Drink spilled, shards scattered and a sharp noise filled the bar. Kate had dropped her cup in impulse to my last statement.
“Are you really alright?” I asked as I tried shoving the broken pieces away from us.
I grabbed her hand; she was shaky. Something definitely doesn’t feel right; I looked into her eyes and tried asking her what was wrong, but when I met her blue eyes, they had tears in them – I moved my hand to her face and tried wiping off the tears with my thumb.
…and then my phone rang
“Tears don’t come when you miss someone, but it comes when you don’t want to miss someone.” – Unknown
My hands on her cheeks, I ignored my ringing phone – that must be Tolu, I said up in my mind; I looked into Kate‘s eyes and she buried her face in shame. Slowly, I moved my right hand, stroking her left cheek thrice and then settling on her hair as I gently stroked them backwards; she leaned forward and rested her head on my shoulder – her face buried below. My phone kept ringing and on the 3rd call, I quickly snatched it off the table – without looking at the screen for the caller’s ID, I coarsely said into the mouth-piece.
Caller: “Abbey, my padi … How far nah? You no wan pick my call?“
I quickly pulled the phone off my ear and checked the screen for the caller’s ID – oh silly me, it was Justin; what does he want this time? Is he here to complain about the last piece I wrote for him or does he want another of my services?
Abiodun: “Hey Mr. J, no vex jare, I been dey carried away o; how the hustle na?“
Justin: “Oh boy, hustle tight o – we dey push; we get deal o…“
Abiodun: “Ehn ehn? Any better? What’s the consignment na?“
Justin: “That your last piece wey you write for me craze people die – everybody gbadun am o. Make we do repete na.“
Justin had frequently used the word “repete” to qualify the word “repeat“; his fluency in the Pidgin lingua was so defectless. I always wondered if it was because he was from the Eastern part of the country or basically because he grew up in the Police barracks with his uncle; either way, that wasn’t important – he had a new business for me and that is what stands important now.
Abiodun: “You and this our repete slang, anyhow sha, how you want am?“
Justin: “You know say you na bad guy na, your brain na King Solomon own times 10.“
Abiodun: “Guy no whine me, go straight to business jare…“
Justin: “*laughs* Ok, I hear; make we hook up na make I fit brief you on the new story wey you go write for my blog na.“
Abiodun: “When you go free?“
Justin: “I dey free anytime, where you dey?“
Abiodun: “I dey opposite ozone like this – you sabi that White House street?“
Justin: “Shuuu! You no do well o, na my hood you dey na and you no bell me.“
Justin: “Yes na. Me na Yaba boi na; calm down! Where for Church street you dey?“
Abiodun: “I dey that 1st bar for the street where them dey…“
Justin: “*quickly interrupts* Where dem dey do shawarma bah? I don dey enter road now – I go drive come meet you in 10 minutes.“
Abiodun: “Alright then, I go dey wait.“
Abiodun: “Oga ade, dey come quick jor.“
And then I disconnected the call and dropped my phone back on the table.
“You got company coming?” Kate looked up and asked me.
“Yeah dear, a friend – some business sh*t … Wants me to write a new piece for him, I suppose.” I replied her.
She graced a smile on her face and said, “I heard all your conversation, you should try turning down your in-call volume sometimes.“
“Really? Damn!” I said to her as I smiled, she smiled back.
Then I leaned forward and kissed her fore-head and said, “I’m glad you smiling now.“
She pulled away quickly and looked me in the eye. “What was the kiss on the fore-head for?“
I smiled at her again and said, “let’s just say that’s for crying like a baby and making me bother, next time it would be on the lips.“
She pushed me away and mocking said, “get out jor.“
As she laughed, I laughed, and we both found ourselves laughing.
…just in the moment, her phone rang
I passed it on to her as she flipped the lid open and answered the call. I picked up my cup and gulped down what was left of it’s content; she flipped down the lid of her phone and said to me, “my friend is through with her movie, I better get going. Thanks for the treat.“
She picked up her stuffs and hurriedly stood up to leave. I grabbed her hand and said behind her, “not so fast, let me see you off.“
“Oh please don’t bother, you’ve got your business friend coming soon and I don’t want your date for tonight to see me with you and think I stole her man.“
I giggled and said to her, “don’t be so nice all of a sudden, you’ve played diplomacy on me all day from the bus to your tears.“
She gave me a stern look and I mockingly covered my face – “stubborn boy” was all she said afterwards.
“I’m seeing you off.” I said.
“No, I insist.” She replied.
“Why?” I just couldn’t understand her anymore; she was obviously serious about me not seeing her off. She walked out of the small room I had termed Dark Room and that felt like the last time I would ever see her – the reason why she had tears in her eyes, I still didn’t find out. As I settled back on the sofa and picked up my phone to attend to pending notifications, the door to the room opened again and in a dash I looked up to see if Kate had returned with a change of mind, only to meet the excited face of Justin.
“Baaaaadooooooo! How far nah? Na from here that babe just commot? Na you control am? How the matter be na?“
If I hadn’t interrupted him, he’d have asked me “21 Questions” just like the Curtis Jackson‘s 2nd single of 2003, off his “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” commercial album; I allowed him settle down. We exchanged pleasantries before we got to the real business.
“When we lose the right to be different, we lose the right to be free.” – Charles Evans Hughes
Justin and I had got talking. He did most of the talking as I listened more and interjected when necessary; he had started off by complementing me and my works. He ran praises on me with words like smart, best, dope, creative, wizard and lots more; I’m used to receiving such compliments from clients – it wasn’t just because I was good at what I do, but because of the fact that I did it differently than others would. I am obviously not the best there is, but I do know I was different, and that “difference” was the key to success of my works. Justin definitely wanted me to write another series for his blog; he had enjoyed my extras on the last article and the attention it got, added a great fraction of visits to his blog.
This time around, he had a different theme from the last piece; the plot was great, location was perfect – I could deal with the cast, the plan would go smooth. It would be an adventure too easy for me; I agreed with his proposal, BUT…
…I had a twist in mind; one I had building up in my mind that he wasn’t aware of – and that twist would be the “difference” in my work.
We agreed on the number of episodes for the series and came to a fee. I told him to send an official mail to the Ink&Quill publication sector of the AceWorldTEAM platform which Akin would review and then the deal would be sealed; he teased me on how the team and I loved being so official – he knew so well it was a tradition we all followed. We drank some more, ordered appetizers and munches and laughed while chatting about different topics; he ordered some more drinks as time went by and we merried not as clients on business, but as friends. Justin was set to go. I saw him off to his car as we bade good-bye to each other and he drove off in a rush; what a care-free driver, I said to myself.
I pulled out my phone from my pocket and dialed Tolu. The initial plan had been a late night movie with Tolu, a drive to a hotel after the movie and some talks and fun afterwards all through the night till dawn.
Tolu: “Hello baby, I’m close-by, just a little traffic.“
Abiodun: “How close are you?“
Tolu: “20 minutes, 30 at most.“
Abiodun: “Alright dear. I’d be waiting.“
I hung up the phone, and dialed Vivian…
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” — Nelson Mandela
BOOKINGS & INQUIRIES