Leaves of the one mango tree still standing in the compound trusted softly in the wind, edges catching reflections of the done street light mounted at the top of the NEPA pole a few houses away. A solitary Okada sped down the road with its passenger, a buxom woman who looked like she was trying to stay on top of a horse. Conversation sounds came from neighboring houses, mixing with the smells of different local dishes being made in different houses. The barber at the end of the road was playing some Olamide loudly, giving the different hues of humanity ambience.
It was a rare, beautiful evening.
But as it usually is with such things, not everyone experiencing it was enjoying it.
Chris was one such a person.
From his vantage point on his landlord’s balcony, he could see everything perfectly. See; but wasn’t a part of.
His left hand itched and he scratched at it steadily, but it was more like distracted reflex. His mind was trying to sort through the events of the past nineteen hours.
He avoided thoughts of the LaCasera bottle and the smashed picture frame, thinking instead of his mandatory leave and what had led up to it. Working with Agnes was becoming more of a burden the more he thought about it, and he wondered if it wouldn’t be better if he just transferred elsewhere – or just quit altogether.
His nerves were slowly being stretched – and he didn’t want to confront the thought of what would or could happen if they snapped. If he snapped.
His phone started to ring.
Not exactly in the mood for conversation but wanting to know who it was, he picked the call, refusing to acknowledge the faint hope that it was Agnes calling.
The cultured tones that bathed his ear wasn’t hers.
“Hey Chris,” a female greeted.
He was surprised. “Temi?”
She laughed throatily. “Or its someone wearing me. How are you?”
“The I’m fine or the truth?” He asked, feeling the icy hands of loneliness reaching out to hug him.
There was silence from the other end of the phone but he could hear her breathing. “Temi?” He asked.
“Are you going to tell me how you are?” She asked, voice still the same controlled calm. Chris sighed.
“Honestly, I’ve been better. I don’t know what’s wrong – maybe I just need some solitude…”
Why don’t you travel? I hear Tinapa’s great around this time of the year.”
“Tinapa? On which salary? It’s me o, Chris. Not Christ or Christian Bale. Just…”
“So GT doesn’t send you alerts?”
His pulse jumped from 60 to 180 in two seconds. “What?”
She chuckled slowly. “Check your account balance – and then call me tomorrow. Or don’t. Night, Chris.”
Chris stood on his landlord’s balcony, even more confused than he’d been minutes before.
What the hell?