“What?!” Iphey spluttered.
She could have sworn that she just heard her supervisor tell the entire
operations staff and their managers that the procurement schedule template
would be available at the armed robber meeting.
“I said it would be available at the advisory board meeting,” Funmi spat at
“Yes ma,” Iphey responded, suddenly finding something very important in
her notebook. She wiped at a bead of sweat that wasn‟t there, trying to relax. She
passed her notebook to Bisi who was seated next to her, “Please, help me take
notes. I‟d be right back,” she whispered and she excused herself.
She didn‟t exhale till she had shut the bathroom door behind her. “Oh dear,
I‟m losing my mind!” she said to the empty bathroom with her hand on her
chest. She walked up to the sink, and washed her hands though they weren‟t
dirty. The running water provided some kind of solace.
It started when Funmi called on the intercom at about 10am, asking for a
client‟s armed robber, which was actually the client‟s asset report. She felt like
her mind was playing tricks on her. It had been a few days since she met with
Chinedu, and she thought she had wiped him off her mind; only, to wake up this
morning and find him sleeping peacefully next to her. She screamed and then
woke up, and realized that the first wake-up sequence was only a dream.
She didn‟t understand why this thing with Chinedu bothered her so much.
After all he’d said it was in the past. Could it be that this hit so close to home
because she refused to accept she was attracted to him? The finely chiselled frame
of his face fluttered in her head as it had done every so often since her date, and
gave her an instant thrill.
“But how could someone with such an honest demeanour ever have used a
gun in his life?‟ she thought. She shook her head rapidly like it was the proven
method of clearing ones thoughts and winced at the headache she gave herself.
“OK,” she spoke to the washbasin this time, with new found determination,
“I‟ve had enough of this. I have a job to do.” She straightened her empire waist
dress in front of the mirror and looked herself straight in the eye. “You can‟t let
this worry you. He‟s not important. You‟re probably never going to see him
She looked around to ascertain that no one else was in the bathroom, ignoring
what it seemed her conscience was saying to her. She didn‟t want to become
„office gist‟ for having a nervous breakdown in the bathroom.
She pulled open the bathroom door holding her head high with square
shoulders, but weary about how far the pep talk she had just given herself would
* * *
She got home that evening and finally decided to return Aisha‟s missed calls.
Her friend had tried to reach her non-stop since the night of the date, and she had
ignored every one of the calls, because she couldn‟t decide what to tell her. What
if her well-meaning friend didn‟t know of Chinedu‟s past? What if it turned out
that Aisha‟s brother had a history of armed robbery as well, since they were so
Her friend picked up on the second ring and didn‟t bother with the
perfunctory pleasantries. “I know what you‟re trying to do,” Aisha started with a
tone that made Iphey feel that she was furious, “you want me to drop dead in
Iphey managed a believable chuckle before responding, “No be so now. I‟ve
been busy. How body?”
“Body dey as you leave am. No use that one waste time. Give me all the juicy
details. Did you guys hit the club after dinner? Is he a good dancer? More
importantly, is he a good kisser? Did he take you home? How was it?”
“It was nice,” Iphey replied. The silence that followed hinted that Aisha was
waiting for more.
Aisha spoke up when he friend said nothing else, “Come on! Who do you
think you‟re talking to? Your mum? I‟m asking for gist, you‟re giving me the
version for the people who still believe that you‟re a good girl.”
“It was just a regular date now, abi?” Iphey replied, “I met him at the
restaurant. We talked about our backgrounds, our families, secondary schools;
etcetera. The food was good sha.”
“And I went home after the meal!”
“As in? Did you ask for his number?”
“He gave it to me but I‟m sure he can call me if he really wants to.”
“Hmmm. What are you not telling?”
“Nothing important, I‟m serious.” She decided that she would not be the one
to tell Aisha about Chinedu‟s past if she didn‟t already know.
“OK o,” Aisha replied, in a resigned tone, “but be sure that I don‟t believe
you completely. Do you want to see him again?”
“I don‟t know,” Iphey laughed to lighten the moment and avail herself a
change of subject. “Meanwhile,” she continued, “Ayo PM‟ed me while we were
sitting across from each other at a meeting this afternoon.”
“Who‟s Ayo again? I know Tunde the flirt…”
“No, this is my branch manager now. The one who wants me to schedule my
leave at the same time he‟s taking his, so we can travel together.” She
emphasized the last two words to stress the idiocy of the idea.
“Wait, are you sure you‟ve told me about this guy before?”
“Yes now, Mr. You-like-me-but-you‟ve-not-realized-it-yet.”
Aisha burst out in peals of laughter, “He said that?!”
“Well, maybe not in those exact words, but he might as well have. In his
message today, he was like: „so why do you look so sexy this afternoon. I‟m
trying so hard not to be lustful‟. This man is married o…”
“OK, that‟s just nauseating. You need to teach him a thing or two about
“Oh, I sent him a very nice email, which is probably why he didn‟t stop by
my desk to say goodnight when he was leaving. There’s more gist oo…”
“OK, hold it for me.” Aisha’s voice was hurried, “My dear, I have to get off
now. TJ just drove in, and dinner is almost not ready.”
“No starve my broda o,” Iphey replied with a laugh.
“OK then, goodnight!”