“If your name is written on a piece of paper with red ink and burnt, you will die,” said Kashubi, a short, bald man dressed in all white. He appeared to be in his early thirties. His audience, also wearing white t-shirts and shorts, considered his statement for a second then cackled unrestrainedly. Kashubi chuckled after the four of them, revelling in their pleasure, having been the cause of it. Ebi, while laughing, rested his left chin on the table around which they were sitting, and pounded it mildly with his right fist; Justus was neck arched backwards, eyes closed and mouth opened – this deepened the tone of his laughter; Terlumun was in distress – he did not fancy spewing the beer that was trapped in his mouth when his amusement began without warning; he couldn’t swallow it either and Ademola clutched his chest with his right hand, because he was doing more coughing than laughing. They were all drunk, and it showed.
who ran “Madam Benue Restaurant and Bar” was irritated but persevered because she needed their money, which was in abundance, as it was only their first night in orientation camp as National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members.
Ademola and kashubi had been classmates in the university and now roommates in camp; the other three consisted of a mutual camp roommate (Terlumun), and friends of the roommate. There was not much familiarity between the five of them but it did not matter – the unifying power of alcohol was equal to the task.
Madam Benue restaurant served jollof rice, beans and potatoes amongst several other Nigerian cuisines, in a kiosk sandwiched by many other kiosks, being leased by the NYSC management. The bar section was set in an open courtyard, in front of the restaurant.
Earlier, Madam Benue’s fourteen-year-old daughter had grabbed a short broom by its bristle end, and disciplined her eleven-year-old brother with the firmly-tied, opposite end. Even though it was his buttock that was on the receiving end, the boy clutched his groin area and wailed dramatically. Their mother arrived at the scene when the beating was over, but not the clutching, so she jumped into a conclusion and struck her daughter’s cheek with back of her groundnut oil-smeared left hand, before the poor girl could utter a syllable of her explanation. Kashubi and co leapt to the girl’s defence, having been witnesses. When it was finally established that the kid was, in fact, hit on the buttocks and not below the belt, as first misinterpreted, the devastated teenage girl marched out of the bar’s premises with a palm pressed against the affected cheek, sobbing. She had been penalised without a fair hearing. A fair hearing was conducted, nonetheless, in her absence and the boy’s testimony was the beginning of a night of amusement for the five friends. It was to the understanding of the eleven-year-old, that whenever a boy was beaten by a girl with a broom, his penis would shrink and that was why he reacted the way he did. This triggered a recollection of several other childhood myths by the boys in white.
It was Ademola’s turn. “If you bend down at night and look between your legs, you’ll see a ghost.” This time, there were more hisses than laughter. Ebi decided to test the potency of the myth, so he got up from his seat, found himself a clear path and took a very steep bow. He almost collapsed from what he saw – she certainly wasn’t a ghost; she was simply a goddess in motion – there was something fluid and effortless about her strides. Her hair was neatly permed and restrained in a ponytail, save for a few strands that were given the license to interfere with her left eye’s line of sight. She had 6am eyes, like she had only woken up five minutes ago and her pupils, retina etcetera weren’t done booting yet.
Ebi knew he had to act quickly, lest she vaporized into thin air or descend, hopelessly, into some remote river, forever.
“Hi,” he said, when he caught up with her.
She glanced at the tall, chubby figure to see if he was someone she knew; he wasn’t, so she said “hello,” without breaking her strides.
“Please, may I have your phone so I can fix it?”
She chuckled. “Who says it needs fixing?”
“It doesn’t have my phone number in it; allow me to fix that.”
“You’ve been drinking,” she said. “You don’t know what you’re saying.”
“I do and…”
“Please,” she said politely, as she halted for a moment. “I really do not like the smell of alcohol. Whenever you’re sober, I promise, I’ll listen to whatever you have to say.”
When she restarted her fluid motion, he did not go after her; he whispered “fine girl with fine English” to himself, instead.
