I hold my heels in my hand as I wait for the taxi I’ve just booked. I can feel the wind against my face as it begins to dry the tears resting on my cheeks.
He should have been standing with you now, taking of his jacket to keep you warm. I guess that only happens in movies…you watch too much movies Urunwa. The voice in my head says derisively.
I hate her, the voice; it’s constantly there, constantly mocking me as it follows me everywhere, like a bad body odour. I can’t remember when I first heard her or when she became a tenant in my head, I only know that she had chosen me, and will only leave when I leave.
The taxi finally arrives and I look at the driver warily, as though by doing this I can tell if he is a serial killer.
‘I’ve been waiting for a while’, I say to him as I get into the London black cab.
‘I’m sorry about that, it’s been a pretty busy night’, he replies smiling as he looks at me through his rear mirror.
I let the image of his smile loiter in my mind as he begins to drive. He showed off a set of perfectly arranged teeth and a gap tooth colonizing the front of his upper tooth. It seemed genuine, yet forced.
You should talk to him, she starts again, he’s probably not going to hurt you like…
‘Shut up!’ I whisper.
‘Did you say something?’ the driver asks and I realise I’ve been heard speaking to myself…her.
‘No not you, just reading something’, I lie.
‘Oh alright. So have you had a good day?’
‘Sort of…I guess it’s been an alright day’
Sort of? What do you mean sort of? You stupid girl! With all that’s happened today you should be excited about what you’re going to do tonight.
I ignore her again, even though I know what she’s talking about, ‘I mean, it’s not my best day…Valentine’s Day is never my best day’.
‘Me too’, he laughs and this time I can tell his smile is honest.
‘How about you? How’s your day been?’
‘I guess it’s been an alright day’, he says intentionally, using my own words, ‘just can’t wait to get home, this will be my last job for the night so I can go home and enjoy the night’.
‘Not as good as it sounds…I mean it’s good when you’ve got someone to go home to, especially on Valentine’s Day’.
I stare into the rear mirror and look at his eyes glistening with tears he tries to hold back.
‘You’ve had a terrible day’, I whisper thoughtlessly to myself.
‘You talk to yourself a lot don’t you?’ I can hear him laugh and I realize I’ve spoken out loud to myself again.
‘You’ve noticed’, I smile back, ‘tell me about her’.
‘Her…you know she’s the reason you’re having a terrible day, so tell me about her, that is if you don’t mind’.
‘We’re almost at your destination though’.
‘You don’t want to go home just yet…I know that because I’ve seen the way you smile when you say you’re going to enjoy the night. Plus this is your last job for the night right?’
You’re going to ruin our plan for the night Urunwa!
‘Don’t you have plans for the night?
Yes we do!
‘Nothing that can’t wait. You never know I could make your night better if you’ll just tell me about her, besides I promise you’ll never see me after today, so everything you say will die with the stranger you met on valentine’s day’. I smile, the only honest smile I’ve given all day.
Don’t ruin tonight you stupid girl! We’ve got business we’ve got to finish tonight!
We come to the front of my apartment and I see him reach for his pocket.
This is even better than I thought; he’s probably going to make things easier for us tonight! If he brings out a gun you better not try to stop him! She says and I begin to think how stupid I’ve been the whole night, as my heart beats harder.
‘Her name’s Hanye…Hanyechukwu’, he says as he gives me the photograph he’s pulled out from his pocket.
I take the photograph of a young lady with skin the colour of almonds, her oxblood box braids are perfectly put in a bun and she smiles, showing of a set of teeth similar to the driver’s. She looks like someone I’ve met before. My eyes whiz from the photograph to him as I stop myself from asking any questions beginning to flood my mind.
Stop! she says very irritably.
I pull out the bottle of white pills hidden somewhere in my bag, I let one pill dance down my throat with a bit of water. The voice is gone…gone for now.
‘I’m listening’ I say as I put my legs on the grey seats, getting comfortable for a long night.
To be continued…