I was the first to enter the bus that day. I looked at my seat number and sat on it. A day before that day, I was contemplating whether to go on the journey or not. I said to myself, “Traveling all the way to Accra just for a fifteen minutes performance? Maybe, I should call the organizer and tell him that I will not be able to come.” I looked at the flyer of the program on my DP. My name was boldly written beneath my photo. I told myself, “They’ve invested a lot. They’ve advertised with my name all this while. I can’t disappoint them.”
So that day when I picked my bag and started off to the bus station, I was not happy. The long-distance was killing me even before the journey. Several minutes later, I saw a guy walking through the aisle of the bus, holding his bag in one hand and his ticket in the other hand. He would look at his ticket and check it against the seat he was standing next to. He kept moving until he got to my end. He said, “Dear, you’re sitting on my seat.” Naturally, I don’t like it when a man I don’t know calls me dear. It feels patronizing and cheap. The fact that he called me dear put me in a defensive mode.
I said, “Look at the number on your ticket very well. I’m not sitting on your seat.” He stooped and showed his ticket to me. He said, “Number eighteen, window. You’re sitting by the window. That means you’re sitting on my seat.” I checked my ticket. It had ‘Aisle” boldly written on it. I said, “But what’s the difference? Ain’t we both on the same line?” He said, “I want to sit where my ticket says I should sit.” I looked at his face again. I judged him, “How can you call me dear and treat me this way? Don’t you know how to treat a lady you call dear?”
I grudgingly left the seat for him. Immediately he sat down, he said, “Thank you very much. I like sleeping on the bus so usually, I take the window side so I can have a place to lean when I fall asleep. Sorry for the inconvenience.” I said, “No problem. It’s one of those things.”
I had my laptop opened on my lap, trying to rehearse my lines. I saw him stealing glances but I didn’t mind. I kept whispering my lines with my eyes closed, imagining the stage and imagining the audience. He asked, “Are you an actor?” I said, “No” without opening my eyes. I kept reciting my lines. He asked again, “Then what are you?” It took me a while before telling him, “I’m a writer.” He asked again, “A writer? What do you write about?” I said in my head, “Is it not this guy who said he likes sleeping on the bus? What’s he doing awake? When is he going to sleep?” I responded, “I write about anything that comes to mind.” He said, “What you’re reading sounds like a poem. Did you write it yourself?”
I closed my laptop and pushed it into my bag. He said, “I didn’t mean to probe, sorry.” I said, “I’m a writer of poems. Usually, I perform what I write. Yes, I wrote this piece myself.” He was quiet for a while. He said, “It’s beautiful. You’re very talented if indeed you wrote what I just read.” I said, “Thank you” and then leaned backward, pretending to sleep. I was waiting for him to sleep so I can get up and continue rehearsing. Close to an hour later, he was still up, watching the movie showing on the screen. I got up, picked my phone, and started reading from it. He said, “So, do you have a place where you share your work? I want to read more.” I said, “Yeah, On my Facebook and Instagram timeline.” He asked my name on Facebook and I gave it to him.”
From there, the conversation ceased. At some point, I saw him sleeping so I picked up my laptop and started reading from it again. I rehearsed my lines, had the whole performance in my head again without any distraction. When the bus got to Achimota, he told me, “I’m alighting here. Nice to meet you Sarfoa.” I said, “Nice to meet you too.”
In the evening I had a notification on Facebook, “Adams commented on your photo.” A minute later I had another one, “Adams mentioned you in a comment.” I tapped on the notification. The first comment was, “This is beautiful. You write so well.” The next comment was, “Nice meeting you today.” That was when it clicked. I went to check his profile. I said, ”Oh he’s the one.” I responded to his comment. The next minute he sent a friend’s request. I accepted. The next minute he was in my inbox. He said, “Sorry about the seat brouhaha today. I hope you didn’t take it in. I love your work and I’m a fan from today.” I responded, “I took it in, to be honest. I was hurt. But all the same, nice meeting you too, and thank you for being a fan of my work.”
We chatted for a while. He continuously apologized for what happened. I continuously rejected his apology. Soon we were laughing about it. He gave me his number. He said, “If you give me your number too, we’ll arrange so I apologies properly.” I laughed. I didn’t give him my number and I didn’t save his number too.
