Feyi got home tired and aching all over. The events of that day had begun to take its toll on her, as well as the maddening traffic she sat through from Ojuelegba to Abule Egba. She hugged her niece who came rushing at the sight of her. Sileoluwa, was the most affable child she knew. Feyi wished she had her own adorable child already, relief washed over her as Sile ran back into the living room to stare at the cartoons showing on the tv screen.
Feyi walked briskly to her room. She was staying with her older sister’s family at Abule Egba. Having relocated to Lagos from Ibadan the previous year once her employment with the hospital was confirmed, her sister (Bukola) had been the one to take her in. Now, a year later, she wanted her own place, had saved enough to get her freedom, but her sister wouldn’t let go without a fight. So, Feyi had stayed on dreading the battle that was sure to ensue when she determined to leave.
The traffic situation of the area was very unfriendly, urging her to make the earnest decision of relocating. Feyi undressed and walked into her bathroom. Thank God the flat was all rooms en-suite, which made life easier for her as she had her own convenience and didn’t have to share. She applied light make up after a lazy bath, and was about to turn in and sleep when her phone rang. She hissed as she saw the caller ID.
‘Mr man, I’ve warned you to stop disturbing my life. Leave me alone!’ She terminated the call before the person could get a word in. She flung the phone close to her pillow, then Feyi rearranged her pillow, set her head tenderly on it and closed her eyes. Sleep was a befitting reward for all the day’s wahala she thought as she started dozing. Then her phone started vibrating and ringing.
Reflexively, her hand found the annoying phone as she hissed and studied the caller ID. Immediately she saw it, she jumped out of bed. ‘Hello Kemi, is anything wrong?’
Kemi woke up with a banging headache. It felt like the blacksmith had decided to take his clubs through her brain, straightening all her curled brain cells. She rose slowly from her bed and stood up, searching for her phone. She blacked out as soon as her feet touched the floor. She fell back on to her bed. She stayed a few seconds to acclimatize to the darkness that engulfed her, then she tried again. She got to her feet and started her search.
She found the phone under her reading table, picked it up and pressed the green button. She felt she was having a bad dream and wanted desperately to awake from it. When the call history on her phone came up, she realised she hadn’t been hallucinating. Someone had called her with Kunle’s number and confirmed he was dead. She allowed her emotions freedom then as she slumped on the chair and wept.
Kemi cried for the better half of an hour before stopping herself. She knew nothing she did could wake him up. Kunle was gone, he had forever become a stranger to her. Slowly, she sought the phone again and started a contact check. First, she called her mother. Mrs Akinyele empathised with her daughter over the phone, offering her condolences to Kemi.
Next, Kemi called Kunle’s mother. She had stolen the contact off Kunle’s phone when she was being threatened by his promiscuity. She never got to call the older woman though, as it turned out the stories were false. They had been generated by Chinedu, Kunle’s friend that wanted her for himself. The friendship between both males had ended, Kemi got her man back, and she forgot all about Mrs Odunayo. Until now. She hated being the bearer of bad news, but she knew, it was her duty to let his family know. She pressed the send button.
Mrs Odunayo answered on the third ring. ‘Hello, who’s this?’
Kemi paused for a while, silently wishing she didn’t have the dubious honour of ruining the older woman’s evening, and maybe life. ‘Good evening ma, my name is Kemi Akinyele, I was with Kunle, your son.’
‘Yes. Yes! Kunle has told me lots about you, I feel like I already know you. When will you allow him bring you to me?’ Mrs Odunayo was chatty.
‘Unfortunately ma, I have some bad news. Please where are you?’
‘In my sitting room, watching AfMag. What’s the problem, don’t tell me you want to break it off with my son o, he loves you.’ Mrs Odunayo made her Son’s case.
‘I know ma, and I loved him too. With all my heart, sadly, there’s been an accident, and Kunle’s broken off with me.’ Kemi’s voice trailed off into space, as it sounded in Mrs Odunayo’s ears.
‘Accident? What happened, where did it happen? Where’s my Kunle!’ Mrs odunayo was screaming now.
‘He’s dead ma. I’m sorry…’ Kemi couldn’t finish the sentence as a fresh well of tears surged through her. She set the phone gently on her table and cried. Her life had just taken a dark twist when she was ready to settle down, and get married. She didn’t hear Mrs Odunayo’s reaction of ‘Ye! Mogbe!’ As the woman collapsed on the other end of the line.
Kemi cried another ten minutes. Then she picked up her phone to call her friends and share the sad news with them. She needed someone who would cry with her. Someone who would understand what she was going through. She found Korede’s number and hit send. Then she remembered Korede’s aloofness and I-don’t-care attitude at the hospital. Maybe Korede wasn’t the right person. She terminated the call, buried her head in her hand, then she remembered Feyi.
