Onyinye Ubah

One of the most interesting television soap operas of the 90s on NTA for me was Touched By An Angel. It was a trio of angels that travel the earth and inspiring people at crossroads in their lives but the angels aren’t only teaching people – they are also learning lessons themselves. The people assisted have no idea that they were angels. But when the person’s issue have been dealt with, the angels reveal themselves in a halo of light and reassure them of God’s love.

My first encounter with an angel was in 2007 when I got an admission into UNIZIK. For the first time after a long time, I found myself in the eastern part of Nigeria. Everything was somewhat different compared to Lagos where I grew up. The school environment smelled of development. Buildings of various architectural designs were springing up everywhere around the school compared to the picture of what people painted to me before I arrived.

As a new student, I was immersed in the labyrinth of registration – opening of files, medical test, payment of fees and all. On that particular day, the sun was shining at all time high. Students were standing at the bus stop of Ifitegate,close to Nnabugwu hostel. The crowd was innumerable. Stress was written on the faces of the students. Buses were nowhere to be found. Out of the blue, a danfo bus appeared from nowhere and stopped in front of me. The struggle began as I managed to squeeze myself into it. As it began to move, my hand slipped into the side zip of my bag to get my phone but it wasn’t there. I check my entire bag but it wasn’t there. In splits of seconds,I felt like a man whose manhood had been stolen. I raised an alarm. The worst part of it was that I had turned it off during lectures and forgot to turn it on later. Everyone on the bus began to look around their seats in search for my Motorola razor except for one dark lady seated directly behind me at the backseat of the bus. She was obviously a final year student.With a pursed lips,she kept moving her head from left to right. After the futile search,tears had already welled up in my eyes.

Suddenly, I felt a hand touch my shoulder and it was that lady. She said,

‘The man beside you stole your phone’.

I acted as though I didn’t hear what she said. She repeated what she had said earlier. Before then, I never took notice of the people seated beside me.My head turned gently and there was a young man beside me whose face looked like Jim Iyke’s and wore a black singlet that accentuated his muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. Fear gripped my very soul. How was I suppose to challenge him? The last time I fought was in Primary four where a girl gave me a hot slap and three identical stars fell from my eyes. Again, I turned my head towards the window and acted as though I didn’t hear her. In my heart, I began to pray in my Awka-etiti dialect:

Chukwunwa Florence, okwoifu go? Otuaka m yesinoroonwe m, ekwensunaumuyaebuluochuchunaokwun’ukabutelum. Doo,biazobakwa m

(God of Florence’s daughter, have you seen? This is how I will be on my own and devil and his children will bring troubles to me. Please, come and save me).

Immediately, what looked like a Royal Rumble wrestling competition began. The young man began to dole out heavy blows on the lady. She, in return was a Voltron dodging the blows and dishing out some blows as well. Other passengers tried to broker peace. I was caught in the middle. I didn’t know who to support. What if she was wrong? What if the guy was falsely accused? What if I had mistakenly left my phone somewhere? A thousand questions danced around my mind. In the middle of the fight, guess what happened? my phone dropped from the young man’s pocket!

The battle suddenly ceased. Silence enveloped the bus. It was a deafening silence. Surprisingly, no one said a word. I was dumbfounded. I turned to my angel who had fought for my cause gallantly and said ‘thank you’. Though it was awkward, I also turned to the thief and also thanked him. Not so sure why I did that, but may be for conceding his defeat quietly or may be I was so scared to my bone marrow as I picked up my phone. Out of fear, I didn’t stop at my bus stop to avoid being tracked by anyone because I didn’t know who was who.

I never saw my angel again except for the day I saw her from afar somewhere around my faculty. I only waved and smiled at her with my twenty eight set of teeth. I was still not sure if she was human or not. How could a person fight for someone she didn’t know? Years passed and flew but the drama of that day had burned in my memory leaving me with very high sense of gratitude to an individual that stood for me and went as far as endangering her life for me.

Sometime this year, I saw a comment on a mutual friend’s picture. I looked closely at the profile, it was my angel! She was now a mother with two kids. We connected and began to catch up, but like the rest of the humans around me, she sang the usual anthem I always heard from them:

‘You are now such a beautiful young lady but why are you not married yet?’

Photo Credit:Nofuchu studio

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