…continued from the previous episode
I wasn’t interested in stealing Sharon’s spotlight or avenging all the years she had pretended as if I didn’t exist but I wasn’t going to let her take away the one thing that truly mattered to me or diminish its importance. I had even tried to please her when she almost convinced me that we would be a burden to Chioma. I had gone along with the custody plan but that had failed and I would never forget the hurt in Chioma’s eyes when I told her I supported Sharon. We had a long talk after that and she said she understood Sheila’s influence on me which had made me furious. I hate it that everyone automatically assumes that Sharon controls me and I have no will of my own. I mostly succumb to her wishes because I hope that we will have some form of relationship but I am gradually accepting that wouldn’t work out.
Vince tapped me from behind and passed his headphones to me.
‘You have got to listen to this. I just downloaded some of the latest Nigerian jams. This way, we don’t look too ignorant when they are being played at home’.
‘Cool. Banky W there?’
He nodded, ‘Tuface also’.
‘Vince, you are the best. Thanks a lot’.
‘Consider it a homecoming present’.
‘I love it. It is the best present I have ever received’.
And I meant it. I know how much Vince valued his music; I can’t remember ever seeing him without his headphones and it was thoughtful for him to give it up for the next three hours. I turned back to my seat just as the plane gave a wild lurch.
Vince had been another helpful link in my research on Nigeria. He had joined in tutoring me on our native dialect and he didn’t mind speaking in public. He brought souvenirs from home whenever he visited with his mum. He was three years older than us, Chioma’s son from another marriage, and I had had a crush on him for as long as I could remember. My crush hadn’t disappeared when I found out he had feelings for Sharon which was unusual. I didn’t blame Vince for his feelings, it was a usual occurrence. Boys adored Sharon and I had learned early to steer clear of boys after I discovered the third boy I loved was only using me to get to her. She got all the boys I wanted and she didn’t even want them, her terrible attitude towards Vince didn’t stop him from gazing at her with adoring eyes. I hadn’t been able to get over Vince as easily as the others and I couldn’t help nurturing hope that he would feel the same way someday.
The plane gave another lurch and this time, it wasn’t a quick one. I held on to the seat in front of me as the lurch gave way to swerving.
‘What is going on?’ I asked no one in particular.
The plane steadied and an air hostess came in to inform us to be calm, we just experienced slight turbulence but everything was in control now. I distrusted her fake smile and her polite countenance; she had been trained to do this. She didn’t really know what was going on.
My thoughts were confirmed as she slid to the floor when the plane started spiralling downward. Everything happened so fast after that. It was like one of the horror movies that Sharon loved watching except for the lack of slow motion. The pilot’s cries of ‘Mayday’ and the screams of the passengers as airbags popped out seemed unreal, even Chioma’s death grip on my hands which I was sure would leave scars later. I stole a final look at Sharon and blinked rapidly to clear my vision when it seemed as though she was smiling. She was smiling and that baffled me, was the thought of going home so repulsive that she preferred death? As the plane made its final, unscheduled descent into disaster, I couldn’t shake off the fuzzy thought that Sharon was responsible for this. But that wasn’t possible, or was it?