Today makes it exactly six years you left me standing disoriented staring at your back as you got into your bus and zoomed off, leaving me in shock . I can still see you in your green and beige ‘Ankara buba and sokoto’. I see your slippers as you dump my bags at my feet after bringing them down from the trunk.
I remember thanking you, telling you I appreciated your help. I can still see the smile you gave me in return, telling me not to bother thanking you, for you did all you did for God. And then, you turned, waved goodbye and off you went.
Today, I forgive you. I hold no grudge what so ever. I mean, I have held it in for so long but today, I let it all go. I refuse to feel all over again the hurt I felt at that fuel station in Sango, Ibadan when I realized that you had outsmarted me. I refuse to feel the panic I felt when I realized that you had gone and you had taken with you what was mine. I refuse to feel again the shame that washed over me when I realized you had played me for a fool.
This morning, as I write this, I ask myself, “how could you have known that I had nothing else on me that evening? I wonder how you could have known that all I had was what you took. I wonder how you could have known that your theft broke my heart, destroyed my defenses.”
Hear me out before you protest, before you say I am too cruel; let me tell you what your theft did to me that night. Your theft made me go hungry that night. Your theft was what made me carry my bags on my head, instead of using those ‘Alabarus’, your theft was what made me miss out on the sweet popcorn at Agbowo junction. Your theft made me forgo a bottle of chilled Fanta that night.
I blame myself too. Maybe that is why it has become easier to forgive you. I ask myself how I could have been so foolish to forget what was mine with you, how I could have been so carried away to have watched you leave with what belonged to me. I ask myself why I did not raise an alarm or try to trace you when I realized you were leaving with what was mine. I admit that I should take a share in the blame.
Dear bus driver whose vehicle I boarded from Berger to Ibadan that Wednesday evening, six years ago, and who kept my change of eight hundred Naira, (for I believe you kept it) I forgive you. From the depth of my heart, I forgive you!
Let me pray for you, just so you believe that I have truly forgiven you. May your ‘change’ not be carried away, may man not cause you hunger, may you not miss out on sweet, buttery popcorn. Amen!
Don’t try to justify your actions by saying you forgot you had my money with you. Let me juggle your memory a little bit. It was immediately after I had asked you for what was mine, that you zoomed off. That was after telling me “Ohhh, mabinu. Je Ki’n mu Owo ninu motor.” (Let me get some cash from the vehicle) It was the money I was waiting for when I heard you start your bus and race away, leaving me rooted to the spot in shock.
“Mogbe! My eight hundred Naira!” were the first words that flew out of my mouth when I could think again.
I am fine now. I have gotten over your betrayal. I have gotten over my hunger, and my neck that throbed with pain that night many years ago. I have forgotten the way my throat constricted as Bolatito guzzled a bottle of Pepsi that night. Indeed, I have forgotten. I hope you never did that again to any other person. I hope you are a better person now.
I sincerely hope you built a house with that money. Or perhaps, you bought the latest car. Maybe the money was even used to pay your child’s school fees. Whatever it was used for, I hope my ‘eight hundred Naira’ served you well.
Dear bus driver, I forgive you.
Photo Credit: Nikolay Mamluke | Dreamstime.com