The following day, Ebi couldn’t wait for the evening parade rehearsal to be over, so he and the boys could retrace their steps back to Madam Benue’s bar. As the camp commandant voiced, a little too boisterously, his displeasure at corps members “wayward” attitude towards parade, Ebi searched the crowd, continuously, for 6am eyes. There were too many faces – 3227 to be exact, but he was sure hers would stand out. It didn’t.
Later at the bar, everyone else ordered their usual; Ebi settled for a bottle of coke. His excuse was that he had just taken an anti-malarial drug. They would have laughed and teased him all night, if he had told them it was because he wanted a longer conversation with the girl from last night, should the miraculous chance present itself.
The last time he plotted and schemed to woo a girl was nowhere to be found in his memory; he had always possessed a natural charm that made girls, helplessly, throw themselves at him, so that all he had to do was pick from the pack. This was business unusual but for some reason, he relished the idea of picking outside the pack, for a change.
For the umpteenth time, Ebi scanned through the passers-by making their way to and fro the “Mami” market from his vantage, sitting position. This time, he couldn’t believe it, she was weaving through the market traffic, arm in arm with a friend, giggling. He took a moment to calculate his next move, then excused himself from the group and proceeded to take advantage of a night of miracles.
They were trying out NYSC customised wrist bands in a jewellery stall, when he approached. “Hello ladies, how’s it going?”
“Mr Phone repairer,” she quipped.
“Also known as Ebi,” he said, chuckling. “So what’s your own name and alias?”
“Itohan, I have no aliases. This is my friend Queenta.”
“Nice to meet you,” said Queenta.
He shook her hand. “Same here. Is Queenta English or…?”
“I’ve never heard of it.”
“Well, now you have.”
Ebi heard Itohan ask the stall owner about the price of an item and he took that as his cue to make an impression. His offer to pay for it was accepted and the privilege to see them off to their hostel afterwards was attained.
“Why do you want my number?” Itohan asked when they got to the entrance of the hostel.
“So I can send you pictures of my bare, macho chest via whatsApp, and when you’re impressed, I can buy you lunch at Madam Benue.”
“When I’m impressed?” she asked.
“Yes, ‘when’,” he assured. “And after the lunch, we’ll let fate take the wheel.”
Itohan glanced at her friend, Queenta, who was typing seriously on her phone and appeared to be unimpressed with Ebi’s sweet talk. So she refocused on the sweet talker. “Look, your proposal is great and you’re a very funny guy, but I have a fiancée; I’m engaged.”
She flashed her engagement ring and Ebi sniggered sarcastically. “Na so.”
“It’s the truth,” Queenta cut in.
Itohan’s phone rang. “Speak of the devil,” she said. “I think it’d be wise to say our goodbyes at this point; this may be a very long phone call.”
She quickly thanked him for his generosity and company and ended with a valedictory “see you around.” She started her phone conversation with an enchanting “hey boo.”
Three days later, Ebi was completely cured of his Itohan craze and was back to being Mr Cool – chasing girls was such a waste of time.
Having just aced an audition for a role as a presenter in the Orientation Broadcasting Service (OBS), Kaduna camp chapter, he decided to reward himself by carrying a swooning lady and her buttocks on his lap, in the waiting area.
His phone rang; it was his mum. Soon after he answered the call, the lady on his lap was summoned for her audition and Ebi was thankful, for she was a nosy girl and his mother loved to have conversations with (or is it interview) every girl in his life at every given opportunity.
Somewhere between pleasantries and goodbyes, Ebi’s mum revealed that his girlfriend, Funmi, had been over during the weekend and had helped her with some chores. “She even braided my hair,” she said in a melodious tone. “That girl has decent upbringing.”
While his mum sang Funmi’s praise, someone standing behind him, stooped, whispered “I love you,” in his available ear and walked past him. When he saw it was Itohan, he couldn’t help but stutter through the rest of the phone conversation.
