The Visit – 1

I was lying face down on my bed when my stupid phone began to disturb my sleep for the third time. I grabbed it and flung it aside, lightly of course. It didn’t have to ring so loud but a ringing phone has to be picked, doesn’t it? I got up lazily but in time to miss the call. I wasn’t bothered yet, not until I saw the time. It was 0947hrs. Early enough to relax into sleep again but my phone did not disappoint at all. It began screaming at a seemingly higher pitch. I didn’t need courage to look at the screen, I had anger. I was usually scared of picking my calls in the mornings because Alex, my serious counterpart in school, verbally blew my head off anytime I missed a class. This time, I wished it was Alex. My phone identified the caller as Rooth. I cringed before I picked.
“Hello?” I began, and instead of barraging her with much talk I waited.
“Good thing you’ve woken up” She replied flatly “I’m somewhere called Manchok. Tried to call ya’ before I left the park.”
“Whoa! What sort of park are we talking about? Motor park?” I asked
“Yes! Riders park, that one near the market” She replied, a little hint at sarcasm.
“To where?” I asked, thinking about the incredibility of what she just said.
“Minna,” I heard a giggle in her voice.
Astounded didn’t describe how I felt. I could say I went numb for the 5 seconds that followed after this news shocked me.
“Are you there?” She asked, filling in my silence.
“Certainly” I drawled. She pretended not to notice.
The breeze drowned most of her words as we conversed. She had left Jos since 8 am and her ETA was half past one. She said that she was coming over to visit me, averring that she’d trumped her mother’s over-protectiveness by lying about a seminar in Minna. That was believable and difficult to do in itself but then it was about time her guts had grew up by maximum proportions. In all these, one thing was certain, even more certain than her safe journey to Minna. I had to make the house over before she arrived.
I don’t stay alone; I gave up that luxury much to the dismay of Ruth, my girlfriend. I stayed with 3 other people and we in turn were so friendly that we always had visitors coming through. Being the control freak amongst four of us, I’d become somewhat of a housekeeper, and I was gaining experience on Hotel Managing. However, I was managing this hotel without workers and I single-handedly handled all of the cleaning. Well, most of it and taking the first glance at my room, my work was cut out for me in large chunks.
I began by cleaning out my room. I had to bite my lip at the solemn faces my housemates put on as I subtly kicked them out of my room. It’s not my fault, but I’d sweep them along with yesterday’s breadcrumbs they littered my room with if they had chosen to stay back. My carpet was browned with 4 weeks of dust. I had to brush it in 20 minutes and by 1030hrs, my room was locked off from the house.
The next phase was the kitchen, my second domain. As much as I had sovereign control over the kitchen, I couldn’t rule the use of its utensils. Dirty dishes were piled on the weak aluminum sink like we owned a Frisbee shop. The palm oil eerily glowed in the daytime. Thanks to my overactive imagination. This was another chunk of work and I delved into it with much more vigor than I had for my room. The wall tiles brightened to my “rag of truth”, the sink shone like scratched silver to my sponge and the floor tiles were mopped clean.
Ruth kept calling me all the way, updating me on the strange areas the bus was taking her through.
The trickiest part was the bathroom. It had white walls and worse more, a white floor. It needed energetic scrubbing to become sparkling and I really wanted her know that we were neat people. I had already boasted to her how I held the fort, reining in everyone who strayed from my rule of spotless living. I perspired even as I scrubbed the indoor bathroom but that was before the first sign of trouble came.
Susan was searching for her toothbrush.
It didn’t seem like trouble at first but allowing a problem unsolved like that to exist in her mind allowed much fertilizer for a catastrophe. She’d alerted the house about her missing toothbrush and they crooned their assurances, half-heartedly. However she didn’t think the detail that said I was the last person to see it was redundant and that had everybody coming to meet me, asking why I had thrown her mouth cleaning tool away. The scenario had turned me from the house cleaner to a fat devil sitting on Wall Street. A 12-minute job stretched onto 35 minutes as I explained the situation, also berating everyone for having bought a cheap opinion of a very irrelevant matter. I didn’t get too perturbed, her mind was actually grounded in the loam of childishness.
