It felt like he was leaving a piece of himself behind as he hugged her tightly one last time and grudgingly made to enter the mini-van that would take him back to the city. It seemed somewhat of a breakthrough to get a means to travel despite the off the roof fare, as Inter-state movements had been banned for almost two months. Things had gotten so bad, even the most trusted health organisations couldn't tell when normalcy would make the trip back to mankind. They couldn't tell when this deadly virus would disappear and forever be gone. He got in and sat in the space reserved for him at the backseat and immediately began prompting his whole being to expect a hell of a ride. His claustrophobic legs were already angry with the little room they had. So angry they sent his knees sinking into the back-rest of the seat in front of him. His knees turned out to be very good agitators as they pushed through the fabric and frame of the seat and went on to nudge the passenger in front of him mildly, or maybe not mildly as the troublesome looking lady with unkempt locks occupying the seat turned dramatically with a stern look that could make her pass as a cheap replica of Medusa. He cared not to respond with words but did retort with a stare that roughly said, “I am 6 feet plus, what do you expect?”. She probably agreed with his assertion, as she turned and didn't look back again. While the driver reversed and made to drive out of the gas station he had parked in for fear of being extorted by the sometimes invisible but ever present touts who would have demanded a fee if he dared park by the roadside to pick a passenger in an area under their control, he didn't know how to feel. Sadness and excitement tried so hard to convince him to surrender to their respective influence. Sadness wanted him angry at himself for leaving her side. This was unacceptable and unromantic. "You're supposed to be able to stay a week more, after all you love her, dont you?" she questioned rather rhetorically. "You had better go resume work bro! Were you doing anything important here? No! Just those bouts of mushiness and tiring quarrels”. Excitement cut in brashly, wanting him to be exhilarated only about the new job he had started remotely two months ago. They had welcomed him to resume work and had paid him consistently without a cut. An occurrence people didn't hesitate to call a miracle as companies as a result of the lockdown and the slow but steady demise of business were either downsizing or slashing percentages off staff's salaries. As it seemed, excitement sounded harsher than sadness, he couldn't tell if she was trying to help his mood or just demean his relationship. As the vehicle moved along slowly, he looked through the window which had its pane wound down to wave his last goodbye. He knew she would miss him as much as he would miss her and that made him sober, but he had to feign a smile to hide his emotions. She stood there staring like she could start an unnecessary fight with the driver just to stall him driving her love away. She waved back at him with a smile he tried hard to decipher. It looked like it said “oh wow, he's actually leaving? The guts! Gosh I would miss him! But then, I won't dare let him know". That was it, the goodbye they had been avoiding. The driver plugged into the major road, and in a second the local music from his car stereo permeated every space in the red Toyota Siena. Adeolu's mind wandered through the happenings of the past three months. He had come back to town in the wake of the Corona Virus spread to spend the few leave days he was entitled to at his old job which he was dying to leave because he was overly dissatisfied with compensation, with Amara his fiancé. He had planned to stay in town a week at most so he could be back to the city to resume at his new work place. But Covid-19 had other plans. The virus transmitted really fast and this made governments ground every form of social activity including travel to curb the spread. He was fortunate enough to still be retained by the new company despite the harsh effect of the lockdown, he resumed his new job remotely and ended up spending almost ten weeks with Ammy. His face lit up with a smile as he remembered all the sweet talks, banters, fights, difficult conversations, strolls and sacrifices they shared during this unexpected long stay in town. They had been craving this time to bond as distance wouldn't let them bask in each other's company whenever they wished. He relished all the fun moments, laughter and the opportunity the lockdown afforded them to know each other better and appreciate what they shared. They both didn't want it to end. Adeolu turned swiftly, an action he knew was futile, to get one last glimpse of her, but as expected it was too late. He couldn't see her anymore. He had once more began the long painful journey away from love.
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