The Lorry Driver
, Episode 2️⃣
“The driver you are talking about left this place yesterday morning. He said he was going to visit his daughter. I thought you went with him. Are you not his conductor?” A motor park tout asked the conductor who was running around searching for the lorry driver. He was getting tired because he has asked so many people and no one appeared to have a clue to the man’s whereabouts.
“Yes, you are right! I was with him and we even arrived in his village together. He sent me to deliver some items to his daughter. He said he was going to buy bread and we have not seen him since then.” The conductor said to the tout. He and Ada had arrived at the motor park in search of the lorry driver. Ada was sitting at a local restaurant at the motor park where she was patiently waiting for the conductor. She watched as the restaurant woman served plates of food to drivers who formed the bulk of her customers. As they ate, they chatted excitedly about their journeys and the adventurous experiences they encounter on lonely highways. The captivating aroma of hot fufu and stock fish mixed with ogbono soup filled the air. Ada has not had her breakfast, so she salivated as she watched the men eat and lick their fingers. Soon, the lorry conductor returned to meet her.
“I didn’t see him. Everyone I asked said he didn’t come back to the motor park after we left yesterday. I’m confused right now and I really don’t know what next to do. Today is Saturday and I suspect that he must have gone straight to Ikom to load banana for one of our customers. I want us to go to Ikom to look for him. I really want to get to the bottom of this matter. I don’t want to believe that I have been working with a ghost for the past five years.” The lorry conductor said. He brought out his phone and checked what time it was and it was 2pm.
“So you have a phone?” Ada asked the conductor.
“Yes I do. Why are you asking?” The conductor asked.
“Why haven’t you used it to call the lorry driver? Or don’t you have his phone number? Call him or give me his phone number let me call him so that we can know where he is before starting to trace him.” Ada said. She is now very hungry and restless due to the whole confusion. Her brain felt clouded and hazy, so she decided to sit at the local restaurant and eat something. The conductor joined her to eat. As they were eating, the conductor dialed the lorry driver’s number and the phone rang and he picked. He told the conductor that he had gone to Ikom. He appologised for not returning to meet him in the village as promised.
“I want you to come to Ikom and meet me. There is a lot of work to be done here and I’m all alone. Please join the next available vehicle because I urgently need your help. I didn’t know I was going to come here to load, that’s why I didn’t call you when I was coming.” The driver said.
“Did you deliver those items to my daughter?” The driver asked after pausing for a while. The conductor and Ada listened attentively to everything he was saying. As she listened, tried to remember what her father’s voice sounded like. She compared the voice she was hearing over the phone to her father’s voice which she faintly remembered. The voice resembled that of her father, but she was not completely sure.
“Yes, I delivered the items. She was very happy to receive them. I will be on my way soon. I will be in Ikom within two hours.” The conductor said. At that time they had finished eating. Soon, they boarded a vehicle and headed to Ikom.
“I told you that your father is still alive. You see, I just spoke to him on phone. I told you he is alive. I know you still don’t believe me, but when we get to Ikom, you will see him. Maybe by then, you will believe me.” The conductor said to Ada as the driver of the Toyota Corolla negotiated a bend and everyone in the car swerved from one side to the other. The driver of the vehicle was racing on top speed exactly the way Ada wanted. It was like the car was flying.
“Although, I don’t believe that my father is still alive, but I can’t wait to see the person this conductor is talking about. How can my father still be alive? I was right there when he was buried. I remember vividly the day he died. I remember that I was still in primary school and I remember how I cried bitterly when my mother informed me of my father’s death. I’m surprised that this conductor is saying my father is still alive. I can’t wait to see him and hear his voice.” Ada said to herself. The time was now 5:30pm and they had arrived in Ikom. Their driver entered the Ikom motor park and found a space for his vehicle. All the passengers, including Ada and the conductor came down from the car. Immediately, they started searching for the lorry driver. Everywhere was crowded with travellers dragging their bags.
Meanwhile, the lorry driver was in his lorry eating groundnut when he looked out from the window and saw Ada and the conductor as they were searching for him. He was surprised that the conductor brought Ada to Ikom.
“Why did he bring Ada to Ikom? This boy has no respect for me. I did not ask him to come with my daughter. I told him to come alone. Why is he now bringing the young girl? I’m very sure she desperately wants to see me. This will not happen.” The lorry driver said with a lot of anger.
“This is his lorry but he is nowhere to be found. Let us wait for him, maybe he went to eat.” The conductor said to Ada. They waited the whole night but the lorry driver did not return. They also waited the next day and still they did not see him..