Hope surged through her as she searched through her phone for Feyi’s contact. She found it, paused to collect her wits, she hit the send button before her courage failed.
‘Hey Kemi, what’s up? Anything the matter?’ Feyi answered the phone cheerily.
‘I would love to answer in the negative, tell you I’m just calling to annoy you, but I can’t.’ Kemi’s response was grave.
‘Erm…’ Feyi prompted. ‘What’s the problem? What happened?’
‘It’s…’ Kemi broke into tears.
Feyi pressed the phone closer to her ear. She heard the tears, wondered why her friend was calling her at 10.30p.m. to shed tears on the phone. She suddenly became alarmed. What if Kemi had a crush on her? They worked together, had seen each other naked several times, and though she knew Kemi was getting serious with the guy she was dating, chances were the other lady had a thing for people of her own sex. Who knows, the world’s such a mess these days.
Feyi tried again, ‘Kemi, please try, what’s the matter? What happened?’ She chose her words with tact.
‘It’s Kunle,’ Kemi sneezed. ‘He’s dead.’
It was Feyi turn to be shocked. She opened her mouth to speak but founds the words just wouldn’t come out. She opened and closed her mouth severally, before finally mustering a weak ‘how?’
‘There was an accident…’ Kemi’s voice trailed off.
‘Hold on,’ Feyi recovered. ‘Are you home right now?’
‘Stay there, I’m on my way.’ Feyi terminated the call before Kemi could protest. She tossed the phone aside and started sifting through her clothes like she did most times during emergencies. She found a pair of jeans, loafers to match and a polo top. She was on her way in less than ten minutes after terminating the call. ‘There’s an emergency at the hospital, I have to go!’ She shouted at her sister who was seating with her husband watching the news in the living room. They barely saw her as she was gone before they could react.
Feyi half ran to the bus stop, stopped a cab, and jumped in. She gave him the address as the man driver told her that the fare was a thousand, five hundred Naira. ‘Just go!’ She yelled at him and the man engaged the gears, moving the car away from Abule Egba. Feyi couldn’t stay still. Her mind was in chaos. Two deaths in one day, two insanely close deaths. She fought back the tear that was threatening to rush down her face. Then she remembered Korede.
Feyi fumbled through her bag for her phone, found it and placed a call to the one person she knew handled emergencies best.
Korede had had a wonderful evening; Femi had been the perfect date. Plying her with equal amount of food and alcohol. At first, she had thought that he was trying to get her drunk in order to get easier access to her. Then he stylishly stopped her from drinking, offering her water initially and then driving her to Oniru beach. They walked on the sand for close to two hours laughing, running around and dancing. She may have allowed him take his ultimate prize there and then, if he had not been such a prude.
They started going back to Surulere at a quarter to eleven; the roads were free so in less than twenty minutes, they were in Surulere. That was when the call came in. Confused, Korede answered the call wondering why Feyi was calling her that late in the evening. ‘Feyi, wetin dey? Hope there’s no problem…’
‘Please, meet me at Kemi’s house now. It’s urgent and extremely important.’ Feyi’s voice was terse.
Korede processed the words in less than five seconds. ‘Okay,’ she responded. Then she turned to Femi who was casting furtive glances at her. ‘Please I need a huge favour. There’s a problem that my friends need help with. Can you drop me off at Yaba?’
Femi nodded. He knew from the call she had received that there was no was he could persuade her to stay the night with him. He had a plan, had worked it, and when she had given him the green light at the beach, he had ignored it and let it pass. He knew that would make her desire him more and was planning on spending the night with her. He didn’t factor in the call that she had just received, or any emergencies for that matter. He turned the car around and drove silently to Yaba.
‘Thank you very much, you’re a darling.’ Korede reached over and kissed him when they got to Kemi’s house. ‘I’ll make it up to you,’ she promised. Then, swiftly, she got down from the car and raced up the stairs. Femi watched her go, rued his missed chance and grinned. Another day, maybe. He had neglected to inform her that he was travelling out of the country the following afternoon for a fortnight. ‘We’ll see.’ He muttered under his breath as he turned the car around and drove home.
Korede knocked hard on Kemi’s door. ‘Kemi, open the door, what is happening?’
The door opened after she a minute. Korede was shocked at the sight of Kemi. She was dishevelled and her eyes were red and swollen. She didn’t ask any questions, she just opened her hands and hugged her friend tight. They were like that for more than five minutes, the silence of the night their companion. Grief being shared, then the gloom was broken.
‘Thank God you’re here. I knew you’d know what to do.’ Feyi materialised out of the darkness as both ladies turned. Her eyes were also red leaving Korede befuddled. ‘What happened?’ Korede demanded looking from Kemi to Feyi.
‘Kunle died… in an accident.’ Feyi threw up her hands.
‘No!’ korede’s scream rent through the night.