From that moment on, with not many questions asked, Itohan and Ebi steadily grew from acquaintances to sweethearts to Siamese twins’ status. Only bedtime separated the pair.
Terlumun was the clown and most outspoken of the group. Whenever they congregated, there was no shortage of stories, delivered with a series of never-heard-of slangs from Mr Chatterbox himself.
“Captain Mpioko!” he called out as Ebi approached the group, at their regular spot, with Itohan wedged under his left arm.
“Who’s that?” Ebi asked. The already seated four burst out laughing and Ebi realised that they probably had been gossiping about him and his queen. Itohan said hello to the boys and grabbed a seat; Ebi’s salutation was accompanied by the sounds of smacking palms.
The bar man came and took the orders of the newcomers – a bottle of beer and water. Terlumun wanted to know if Itohan was pregnant. “Don’t be silly,” she giggled. And just like the other times she had sat in a bar with the five, Terlumun tried to persuade her to have some beer. “Okay, mix the pua with some malt.”
Pua was slang for just about anything in Terlumun’s dictionary – money, food, weed etcetera. This time, it stood for beer.
Itohan chuckled. “Malt makes me throw up.”
Terlumun threw his hands in the air in frustration.
“Babe, you should answer your phone,” Ebi said, tired of seeing the flashing light from the cell phone on her lap, which she had deliberately put on silent.
“I don’t want to talk to him.”
“Well, he’s not going to stop calling.”
The light stopped flashing for a moment, only to find its spark again. This time it was her mum. She excused herself from the group, to seek a less noisy environment.
The voice at the other end of the phone was not a cheerful one. “My daughter, how are you?”
“Fine ma. Good evening ma.”
“Ehen. Tony tells me you have not been picking his calls for the past one week; hope all is well?”
“He didn’t tell you?” asked Itohan.
“Tell me what?”
“Daddy was right, mum; Tony and I are more or less strangers. I told him I wasn’t ready to get married yet, especially to him.”
“What? My dear you should have listened to your father then; the wedding is just four months away now.”
Back at the table, while Itohan was away, Ebi attended to a few queries of his own.
“So you wan marry oyibo?” Terlumun asked.
“You know she’s Nigerian, and nobody said anything about marriage.”
“So you’re not going to marry her,” Kashubi followed up.
“I haven’t said that either.”
Justus sipped some beer from his newly refilled glass cup, stroked his beard with his left thumb and index finger, and then fired away. “But why she get that accent? After all, she was born in Nigeria and schooled in Nigeria.”
Ebi chuckled. “Wait, na una problem be that?”
“You’re a moloko mbafu,” retorted Terlumun, and everyone laughed. Although Terlumun never attached a glossary to his slangs, his friends always had a collective idea of what they could mean or knew exactly what they meant from Terlumun’s explicit gesticulations.
“Well, she goes on vacation from time to time,” Ebi offered. “Her parents are well to do.”
Ademola, ever the diplomat and conscience of the group, registered his discomfort with the fact that Itohan was engaged to be married. Ebi was quick to point out that an engagement was never the same thing as marriage, and that it was her decision to call off the wedding, not his. “Plus, I may be saving her from a life of misery,” he added.
“How?” Kashubi probed.
And Ebi volunteered the story of how Itohan and Tony had met on Facebook, dated for seven months (basically via Skype, as Tony was schooling in Russia) and got engaged within the first two weeks of his return to Nigeria.
Justus whistled. “This is serious.”
The parade ground, which was basically a football field, was populated by two sets of people, at 9am that Monday morning – the smart and resilient. The smart ones comprised of Red Cross volunteers (who set up under a tree shade with an ambulance for company), OBS members (stationed under a canopy; overseeing sound and public address systems) and then corps members who fainted at will and were duly stretchered to the sick bay, after first aid treatment.
The resilient ones were those who simply had no qualms standing “at ease” and in formation for over three hours, waiting for the arrival of the representative of the Governor of Kaduna state.
