I was up in the skies, as high up as any human could ever get without your destination being space. I was sure this was it for me. All the frantic movements and shouts were a dull whisper in my ears while my body hit temporal snooze.
I heard my body shake all of a sudden and then it all came clamoring to life my organs. My eyes knew to blink faster, my ears seemed to twitch with every noise filtering in and my teeth clattered like someone on the road to hell. Shivers went down my spine at intervals like they usually did when malaria had hit me hard.
36 years on this earth and this was to be my end? Death on a plane with strangers I didn’t know? With shouts of “Egbami” “ Eje Jesu!” as my soundtrack? This must be a cosmic joke. PS Yoruba people can shout sha.
I thought of my mum. I wonder how she would take the news of my demise. Would she cry? Wail? Or just hate me for making this trip when she clearly asked me not to?
I thought of my fiancée, how long before she moved on to her next maga. That girl was a HOE! Now I’m not so sure why I turned a blind eye to all her faults. Had I become that person I swore never to be? Had I become my most dreaded nightmare? My father?
I had become a man blinded by his ambition to never return to the grasps of poverty that the rest of my life had been snatched from me.
Would the office compensate my mother well for my loss? Would the airline compensate her too? Would the money I left to her be enough to care for her as she aged?
I had questions, who would answer them? Would I be a skulking ghost that hovered the earth in hopes of reconnecting with the only woman that loved me with her all?
In all this I had only one solace, at least I was dying in first class.
A hand reached out and grabbed mine tight. “First class or coach, all men are equal after all.”
Had I spoken my thoughts out loud? I must have, she had a pretty smile. Too bad the plane was about to end that smile.
I closed my eyes to stop all my thinking as I accepted my fate, to die a death that was never meant for me. Then she started to sing. I can imagine just how Jacob felt when he saw the angels coming up and down the ladder, an angel had come to take me home, but this was no angel. This was the woman beside me. She sang “Pass me not oh gentle saviour” and I felt the tremors run down my spine. Surely. There was a God.
I felt the strength in her voice and I was fuelled, I got up from my seat and walked to the shaken hostess who was trying her best to have everyone seated and remaining calm. I asked her to give me the loudspeaker I saw her use before, she did and I walked on shaky legs back to my seat.
Gave this device to Noelle, that was her name, Noelle. As she began to sing I saw how the place transformed as though a spirit was moving round, hushing people up, the people began to seat on their seats, the calm came in stages and before long, people joined in.
Then procedures began to take effect, we all sang as the hostesses got almost everyone strapped to a parachute. We were hovering somewhere over Mexico and the plane had lowered significantly so the jump wasn’t so terrifying, even if I don’t know that people would have minded pulling an extreme sport just to remain alive.
“It is well” was her next song and for the next 50 minutes every passenger on the plane was evacuated, except Noelle and myself who opted to go last as the peace needed to remain for every passenger.
Finally only both of us were left as passengers, I asked that she go first but she just looked at me, faced the exit, held my hand as if to jump together and pushed me first. I shouted with everything in me not for fear but because I had met a woman, fallen in love and probably lost her in the space of an hour.
I didn’t stop shouting till I heard the explosion. I was hitting the ground now and safety people were there to help me but I knew, I knew I lost a part of myself in that explosion.
The story goes that she did jump out just after me but didn’t jump far enough from the plane so she got caught in the explosion.
But you see, all that was not information I was willing to understand, I knew only to understand the pain that came with knowing I had lost the love of my life.
And her music saved me.