THE BEWITCHED BUS
Afeni toluwa ba koyo, loyo ninu ewu
I came out of the main building. The space of the bus was empty. I trudged out of the opened gate, only to see the Ford bus across there quarter of the main road, leaving only a quarter of our end free. The vehicle had spoken via flexing of it's muscle, telling us in clear and unambiguous terms that it was no longer subjected to control of we the physical owners. My son moved close, place his hands on my shoulders and therefrom to my neck. He hugged me tight and tighter in form of a bear hug, and wept, saying, 'daddy, you were supposed to be there. You would have been by the gate adjusting the hook when this bus bulldozed its way through. Ah, God, you are good.' His unique deep, display of emotion was among the plethora of voices around the bus, all expressing their disbelief in what they had just witnessed. My wife, the birthday girl his sister, Mummy Taye and Koroo as well as Dan and Flo were all there looking at an unusual scenario.
Meanwhile, my brother-in-law, who drove the bewitched bus into our compound and parked it about two hours earlier, Pastor Ebenezer and Mr Obafemi a.k.a Daddy Taiye were trying to get a battery into the bus to enable them drive it out of the gutter, where the two rear tyres had been stuck and stopped in it's stride abruptly thereby prevented it from crossing to the other side of the house adjacent ours.
Two ladies stood at a distance talking about the incident in low but audible tones. One of them said and i quote, "the bus had been over driven this time around." The reality of what traspired had not dawned on me, having just been aroused from sleep by my wife, who tapped me and said, 'come out. The bus had driven itself through the gate and its now blocking the road.'
Everytime, I go over this narrow escape from what was intended to be my tragic end, I shudder at what might have become of me. Had I not slept off before the normal time, I would be at the gate checking to see that it was well locked when the bus sped through it. Dan, who switched off the generator had barely entered the house when the bewitched bus engine started running and took off with the speed of a 100 meters sprinter, shattering the locked gate, before making it's way into the main road. It would have crushed me beyond recognition. I would have pegged out instantly. All my hopes, aspirations, plans, desires and ambitions would have perished under that compromised bus. What a gruesome end it would have been. There and then I (my soul) would have left my body and never to return. My wife would have become a widow and my children, fatherless. Today, all the earthly problems would not have bothered me anymore.
Life can be frightening in the way it deals with man at times. We are toys in it's paws. Many occurrences take place, defying conjecture, explanation or our understanding. We call such mysteries. Life is full of them. Man has powers, in enormous quantity, to do and undo. We have been inbued with physical strength to manipulate our environment, the land and sea and their contents. We also have the ability to destroy good things, ourselves and gifts of nature. Only few ones have the gift of clairvoyance; they see into the future. They are allowed to know and see some future happenings and not everything.
Yet, many occurrences turn logic on it's head. Such bring us to the reality of man's incomplete nature and utter powerlessness.
What every man dreads most is death. No one desires to die; those who commit suicide have been subdued by forces powerful than them. Our dread of death stems from fear of the unknown, the unknown reality, the unseen, distant end, where we are heading to next.
The 21st of July is a unique day in the life of my wife being her date of birth. This year was even more special; it's her 50th, her golden jubilee celebrations. The day had began on a good and happy note when the General Overseer of St. Daniel's All Christian Assembly, Apostle Joseph Adelola and his wife, Prophetess Abigail Adelola arrived our residence before 6am. The duo prayed for us having beaten a contingent of Ijigba branch of the Church to it. The church members landed around 6.01. They, accompanied by a musical band and a photographer, brought gifts for the birthday girl. Their arrival was crowned with dancing galore. The celebration had commenced in earnest. Later in the day, we all converged on the Love Parish of the Church for a-two-hour-long energy-sapping session of praise worship, spiced with singing and dancing. The program featured not less than five guest Gospel singers, who lead sessions of the praise. By the time we returned home at a few minutes to 8 pm, we were fagged out.
I felt like hitting the sack but not sleeping really. My plan was to stay there recumbent and browse using my phone. Hardly, had I reached the bed when nature took its toll on me and off I slept.
Nothing kills man as his handiworks. Aeroplanes, vehicles of all brands-heavy duty lorries, buses, cars to mention but a few, all originally designed to give man comfort, sniff life out of us at will every day. When accidents occur, through mechanical fault or human error, man is always at the receiving end. They claim lives, limbs and other parts of man. Uncountable number have become bedridden, blind or jelly practically of no value to anyone. Such are inevitable; we are used to seeing them. However, the moment a vehicle, a bus to be precise, an automatic type for that matter, has been parked and the battery removed, it ought to remain practically immovable, until the battery is returned to it. It becomes bemusing and beyond comprehension, explanation, simply incredulous when such inanimate object takes it upon itself to start it's engine (without a battery and a driver) and speed out of its space and out of an enclosed compound. The motor cycle operator, who turned back to pick a girl at our gate just before the vehicle drove itself out, found it improbable that there was no battery in the bus. He had to check it; took its picture, bowed down with his forehead to the floor, to thank God for sparing his life. He entered the compound to see how sloppy the space we parked the bus was. The man, who drove in and parked it a few hours before, had to come and check it immediately when told only to realise that the bus gear was in 'park.'
Weird events bring back similar memories. About ten years ago, a young girl was crushed to death by a stationary car. The car had been parked there for over six months due to a mechanical fault. The ill-fated girl, as usual, had been called by her mother to watch plates. But this day, she refused vehemently. Eventually, her mum prevailed on her. She was performing the chore when the vehicle sped out of it's parking space and sent the girl to early grave.
In 1990 or 1991, a neighbour-sister, who had been schooled in the US bought a Peugeot 504 car. At the close of work of everyday she would park the vehicle in front of her official quarters at the Federal Girls Secondsry School, Akure on Akure-Owo road. After a few months, she realised that every morning, the car would not start. People then advised her to always check the engine in the morning before starting it. To her surprise on opening the car bonnet, the engine was always very hot. We heard that the car was always used to travel long journeys overnight by unseen people and forces. O ti gbabode.
Right from the period of it's (the bus) purchase, which is about seven years ago, this bus had never met our expectations. It should not have been procured in the first place. Due to this, it had spent much more time stationed in our compound than being on the road working. Perhaps, this abnormality had opened it up to forces beyond the ordinary. Maybe, it had got too bored with inactivity and thereby decided to show us through force that it could no longer take it; it's time in that house was up. And that very night, we acceded to it's desire. It spent that night outside our gate, never to return.
Good riddance to bad rubbish.
That bus had been bewitched. O ti gbabode, as we say it in Yoruba. And iroko to ba ti gbabode bibe ni won nbe.