At about a quarter to noon, the very important representative showed up, inspected the parade and, satisfied, declared the camp closed.
While deployment letters were being issued, different sizes and qualities of buses queued into the camp premises in preparation to ferry corps members to their respective local governments.
“Where were you posted?” a lady from OBS asked Ebi.
“Government Secondary School, Romi.”
“Are you serious? I was posted there too. We should stick together; I’ll reserve a seat for you in the bus.”
“Thanks Temi,” he said. “Let me go get my things.”
There were corps members who had lobbied for favourable destinations, there were those who had greatly hoped/prayed and there were those who simply didn’t care. In the end, disappointment carried the day as expectations were nipped in the bud and distance planted between friends, lovers and associates. Only a handful of faces had a Maclean grin.
The initial plan was to redeploy back home to Lagos after camp, and then Ebi happened. The new plan was to abide with Ebi, even if it meant making Kaduna, the city of crocodiles, her new home.
When the lovebirds discovered only an hour’s worth of distance separated their places of primary assignments, they knew their flame of love had been given a flaring chance. And so they made solemn promises to spend, at least, their weekends together and then every other extra time they could spare.
While Terlumun boarded the Sanga local government bus, Ademola made himself comfortable in the scanty, rickety vehicle headed for Kachia and each of the two seats reserved by Temi, Justus and Kashubi in the Chikun local government bus remained empty as Ebi made a last minute decision to stick with the Zaria bound coaster. He needed to ensure Itohan was settled and comfortable before he returned to Chikun.
At the end of a very long day, it was established that Glorious Academy had no lodge for corps members and the accommodation made available by the several NYSC Christian fellowships were too congested for Itohan. So, Dozie, the liaison officer for corps members in Zaria, clearly taken by Itohan, offered her the rented apartment of a friend who was out of town. He, reluctantly, extended the same courtesy to Ebi (who claimed to be Itohan’s cousin) for the night.
As they unpacked, Ebi made jokes about how he would shamelessly commit incest if he had a cousin as overwhelmingly good looking as she was.
“Well I’m glad we aren’t cousins,” she said, after a sequence of cute laughter.
They ate Dozie’s supplied dinner together, took separate baths and watched television on the same couch without much incident, until Ebi whispered “close your eyes.”
“Why? So you can give me an incestuous kiss?”
“Maybe,” he said. “Close your eyes and find out.”
She obeyed and when his lips met hers, they were very soft and moist that he feared they would dissolve in his mouth like a snickers bar. It was the first time they had this much privacy; it was their first kiss together and, so far, it was worth the wait.
Moments later, Itohan’s lips remained unmelted and Ebi took that as his cue to increase the intensity, but when he introduced his tongue, she pulled away, and further arched backwards her neck when he tried to re-establish connection. While he wondered what he had done wrong, she bit the left side of her lower lip with her teeth and smiled at him. Just when his worry was beginning to metamorphose into a grin, in obeisance to the expression on her face, she fastened his lips to hers, once more, and he was thankful for the day she was born.
Ebi left for Chikun the following day and it didn’t take long before Itohan began to miss him. Shopping for vegetable soup-friendly ingredients at Samaru market, a gentle wind blew the scent of Ebi’s unique perfume in and out of her nose. She quickly gathered her things and paced in the direction of the pleasant breeze, which was threatening to get lost amongst the busy bodies of traders and customers. When she realised that the culprit was not Ebi, she had to tame her impulse to strangle the chubby fellow clad in kaftan.
For the past three weeks, Funmi was only able to have five phone conversations with Ebi, even though no day went by without her dialling his number at least thrice. He had developed a new habit of not answering or returning her calls. Funmi was devastated and she needed it to show, so she wore a button-down sweater over her least revealing blouse and complemented that with her only below-the-knee skirt and a pair of matching slippers. She ignored the luxury of make-up and a neatly combed hair, that Saturday morning in Abuja, as she strode to the familiar residence.
