You hit me and you ran off. You approached from behind, like someone chased by a monster and bumped into me…a rude shock, like an unexpected punch to the face. By the time I was done obeying Newton’s law of motion, I had spurn some 180 degrees, struck the side of the bridge and was now facing South, the direction I had been coming from. The screeching had hardly come to an end, when you zoomed off, the cry of your engine as you furiously stepped on the accelerator my first assurance of being alive. I only caught a glimpse of your tail light and the frame of your car as you ran off into the darkness…into the prison of your conscience.
It was about 8.30pm. I remember because I had just switched to Nigeria Info fm, for the sports crew, Femi and the Gang to lead me home with their commentary on that night’s mid-week EPL matches. Graciously, traffic was light because of the fuel scarcity and I looked forward to the welcoming smile of my wife and our daughter Kamsiyonna when I got home. She, Kamsi will giggle, wiggle her legs in the air as I lift her up and smack me across the face as if saying where have you been all day.
In a second, you attempted to take all that away from me…from them.
You hit me and you ran off. The scene of your cowardice was Falomo Bridge, Ikoyi. In the days that followed, I will wonder what could make any one scamper away like you did from a scene they created. Maybe you panicked…thought you had killed someone or perhaps it was the cost you would be made to bear for the damages that made you run away. Perhaps still, you were simply exhibiting the death to the humanity in all of us…a total lack of conscience in both high and low places that the world seems to be cloaked in these days.
The impact, the screeching and the final halt could not have lasted for longer than a minute. But it seemed like ages. Every now and again, I get flashes of it like I am hallucinating and it makes me shudder. So this is how people die? Chest slammed against the steering, head against the windscreen and my obituary would have been all over social media by now. But I was pinned down by my seat belt. That was my saving grace. And as an added proof that it was not yet time, no car was approaching on the lane you had dumped me. It is not hard to imagine what could have happened if there was one.
I will imagine later what kind of person you are…where you might have been running to that night? I would wonder if you were going home to a wife and a child and how you can find peaceful sleep knowing the mess you left on the way. Perhaps still, you ended up in a beer parlour somewhere with torrents of high-fives from drunken friends congratulating you for escaping in 007 style. I have imagined you being someone I knew, one of my facebook friends or readers of my blog and I played around with thoughts of what your reaction would be to news of my death in an accident. Once, on a lighter note, I even imagined what your politics is like, who you were rooting for in the coming elections, what kind of holier than thou opinions you express in your space on social media…but I digress.
You hit me and you ran. Much has been said by sympathizers since that night…how it will not be well with you, of how you will never find peace; of how God will…Personally, I have not been able to conceive my own wishes for you, good or bad. Instead, I have focused on what you gave me; a whole new appreciation of life and the ones I love. For what you took from me, can be fixed with time and money but what you gave me, only come from such scary encounters that herald a new beginning. For when I finally got home that night, shaken as I was, to my wife’s reassuring hug and my baby’s smile oblivious of what had happened, I knew for a fact that I lost nothing at all.
So I say to you wherever you are, I forgive you and I hope you finally escape from whatever it is that is chasing you in life.
And to all who read this remember: your next second is a promise no one has made you. So make the most of each moment and please, use your seat belts.
ka udo di. ka ndu di.
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