BISI – THE OTHER WOMAN EPISODE 12
By Jon Doe
He watched as she rose, his phone in hand, the screen dark. Namdi loathed this roller coaster of emotions he was being subjected to, cursing that other woman in his mind. Now all she needs to do is hand it to me. God why don’t I password my phone. Namdi thought. When they first started dating it had been a surprise to Zainab when she picked up his unattended phone and realized it was not locked. Returning to their table after settling the bill, Namdi was treated to the view of Zainab going through the pictures on his phone. Unnoticed, he stood behind her for a few more minutes seeing how far she would go. When he saw her opening his Gtb bank app he lightly coughed. Like a little girl caught stealing meat from the pot she shrieked dropping the phone with a guilt ridden look that still somehow came off as cute.
“It doesn’t look cracked, maybe I should turn it on to check if…”
Watching her press the home button Namdi’s heart flew up to his throat, his hand damning it all and reaching for it even though it was already too late. Desperation drives us to attempt fruitless endeavors. In full view of the both of them, the home screen of the I-phone came up without a single crack.
“You really are lucky, no crack even after dropping from such a height.”
Her finger tapped her lower lip like she pondered his luck. Seeing the home screen, all the tension bled from Namdi’s muscles as he took the phone out of her hands. With the same care shown to a new born he cradled the phone in his hand unaware of Zainab’s interest in his actions. Hope had planted a seed in his heart once again. He could finally see a possible rainbow at the end of this storm ridden times.
“I can’t take this hospital anymore. I want to get out of here.”
It came out in a whisper, his head shaking from left to right.
“Namdi, doctor said you can leave in…”
“Don’t care, I won’t spend another minute. The pain is bearable enough.”
“Ok, ok i’ll get Doctor Oluwakemi to sign the discharge papers. Men sometimes…”
His forcefulness only slightly surprised Zainab. Behind it she could still sense pain. The knowledge that he was not a fan of hospitals was not new to her. She had never felt closer to him than when he had shared it all to her. With the door closing behind her, Namdi let out a breath of relief. Quickly he began deleting again, determined to be rid of all the damning pictures, some of which contained more than just her. Finally he reached the last one, the first he had seen. A few seconds passed before he realized his finger still hovered over the delete button. She looked back at him, brown eyes reminding him of his truth. Another crossroad, a decision of his own making, the consequences to be borne not by him alone. Namdi watched the upload bar till it reached hundred percent. Only then did he delete the last picture from his phone.
Behind a white Mercedes, a hospital shrunk into the distance; white bunny having the last look. Zainab sat at the wheel looking straight ahead. The scent of violet hung in the air. Beside her Namdi remained in quiet contemplation, feeling better after putting that building behind him. Not a word had been said since they got into the car at the hospital. More than a few kilometers had speedily gone by thanks to Zainabs complete disregard of the speed limit. The cities noon day sun hung in the air working hard to punish those who had no choice but to brave the elements. Namdi and Zainab felt none of it, cocooned in their air conditioned luxury.
Red went the traffic light forcing Zainab to come to a complete stop. The sound of little hands hitting the passenger side window woke Namdi from his musings.
“Uncle. Uncle. Uncle. Uncle. Anything, anything…”
Unwashed, thin, battered, they crowded the window struggling with each other to be the one in front. Beads of sweat were born on their foreheads only to be smeared away using the dirty fabric of their sleeves or palms with finger nails more black than pink. Longingly they looked through the slightly tinted windows seeing an escape to the heat that mercilessly beat on their heads. The smallest of the lot hopped from one foot to the other. At first it seemed like she too was trying to see into the car. On closer inspection one could see her bare feet had no protection against the scalding hot asphalt of the paved road.
Namdi did not see the little girl, the ones in front were too densely packed. His eyes instead were glued to a little boy who struggled to stay in front of the pack. He was not the smallest of them but he also was not the biggest. In his eyes was a determination the others lacked. On him he wore a shirt that was merely a step away from having more holes than shirt. Still, Namdi could just make out the picture of what must have been an animal of some sort.
“Uncle. Uncle. Anything…”
Hands went to mouths, a constant motion, the universal sign of hunger (except in Italy). Unable to silently watch any longer Namdi reached into his pocket only to meet fabric and nothing more. Looking down he remembered Zainab had brought him a change of clothes, his wallet still in his old pair folded neatly in the trunk of her car. Turning to Zainab he began to ask her for money but stopped himself when he saw she was looking right at him. The light turned green but she didn’t move, impatient horns beginning to blare behind them. She ignored them holding Namdi’s gaze as she searched for something. Only when she was ready did she begin to move, the little hands desperately and fruitlessly trying to hold on to the smoke passing through their fingers. Left behind once again.
It was the first word any of them had uttered since they entered the car. It hung there, side by side with the scent of violet. Namdi did not immediately reply as he thought carefully how to respond. It would not be the first time they would be down this road.
To be continued