Funmi wept through her side of the story and Ebi’s mum was obligated to intervene.
“Seridei ma,” Ebi answered his phone.
“I’m fine ma.”
“Alright, hope no problem?”
“No problem, mama, everything is fine.”
Ebi listened, patiently, as his mother recited Funmi’s lengthy petition before he presented his defence. “Mama, camp is packed with many, many activities; we’re always busy. If it’s not parade rehearsal, it’s lecture or one thing or the other. I cannot answer the phone during parade, for example; I’ve explained this to her.”
“Ehn, is the camp not over yet?”
“It is ma; just yesterday. We can talk for five hours a day now, if she wants,” Ebi quipped.
“Ehen, make una no fight oh.”
“Yes ma. Don’t worry mama I’ll call her immediately after this call.”
The lodge made available for the NYSC staff of Government Secondary School, Romi, had rooms that were pre-furnished with curtains, a carpet and a mattress just large for a plump fellow like Ebi, but Itohan had no problems fitting in. that Friday evening when she arrived, she met Ebi spread on the mattress; laying on his stomach. After a warm bath, she laid on her stomach too but on his back.
“Babe, I’ll be travelling to Abuja next weekend,” she announced. “And you’re invited.”
“My mum is going to be awarded the Woman of Faith and Substance of the decade, in her church.”
“What does that mean?”
“You can ask her yourself, if you come.”
Ebi did not respond, so she fiddled with his cheek and giggled.
“What is it?” he enquired.
“I remember when menstruation was extremely painful for me; I must have outgrown the pain. Nowadays, I can even afford to get turned on during my period, like I am right now.”
“No, no,” he protested. “Let’s turn you back off.”
“Why?” she giggled some more.
“Let’s just talk about something else.”
Ebi thought for a second. “If you had the power, what would you change about yourself?”
“My answer is still sexual,” she laughed. “It’s my boobs.”
“I like them just fine.”
“Thanks, but I just love how shapely girls with full breast look, when they wear fitted clothes. Averagely full breasts oh, not XXL.”
“There’s always the option of surgery.”
“Not for me. I prefer natural endowment,” she said, heaving a sigh. “When I was a teenager, there was a rumour about this beetle-like insect, that if you let them bite your breasts, they would swell permanently. My friends and I tried it and it hurt for like two days.”
Ebi was now vibrating with laughter.
“It didn’t work, apparently,” she continued. “Maybe we didn’t do it right.”
“Let’s try it again tomorrow.”
“You’re on your own.”
Ebi vibrated some more.
“You know what I like about you?” asked Itohan. “There’s this reassuring aura you conjure that makes me feel like I can tell you anything. I find myself telling you things I don’t even tell my own sister. You’re so easy to talk to.”
“You too babe,” said Ebi. “You’re so easy to love; you’re the world’s best girlfriend.”
“Nice title!” she exclaimed. “I like it.”
Whenever the choir was called upon, the choir director seemed to know just the chorus to invoke, to start a dance riot. Everyone in red, flowing robes resounded, tirelessly, their director’s lines, the instrumentalists were fired up, the Bishop and his entourage were constantly tempted to do more than just sway from side to side, and the whole congregation was delighted to have such a talent lead them in praises.
Ebi was too shocked to participate. Earlier, when Itohan had said, “Mum, this is the Ebi I’ve been telling you about,” he did not expect a bear hug, let alone a fond pull of his cheek, accompanied with a “My prince! Thank you so much for coming.”
Ebi wondered what stories she’d been told about him; he wasn’t sure if she referred to all her daughter’s boyfriend as “my prince,” he just felt there was more to her being fond of him at first sight, than meets the eye. However, he wouldn’t mind a mother-in-law who was always in this kind of mood.
“Snap me three times when the Bishop is shaking my hands,” Ebi heard one of the awardees instruct a cameraman. That’s when he considered that the euphoria of being an award recipient could be responsible for the affectionate reception he got from Itohan’s mum. He decided that whenever the opportunity presented itself, he would interview Itohan and know for sure.
