Normally while going to Anthonia’s place, I don’t knock on her gate. I just call her when I arrive and she opens the gate. That was the usual. Since it was already late that night, before I even got to her gate, I’ve already begun calling her. She didn’t pick. I thought to myself that maybe she was already at the gate that’s why she didn’t pick. I got to the gate and realized it was still locked. Ah an! Wetin dey happen??? I called her again and she didn’t pick. I called more than 30 times, she still didn’t pick. Chisos: At that point I was beginning to get scared. So many thoughts were running through my head ‘Is she asleep already or what???’ ‘Is she doing this on purpose???’ ‘What would I do if she opens the gate?’ ‘Wait o, what if she doesn’t open it, what do I do???’ I don enter am today I tried knocking the gate. No response. I still tried calling again and that silly girl that works with MTN told me her number was not reachable and that I should try again later. What Nonsense!!! A number that has been ringing since??? I tried the number again. The same thing. Please tell me this isn’t happening??? I began making contingency plans.
Meanwhile, I saw some Almajiri boys lurking around the neighborhood. Chai, e don be for me today!!! I had never stayed out late in the night. I recalled the advice I had been given about staying out late in the night. ‘Who send me sef???’ ‘Na woman don put me for wahala so o!’ ‘I don die today!’ ‘Nobody even knows where I am???’ ‘If anything happens to me, no one would even know where to look???’ ‘Chai, who send me???’ ‘My Father, My God, if you know you really love me, me save me this night!’
I decided to brace myself and face whatever came at me that night. I decided that before I get killed (if I get killed), I must take more than two persons with me when going to meet baba! The time was already some minutes to 12am. Her neighborhood was in the interior so I didn’t expect to see any bike, but I was wishing or hoping that if I could get to the main road (unharmed), perhaps I could get a bike to take me home.
You know that move Jim Carey did in Bruce Almighty when he inflated his chest before he went to meet those bad guys after which he made a monkey come out of one of the guys a$s? Yeah, I did that move. I’m tall and well built but I knew that was not enough if I really didn’t want anything to happen to me. I had to act the part. So pushed out my chest and started walking like The Rock. While walking to the bus stop, I saw some of them lurking in the dark, while some were walking ahead of me and they were giving themselves whistling signals. I already set my key on ‘stabbing mode’. The first person that got to me would have gotten a stab on the eye with my key! I don’t know if it was the way I walked or divine intervention, but till I got to the bus stop none of them approached me. Phweww! Phase 1 complete! Moving on to phase 2
Now how do I get home? The time was already past 12am. There were very few bikes on the road. That was my first experience of the late night life in Katsina. There were street lights everywhere so visibility was ok. I began walking home. I had to recall all the marching lessons I received while in camp. I saw some late night traders and some Almajiris still walking around those boys no dey sleep???. After ‘quick marching’ for more than an hour, I got home. Chai, thank God o. I went straight to the bathroom, had a cold bath and went straight to the bed, na*ked. I was still pondering over what had happened and contemplating on what to do when I slept off…
I woke up the next day feeling more confused than ever. I called my boss and told him I wasn’t feeling too well, so I couldn’t be at work. It was friday anyways and that day in the north was usually a day of worship so there was usually little or no work to do.
I checked my phone and saw 12 missed calls. From who? Yeah, you guessed right. I wonder why she was calling me now. What if something happened to me last night??? What would people have said? ‘Ehn, na babe he find go’, that’s if they eventually found out where I went. Why didn’t I just stay at home???
Anyway sha, thank God for my life.
She called once more and I refused to pick the call.
After some minutes, I got a text message on my phone. It was from Tonia.
“Hi darling, I’m so sorry about what happened. I took some drugs last night that was why I slept off. I saw your missed calls late in the night and I tried calling you back. Please, I didn’t do it on purpose. Please pick my call.”
In my mind, ‘your fada!! Can you imagine???’ She called again and I switched off my phone.
I tried analyzing the relationships in my life. My girlfriend in Lagos? Traveled out of the country. Zee? She dey vex for me. Chisom? Naa, I’ll pass… (Wait o, she never call me since o). Tonia? SMH… I would have died because of Tonia yesterday, thanks…
I tried calling Zee again but she still refused to talk to me. I sent her series of messages apologizing for what happened and professing love for her. For where??? She still no gree I decided to take a break from girls for a while, perhaps that would help me.
Later in the evening I went to Zainab’s place for lessons with her brother.
Salim: Good evening sir…
Me: Salim, how are you?
Salim: Fine sir…
Me: How’s your sister?
Salim: It’s like she’s not feeling too fine…
Me: Where is she?
Salim: She’s inside…
Me: Please tell her I want to see her…
He went in and came back…
Salim: Sir, she said she’s sleeping…
Me: She said she’s sleeping or she’s really sleeping?
Salim: That’s what she said…
Me: Ok… Let’s continue…
Throughout the duration of the lesson, I just couldn’t concentrate. I just gave Salim numerous questions to solve while I was composing messages to Zee.
She didn’t bother replying. I told her I wanted to see her. No response.
I decided if she didn’t want to see me anymore, so be it.
Before going back home, I went to visit some friends (male friends o). We later went to the bar. As I got home, I was bored and lonely. I called some female friends and we gisted, but I was still bored. I was still pondering what to do when a thought ran through my head, ‘Anthonia’.
Huh!!! If I hear???
I woke up the next day feeling strong and refreshed. Another weekend was here again. I had to do my laundry and clean up my apartment.
I got a call from Zainab’s mum telling me not to come for lessons that day ‘cos they were going out.
8) Yeah!! 8)
I still had not heard from Zainab. I talked to Anthonia and she apologized profusely. I forgave her and told her I was going to visit her later in the day.
I was through with cleaning my apartment and was doing my laundry in the bathroom when I heard someone knocking on the gate.
Who could that be?
© PEMTSIKATA STORIES