The following evening, I went to the event, gave the best performance of my life, and had the biggest applause of my life. When I finally settled down, I had a notification from Messenger. It was Adams. He said, “Beautiful performance. I enjoyed your eloquence. If I asked them for an encore, will they grant it? Then he added a laughing emoji.”
I started looking around me. I didn’t know how to feel, loved, or stalked. I asked, “Don’t tell me you came. Where are you?” He answered, “Sorry to disappoint you. I came. I’m still around.” I asked, “Where are you?” He said, “Turn forty-five degrees on your right.” I said, “I don’t know degrees.” I turned right and saw a hand up.” I said, ”Let’s meet outside.”
It looked like I didn’t see him well while on the bus. He looked different. He looked beautiful actually. I asked him, “Who invited you here?” He said, “It’s a free world, we can go where we want to so I decided to be here.” We both didn’t go inside again. Several hours ago, he was a total stranger I met on a bus. Several hours later, we were both standing next to each other, talking like we’ve known each other for a very long time. When the program closed, my friends came to call me. Before leaving, I gave him my number.
From there everything changed so quickly. The day I was leaving Accra, he met me at the station, talked for a while before the bus moved. We spent hours on the phone talking and texting. He will ask me, “What are you working on currently?” I will tell him, “I’m not working on anything apart from going to work in the morning and coming back in the evening.” He will tell me, “A poet who doesn’t poet is not a poet so you should start poeting before I come and poet you there.” We will laugh about it, I will be inspired and then write a line or two just to convince him that I was serious about writing.
One day, he said he had written a poem for me and wants to share it with me. I laughed. He sent it and I read it over and over again. I didn’t see the head and tail of it. I asked him, “What is that? You call this a poem?” He said, “It’s not only a poem. It’s a proposal too.” I went back to read it again. I said, “It doesn’t make sense.” He said, “Exactly! Because what I’m feeling for you doesn’t make sense.” I said, “Be serious.” He said, “This is me being serious.” I said, “I can’t say yes because I don’t understand anything you’ve written.” He said, “The bottom line is this…will you be my girlfriend?” I said, “I can’t be your girlfriend. I’ve met you twice. That’s not enough to make you my boyfriend.”
The following weekend he came to Kumasi. When I took him home, he greeted everyone there and introduced himself to them as my boyfriend. It was funny the way he did it. I saw him differently. As if I was also in love with him. The next day when he was leaving he asked, “How many more times do you have to see me before you get to know me enough?”
Weeks later, I was on a bus again going to Accra to visit him. The journey didn’t look long. I wasn’t reluctant. I sat on the bus and checked if I was in the right seat. He came to mind. I couldn’t wait to see him. I was missing him. When we finally met, I accepted his proposal. We drew a timetable for visit. He said, “Let’s make it simple. When you come this weekend, the next weekend I will come over. That way, we’ll see each other every weekend.” I said, ”That’s awesome.” For two years, we didn’t have any reason not to travel to see each other. When I said, “Thank God It’s Friday,” it made sense to me alone because I knew I was going to meet Adams.
“Where are we going to live when we marry?” He asked me one day.
“Let’s live in Kumasi, life is easy here.”
“No let’s live in Accra, you’ll get opportunities to perform every weekend.”
“No, I’m not going to do poetry as a profession so there’s no need for that.”
“You still have to come to Accra because I’m there.”
“Then let’s meet in the middle. We can live in Konongo until we agree on where to live.”
Marriage was closer than I thought. He didn’t ask me to marry him or ask if I was ready to marry him. One day, we were buying clothes. Another day we were discussing wedding gowns. Another time the two of us were in a boutique selecting wedding suits.
When the day finally arrived, we both walked down the aisle—this is not the aisle we fought about on the bus. This aisle led us to the presence of God where we both exchanged our vows and promised to be together for better for worse. A year and a half later, I still remember the poem he used to propose to me. I’ve read it recently, it still didn’t make sense. He wrote…
The bus is moving faster
My heart is beating faster
My mind is racing
Racing faster to love therein
Love is her
I want my share
Tell me, is this a poem?