The bus pulled up at the last bus stop. Sunday alighted and covered his nose. Since the new governor took over the affairs of the state the state has been turned into one massive construction site with roads being extended and new ones built but the downside of it was that there was a lot of dust everywhere as the dry season was still very much around. The dust at the bus stop was enough to cut visibility considerably and make breathing almost impossible. Sunday realized he was hungry and that made him remember a larger problem; he was running broke. His mum had not sent money to him in 2 weeks and even when she did, it was barely enough to take him through that week.
He had always survived through Tayo’s goodwill but Sunday had not asked him for money in a while out of some silly arrogance that he should be his own man. Of course he had not told his friend about his resolve but he had made a resolve within himself to reduce the gifts both monetary and otherwise he collects from Tayo and learn to manage the funds his parents send him. Doing a mental check, he calculated a thousand Naira left in his bank account and that was barely enough to take him over the weekend as he was out of foodstuff at home. He used his hand to cover his nose as he walked hurriedly towards the ATM machine.
Sunday felt renewed confidence after the encounter with the guys on the bus which had some kind of effect on him. It made him a lot calmer and he was not too shaky. However, it also made him aware that people he did not know were aware of his presence. If these guys can recognize him then it is likely that someone who wants to harm him would also recognize him and that might be disastrous.
He passed in front of the ATM but decided against making a withdrawal as the number of people waiting in line were too much. The sun was still beating down mercilessly and he could feel his throat drying up. It would be better if he went home and got some rest then come back to make the withdrawal later. He brought his phone out and dialed his mum’s number. She picked it up after sometime.
Sunday’s mum is a widow. Her late husband used to work for the local factory but he came home one day with his temperature so high, one would assume he had been sick for a long time, things began to change for Sunday and his mum. Although he did not make a lot of money, Sunday’s dad made enough to provide for his wife and young son. He had considered the fact that he does not have enough money to raise another child and so despite pleading from his own family, had decided not to have any more children. He focused all his attention on his family and even managed to open a convenience store for his wife not far away from home so she could help with the finances of the home.
He came home early from work that day as he complained at work about feeling sick, he used some malaria drugs and went to bed. His wife came back with Sunday to meet him on the bed still sleeping and decided not to disturb him until she finished preparing dinner. When dinner was done, she woke him up and he ate a little food before he complained of been too tired and went back to bed. He never woke up from that sleep.
Ever since his father died, his mum was responsible for his upbringing from the proceeds of the shop and most times, the money realized was not enough but they managed. It always pained him that he had to call her to ask for money but he was broke and he had no other source of income except her.
When she picked up the phone, her voice was as clear as though she was speaking from beside him.
“My son, how are you? It has been a long time you called. Can’t you make these calls a little more frequent?”
“Ma, sorry but I want to concentrate on my studies here and I don’t like spending money on airtime so I can do other things with the money instead”.
She paused for sometime perhaps to attend to a customer.
“I wanted to send you some money today but by the time I remembered, the banks here had closed but I will pay it into your account tomorrow morning”.
The fact that she always knew why he called amazed him but he tried to hide it.
“I was not even calling because of money ma. I just wanted to know how you are doing and say hi to you”.
“Thank you son. Let me let you go now so you don’t spend too much on airtime. God will continue to be with you and the future will be as you want it to be as long as God is in heaven. Just don’t forget to pray and go to church regularly”.
“Yes ma. I will call you some other time. Bye.”
He hung up and started walking towards his house again. He felt like a heavy load had been lifted from his shoulders with what his mum said, at least some money will be paid to his account the next day and he does not have to ask Tayo for money.
Tope dialed Sunday’s number immediately Wale finished calling it out to her but the response she got was that of a busy line. She looked back at Wale suspiciously.
“Are you sure you gave me the right number?”
Wale did not answer at first as Wunmi was sitting on his laps once more and they were lost in a barely audible conversation and smiling. She hated disturbing them but she just needed to know.
She faked a cough and asked again.
“Wale, are you sure you gave me the right number?”
He answered without even looking at her. “Yes that’s his number. Why do you ask?”
“I just called the number right now and it told me it was busy”.
Wale did not understand the reason why Tope was so interested in speaking with Sunday and it was beginning to get to him.
“Maybe he is talking to his girlfriend or something”.
The mention of girlfriend made something inside Tope turn and she replied almost coldly.
“He has a girlfriend? How come you did not tell me that before?”
Wunmi too then joined in the conversation as Tope was beginning to get on her nerves. All through the night all she wanted to know was the strange and not so good looking kid but right now was certainly not a good time to start again.
“I am sure he does not have a girlfriend but he might have been receiving a call from his friends or something. That does not mean the number is wrong or anything. Just try again later.” Wale replied.
He looked towards her and added, “And my girl and I are trying to have a quiet time here so please stop disturbing”.
At that, Tope got out of the bed and went outside, pissed off at the both of them and even Sunday for no just reason. Once outside, she started walking without any direction. She just needed to waste some time and call back and perhaps she will be able to get in contact with him.
While walking, she started thinking about why she wanted to speak with Sting. She had felt a sharp pain in her stomach when Wale insinuated that he might have been speaking to his girlfriend. It was clear to her that this is going beyond wanting to say thank you and that she might actually like him. The thought scared her and also brought a smile to her face. She had only been in two relationships all her life and they had been with close family friends and sons of her father’s business partners. Even then it felt like they were not the ones dating but the families. She never really liked any guy like this but she was not the conservative type and didn’t see anything wrong in a girl going after what she liked.
She walked past her car and remembered that she left the key inside the room. She was not planning on going anywhere but sometimes when she needed to clear her head and be alone sitting inside her car helped a lot. The sun was still hot although its heat had reduced it was still considerably hot so she moved away and sat down under a tree.
She picked up her phone and dialed the number again and to her delight, it rang!
Sunday walked into his room tired and thirsty. He bought some cold water from the shop in front of the house and drained the content into his dried up throat. He allowed his bag fall from his back and he flung his phone onto the bed while he took off his shoes and trousers then he joined the phone on the bed. He had started drifting into another world when the ringing of his phone brought him back; he checked the caller ID and saw none.
A voice told him to put the phone in silent mode and go back to bed but he overcame his fatigue and answered it.
“Hello” he spoke into the phone and no response came.
He held the phone for more than 30 seconds and when the caller did not say anything he hung up and went back to bed.
(to be continued)
(Mynd is a final year student of Mechanical Engineering at one of Nigeria's universities. When he's not busy being a nerd he spends his time writing, playing basketball, listening to music and laughing! You can reach him on firstname.lastname@example.org)