Preston has been sitting inside the bus for almost an hour. Just one seat was left and it was right beside him. He looked at his watch, he was going to be late again, he wanted to be late after all. His father invited him to one of his fancy club meetings again, He was always fond of it every single week though Preston sees it as a waste of precious time he would rather be spending on his computer. Tired as they all were the bus driver decided to move on, but someone hit the bus from behind
Just then a girl with scarf on her head and huge glasses came in and sat next to him. She smelled of one of the local soup he use to like.
'' Lucky seat for me, thank God.''
He looked away and stared at his iPad hoping to finish the movie he started watching a while back.
Suddenly he heard a familiar ringtone and thought it was his phone. He put his hand in his pocket to retrieve it, but it stopped ringing and the girl beside him started talking into her own device. Her voice was so loud he had to turn up the volume of his iPad to cut her out but it didn't work. Time went on and soon the girl stopped talking. Finally peace....
She gasped '' oh my God, he shouldn't go down there.''
Her voice was so close to him that he almost jumped. He quickly removed his earpiece and looked at her. She was peering at his phone.
'' Sorry, I just love horror movies.''
'' How do you know its horror movie?''
She rolled her eyes
'' Well, The darkness lurking in the background. Plus, I could totally hear what they were saying through the earpiece, you might want to turn it down a little it can actually damage your ears, if you are not okay with that you might only use one part of the earpiece, it'd be just fine.''
Okay, definitely a chatterbox, Preston thought as she kept on talking about people taking risks with earphones in their ears as they cross the street or drive.
'' I'm so sorry, where are manners , I'm Amanda.''
'' I'm Preston.''
She just stared at him with a smile plastered on her face. He was used to people staring at him weird.
'' Wow, I don't meet Prestons everyday.''
'' I hardly come across Amandas too.''
She gasped and acted surpriced '' Here I am thinking I have a common name. '' She smiled '' Its actually short for Chimamanda.''
'' You are Igbo.''
It was almost an exclamation.
'' Yes, and you are not'' She looked him up and down '' With your curly hair and pointed nose''
She almost touched it, would he have allowed her?
'' Not a typical Nigerian kind of look.''
'' My dad is from Akwa ibom.''
'' Wow'' Her smile got bigger '' And whats your native name?''
Preston shook his head and gave a small smile. She liked that he smiled a small smile.
'' Nah, its a weird name.''
'' I've heard a lot of weird names. Seriously.''
He stared at her and she still held that wide smile. Like the one at the beginning of the ride. Somehow that encouraged him.
She stifled a laugh, something about the way he pronounced it made it weird. It was actually one of her friends name.
'' See, I told you, it was weird.''
But he still smiled. He was surpriced that he could tell a total stranger his native name, something he had never done before.
'' So any way, idiongo I -''
'' Don't call me that.''
'' I can't help it, its a nice name''
That hit a soft spot he didn't realize was there. For the rest of the ride she went on and on. He realized she had a think for technology and science. She talked about the changing climate and the increase in air pollution. She was on a plant-a-tree-a- month campaign. And she volunteers at the wide life resort from time to time. Preston actually never thought a girl could be so interesting. She was on cloud nine while she talked about all the amazing things she does. Before she got down from the bus she placed her phone on his hand and told him to put in his number. Something a Nigerian girl find really hard to do.
She is something. He said to himself after she got down. He looked down at his iPad and realized he was watching a movie before they started talking.
Amanda was spending the weekend at her Aunty's place for the eighth week in a role. At least she had peace of mind away from the all the troubles at home. And at least mother would have less mouth to feed and she would have time for her activities. She thought of Preston. Calm and a good listener. He listened to everything about her boring life and activities, when she brings up the topic to her family they always told her to tune it down or they would just walk away.
She thought of calling him, no that would be too pushy, she just settled for a good night text
After a few minutes, he texted her saying they were showing her favourite Horror movie on DSTV. She smiled when she saw it but Aunty Chinenye didn't have decoder.
The next morning she found out that he followed her Environmental conservation page on Facebook. She didn't waste time, she invited him for one of their programs that evening. To her surpriced he came.
She saw him as she ended her speech
''You came!'' She squealed as she joined him at the back.
''Sorry I was late.'' He apologized. He thought she looked so small on stage but she gave a good speech.
'' I love your speech any way.''
She smiled and faced the stage
'' I have to put in more effort, I need to get the scholarship.''
'' for what?''
'' For school silly.'' She smiled '' My mother doesn't have the resources.''
He stared at her
'' My parents are divorced.''
His case was similar too. His mother left him with his father for over 10 years now. He thought she would always come back but she didn't.
'' I don't even know if my parents are divorced, My mother left my dad.'' Preston thought he gave out a lot of personal information.
'' I'm so sorry.''
'' Its okay.''
She smiled '' Thanks for showing interest in my Facebook page.''
'' Lots of interesting science stuff there, the page Is great.''
She fully faced him '' Really? I can't wait to start a website.''
'' I can help you with that.''
She couldn't believe it. She squealed in delight like a ten year old
'' You'd do that?''
'' What are friends for?''
A week later, Preston sat inside the bus waiting for it to fill up, one last chair to go. He remembered that Amanda would take her scholarship exam that day. He'd seen her, she had worked really hard for it, going to the library everyday and learning a whole bunch of science words. It was almost nine and the exam starts by ten. He hoped she was already there.
Just as the bus was leaving, someone hit it from the back.
Just then Amanda entered and heaved a sign of relief
'' Lucky seat for me, Thank God.''
Preston smiled and as if on cue she looked at him and eyes widen in delight.
'' Preston, so good to see you.''
He just beamed at her
'' So good to see you too Amanda.''