My first accident, I had been on the coaster bus, on my way to school with my friends, as I usually did most mornings, the mornings which were different, my father usually dropped me off at school.

 

We had waited together at the bus stop, in front of the fat man’s house, as we usually did every morning when we rode the bus, the fat man’s house being proportional to the size of his belly, as though because his belly was that large, his house had to be too, and we had waited patiently with anticipation still. We had anticipated the bus because it meant we avoided the punishments that followed not being punctual and had waited patiently because, like kids, we loved to play, and waiting for the bus together presented us with another chance to run around and laugh with the people you called friends and few things, at that age, were more exciting than that.

 

When the bus came, we ran excitedly towards the moving cuboid as it made efforts to slow down towards us. We entered with glee and sat, most of us in the middle of the bus, when soon our laughter was halted by a high pitched screeching sound. Our bus failing to evade the obstacle that had appeared before it, had sent us all jerking forward colliding into the seats that we faced, sustaining no serious injuries thankfully. When we would make it to school by the combined efforts of our parents, we would have to first pick up trash as punishments for coming late before we could tell our story of being involved in an accident, an accident that in a different scenario, would have left us all dead. 

 

My second accident, I had been in my father’s car, on my way to school, my father driving me this time as opposed to me being driven on the bus, the reason for this I am unable to remember today. It was a kind of privilege because not everyone had fathers who drove them to school for the simple reasons that not everyone then owned a car and owning one didn’t necessarily present the luxury of time to drive one’s child to school every morning. My father, being a fastidious driver himself, had of course not driven his car into another person or car.

 

We had arrived safely at school, he had parked in what seemed to be a relatively safe place, and when I had gotten out of the car, I had fallen into an open drain, sustaining injuries on my arms and head. My father viewing this, and having to drive me back home to freshen up again, was clearly not impressed. He had scolded me, as though I was the one who had left the drain in a primary school open for no reason at all. As though, I had with intent seen it open, and walked into it to impress exactly no one. As though the injuries that I sustained, I had carefully thought about and said to myself, hmm it would be a nice day to experience pains, a masochistic small devil.

 

My mother, naturally, had seen it for what it was, an accident, and had felt bad for her little baby. An accident, that on another day, would have led to brain damage, or perhaps, even death.

 

My last accident, I had been en route another continent, preparing to board a plane that would carry me over the Atlantic, many miles away from home, and yet closing up the distance between me and my dreams. I had made all the preparations that came with distant travelling and naturally, as was often the case, I was ready. The plane of course, would not drop off into the Atlantic, but when I would be getting screened, only to board the plane afterwards, I would be flagged for carrying a contraband package. A package belonging to a family friend, whose son supposedly was in Europe, a package packed as food item but drugs in composition. I would watch as my journey took another turn. Instead of on a plane, I would be sitting, shackled in a police vehicle. There would be, no head-on collision; it would be a smooth ride. My plane would in hours be landing safely in Brussels and I, meanwhile, would be arriving at a cell. An accident.

 

Published by Etenwa Manuel