To hold a pen bearing the world’s weight- this is what it takes to be a writer.- To easily detect the footprints of tears blurred out with many layers of make-up and see a person’s sincere hunger for laughter is a familiar scene in her dreams.
As Ehi laid in bed last night with her petite frame wrapped away in a blanket of gloom, this scene replayed again in her head. She imagined she’d successfully convinced herself to visit Irene two nights ago.
This thought gave way to a soliloquy.
“If I did, I would have talked her outta depression and we won’t have lost her! But no, I wanted to be indoor all evening. Listen to country songs, write a poem or two and catch up with my online guitar classes. Ehi…”
She called her name as a tear trekked down her cheek.
“But you cannot give what you don’t have, my friend” that was Blessing, she must have been eavesdropping. She always does that.
Ehi did not remember to bolt the door. She didn’t even realize when the door creaked and delivered her nosy flatmate.
The two, do not talk often except when they had to clean the apartment or something that required synergy.
“Don’t say that Blessing, I replied, “a kerosene lamp illuminates a dark room but it cannot see it’s base for its base is enveloped with darkness.
Blessing had by now pulled a chair and made herself comfortable. She didn’t say one more word after my illustration. That meant only one thing- affirmation.
They both knew Irene. The girl would visit them with packs of home made vegetables with plenty of fish and pomo. She’d ask us to make eba and have us eat with her.
After which Irene and Blessing would talk movies and fashion while Ehi was lost in an anthology of poems. But she always knew that the glow of Irene’s light skin and the smiles which sprout on her full lips did not have a taproot. Somehow she felt that even a not-so-strong wind would root it out completely. Yet Ehi did not go out of her way to help.
Irene asked her to her place on the same night, what seemed like minutes before she gulped the contents of a bottle of snipper and perhaps writhed in pain till she passed out. But Ehi was quick to make an excuse,
“Irene, I have a deadline to beat tonight.” She lied.
Irene replied with a cold ‘okay’ and hung up.
The next day, her phone rang and it was Irene again. Ehi hissed and cussed in pidgin “this girl noh know say mouth dey heavy me? Which kan’ early mor’ mor’ call be this?”
“Hello” She said with a feigned warmth when she answered the phone.
But it was a man on the other side. A familiar voice that was, perhaps Peter’s, Irene’s next door neighbor.
“Yes… Good morning Ehi”
“Where is this Irene of a girl?” She asked.
Then silence hit her. She took her phone from her ear and checked to see whether the call had ended.
“Ehi,” Peter said softly, “Irene is gone”
“Jesus!!!” Ehi screamed and immediately went silent.