place had been the natural destination port for her. It was somewhat a let down, though, considering the kind of dreams Becky had nursed since forever. Turning out a language teacher was clearly not in the scope of things. But then, that was life.Her Community Development Service group was the Orientation Broadcast Service. It was fun and something that came natural to her. She had quickly made friends and contacts and had started assisting on the Morning Show at a radio station in the city. Tonight however, she would be going back to anchor the All-Night show as a favor for her friend, the show’s original host, who was ill. As stressful as it sounded, she was eager and brimming with excitement. She was going to be anchoring alone! She could not wait to break the news to Becky. She got off the bed and undressed. the only thing that was big in the tiny apartment was the wardrobe and that was just as well. She looked herself over in the full-length mirror, winked then said “Dashing!”9:41pm, Thur.Tari drove slowly away from the office. Things were happening. His boss’ half brother had called in from Kuwait, there were some fresh prospects on the horizon. The man would not go into details but the bottom line was, if his company got the contract, its sister company (Tari’s company) would also be coming on board. He liked the way the two brothers did business – complete trust. Tari didn’t like raising his hopes, though. He liked to keep his mind on the stuff at hand. He was the realist at work. His boss depended on him for objective and precise views on every project. He knew he most times sounded gloomy, but he noticed his CEO never gave his word to a client without asking for Tari’s take on the issue. “Why change a winning team?” his uncle used to say.Tari was an Environmental Impact Assessment expert, with an MSc and years working experience to prove it. In a few months it would be 3 years. He was not a desk man, he felt alive out in fields and sites doing what his heart loved. His office has always been in the FCT and he often boasted he knew the city inside-out. Arriving at the main road, two different routes came to mind. He chose the 2nd – he wanted to buy a pizza on the way home at his preferred pizza place. He turned left, got on the fast lane and blew away into the night. He was driving his own car tonight, a 2012 Lexus RX 350 SUV. Most times he drove one of the company’s Toyota Tundras. His was a much easier ride for nights like this and so he had decided to drive his car home.As he approached the junction, he slowed down, then he spotted a pair of headlamps sitting astride the yellow lane markers some distance ahead. “What’s he doing there?” he asked aloud as he adjusted to the right and slowed down some more. A cab suddenly swung out on his left making to overtake, reflexively, he made to wind down and flag down the cab when he saw another pair of headlamps appear behind the first and make to cut across his lane and into a side road. “Shit!” he spat slamming on his brake and hitting the hazard lights at once. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the cab run head-on into the first set of headlamps, which turned out to be an SUV. He heard the squeal of tires, a loud crash and heard pieces of glass shower his window and car body.Tari stepped out of his vehicle. He left the engine running, lights on and driver’s door open. If he needed to leave the spot quickly, he had it all set up. Three guys got out of the SUV that had been involved in the accident, all dressed in the same colour of guinea-brocade. There was an event center a few buildings down the road to the right of the junction and Tari guessed that’s where they had come out from. It also seemed they had been drinking, a little too much, from the way they slurred and moved. Ignoring them, he headed to the cab. Miraculously, a man, who turned out to be the driver, was exiting on the passenger side towards him. Tari quickly gave him a hand and helped him to his feet. “Are you OK?” Tari asked the man who was speaking hotly in Igbo language. Shock, Tari thought.He inspected the back seat and there, curled up, he found a lady. By now, other drivers and passers-by were coming on the scene. “Hey!” Tari called out to the lady as he quickly opened the back door. There was glass everywhere in the cabin as he stretched across the seat to reach her. She jerked the moment his hand touched her shoulder. “Its OK. Everything is fine now. Are you hurt?” he asked taking her arm and leading her out as another person opened the door on the other side and assisted him in getting the lady out of the cab. By now the cab driver and the guys from the SUV were engaged in a heated argument. “Is this all your stuff?” he asked the shaken lady whom the other good samaritan was holding up. “Yes, my bag.” she said pointing at the bag Tari held up to her.“We need to get her to a hospital.” the other man said. “That’s my car.” Tari said pointing. Now the crowd was busy trying to keep the argument at the scene from blowing up into a fight. All four men were being restrained and cautioned. Tari assisted the other man and got the lady into the back seat of his SUV, then both men got in front. The moment they were all in, he drove off. “See those fools fighting instead of thanking God for their lives.” the man said as Tari drove past the pizza place he had been heading to initially. The lady in the back would moan, turn or cough intermittently causing both men to ask after her welfare till they arrived at a hospital. The men carried her in and the nurses took over after a brief explanation of what had happened.After a while, the other man had to leave, they both thanked God and each other that the lady had been pronounced OK by the doctor and would be allowed to go home in an hour or so. Tari took care of the bills and decided to wait. He could at least drop her off at her home and then maybe resume his hunt for dinner.