Your Story Doesn’t Count

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His was the only familiar face as I stepped into the bus. I made my way to his side—more leg space I told myself, but it was curiosity that propelled my feet. Then I spent the next minute stealing glances, willing my mind to connect the dots three weeks old.

We’d moved only ten minutes when he switched from the movie he’d been watching to hit up his friend on a social media channel. My waning curiosity piqued, searching for answers that eluded my mind.
Remember that babe I told you about that ran away with my money?
—Eh, you see am?
She’s beside me. She was looking at me when she came in like she couldn’t recognize me.
—Lol. Remind am na.
No. Leave am.
—If na me I go talk. I wan chop too.
No, it doesn’t matter.

My heart sank. This is the reason we must never eavesdrop on people’s conversations. I picked up my phone and told my friend what had happened, calling the young man beside me a jerk for his action. I could hear his laugh in my head.

It had been a mistake. Three weeks ago some driver with a temper gave four of us money to split among ourselves because he couldn’t be bothered to find loose change. That was difficult. I had custody of a boy’s change—a meager sum considering, but no less his. We spent the first few minutes looking for a means to split the money without succeeding because buses were going in different directions. Buses going my way were scarce, so as soon as one pulled over I was eager to jump in and get to work looking for change from other passengers. I succeeded. But when I looked out the window for my companions not one of them was in sight. When they eventually showed up, my call for attention was drowned by honking vehicles and the driver was already on his way.

Three weeks later I was beside one of them without a clue if he was the gentleman owed money or just one of the others. I contemplated raising it up and asking. It seemed awkward– for me. I figured I could pay his fare anyway and get the debt out of my system. But what if the real owner of the money meets me tomorrow? The stolen conversation set me straight, infuriated me, embarrassment burned my cheek. I turned to him willing myself to break the ice.

What’s the name of your movie?

He responded and asked if I wanted it. I nodded in the affirmative. We spent the rest of the journey pairing devices over Bluetooth, losing connection, sharing hotspot (his), searching for a quicker means to give me a movie I was half interested in watching. I watched him with curious eyes as he held my Tablet.

The driver requested for our money. I stilled his hand as it reached for his wallet.

Let me pay.

I didn’t think he was going to let me, so I pulled out twice the fare and handed it over to the collector. I glanced at my feet. Had he said thank you? Was that a smirk on his face when I touched his hand? Did he think I paid out of guilt or perhaps as payment for sharing his mobile data? Did he really believe I ran off with his money? Would he have thought that if I were a man? Was he simply a decent guy or living out the biblical mandate: pay back evil with good?

Was I over thinking this?

My eyes wandered to him again. He’d abandoned his movie and was trying to download a heavy file on my Tablet that would allow him send the movie faster—with his mobile data. None of this made any sense. He was a jerk, right? Why would he do any of this after obviously gloating to his friend an hour ago? A part of me wondered if he intended to run away with my Tablet when we arrive at our destination as revenge.

Finally the bus stopped and the passengers alighted. I got my Tablet back as we got off too. He asked for my destination and I responded. We stood in silence. My bus came, I turned to him, said goodbye with a half-smile. He smiled back.

Neither of us knew the other’s name. Neither asked what had happened that day. No story volunteered. It didn’t matter anyway. We each formed our opinions.

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20 thoughts on “Your Story Doesn’t Count

  1. Nedoux January 18, 2016 / 5:58 pm

    Hi Uju,

    I would have brought it up the moment I realised who he was, with a casual “You look familiar, are you the guy that….”. Then, I would have explained.

    The matter was settled rather nicely though. 🙂

    Like

    • uju January 20, 2016 / 10:23 pm

      That’s a good one. I guess sometimes we tend to over think things and in the process complicate what should ordinarily be easy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. D'Dream November 27, 2015 / 3:25 pm

    Methinks the guy is nice but obnoxious. I guess his ego wouldn’t allow him to have a conversation. Lovely writeup. We missed you at tendrils oo

    Like

    • uju November 28, 2015 / 4:12 pm

      The big ego. I think he was nice too… but I dunno, I won’t claim to have completely understood his actions.

      Like

      • D'Dream November 28, 2015 / 8:16 pm

        That’s fair enough

        Like

  3. christinadrh October 25, 2015 / 12:19 am

    Uju, you took the high road and it was the right choice as you can’t have any regrets. And yes, he was a jerk. You have a great natural writing style, I really enjoy it.

    Like

    • uju October 25, 2015 / 1:15 pm

      I’ve weighed my options and in the end figured saying nothing was probably the best option. Thank you for validating that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. yemi September 26, 2015 / 12:07 am

    ..lol..first impression last long and forms an opinion either wrong or right..
    the fact is, he is right but truth is, he is wrong..besides as you know there are a 1001 ways everyone could get their balance without the other going off with it so in a way his opinion could be right and presentation wrong..

    Like

    • uju September 28, 2015 / 1:34 pm

      You do have a point, Yemi. Chances are I wouldn’t have viewed the situation any differently from the young man.

      Like

  5. George September 21, 2015 / 2:48 am

    You return and I remember how much I enjoy your writing and how much I missed it…:) Excellent, as always. Does this mean there will be more since your cold is better?..:)

    Like

    • uju September 21, 2015 / 11:04 am

      Hi George 🙂 Yes, there will be more (hopefully consistent now) even if I have to sneeze every millisecond as I type.

      I’ve missed you too.

      Like

  6. livelytwist September 19, 2015 / 7:27 pm

    You know, I would have asked. I would have brought it up and explained my actions if he was the one. That’s all I could think as I read. Why didn’t she break the ice with the three-week old event instead of, “What’s the name of your movie?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju September 19, 2015 / 8:30 pm

      You know, I’ve told myself that over and over again, then I think about seeing his conversation with his friend and think maybe it’s better she didn’t tell.
      It just seems so awkward trying to explain yourself to someone whose opinion has already been formed, who didn’t think it necessary to bring it up (like his friend suggested) and who seemed content with living with what was the ‘obvious’ explanation to him.

      I think though that people need to break this chain. It’s destructive, and distorts otherwise good relationships.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Adaeze September 19, 2015 / 7:24 pm

    Finally! She updates her blog!
    Unfortunately I have a pretty good memory and can remember conversations that happened when I was five. The downside is when someone offends me and has forgotten about it, I still remember and it affects my interaction with them, especially if they’d used unkind or derogatory words.
    I think the guy was/is a nice guy though.

    Like

    • uju September 19, 2015 / 8:34 pm

      Hmm I have a memory like that too. You think you’ll interact better with then if you ever decide to bring up your misgivings and talk about it? Yeah I know you’ll probably get a response like, “haba Adaeze since that time!” Lol but perhaps it’ll help.

      I think he might be a nice guy too.

      @Updating blog— hehehe

      Liked by 1 person

      • Adaeze September 19, 2015 / 8:37 pm

        Lol!!!
        I didn’t add the talking it over with them part… you nailed the response!
        I’ll try to do more of that though. Where have you been hiding?

        Liked by 1 person

        • uju September 19, 2015 / 9:36 pm

          Cool 🙂

          I’ve been here and there. Battling with monster colds (because this weather na wa), reading, and watching nickelodeon 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  8. ideadibia September 18, 2015 / 10:19 pm

    And that’s some of the problem. We are often to busy forming opinions of other people based on our experiences than interacting with them. I’m guilty of this too, sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju September 19, 2015 / 12:18 pm

      “I’m guilty of this too…”

      I think a majority of us are guilty of this. There I was berating the young man for judging my actions too quickly when he had just one side of the story– his. But in doing that I had also become guilty too.

      Liked by 2 people

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