The Stupid Zone Episode 9 - WELCOME TO OFFICIALLY NAIJA INFOMEDIA.COM.NG

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Stupid Zone Episode 9

The Stupid Zone
Episode 9
I could swear I saw someone who looked like Naomi as I boarded the plane but I was sure it was my mind playing tricks on me and so I walked in and settled by the window after struggling to find the seat number that was on my air ticket.
I sat for about two minutes when someone tapped my shoulder. I looked up to find a beautiful young black woman with long brownish hair who seemed rather pissed.
“You are in my seat.” She said without even exchanging any form of pleasantries with me.
She was so beautiful that even the scowl on her face could not dampen that fact.
“Your seat?” I asked her.
“Yes." She said as she showed me her air ticket.
"Well my air ticket also has this seat number so you might as well just sit there," I pointed to the seat next to the one I was seated on but away from the window.
She showed me the seat numbers on our tickets and compared them to the ones on the plane and I was overheated with shame when I realized she was right. My seat was the one away from the window and I was really in her seat.
"I'm so sorry miss," I said but didn’t move.
"You can move out now," she said. She still had the serious face on.
I groaned before I shifted uncomfortably but still didn’t move out. It was my first time on a plane and I didn’t want to miss the view. I decided to suck it up and ask her nicely.
"I was hoping to have the window seat." I said.
"Well its mine," she said unapologetically.
From her accent, I could tell she was African American. Thank God for all those black American movies Naomi made me watch on her phone.
"It’s my first time on a plane," I said hoping she would buy it.
For the first time, her scowl softened in to an expression I could not recognize, then I saw her face register confusion and then doubt and then the unrecognizable emotion again.
“You have never met someone who's never been on a plane?" I asked her.
"I have.... I mean I....." she stammered.
I knew she was lying but I knew it was because she did not want to make me feel bad.
"You can have the window seat then," she said as she settled in the seat next to me.
"I'm Tamia by the way." she said.
"Lija... I mean Richard. You can call Richie," I said with a smile as I handed her my hand.
She shook my hand very briefly then opened her handbag and got out hand sanitizer to cleanse her hands. I found that offensive but I shrugged. She had offered me her window seat so I had to cut her some slack.
I squealed in excitement like a little girl when the plane took off and I could see the heroes stadium disappear until all I could see were clouds.
Tamia looked at me in amusement and let me have my moment before she finally spoke to me.
"So where are you going?" She asked me.
"To Addis Ababa Ethiopia en-route United States of America," I said placing emphasis on America.
"Oh I'm going to the states too. Which state?" she asked me.
“California?” she asked me bemusedly before I could answer.
“As a matter of fact, yes. How did you know?” I asked her.
“I didn’t. I just hoped it would be. That’s my state too. Santa Cla…..” she began.
“Clara County,” I finished for her.
“Yes, oh my God. Are you going to Stanford?”
“Guilty as charged,” I said with a smile easing into the conversation.
I had misjudged Tamia, I really enjoyed the flight next to her. She was so easy to talk to and I told her all about Zambia while she told me about the United States of America.
She had come to Zambia as a volunteer for an annual programme called Camp life Zambia where Americans in partnership with Zambians teach orphans and vulnerable children the word of God and donate things to them. Some children are sponsored to school and some even get adopted by some American families.
Tamia told me that she decided to do this in her gap year before she finally started studying at Stanford because she was passionate about orphans and vulnerable children.
“I grew up in a foster home,” she told me.
“What’s a foster home?” I innocently asked.
She again gave me the look she did when I told her it was my first time on a plane.
“Do you not have those here?”
I gave her the ‘duh, would I ask if we did?’ look.
“Oh I see, probably not. Well in the US we have what is known as foster care and this is a way of providing a family life for children who cannot live with their own parents for some reason.”
“Like adoptive family?”
“Not exactly. Anyway I will tell you all about it since we will be at the same university. You can even get to meet my foster family, I very nice. My foster mom and dad usually come to Zambia and they have been attending camp life before they took me in. They were unable to attend this year though for some reason so I came alone. They are the reason I care for orphans and vulnerable children because they showed me that even people who don’t know you can love you and accept you as their own.” She said with a glow in her eyes that I assumed was love.
It made me think about my mother who neither loved nor cared for me despite me being her own.
Tamia and I talked about a lot of things and before I realized it, we were in Addis Ababa. We were supposed fly to Atlanta Georgia from Addis then connect to California from there. I was glad to have found someone who knew where we were going because I hated having to ask for directions, it made me feel emasculated.
The flight was long and tiring but it was exciting. I liked the food on the plane even though I did not get full. Tamia offered me some of her food and I ate that too but was still hungry.
“Zambian men have huge appetites huh?” she asked me and I felt embarrassed.
There was never enough food at home and I had never eaten to a point of being full my entire life.
We reached Atlanta and had to wait for two hours as that was the time our flight was leaving. We went round the airport where Tamia bought a lot of things. I did not buy anything because the Bemba proverb ‘beshiba uko ulefuma tabeshika uko uleya’ meaning you only know where you are coming form and not where you are going, stuck with me.
After what seemed like forever of waiting, our flight was announced and Tamia and I boarded. We had different seat numbers but she managed to convince the Japanese man I was seated next to, to swap seats with her.
It seemed like I was off to a very good start of my life as a student.

To be continued

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