Early this evening, I sent the security guy on an errand. I was standing by the gate, waiting for him and watching traffic go by when I heard someone yell my name from across the road. I looked in the direction I heard my name and by the time I realised who it was, it was too late to disappear into the bushes. We don’t even have bushes.
I was careful not to smile. I waved a small, barely civil wave. A sensible person would’ve deciphered the wave to mean “Don’t let devul use you this afternoon. Just be going where you’re going”, but not this guy. He was never one to read signals so, with the excitement of a veteran back from war, he sprinted across the road.
Unlucky for me, there was no oncoming traffic so he got to my end safely.
He lifted his arms and offered a hug. I offered my shoulder pad.
Then we exchanged small talk and by ‘we’ I mean him. I just did a lot of “Oh really?” and “Oh for real?”… He talked about his new job, how much he’s making now, how he’s about to buy a car, blah blah blah without stopping for breath. Finally, hands on hips, he glanced at the gate and asked, “Do you stay here?”
I said no.
“Oooooh… so your boyfriend stays here ehn?”
I smiled. Deep down, I wanted to sand-paper the stupid smirk off his face. I asked, “So where are you heading to?”
“I’m going to see a friend o. He just moved to the area. Do you stay around here?”
“We really need to catch up o. I called you severally but you never answered. Abi you deleted my number?”
By now, I’m looking over his shoulder, hoping that the security man isn’t going to show up at that moment and hand me my moin moin and plantain chips.
“Same number right?”
“Yeah. Are you waiting for someone?”
“I’m sure I still have it.”
He whipped out his phone. “You know what? Let me just flash you so you can save it.”
I don’t disagree. Instead, while still facing him, I take a small step back, hold my phone up and watch the screen like I’m waiting for the call to connect. With my other hand I shield the screen against imaginary sunlight, even though it’s already getting dark. My phone starts to vibrate and one word flashes across the screen;
“Yup”, I said. “I still have it.”