The sight of lightning and the bangs of thunder used to freak her out every other time, but the rain drops that thumped her window pane feels like mother nature being a good friend and joining her in shedding tears, the thunder seems like a good music to the ear, and the Lightning like an art from Mary Ogembo her favorite painter from Kenya. The rain came on harder, her tears too. Little sobs that was in harmony with each strike of thunder, she had to keep it at the minimum, her 2 boys had their eyes fixed on the large TV set just a few feet away. How did she get here? How did she become a lonely married woman? These thoughts brought more tears down her oblong face, mother nature seems to understand, the rain became a little more intense. She had an urge to scream, she had a reason to throw tantrums, but what will she tell her children when they ask? When they ask the simple question “Mom, What is wrong?”
“Hi, my name is Dennis, how may I be of help?” A voice cooed behind her, and she could perceive a mildly sprayed cologne that made her want to hug whoever it was. “Are you a staff here?” She turned to ask. “Well, since I saw you walk in through the door, I automatically became a staff here” Dennis replied with a half smile that combined sarcasm, sexy and playful together. “Oh! You are not a staff then?” She replied now looking up to the 6ft+, dark skinned beauty staring her in the face, she saw how cute he was but didn’t flinch or go off guard, even though all the muscles in her were almost lifting themselves to go for the hug, she muzzled them up with an almost straight face.
“Well, I am not a staff here, my uncle owns this place, but I attend to special people in special situations, fortunately this is a special situation” he said with a big grin, she noticed his well carved set of teeth, something like what the Nok people carved out of Ivory and also his lips looked much like life pottery, maybe something from Ladi Kwali.
She was about to tell him what she was looking for when he cut her short and said “Ma’am you haven’t told me your name” she giggled this time and replied “since we are playing smart, you will get my name on the teller” They both laughed.
He took her through the phone types that were on display and told her the cost of it even though it was all written on the catalogue, after a while she settled for the Nokia Express music. He ensured he was the one that wrote her Teller, she didn’t hesitate to tell her name this time “Nonye Briggs” she said, it was beginning to get obvious she liked his company already with her sheepish smile and constant whirling of her hair. She took the paper from him and took a look at it “you have a very horrible handwriting” she said to him looking at his face and the paper, like she was making a mental comparison of both. They both laughed and he said “Blame med school, not me”
He walked her outside and offered to drive her wherever she was going. Even though her heart screamed for a go, her head calmed the tone and she turned down the offer politely. He asked for her phone number, and she called it out like the goddess in control of the affairs of the sea and he punched his keypads like Mohammad Ali sure of a win.
As the yellow cab meandered through the boisterous traffic of Obalende trying to get access to Dolphin Estate, honking and loud engines revving didn’t seem to get in the way of the peace and calm in Nonye. She sat at the backseat of the cab, leg crossed and leaning well on the door, she was looking out of the window, she was looking but looking at nothing in particular. Not the pregnant woman selling groundnuts, holding her waist and rubbing her heavy stomach nor the dancers across the street advertising something that looked like packaged voodoo. Her mind was far off to the farce that occurred earlier, Her mind was in the big phone shop at Yaba where she had met this quite annoyingly confident man. Dennis’ voice kept playing in her head, she played, paused and rewound his first statement to her “Hi, my name is Dennis, how may I be of help?” She kept playing it in her head and looking for a flaw in it. Nonye wasn’t the kind of girl guys like Dennis like to roll with, she doesn’t wear makeup, ear rings, and her skirts are usually in an A like shape and always way beyond her knees. Dennis on the other end looks like the hipster gentleman, he wore a grey Calvin Klein shirt back at the shop on a nicely fitted jean and a grey Puma sneakers to match it all. She tried to stop playing the visuals of the shop and Dennis voice in her head, she was smiling constantly and the curves on her lips looked like a pear fruit cut into halves.
“Madam which number you call your house again” the driver’s voice jostled her to reality.
“Na 23A I tell you baba, you don pass there. Abeg, Just drop me for here” she said between her irritation. She wasn’t irritated he passed her house, she was because he disrupted her wonderland fantasies.
“Madam no vex, I think say you dey look road ni” the driver said to her as he counted the crisp 50 naira notes she handed to him.
“No wahala, thank you” Nonye said and picked her red bag and started walking back towards her house.
As she walked past the block of flats, people walking around with dogs and others just taking a walk, she tried to go back to her fantasy thoughts and cut herself from the people, but her anger towards the driver already barricaded her sweet thoughts.
The black paint on her house gate looked new, with a gigantic pillar to both sides of it, she pressed the bell but no one responded, she banged the gates too and shouted Ahmed’s name but to no avail, she checked her time it was a bit past 7pm, Ahmed must be at the mosque she thought. She was going to walk down to Fola’s, when her phone began to ring, her Carrie Underwood “Jesus take the wheel ringtone” seems the right tune she needed at the moment, being stranded.
“Hello there, hope you got home safe” the voice on the end of the phone hit her ears like baby lotion on a dry skin.