True Fear I: One Bright Morning
They say the only thing to fear is fear itself.That fateful morning, he found out otherwise.
Innocent blinked like an owl caught in sunlight as he woke up slowly. For some seconds he was completely disoriented, and then it all came back to him in a rush. The promotion…the congratulations…the surprise party…the Hennessey…
He was supposed to be at work. He sat up suddenly – and winced, grabbing his head. It felt as though three wraps of Mama Put fufu were resting on his brain.
As he staggered off the bed, a small jingling soundinsistently inserted itself into his consciousness. He stopped, wondering where it came from – before realizing that the sound too had stopped. It started again the moment he started to move again, and it sounded like it came from below him.
He looked down – and was surprised to see ‘grey’ where ‘brown’…or at least skin color was supposed to be.
He was still fully dressed in his work clothes from the day before. He groaned out loud. Which kain…
Wincing out loud as he felt another jab from the hot iron in his head, he started to pull off his clothes slowly, trying to remember exactly how drunk he had been the previous night. No be today I start to dey drink Henney na, he thought, roughly pulling the stripped tie from his neck. And why didn’t Henrietta wake me?He turned to the bed, intending to ask his wife just that. Her side of the bed was empty.
She wouldn’t be in bed at this time of the morning, he reasoned. But where she dey? Almost immediately, he heard the tinkling of water splashing from the bathroom and smiled. There she was.
He wrinkled his nose as he pulled off his soiled shirt, grimacing in distaste. He smelled as though he had taken a dip in Alomo Bitters and Ogidigba at once. This is…this is curious; he thought. I definitely did not drink this much.
Emptying his pockets of keys and phones and loose change and wallet and – he put everything on the table beside the bed. And then he took off his shoes and every last bit of clothing, dropped them among the small heap he’d created, and then swept the clothes towards the silent laundry basket that stood in one corner of the room. He was reaching for the towel hanging above it when singing broke out from the bathroom. His lips stretched in a smile that slowly became wider as he recognized what she was singing. Brymo’s Good Morning.
He reached for his toothbrush, distractedly noting that its head was looking frazzled. Shrugging, he slowly walked towards the bathroom, fingering the day-old fuzz of hair around his jaw. He didn’t need a shave. Not yet.
The bathroom door opened as he walked towards it and Henrietta appeared, wrapped in a pink towel and patting her face.
“Hey,” he said. “Why didn’t you wake me…”
The woman took one look at him and screamed.