I was done preparing for work and about to leave when I heard a knock on my door. I know it would be no one but Tolu, picking my bag, I headed for the door. I opened the door to Tolu standing clad in an ash colored skirt suit looking breathtaking.
“Good morning T.” I greeted.
“Good morning Toby,” she replied. “You don’t look like you slept well.” She continued.
“Just what I was about to ask you” I retorted as we both laughed. “Actually, I had a bad dream and couldn’t sleep afterwards.”
“Was that why you called me?” she asked smiling. “Hope it’s not about me and it’s not bad?”
“Noo, not about you. Was a bit afraid when I woke from the dream, that’s why I called you..” I lied.
“Oh! Fear fear, you should have told me, would have come and keep you company,” she teased.
“Thank you. So what about you, what kept you up?” I asked.
“Nothing really, couldn’t just sleep so I decided to work while waiting for sleep which eventually didn’t come.” She said.
“You sure it’s nothing really or you don’t want to talk about it?” I persisted.
“C’mon, it’s just normal sleeplessness.”
We reclined into silence for a while holding each others gaze, I was so tempted to take her in for a hug and probably tell her that I love her too, but, something kept holding me back. Our eyes communicated volumes while our lips said none. After a while I broke off the moment.
“I think we have to get going.” I said.
“Yea, sure.” She replied still not taking a step.
“After you.” I motioned for her to lead the way.
While we walked down the stairs, she offered to drive me to work but I declined with the excuse that I won’t be going to the office direct. We said the goodbyes as I waited till she drove out before I left.
As I walked down to the junction, a part of me looked forward to seeing Fiolla parked waiting for me while the other was nonchalant. For some reasons, I wasn’t bothered about her actions. Even the anger I felt for her the previous night disappeared with Tolu’s presense.
I was almost close to the junction when she drove past. The road wasn’t that much busy with pedestrians for her not to have seen me. I laughed it off and kept strolling down till I got to the junction to find out that there was no bus yet. People stood in numbers waiting for any available bus but none was in sight. No one could explain the reason for the scarcity of bus that morning.
I decided to walk down, maybe I could get a lift on my way or probably before I covered much distance a bus distance a bus will come around. as I walked, I kept thinking of Tolu, her text the previous night and the dream.
It was a little weird how we avoided the topic of her text that morning. Also, for her to have behaved like she didn’t send the text made it weirder.
With my mind occupied, I didn’t realize the distance I’ve covered till I noticed a car slowing down beside me. At first I thought it was just a car clearing off the road and walked by, but, few steps away, it struck me Hariet. I turned immediately and it was her. I stood still contemplating on what to do. How do I apologize to her. it was obvious she saw me and as if she knew what was going on in my mind, she turned off the ignition and waited. After what seemed like a life time of thinking, I dragged myself back to the passenger side of the car and tapped on the glass. I had a click and pulled at the handle opening the door to looking breathtakingly beautiful. She had her eyes on her phone sparing me not even a glance as I stood quilt ridden looking at her not entering the car.
“Get in and close the door please.” She said plainly her eyes not leaving her phone.
I hopped in and closed the door still looking at her. She pressed the ignition and eased the car into motion still not giving me a look. The silence was so thick and suffocating. We’d driven for some minutes before I cleared my throat to get her attention.
“Hariet how are you?” I asked breaking through the silence.
She shrugged without a word her eyes still on the road. That didn’t encourage me to go on but I persisted.
“Been a while, how is it going with work?” I continued.
This time, she turned and looked at me for the first time before taking her eyes back to the road. From the look she gave me, I didn’t know what to decipher from it; it was just a look that conveyed no meaning. We reclined into silence again till we got into a light traffic jam.
“Hariet, I …..” I started before she cut through my words.
“Can you please keep whatever you want to say to yourself? I am not interested in hearing any of it.”
That only gave me all that I need to make my apologies.
“Hariet I am deeply sorry, I know I hurt you and there is no excuse whatever to justify that but, I am very sorry.”
“Just keep the sorry ok, it doesn’t matter anymore.” She retorted driving on.
“I know you are pissed, you have every right to be, but I’m sorry Hariet. I know I can’t make this right anymore but just know that I regret the way I treated you.” I concluded and looked away as another bout of silence descended on the car.
The rest of the drive till we got to my work place done in silence. She parked, turned off the ignition and turned to look at me. We held each others gaze for what seemed like eternity before she muttered.
“Why did you treat me like?”
“I am sorry.” I said avoiding her gaze as her eyes became misty.
“I don’t need sorry, I need and answers Toby. Did you have to use me to pay for whatever was going on between you and my sister?” she continued.
“Hariet, please, I am sorry but whatever happened had nothing to do with your sister.” I replied.
“Then what?” she said through clenched teeth as a drop of tears dropped from her eyes.
There was no way I’d give her a genuine answer with it involving her sister.
“After the kiss,” I started, looking away. “I didn’t see myself deserving of you. You deserve someone better. You have just been good to me and all I could do was just have feelings for you. I didn’t feel it right.” I concluded sounding so lame to myself.
“Did you just listen to yourself? You blanked out on me after a kiss as if I was some filthy rag you want to discard of. Did you force me into it?”
“I am sorry Hariet, I didn’t think I was deserving of you.” I apologized trying to keep up with the guilt game.
“And what does that make me, someone that doesn’t know what she deserves? I reached out for you and what did you do, ignore me like………” she trailed off tears streaming down her eyes.
“I am sorry Hariet.” I apologized again reaching out to touch her.
“Don’t dare touch me,” she shouted taking her hand away. “Listen to me, I don’t know what happened between you and my sister, but you don’t get to treat me like that. Mature people talk when they feel something is not right, they don’t blank out. That said, get out, I need to get going.” she concluded quietly with tears.
“I am sorry.” I said before stepping down from the car. I waited till she drove out before heading to my office feeling like crap.