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Port Harcourt
Thursday, July 25, 2024


I never knew an hour could be so long till I had to sit and listen to Nancy’s annoying voice for that long. Believe me, it was the longest hour of my life! I struggled to focus on her talk during the presentation as I counted every passing second.

Finally, when the meeting was over, I asked Nancy to wait behind for a chat. I needed to tell her I had made my decision. My boss probably assumed it was for further discussion on the project— if only he knew. “I’m guessing you have some good news for me,” she said, settling in the chair beside me. “Well, it depends on what you consider to be good,” I began, “I asked you to wait behind because I wanted to watch that smirk you’ve been wearing all day fade from your face when I told you that I would rather let Nonso rot in jail than leave him for you.” After I finished my sentence, she started to lose her cool, her face went red, and I could tell she wanted to raise her voice but was trying to control herself because my boss and some others were still standing outside the boardroom.

“Suit yourself then,” she said, getting up angrily to leave the room. “See you in court!” Sandra was kind enough to help me call her brother-in-law before we closed work, and he agreed to meet at the police station to help secure bail for Nonso.He was immediately released. I acted nice and warm towards him because I didn’t want Sandra’s lawyer-in-law to suspect all wasn’t well. I even gave him a warm hug and peck to make the ‘loving-girlfriend-finally-rescues-innocent-boyfriend-from-jail story’ look natural. However, from his facial expression and how he hugged me, I could tell he knew he was in big trouble, and I was only pretending. When we got into the car, I didn’t say anything to him because I was too furious and hurt even to utter a word. But as soon as he opened his lying mouth to thank me, I unleashed the dragon on him. He knew better than to attempt to say another word after that. So he quietly sat while I drove like a mad hatter for the rest of the silent journey to his house.

Suddenly, it dawned on me that I had just bailed out a serial cheat with a triumphant welcome by giving him a free ride in my car and dropping him at his doorstep as if saying ‘thank you for cheating’. By this time, we were right in the middle of the bridge. I calmly drove towards the side lane to my right, put on my hazard lights, and parked. “What’s the matter … is there something wrong with the car?” Nonso asked. Yes, there seems to be a problem,” I replied gravely. “What’s the problem?”

“My car seems to be carrying a little more weight than it’s used to, making driving difficult,” I replied.

“What kind of problem is that?” He asked, looking very puzzled.

“It’s an overload problem, and the only way to solve it is by making one of us get out of the car— unfortunately, that person can’t be me,” I said with a straight face while he looked even more confused.

“Why are you still sitting there… Get down from the car!” I screamed, making him jump. I didn’t care if, at that point, he thought I had schizophrenia, like every mad person walking the streets.

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally, causing them to exhibit various psychological symptoms. These may include very disordered thinking and behaviour and delusions and hallucinations. The cause is unknown but thought to be genetic and environmental factors. People with a positive family history are at a higher risk of developing the disorder, requiring lifelong treatment. “Are you asking me to come down from the car?” He stammered. “No! I’m not asking you to—” I paused to see his reaction. He heaved a sigh of relief then I immediately completed my sentence, “—I’m ordering you to get out of my car now !” “Seriously?” He asked.

“No, un-seriously!” I replied, opening the passenger door and pushing him out. Getting him out of the car was a struggle, but I finally succeeded after he realised I wasn’t joking. I figured he’d be too tired to carry his two left legs to another woman’s house after completing the compulsory exercise I gave him. Although I must admit, I started worrying about his safety after a while. But I managed to convince myself that he’d somehow find his way home. When I got home to Steve’s place, it was already around 7 pm. Mum had decided to retire to bed early. I was so exhausted that I didn’t realise when I fell asleep on the couch while watching TV that I’d be woken up by Steve’s return home a few minutes later.

“Wake up, sleepy head! Go to your room,” he said, hitting my arm repeatedly with a throw pillow.

“Huh!” I exclaimed, opening my eyes slowly. I had just been rudely awakened from my beauty sleep by Steven and was still trying to understand what he was doing in my apartment. It took a few seconds for me to remember that we were actually in his apartment, not mine. I hadn’t yet gotten used to the fact that we were now staying with him. I glanced at the clock and realised it was already past midnight. “Wow!” I exclaimed, raising my eyebrows, “it’s past midnight already; why are you home so late?” “The traffic today was unusual,” he said, loosening his tie around the collar and sinking in the chair beside me.

“There was a major accident on the bridge today; I couldn’t see what caused it because there was a huge crowd at the scene, but from the look of things, a bus knocked someone over,” he said, reaching over to the centre table to grab the remote. It took some seconds for my brain to process the information. I was still very sleepy until I realised he mentioned the words ‘bridge’, ‘someone’, ‘knocked down’, and ‘bus’. My mind immediately flashed back to when I dropped Nonso on the bridge. I screamed. “What is it?” Steven shouted, jumping up and looking around frantically to find the cause of my screaming.

“Did you say someone was knocked down on the bridge?” I asked again, hoping I didn’t hear him correctly the first time.”Yes, I did. What’s the problem?” He asked, looking confused.I was too devastated even to answer him. I felt like the world was spinning around me. I didn’t know what to say or think. My knees gave way, and I fell to the ground while Steven rushed to catch me before I hit it; I could no longer hear what Steven was saying. The only four words echoing in my head were, what have I done?

Find out what happens next in Episode 18

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