It was the first time her phone was ever switched off, since that blessed day she gifted him her number. The last time they spoke was 10am Wednesday morning; it was now 3pm Thursday afternoon. Ebi tried to think of all the possible explanations for this rarity. She couldn’t have run out of battery – her neighbourhood in Zaria had a fairly regular supply of electricity, plus she had two power banks. Or did she deliberately switch off her phone? Who was she avoiding? It’s been more than 24 hours now; could she have been kidnapped? He hoped not. Kidnappings were unheard of in northern Nigeria but he said a quick prayer, nonetheless, committing into God’s hand her safety.
“22, 23, 24 – 24 votes for Ebi,” said the electoral chairman. “It’s a landslide victory. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the new Editorial Board president, of the NYSC Community Development Service, Ebi Sylvanus.”
Ebi masked his worry, amidst the cheers, with a grin, a politician’s wave and a short thank you speech.
He would later learn from Itohan that she had lost her phone in a cab and that she was safe, hearty and sound.
Justus would not stop lamenting about the unjust refereeing that cost Arsenal the match and this was sweet music to Kashubi’s ears, as he was a supporter of the triumphant side. While Justus lamented, Kashubi made jests, fiery enough to invite punches but it was a friendly rivalry and that was why Kashubi could lie, nonchalantly, on the bed while his friend prepared noodles in the kitchen for the both of them, unsupervised.
The knock on the door was faint, but not Kashubi’s bantering voice. “Who’s that?”
“My friend, open the door,” Ebi countered.
“My friend, go back to Zaria,” was Kashubi’s chuckling response.
For the past seven months of their youth service, Ebi was a rare sight on Saturdays. He usually spent them in Zaria, and whenever Itohan visited him in Chikun, he was unavailable for the weekend.
Shortly after Kashubi let Ebi in, Justus appeared with a bowl of onions-infested noodles, decorated with fried eggs and 3 forks. This made Ebi miss Itohan, for there was none better skilled at preparing Indomie noodles with ample pepper and no onions at all – just the way he liked it.
When Ebi broke the news, they thought he was trying to trick them. So both Justus and Kash (as Ebi liked to call him) studied his face, in search of a partially suppressed smile or anything else that would give him away. There was none.
“Are you serious?” asked Justus.
“Yea. We haven’t spoken for like two weeks.”
“Wait,” Kash interjected. “Start from the beginning; what happened?”
“It’s uhm….The first five months of the relationship was great; we called each other 3, 4 times a day. Then gradually, on her part, thrice became twice, then once, then once in a while. I kept calling her though.”
“Did you query her new calling habit?” Justus inquired.
“Yeah. She would either apologize or have a seemingly genuine excuse for her shortcoming. Then I noticed that whenever we were together, she had no problems making numerous calls to other people and that’s when my suspicion started.”
Ebi’s phone rang, interrupting him. He stared at the caller ID for two seconds and decided the caller could wait, so he turned the ringer off.
“There was this guy, Dozie, in Zaria who was always in the picture,” he continued. “If she was not on the phone with him, she was in his house. Sometimes, I would go to Zaria and not meet her at home, even though she knew I was coming. Because I had her spare key, I would let myself in and wait for hours. Finally she’d return around 10 or 11pm and say ‘I was in Dozie’s house. I didn’t hear my phone ring; I’m sorry.’”
“Who’s this Dozie guy to her?” asked Kash.
“He’s a corps member too oh, but she claims he’s just a friend and her go-to guy when she needs help going anywhere in Zaria or to solve any NYSC issue.”
