she stopped answering my calls. at first her phone would ring nonstop while i sat on the edge of my seat listening to her caller tune,
and expecting her voice to break through the melody but it never did.
the caller tune eventually got replaced by a robotic, monotonous voice telling me the number i was trying to call was not available.
some nights, i swear i could feel a weariness in the robotic voice as if it was tired of repeating “the number you are trying to call is not available” over and over again.
she had not been on Facebook and her other social media accounts in a long while and in between sending her messages on all the accounts, I had dug deep into her archives and learnt a bit about her online history, like the day she joined Facebook: April 3rd 2009.
her first twitter post: December 16 2011. her Google plus account which she opened but never used describing herself in the profile info as a chocolate addict and obsessed with babies. and that’s truly who she was, she had big feelings about the little things.
one evening after work, while nursing a beer with Stanley, my old friend, I let slip that I’d been trying to communicate with her.
his eyes grew wide, startled.
“that’s crazy”, he said, his right hand holding the glass of beer paused in mid air.
“its almost a year, you should move on”.
“I know”, I mumbled.
“and I know its not really our thing down here but perhaps you should consider seeing a shrink or something”, he continued.
“I will”, I replied noncommittally, “by the way did you hear what the president said about last night’s bomb blast in Maiduguri, ridiculous ain’t it?” I asked, effectively changing the subject.
nothing could hold Stanley’s mind as strongly as news issues.
after the drink i drove home and took the long route which passed through her house. i knew she was no longer there but i slowed down while i drove past her gate. in the old times, she would have burst out clutching her bags and entered the car blessing me with a smile and the feminine fragrance she carried with her.
“how was your day”, she’d ask
“it just began”, I’d reply with a smile.
there were days too when she blessed me with the silent treatment, ha, but I was just content knowing she was with me and we were going to work things out. its all a memory now, yet more than a memory.
its 2:00am and I can’t sleep. I turn on the radio and tune in to what seems to be a music request show. the presenter, a caramel voiced lady, calls out a number for those who want to call in. on impulse, i grab my phone and dial. I’m surprised when i get a busy dial tune, it makes me wonder how many people are awake by this time in the city.
I try the number again and it rings for a while and just as I’m thinking of dropping the call i hear the pick up beep and her voice floods into my ear.
“helooooo, thanks for calling kiss FM, what’s your name and where are you calling from?”
“I’m Leye, calling from yaba”, I reply
“welcome leye, what song do you want me to play for ya and who are you dedicating the song to”
I close my eyes and try to think of a song, I open my eyes and it hits the clock.
“time after time by Cyndi lauper”
“oh niiiice, so who are you dedicating it to?”
“is today her birthday or is today a special celebration for her?”
“not really, just because”
“okayyyyy where is chioma?”
“she’s not here”
“but where is she?”
I cut the call. I’m not sure she’ll understand. nobody does. I go to the window and stare out. the city is speaking a language of empty streets, moonlight kissed rooftops and the wind’s sigh. the world is a scary and beautiful place at 2:00am and its so hard being in a relationship with someone who is six feet under.