The streets were deserted as the harsh harmattan wind blew across. The moon was full that night and its light shone across the street announcing the presence of the houses that lined the street.
The shops and pubs that had made the street popular were all closed. This was unusual the night being a friday. The street had lost its identity in one night. The boys whose chatter we heard from the numerous pubs as we walked along the street were absent. The voices of mothers calling their young ones in for dinner were absent. Even the houses that usually spoke to us with their different forms and ornamentation all representing one point in history of the other, were all silent- their silhouette appearing in the silvery glow of the moon light like rival wives recieving a query from their husband after a row.
Strange. Tonight the trees were still despite the wind. The dogs whose barks were the music of the night were all silent. The rats, the birds and all other nocturnal animal were all silent. All life was still-another police raid had just ended. It was Crowther street.
As Tunji Cole drove his Mercedes 4matic GL 450 jeep down the street,he wondered if he was still in the surburbs of Lagos. The street was a ghost house. “What happened here”? He thought aloud as he gunned the car through a right turn linking Adebayo Oni close. The story there was the same. Silence. He checked his Rolex watch tucked neatly under his Louis Vuiton
sleeve. It was 7pm on a friday night,and a strange fear gripped him as he remembered rapture.
No 1 Adebayo Oni close off crowther street was the building directly opposite the entrance to the close. It was built in the afro-brazillian style which was predominant in the sixties. He killed the engine of his Mercedes chariot and stepped out into the chilly and silent night. “Bless heaven for Daimler and Benz” he tought as he walked towards the building.
Bridget Sola Oni had planned to visit Tasties and Rhythms the local pub where she was scheduled to meet paul at 8pm. Her plans were suddenly disrupted when she recieved the news of the raid. There will be no shop open on crowther street after a raid. Talk more of a pub house. She had decided to retire early to bed since the next day will be hectic, she having to complete today’s undone tasks.
Earlier in the day she had called up Tunji Cole upon the recieving the news of his arrival two months ago. He had promised to pay her a visit after the days work. However it was obvious to her that a promise had gone un fufilled. “i know he would care less about me now. It’s being eight years anyway. I dont blame him.” She tought.
She was sitting at her dressing table applying some cosmetics for the night when she heard a faint knock on the front door. Still unsure if she had heard it from the front door, she came out into the long passage and headed for the front door. A few steps before reaching the door she heard the knock again this time, clearer than before. Reaching for the knob she asked, “who is it?” still unsure if she should open the door or not. After a raid? No one comes knocking on your door after a raid. Except you are expecting someone, and she was.
“hmmm…Tunji please i’m…” she flung the door open and ushered him in before he could even finish his sentence. They hugged-to put it better, she hugged him.
“I lost all hope that you were still coming today.” she said as she led him down the hall into the second room on the right which served as their living room.
“I made a promise and i’m fufilling it.” he said feeling proud. “it was quite a task locating this place.”
“You can say that again.” She replied.
“How have you been? you know work, and stuff?”
“Well, i’m just getting by. Trying to startup a business, get an apartment, you know, at least leave my father’s house.” She replied.
“Honestly i never believed you could settle in Lagos. Ibadan was your kingdom. Bridget you ruled that city back in those days.” They both laughed over it.
“Tell me. What business are you planning to go into.” he asked looking a little concerned.
“Clothing” she said just like she was expecting the question.
“I want to open a boutique. Import in bulk and sell in retail. In fact i want to be a distributor for a well known designer.”
“Wow thats big!”
“Indeed” she said eyeing him.
“Alright Bridget, it’s late” he said rising to his feet. “I should go”
“You should, or you must?” she asked.
“Actually i’m going to the Island. It’s a long way from here. My fiancee would be worried.”
“Oh how nice!!” she exclaimed “When are you getting married? Who is she?” She almost said ‘what does she look like’, when he interrupted.
“Which one of those questions do you want me to answer first?”
“Anyone. I’m happy for you.”
“Thanks so much”
“Mr Olatunji Cole, I think you should be on your way. The poor lady is waiting.”
“Thanks for being so considerate.” he replied.
“Hmmm…” she said eyeing him “you are welcome.” “considerate? You need to have a rethink on that Mr Cole.” She tought and a mischievous smile crept along her pretty face.