Ignoring, some more, his ringing phone, Ebi revealed. “The final straw came about two weeks ago, when her phone was switched off for over 48 hours. A friend of hers, Helen, from Port Harcourt called me and said she understood I was Itohan’s neighbour in Zaria; I don’t know how she got my number but she wanted to know if I had seen Itohan, since she couldn’t reach her on phone. I played along and said I hadn’t seen her. The friend then said she’d call Itohan’s boyfriend to check because she had mention something about going to Lagos to visit him. I called the Helen back, like an hour later and she said yes Itohan was in Lagos and was safe.”
Ebi’s phone rang for the fourth time. This irked him greatly so he answered it. “I said I’ll call you Funmi, just relax, I’ll call you,” he yelled and hung up. Justus and Kash exchanged curious looks, but left it at that.
“So,” Ebi carried on. “When I eventually got through to Itohan, she claimed she had lost her phone and only just recovered her number. She was using a new phone, sha, the next time we met, but I still confronted her with the Lagos story, which she neither confirmed nor deny. Her response was ‘a relationship without trust is unhealthy and would go nowhere. So the best thing for us is to just go our separate ways.’ I insisted that the best thing for us was to communicate and work things out, but she was adamant.”
“Just give her time,” Justus suggested.
“I have. It’s been two weeks and she’s still not picking my calls.”
“You guys are the loveliest couple I know,” Kash offered. “I don’t see this break up lasting.”
“What amazes me is that, I’m finding it hard to go a day without calling her while she, on the other hand, has gone cold turkey like I never meant anything to her.”
Justus sighed. “You know, girls don’t like to feel like one is doing just fine without them. Take a break; keep yourself busy and stop calling her for a while. She’d most likely call you back.”
Later that night, Ebi dreamt that he was seeing Itohan off to some unknown destination, and after he had flagged down a cab for her, he gave her a very long, goodbye hug.
“Can I get one too?” the cab driver joked.
“Unless you’re ready for police case,” replied Ebi. And they all laughed.
When the cab disappeared into a fog with Itohan, Ebi woke up and could not get to sleep.
It was 3:06am, according to his mobile phone. He logged into whatsApp and found Ademola online, so he initiated a chat.
Ebi: Ade the priest. You’re awake.
Ademola: Lover boy. How’s your better half? Has she called?
Ebi: Forget that girl; she’s a moloko mbafu.
Ademola: Hahaha. Surely you don’t mean that.
Ebi: You know I don’t, and I hate that fact.
Ademola: I know I’ve said this before, but now is really the time to get closer to God. And if it’s God’s will, she’ll be back but if it’s not, then you’ll find someone better.
Ebi: Yes pastor.
Ebi: I would really like to know who in Kachia, converted you to a priest.
Ademola: Very funny.
Ebi: That person no try at all. Let me try and get back to sleep, jare.
Ademola: Alright then. Goodnight bro.
Puppies became dogs, Apple launched yet another iphone, and the earth kept travelling along its orbit. Three weeks after graduation from the National Youth Service Corps, time was doing a good job of healing Ebi. He hadn’t called Itohan for 3months until yesterday, when she sent him a birthday text which he took as an invitation to call her, but she still wouldn’t answer her phone.
Ebi was distraught. He decided that some company was exactly what he needed now, to distract himself from the present conundrum and who better than the ever loyal and trustworthy Funmi.
She answered the phone at the first ring. “Hey sweetie.”
“Where are you?” Ebi demanded.
“I’m at a cyber café trying to do some research for my final year project.”
“Can you come over?”
“Like right now? Will you help me with my project?”
“You ask too many questions. Are you coming or not?”
“You don’t have to shout at me na,” Funmi said, despondently.
“Shout how? If I was shouting, I’d know it.”
“Okay, okay,” she cut in. “I’m on my way.”
“Alright,” Ebi said and hung up quickly. God forbid he afforded her the time and luxury to say something sacrilegious, like “I love you.”
Satisfied, Ebi flung his Nokia “torchlight” phone on the bed, from his standing position. With hands akimbo, he watched, intently, the mobile device and fantasized about it vibrating with messages of reconciliation and heart-felt apologies all the way from Lagos, with love.