It is eleven in the morning. You know this not because you are looking at the time on your laptop screen, but because you know. There’s a way every human knows something. Intuition. It’s like when Bode sneaks out to call his sister and says, “Dad’s mistress is around again,” and she says, “Why do you think so?” and he says, “Because I can hear sounds from upstairs,” and she says, “And you’re certain it ain’t mum?” and he says, “Well, it isn’t mum. I just know.”
You pause and think about the ‘sounds from upstairs’. A smile forms on your cheek, but it lasts only a seconds – all it takes for you to remember the class by twelve and the fact that you’re sending the document to your father by six. The staidness comes upon you again.
You complete the paragraph and save, then exit. You haven’t forgotten the last time you assumed you saved. That day, you should have submitted two designs. You completed them. You absently pressed no when the software asked if you wanted to save. You had to spend a thousand naira on call cards.
And you lost the next job too, because your client spread the bad news.
You close the lid and place the laptop in your bag. Your gaze drifts to the hooker in your wardrobe. The hooker is simply a nail – a piece of nail you hammered into the graffiti-ed wall for hanging your ID card. The hooker is empty presently because your card is missing. But you know you would find it. You just know.
And it isn’t intuition. It is faith.
You are early to class, because the girl you’ve been running from closes her note and moves towards you as you enter. She does that only when you are early.
The lecturer is teaching on Mollusca and Annelida, how the latter evolved rapidly and became the first coelomates. Or is it acoelomates? Your head begins to buzz. You drop your torso on the table and press a finger against your temple. A chair folds and another slams open. You blink your eyes wide.
The girl is next to you.
“Have you found it?”
“No,” you whisper.
“Don’t let it get to you,” she says. She isn’t wearing makeup today. Her lips are baby pink and soft. You entertain a fleeting image of your lips on her lips. Immediately, something whips your heart. You shut your eyes and pray.
When you look again, your rep has his neck turned backwards. “Emmanuel, your assignment.”
You hear a bang. You know it’s your head again. The ringing persists, bang, bang, bang. It’s your phone, not your head. The lecturer has drawn a hiatus on his teaching. His eyes are trained in your direction now. He starts climbing, one step after the other, his gaze inscrutable, his steps not tentative, like a gladiator going for the final kill.
“Let me have it,” the lecturer says.
You draw one hand over your lap. Your body feels like it’s on Mercury.
“It was me,” someone says. You know the voice. It’s the girl. She looks past you towards the lecturer, “My phone rang sir. I’m sorry sir.”
A harrumph comes from nowhere. The lecturer looks at the girl, shakes his head in the manner of, “I don’t believe you,” and returns to his post.
You look at the girl. You say nothing, but your mind thinks, Why would you do a thing as such? What if he’d seized your phone?
She says nothing, but her face reads, You know what I want.
Your phone rings. It’s your Unit Head. Not the one in fellowship, but the one at home. You let the six bangs fade, then lock the phone.
“You should change your ringtone.”
You look at the girl. She’s been with you three hours counting. Spread before you is the complete material for PHY 102. You’ve been pursuing the handout with the zeal of a slave seeking freedom, and here it is before you, like wine brought to the king. But this wine has a condition. The girl.
“Should we continue tomorrow?”
She shakes her head. “Saved you in class, remember?”
And so what! But, you recall the chat she showed you – the lecturer had told her to keep an eye on you. He didn’t like you, and he would be glad to throw you out of his class, and possibly, out of his GP system.
Your hands shoot up. “Alright,” you say. “One more hour.” You breathe.
“One hour,” she says, “then we’ll see.”
Your phone rings again.
It’s eleven pm. The wristwatch says so. Your Bible is opened to Exodus, the twenty-first chapter. You consider your study rate. You’ve been on the book for twenty-eight days, averaging three-quarter of a chapter per day. That’s like taking one cup of flakes every day. Your spirit must be crying.
You bow your head and pray, then move to open the Amplified version on your phone when the beast in it comes alive. It’s your class rep calling this time. He doesn’t call you except to pass information or demand help.
You slide the green receive button.
“The assignment,” you say. “I’d submit tomorrow.”
“It’s not the assignment, guy. We have a test by 8.”
And your heart goes, bang.
“I’d call back,” you say. You end the call and collapse on the bed. The foam feels like hardwood. You can feel tears tease your eyes. You sniff. You sniff again.
The phone rings again.
“I said I would call –”
You choke on the last word as your head comes to its senses. Your class rep isn’t the caller. Your father is.
P.S 1: I have really been busy. I’m not liking it again. I think I should just forget everything and sit with the laptop all day, crafting out characters. Maybe I should, err, elope? What! I’m not a bride. Anyway, I’d be putting up short stories here soon.
P.S 2: The image before the post is a work some freshmen in Industrial Design did. Took the picture in the dark, plus my camera was blurry, hence the quality. But then, it had me stop and stare. Model of a fountain was what they call it. I still can’t loop my head around the thought.
P.S 3: Thank you very much for reading. I mean, with my inconsistencies, you still read. So, thank you. Thank you for being a part of this community.