Bittersweet, a paradox widely accepted. Namdi understood it more as his wife's name slid from his lips in the presence of his, this other woman... Even now he did not know who she truly was. What he could not deny is the connection that existed between them. Had what felt like half a life time truly been less than a week? Namdi questioned, his eyes still trained on the city beyond the clear windows.
Beside his still figure, Bisi's lips moved, silently mouthing the name she just heard. Her eyes closed, her heart steadying.
"It suits her. Have you told her?"
"I think she knows."
Quiet, stifling and heavy, it held Namdi's heart in its cold grip. He did not fight it, his spirit seeking penance for the hunger he knew still grew in his soul.
He asked her with his gaze still on the city lights, an answer not forthcoming. Her hand reached for her tummy instead, a far off look in her eye. The same palm left and pressed against the transparent cold glass.
"If you had to choose between us and her..."
Namdi reached out to Bisi, stopping mid way, his arm visibly shaking before it fell back to his side. Words failed him. There was no change in Bisi, her mind fully focused on the seed deep within the reflection before her. It was like the words she spoke had never been said. A chasm grew between them as one awoke from a dream of pleasure and nightmare intertwined.
Making his way to his desk, Namdi grabbed his shoe off the table. The heel had left a muddy print on the Shagari logo stamped on a document outlining possible payouts for the fire. The brown coloured black-and-white symbol of a closed fist with the pinky extended. It always reminded him of the times he would make a promise as a child.
"What did you see that night?"
"I'm not sure, it was too dark to tell."
"Whatever you remember could be helpful."
"I thought I saw someone... but it could have been the shadows playing tricks."
"Fire marshal said there was no foul play."
"Then I guess I saw nothing."
To Namdi it seemed she wanted to say more. Reaching across the desk, he hit a button dimming the lights, a hope she finds comfort in the anonymity of darkness. The twinkling glow looked more vibrant. He waited, once again glancing at her outline. On her lithe neck he saw the glint of a thin chain.
"It looked like she was running away."
"You mean 'he' was running away."
"No, it was a woman. Or a man with long hair. I'm not sure, I had just woken up, I could smell..."
Her voice faltered. Still, she only looked out into the city, refusing to turn around, held by the gentle cover of darkness.
"I lost my mother in a fire."
Silent tears rolled down her cheeks, the mismatched memories of a child freshly unearthed in her mind. Her hand reached for the pendant hidden beside her heart.
"If only I hadn't..."
Two strong arms wrapped around her waist from behind. Turning from the city, she faced Namdi, sobbing onto his shoulder.
"I lost my mum too, when I was young. She died in a hospital."
His teeth clenched when he thought of the night he had lost her. As she heard him, her heart ached for him; understanding the pain of loss, making them kindred spirits.
"He only needed to pay for the operation. The stingy bastard. I vowed from that day I would not live a life lacking..."
He did not say his last words loud enough for Bisi to hear. Pulling away from his embrace, she wiped the tears, threatening to still fall. From her pocket she brought out a card and pressed it into the palm of his hand.
"In case you change your mind, you can find me there."
Her finger reached up pressing against Namdi's lips, stopping whatever words he was about to say. Planting a kiss on his cheek she walked out of his life for a time.
Continued on next page...
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