The Missing File – Chapter 3 Part 3



All Episodes Of The Missing File

It was 8.11pm, Ibukun was seated on the bench in the verandah, waiting for Nazaretha to show up like they earlier agreed. The cafe was still open but her boss had taken over from her and she was supposed to be going home. She kept glancing at her wristwatch from time to time, the time rolled by slowly.

It was already 8.25 when she spotted Nazaretha coming from behind, she rose up and stepped out of verandah.

“Sorry for keeping you waiting,” Nazaretha said and extended an handshake to her.

“It’s okay, but it’s just that we are not going to have enough time to talk again. It’s already late,” she said and adjusted the rope of her bag.

“Sorry about that,” Nazaretha said she moved closer. They began to walk up the road side by side.

“Do you smoke weed?” Ibukun asked an unexpected question.

“No,” Nazaretha replied, his face clearly showing his surprise.

“But you’re smelling weed,” she accused.

Nazaretha stopped to smell his clothes and confirmed that he was really smelling, that was a result of Mighty Joe’s heavy smoking before he left the house.

“Somebody was smoking where I was before, I must have gotten it from there.” Nazaretha explained.

“I thought you were coming from home,” Ibukun said with a note of doubt.

“No, not from home.”

“Hmm, that means you really stay outside late. But are you sure you don’t smoke?”

“Yes, I don’t.”

“But why do you go to places where they smoke?”

“No, I was just there for some particular reasons today.”

“Please, don’t go there again,” she said in a pleading tone. “I really hate smokers.”

“You hate smokers?”

“‘Ermm… I don’t hate them but I hate whatever has to do with smoking. A friend’s elder brother damaged his lungs with excessive smoking.”

“Hmm… I see. I’ll try to avoid that place.” Nazaretha said.

“Promise you won’t go there again,” Ibukun said in a childish tone.

“I won’t go, I promise.” Nazaretha said, even though he knew he was returning to the house of a smoker that same night.

“Okay,” Ibukun took a brief pause after they turned into the compound of the uncompleted building. “Let’s go straight to the point, you wanted to tell me something. I’m all ears now.”

Nazaretha’s heartbeat suddenly increased again, his lips began to tremble as his eyes met with hers, his head was empty.

“Come on, tell me,” Ibukun urged.

Nazaretha closed his eyes briefly and opened it again, all his rehearsed lines were gone, even the verses from the Bible he planned to use were gone.

“I’ve…been…seeing you…for… sometime now,” Nazaretha began with his stammering lips, he became more confident as he continued. “I just like everything about you.”

“Is that all?” Ibukun cuts in after a brief silence.

“Ermm, I want you…to be my…” Nazaretha tried to speak but wasn’t fluent as he wanted.

“Your what?” Ibukun said impatiently, checking for time on her phone.

“My… friend,” Nazaretha said timidly.

“Is that it?” Ibukun asked.

“Ermm… Yes,” Nazaretha replied, scratching his head.

“Okay, we are friends already,” Ibukun said and began to walk away.

“Wait na,” Nazaretha said and hurried after her. “Let…me see you off.”

“Don’t worry,” Ibukun said and stopped. “I won’t like you to go past this place,” she said, pointing to the uncompleted building.

“Why? Are…you angry?” Nazaretha replied, his lips were still visibly shaking.

“No, but my house is just behind this place. I won’t like for my parents to see us together by this time of the night.” Ibukun said and tapped him on the shoulder. “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight,” Nazaretha mumbled in reply and watched as she left. His heartbeat was still at its high speed until she finally walked out of his sight.

He knew he had messed up again, his friends would make him an object of laughter. The fear of being rejected had made him fail even when it was obvious that the girl was ready for him.

He stood still for some more seconds before turning back and heading for Mighty Joe’s place.

“How far?” Mighty Joe asked as Nazaretha walked in. Nazaretha stopped and looked around, his friends had left to their houses already.

“I’m fine,” Nazaretha replied even though he knew Mighty Joe wasn’t asking about his well-being.

“How about the girl you went to meet?”

“Fine,” Nazaretha answered briefly.

“Fine? Wetin be her response?”

“She talk say she go think about am,” Nazaretha lied. He sniffed in and took his seat opposite Mighty Joe, the smoking in the house had stopped but the odour had not completely vanished.

“Why are you lying to me?” Mighty Joe asked after some seconds of silence.

Nazaretha stared blankly at the wall without replying, he knew it was the fear heard in his voice that gave him away.

“Did she insult you?” Mighty Joe pressed on.

“No,” Nazaretha replied.

“Or you didn’t tell her?” Mighty Joe asked in a low voice.

Nazaretha heaved a sigh, he hated to admit it but he knew he wasn’t daring enough and needed more boldness. “I only asked her to be my friend,” he finally opened up to Mighty Joe.

“Girlfriend?”

“No, ordinary friend.” Nazaretha answered.

“Why? I thought your friends were saying you wanted her to be your girlfriend.”

“See Mighty Joe, I no know wetin do me jor, I no fit tell the girl. I dey hear my Papa voice for my head.”

Mighty Joe gave a loud chuckle and then licked his lips. “You’re hearing your father’s voice or you’re timid?” I heard your friends saying that you used to be the boldest person in school but when it comes to other things, you’re a sissy.”

Nazaretha had no reply, he kept staring at Mighty Joe’s face.

“I used to be like you,” Mighty Joe continued, “even worse. I was something worse than an introvert but everything has changed now since I…” Mighty Joe suddenly paused and stared at his face. He smiled and twitched his lips. “I’ll save that for later, I don’t think you’re ripe enough to hear that now.” He added and got up to his feet. He picked up something and moved close to Nazaretha.

“I know something that can calm you anyways, it can help you if you use it wisely,” he said and then stretched forth the wrap of weed to Nazaretha. “Just take it slowly, I’ll teach you.”

…to be continued

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