You had done business with him before, so you knew in your heart that no matter what happened he was good for it. You ignored the fact that his gait was unsteady as he walked towards you. He was after all your business partner of several years. His eyes were a mix of crimson and red, it seemed as though he had been drinking by the fierceness of the hung-over cloud that encircled about him.
You had known him for a little over three years now, and you had never seen him like this. He was a social drinker, he never did more than a bottle of beer and you could vouch that he had never been drunk in his life; he had that innocent thing going on for him. But people do change, but could the change have been over night or was there something that you were missing? You shrugged and thought better of asking him any question. He was a private man as far as you knew and you felt that asking him questions may offend him so you backed off.
But then again, this is business not friendship and the last time you checked, sentiment is not a currency that is accepted on this side of the universe. So you decided to dump your reservations and ask him what was going on. He stared at you in disbelief; there was no smile on your face because the smile just simply vanished as you pondered upon your next move. Here was a man that you just extended a part of your expensive pity to and he is looking at you as though you were just deployed from a helicopter sent from the very pits of hell.
He seemed so offended but soon the agitation wiped off his face and gave way to an unexpected expression of emotions, his eyes were welled up with tears and he started crying. You stared at him confused, what could possibly make a grown man shed so many tears? You pondered. Several thoughts coursed through your mind at once; maybe he just got a bad news. Could it be his parents, maybe one of them died or both, or maybe his girlfriend left him or she died? No it can’t be, you knew her, you even liked her and wondered why she was dating a guy like John when she could easily get someone like you.
Then it dawned on you that all you could think of were bad things, was it necessary for what happened to him to have been bad, in fact what if the thing wasn’t bad? What if he was just shedding tears of joy? You scolded yourself for thinking the worst. Then you decided to ask him, it wouldn’t hurt to know what was really going on.
“What happened?” You asked shakily hoping that he would stop crying. He sniffed twice and brought out a dirty handkerchief to blow his nose and wipe the tears off his eyes.
“I’m really sorry, Mr. Ade.” He said, managing to get out the words from his mouth in between sniffs; you were confused, you didn’t understand the need for the apology. “I was robbed of your money before I could get it to the bank, and the contractors said that they cannot supply the goods without the down payment.”
You stared at him in utter silence for a good seven seconds. Your heart raced as though you were under attack by some unseen forces. Your defense mechanisms wanted to kick in, you stopped yourself from doing what you must have thought about doing in a millisecond. A slap, a kick or maybe a yell would help if only you do it, but you held them all in, as hard as it was.
“Robbed of my what?” You were angry beyond reasoning and all the pity you felt earlier just simply vanished. Then he started crying again and the more tears you saw, the angrier you got.