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BN Prose: The Vigil



A cock crowed somewhere, its sharp cry lost among the grateful inert. But it was not lost to Jide as he sat in his car, a 2002 Honda Accord better known by its given nickname of “Baby Boy”.  That was also his nickname, given to him by one so dear, so beautiful.

He gripped the steering wheel intermittently which gave his hands something to do albeit occasionally. Apart from that he was almost inactive in the physical sense but behind his dummied state his mind was working fast and then slow and then not at all. Why was he here?  What was he doing sitting in his car at three in the morning? He closed his eyes momentarily, not because he was drowsy but because he had to sigh, to try to give up the feelings that were threatening to overwhelm him. The sighing helped. His heart did not beat as fast as it should and his arms were still. He was not sweating even though his forehead knotted in a frown once in a while. He was calm. He waited.

And why did he wait for he did not have to. He could have left hours ago but he needed to be sure…he needed some sort of closure. How did this happen? He asked himself. Most people would have asked “Why?” But he was not interested in that. No, he was more interested in the “how”? In seeking an answer he recalled earlier events.

It had occurred to him nearly three weeks ago. Actually it had been a niggling at the back of his head. He had gotten home from his job at a petroleum marketing firm and had arrived to an empty home. He was not surprised as it was that time of the month again and she was gone. He could not complain it was something that he understood or at the very least something he had to endure. He was not a very demanding person and he had a simplistic approach to life. Life was simple he always said, it was people that complicated it. He looked in the microwave and found a plate of food; it was still warm. He was not really hungry but he ate it anyway out of love and duty. He settled in and flopped down in front of the TV and checked the news stations out. Nothing much, just another earthquake complete with attendant mudslide. He switched to sports, just tennis which he did not care much for. The football seasons were over so there was no point. He eventually switched to a movie channel and settled for an old Sylvester Stallone movie. He watched it to the end and watched another one. At the end it was midnight and he found that he could not sleep. Then an idea popped into his head. He grabbed his car keys and left the house.

He was there in twenty minutes as even the traffic loving streets of the town sometimes took a break. He parked in the car park and walked into the building. It was almost deserted at this time. He found the night clerk in a state of semi-consciousness. He could not blame her for to him night time was for sleeping or carrying out certain other nocturnal activities. She did not know him and he did not know her either. A minute later he was back in his car with a knot tightly furrowed in his forehead, thinking a million things at the same time. There had to be some sort of mistake. Perhaps he had made the mistake. Yes, a mistake with the timetable or something something. He quickly drove home hoping to confirm his suspicion. He got home and could not confirm anything. He waited restlessly for morning to come.

That morning had come and he made sure it was like any other. He played his part as normally as he could. Paradoxically, he was in control. Nothing unusual, no slip ups. And he bided his time.

Now his time had come. He looked at his watch as that stubborn cock crowed yet again. It was 4am and is if on cue the lights came on in the windows of the small bungalow. He moved in his seat and looked over the low fence. Soon after the front door opened and a silhouette of two entwined figures was seen in the open door space. He waited. They lingered another moment and broke apart. The two figures walked hand in hand to the small gate. The gate was opened and they walked to the parked Kia Picanto, a car that he knew so well. The man dressed in a white tee shirt and boxer shorts did not appear in too much of a hurry. The woman who was fully dressed for work seemed quite the opposite but still she lingered as another long kiss was shared. They abruptly broke apart when a car’s engine roared to life. She made to open her small car but the headlights of the now approaching car shone on them.

Jide drove deliberately towards them and swung his headlights to catch their faces, to see their looks. He saw her mostly not really caring about her male companion. Her beautiful face, tired but still sensuous eyes, her high cheekbones and full lips and pretty mouth. A mouth that had lied to him repeatedly without a hint of her betrayal. He looked at her in the full glare of his lights as she got into her car. The man started to say something about his lights but somehow he did not. Jide pulled his car along hers and looked out. Oh how he loved her! Their eyes met in the light of the coming dawn. She instantly put her hand to her mouth to muffle her cry of surprise. She looked to her companion and looked at Jide.

Jide smiled at her, a sad smile really. He threw his car into gear and drove on home where he knew that Dr. Williams would not be waiting.

Photo credits:

Star Features