I had a bath in a clean bathroom and mopped it again afterwards.
1330hrs saw me donning a white kaftan over black chinos trousers as Ruth had arrived earlier than I estimated. My neighbor’s daughter taunted me with a tantalizing look at my gray Persian slippers. I felt good. I was going to pick my girlfriend and having her in my arm was gonna make every girl who breezed through my path jealous. Of course, I wouldn’t have their time or even notice they hung around. She’d boldly sneak kisses on my cheek and we’d show enough PDAs everyone’s eyes would pop out of envy. I had planned a series of activities, carefully detailed so that none of my friends would have her to him for more than 10 minutes. I was basically going to control her time and space during the duration of the visit. The sun was painfully hot, I didn’t mind. My heart swelled with so much expectation no reproach could get to me. Her phone rang a moment after I dialed.
“Yeah, I just left my house so hang on”
“I’ve been trying too. The cars here are much and frankly they are scary” She sounded a little bit irked.
“I’m sorry, but I told you to call me when you get to Chanchaga”
“I don’t know where Chanchaga is?”
“Oh! Proud and stubborn woman, can’t you ask people?” I began taunting “I won’t get jealous if you talk to other men, you know?” I lied.
She huffed and I heard a hiss afterwards. She hung up after she sent a few threats flying like the Ruth I knew. I hailed a cab, gathered the ends of my kaftan and moved to the front seat of the cab. My heart beat a little faster, in fact much faster as I anticipated seeing her. The 10-minute ride seemed like 19 minutes as the city refused to breeze through. I could see the city more intricately and spent some time wondering what she’d say about the town. I’d shut her up by telling her the history of French Fries and Smoothies joint when we passed by Bahago Junction.
“Oga, you no go drop” the voice broke me out of my reverie with this request. It was rough, harsh and accented a little too much with Yoruba language. I got down and paid the man off, forgetting to grab my 20 naira change from his hand as I hurried to cross the road.
The yellow arc built over the gate had Abdusalam Garage printed boldly on it. I began to think that they should have renovated the place. Didn’t they know Ruth was coming to town? In my head, I had to stop myself from creating an explanation for the dirtiness and disorderliness of the local garage. I had to focus and find Ruth before she found me, however that wasn’t getting me much result. I looked towards the stalls nearest to the bus docking point for Jos. She wasn’t in any of them. I placed a call to her and it began to ring while I patiently waited for her to answer, but she didn’t. I called again, looking around, towards the shops by the right side of the entrance up to the public toilets opposite the entrance. No sign of her. I must have dialed her number without getting my call answered for about half a dozen times before I began to panic. Had she been kidnapped? Did she wander off into a secluded area and got her guts spilled on the ground? I was beginning to imagine the worst things when my phone rang. A strange number was displayed this time.

9 thoughts on “The Visit – 1” by Shagariii (@Shagariii)

  1. Nice one … keep it up

  2. nice story but it was kind of dragged in the middle what with the use of words like ”loam of childishness”… this could have been written better.

    nice use of suspense…well done

  3. Somethings not right..

  4. Something’s not right..

  5. hmm, my mind jst wndring wot myt hv hapend

  6. Nice,am enjoyin d suspence.Can’t begin 2 imagine wats coming next.

  7. mendel martha (@ihenyengladysusile)

    suspense felt towards the ending,do not know what to expect!!!

  8. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

    The end was very good, the middle was mmmmmm, the beginning was not your best. It looks like you didn’t spend much time on this. Was it a first draft?

  9. Ur darling babe has been kidnapped. #lobatan

    The story ended well. The body was tooooo long with all the details of ur room, bathroom n kitchen but I like the way it ended

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