Stuck on a New Year

BY: Debby A. Yemeh
Family eating together

It was my mum’s idea to take a trip to our hometown for the New Year, dad suggested we take the family car, my brother David volunteered to clean it, I was in charge of the food and drinks, and no one could have seen our New Year gift coming.

The plan was to set out on the 31st  and other relatives thought it was a good idea to  start the new year as a family so they decided to meet us at the family house.

I was excited to see all my childhood friends and cousins, so we could talk about life in the boarding house.

Even though we were supposed to wake up at dawn, someone forgot to set the alarm clock so we spent the entire morning looking for things and packing the little things we could.

We set out around 11 a.m., and spent about three hours in traffic, dad’s jokes helped us to forget about the delay.  At 3:00p.m. the car was moving like a snail.


I was so tired I wished I could alight and walk, I could see David was restless too because he started pinching me in the backseat.

“Mum, David is pinching me”

When mum turned around, David stopped, and then continued when she looked away.

I was getting frustrated, and there was no way dad could park the car even for a minute because the traffic was so bad that once you moved out, you would have to  beg a driver to allow you to enter the snail paced movement.

I endured the pinching and hoped the traffic would ease.

When the road started to clear, it was dark, and we were not even half way there because we had rushed through packing, the food and drinks were not much and I was worried because David always ate something when there was traffic.

When we got to the outskirts of the city, the car started making funny noises. Dad parked the car by the roadside and opened the car bonnet while we sat waiting. I could see that my mum was worried even though she tried not to look like she was.

When my dad came back, he said, “there’s a little problem, so I will have to call the mechanic” he informed us later that the reception was bad so we just sat in the car.

I was scared because I had heard on the news that armed robbers attacked people on dark roads, and our road was dark. I wished my dad would come and sit in the car but it seemed he was just walking off in the dark just for reception.

After some time, he came back to the car; it was around 9:00 p.m.

My mum started humming a Christmas carol. At first David and I didn’t want to sing the song but my dad was singing so loudly, and making funny faces that we also joined in.We sang most of our favourite Christmas songs while we took some drinks.

Suddenly, there was a bright light from a huge vehicle, which faded our songs with its honking. My smile faltered because now, all I could think about was that we were going to be robbed.

Dad surprisingly maintained his composure and even started shouting and giving the driver a Hi-five. My mum also alighted and went to speak to someone in the back seat of the mysterious vehicle.

Mum came back to explain that it was Aunty Lizzy, daddy’s sister and our uncle who also happened to be using the same route.

We left the car for dad’s mechanic to pick up later and joined them in their car.

I have never enjoyed the New Year more because even though we were still on our way when the clock struck midnight on the first, my wish of spending New Year with family was granted.