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The Call

On entering the room, the smell of alcohol hits my nose. “Alcohol? No one dares take alcohol. Not in my room,” I mutter silently, making my mouth the silencer. No nose beats my wedge-shaped nose when it comes to perceiving the faintest smell but tonight, it has been deceived. This is no smell of alcohol; it is the sharp smell of anger emanating from the mattresses that have received judgement from the scorching sun. A mattress that hosts bedbugs and vows that its owner will not sleep unless she slaps herself a number of times and scratches her flesh till she feels her bones must be ready to face the scorching wrath of the sun.

Now, when I think about it, it seems as though the mattresses are staging a protest. Just sitting on one of them and a placard of dust raises from it, targeting my nostrils. Han shin comes the sound. As I think of Han Shin, he used to be my South Korean crush and that angers me the more.

“What brought me to this room?” I curse under my breath as my nostrils run as if taps were installed in them. “Aish! I have to call Egbon. His posts tonight are scary.” I grab my phone and punch Egbon’s name. “MTN! MTN won’t stop being an empty hen that fails to crow and also fail to lay eggs. No good network, no bonuses!” I shout work a hiss. Egbon’s phone rings after dropping twice.

“Hello, dear! It has been a while I listened to your dancing voice,” the familiar voice drags, bringing illumination to my worried face.

“At least,” I sigh. “I read your WhatsApp statuses not quite long and they are quite worrisome. Is all well with you?” ‘

“I am fine,” comes the abrupt response. Before I can say Jack Robinson, the call drops. As I roll my eyes, fear tugs violently at the wall of my heart.

“This is so unlike him.” Well, the kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force. I tighten my grip on my phone and I can clearly hear it writhe in pains.

I dial his number again and “the number you are trying to call is currently switched off, please try again later. Thank you,” drops a bombshell that races straight into my heart from my ears. As drums tear after being beaten consecutively in a violent manner, it feels as if my heart will tear from what holds it if it keeps beating this way.

Tonight, I have to deal with the thoughts sprinting through my head, they have received a baton from the call I placed and the mosquitoes singing dirges into my ears, a fuel to the burning embers of thoughts that vow never to leave my head till daybreak.

“Should I just flee this room?” my mouth spews this when my thought is absent. With my thought present, I say, “Where will I go from here? It’s 10:15pm already. I wouldn’t want to wake the whole house after sneaking in from the sitting room, defying Mum’s order. Even if I do, I can’t flee from these rampaging thoughts and the mosquitoes that are everywhere I go.”

It is going to be a long night. Blocked nostrils and a WhatsApp that no longer feels like home but “is Egbon OK?”

Five minutes to twelve midnight, the flash beaming from my phone jolts me back to life from God knows where. “Have I been sleeping? I must have dozed off. Eating five huge wraps of fufu for dinner isn’t an easy task.” It is a message:

I am sure you must have been so worried about your Egbon. Your Egbon was somehow down, even when you called this evening but he has thought things through and he will definitely be fine. My phone switched off when you called the other time. NEPA hasn’t been treating us well here. I called you immediately there was power in my phone. I am very fine now, dearie. Are you fine too? I will call you when it’s dawn.

I read this, heaving a sigh of relief. Egbon has called repeatedly but my phone hardly rings, it has been permanently put on do not disturb. I hate it when it rings.

I laugh softly at first but when the knots in the pit of my belly loosened, I have an outburst. “Egbon is fine!” The journey to dreamland has a new driver, I feel at peace but won’t these mosquitoes stop buzzing?

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