I woke up to a knock on my door. Surprised, I waited yawning to know if I heard right and yes, it came again from my door.
I stay in a story building of two flats down and three mini flats up. People minded their business to bits in the compound that the only word your neighbor can say to you is good morning, afternoon or evening if they happen to be in good mood when you met them.
Having spent close to six months I could hardly tell who the two others I was sharing the upper floor with are. I have run into a couple of guys and girls most times on my way up or down but I can’t actually say who the real owners were.
I walked lazily to the door with swollen eyes still clad in my dire of a cloth as the knock persisted. I looked through the peep hole and could make out the face of a lady before asking who it was.
“It’s me, Tolu, your neighbor.”
I turned the lock and opened the door standing face to face with an indescribable beauty. About my height, chocolate color, curvy with and an enchantment of a smile. I could remember running into her a couple of times mostly in the evening.
“Hi good evening,” she greeted with an unarming smile exposing a beautiful set of dimples.
“Umm!” I started before clearing my throat, “Good evening, hope there is no problem?”
“Umm! No, not at all. I heard a voice like someone was crying when I came back a couple of hours ago and just wanted to check if everything is ok with you.” She said looking questionably at me.
“Emm! Yea everything is cool, thanks. Probably it was from the television.” I lied trying to avoid her gaze.
“Ok then, if you say so. Sorry for disturbing or rather poking my nose,” she started with a smile, “my apologies.”
“Oh!! It’s ok, no problem. I really needed it; the disturbance.” I said forcing a smile. “Forgive my manners, do you want to come in?”
“Nah, maybe next time.”
“Ok then, thanks for checking up.”
“You are welcome Mr. …….”
“Oh! Toby, the name is Toby.” I said smiling sheepishly.
“Ok Mr. Toby see you around then, good night.” she said turning to her door while I entered my after wishing her a good night.
It had been one week after my woeful interview experience. Through the week I stayed indoors stepping out only when I had urgent need to. I emaciated beyond what I could describe as each moment I remembered the experience I broke down in tears till I convince myself that it wasn’t worth it. Albeit, it wasn’t just meant for me. I refused telling anybody what really happened. After I lied to my sister and Uche, they encouraged and promised to keep me in their prayers.
Did I tell you that the crush I was chatting with prior to the interview suddenly stopped talking to me? Yes you read right. And to think that I had my hopes high on building a relationship with her since my service year relationship ended after we passed out, was more pitiable. Reason for her sudden change of attitude remained a mystery to me but, in my state that moment, I cared less.
It was Friday after I had spent from Saturday of the previous week to Thursday indoors. I had decided to go out with no particular destination in mind as I had no friend around. Half way into strolling, I decided to branch off to the market close by and get some groceries, with that I could be able to manage myself till the coming week when I will call home for food stuff re-stocking.
By the time I was through getting the things I needed from the market it was already 6pm. Stepping through the gate when I got to my compound, I saw Tolu stepping out from a Toyota Highlander 2015 model. I muttered a curse to devil in my mind. I have seen the car a couple of times but thought that it belonged to one of the families occupying the ground floor as they had other exotic cars. I did well to hide the surprise I felt as I walked up slowly to where she stood probably waiting for me towards the stairs.
“Hey! God evening,” I greeted halting my steps.
“Hey! Good evening ee………..” she started trailing off.
“Toby.” I said cutting through her long pause as she kept hitting her head lightly to remember my name.
“Yes!! Toby,” she said with glowing eyes, “Forgive my forgetfulness.”
“No problem.” I said displaying the most charming smile I could, letting her walk before me up the stairs.
“Seems like you traveled?” she asked looking back.
“Nah, have been around. Haven’t been stepping out a lot lately.” I replied casually.
“Everything alright?” she asked not looking back this time.
“Alright see you around.” she said rummaging through her bag as we got to her door which was directly opposite mine.
“Ok, same here.” I replied turning to my door. “Uhmm!! I’m making dinner just in case you are tired of making one, a neighbor wouldn’t mind a little disturbance.”
“Oh!, thanks dear, had dinner already.” She said standing between her opened door with a smile.
“Ok then, see you when I see you.” I said before she smiled and closed her door while I entered and closed mine behind me.
The next morning; Saturday, I decided that I could use some road walk as I haven’t done that in a while, not once since I came to Lagos. I left early around 5:30 am so that I could cover much distance before coming back.
I used almost two hours jogging coming back by 8am. Stepping through the gate I saw Tolu walking out from the stairways clad in an exquisite sport outfit. She stopped on seeing me walk through the gate putting away her shades.
“Hey!! Good morning Toby,” she greeted all smiles.
“Good morning Tolu, how was your night?”
“Oh!! I didn’t know you remembered my name,” she started flashing a beautiful set of dimples. “My night was good, how about yours?”
“Not so good.” I replied.
“Little wonder you are done with work out.”
“I actually left early though not really about the night. Guess you are out for your own round?”
“Yes, it’s weekend, let me go do a couple of laps at the gym.” She said pressing the lock as the car beeped twice.
“Ok that’s cool. Cool ride you’ve got.” I said stepping into the stair ways.
“Thanks, I guess I will see you when I come back.” She said more like a question behind me.
“Alright, I will be here. Don’t break a bone.” I replied heading up the stairs.
My mind held the picture of Tolu as I walked up to my room. Her sportswear which clung to her body exposing all her curves. Though one cannot tell age from appearance but I know she wouldn’t be more than 23 and to be using such a ride, I know that there was a mystery behind her…