The plane was soon taxiing down the runway, the tarmac disappearing under its vast wings; Lawrence watched the dizzying motion with fascination before turning his attention back to his girlfriend Rebecca, whose head was nestled in the crook of his neck. He studied the plane of her face, as the glimmering rays of the sun played on its flawless features, caressing them with its golden fingers. He stared in amazement at how after four years, he was still head over heels in love with her, he felt his breath catch in his throat, it was like looking at the rising sun’s reflection in the morning river in its shimmering beauty.
They were going to get married as soon as they could; Rebecca’s father already had a job lined up for her at a multinational company, while he had an interview lined up with an NGO which had been arranged by the Irish priest, Father O’Connor on behalf of his widowed mother. The future did not look bad at all, they just had to maneuver past the second semester of their final year in the university and the one year compulsory youth service and they would go conquer the world, together.
“You know people will start to think you are about to eat me.” Rebecca said cutting him out of his reverie. He chuckled, as she sat up to look at him.
“I could feel you looking at me.”
“What can I say, I enjoy looking at you.”
“And I enjoy being the centre of your attention.”
She nuzzled his neck and remained there. “Have you heard from Ice Man?”
“Yea, I spoke to him right before we boarded, he will be waiting at the airport.”
“It is really nice of him to invite us down to Calabar. I have always wanted to visit but have never being able to make up my mind about it.”
“And me too.” Lawrence said unable to mask the excitement in his voice.
She chuckled, punching him softly as she did. “I know why you are excited. Big head, you want to go ogle at those half naked girls at the carnival, I am going to rip your eyes out for the duration of the carnival.”
Ever since the inaugural festival in 2004, Lawrence had wanted to catch the spectacle live but could never save enough to make the trip up to Calabar and so he kept procrastinating, until his friend and neighbor Isaac; popularly known as Ice Man invited him down and also paid for both his and Rebecca’s flight ticket, which Lawrence had thought was strange at first because Isaac was a thrift man but Isaac had told him that he had won a huge bet and wanted to spoil him a little for helping him out in the last examination.
Convincing Rebecca to come with him was easy, they would spend a week in Calabar and then travel back to their respective hometowns to spend Christmas with their family. Rebecca’s parents had resisted at first, as expected, her father saw no sense in her frolicking with miscreants and lowlifes especially as the country was at its most trying times. But never one to deny his precious daughter anything, Engr. Daniel Eze had yielded on the condition that she stayed safe, was in good company and called as often as possible.
Isaac had told them he would be waiting for them at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport and true to his words, he was there patiently waiting, a bottle of soda in his hands. He waved them over when he saw them and walked to meet them half way.
“How was your trip?” He asked to no one in particular.
“It was awesome man. Thanks once again for this.” Lawrence said vigorously shaking the other man’s hands.
“Yes, thanks a lot for this, it was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me in a while.” Rebecca said genuinely.
She had never liked Isaac, something about him struck her as odd and she had let Lawrence know as much and had warned him as such. There were rumors that he was a member of a cult in school and when she had told her boyfriend about it, he had brushed it off and she had never brought it up again. Still she was always uncomfortable when he was around but tried not to show it but she always felt Isaac knew he did not like her and somehow knew the feeling was mutual, which was why she was plenty surprised when Lawrence had told her that Isaac had invited them for the holiday in Calabar.