Sissy had seen his feet approaching towards her but she pretended not to have noticed.
She wanted to be alone; it did not matter to anyone if she was non-existent anyway – her waking and sleeping thought every day, it was.
“Happy birthday to you, my lady,” the figure standing in front of her said, jolting her back to the present. Slowly, Sissy raised her head to the now smiling personality. He had a small bag dangling from his right middle finger.
Trying hard to mask her shock, she summoned the nerves in her cheeks to bear a smile. They obeyed. A smile was plastered on her face and as though under strict instructions, they were back to themselves again. He stretched the middle finger from which the bag dangled towards her.
“I got this as a present for you.” He said, still wearing his broad smile.
Charming, she thought. “Thank you,” she added.
“Pardon my manners, please. I‟m Pally – Pally Anderson.”
“I know you are Sissy Orange. I’m I correct?” He said tilting his head to the side and smiling with so much confidence as though he knew she would answer in the affirmative.
She nodded again.
“If you wouldn’t mind, Sissy, I’d like to invite you to dinner -”
She raised her head.
“To celebrate your birthday,” he quickly added. He nodded slightly with his hands in his pockets.
Still, she nodded in response, her head hanging back in its former position.
“I have your phone number. I’ll call you at 6 p.m.”
Sissy saw his retreating figure and slowly she raised her head as she watched him leave. “Pally Anderson,” she muttered. That name didn’t ring a bell although he’d looked familiar. “He resembles similar.” She giggled as she remembered their gatekeeper at home. Whenever there was an unfamiliar visitor at the gate and he was sure he had seen the person before but couldn’t remember where, he’d say, “He resembles similar, madam.” She did not miss home anyway, so she snapped out of the thought of home and cast her mind back to the young man who had just wished her a ‘happy birthday’.
“Perfume?” She said as she brought the bottle out of its pack. “How did he know which is my favourite?” asking no one in particular.
She was sure she had seen him somewhere before. Like a flash of light, she remembered. “Yes!” She said loudly. “I met him at my parent’s church.” She looked round to see if anyone was looking. A smile played on her lips. If she was not proud of anything about herself, she would go an extra mile to bequeath herself with the award of the Lady with the Sharpest Memory. She chuckled at the thought. Her phone beeped. It was 4 p.m. She had set the alarm to remind her she would be reading at the library. It rang at 3.30p.m., but she had put it to snooze. Now, she was too exhausted to either go to the library or to read at all. Did Pally say he would call her at 6 p.m.? He did.
“Hello, babe!” Her roommate greeted as she entered the room.
“Hello, Tommie!” She responded and went straight to her corner.
Tommie likes to refer to herself as Sissy’s guardian angel; she thinks she’d rather pass for a watchdog, and sometimes, a bully. She loved to speak Pidgin English so much that it became her signature. Although Sissy seemed to enjoy her pranks sometimes but at every other time, she could be a pain and she was not in the mood for any palaver that afternoon.
“Happy birthday to you, Sissy.”
“Thanks.” She looked straight ahead.
“Where have you been all day?”
“Wetin dey do you? If you no wan talk, where the jollof rice? Abi na book we dey take do birthday sef?”
Sissy gambled between playing mute or giving a response. Either way, she knew
Tommie was unlocking her rant box and the earlier she seized the key, the better for her.
“Sorry, I was carried away. I went out for an urgent business. I haven’t bought the jollof; it’s still at the Café.”
“Na me you dey whine abi?” She flung five one thousand naira notes at Sissy. “Na 5k be dat. Carry buy wetin you like for your birthday.”
“Tommie!Tommie!Tommie, my roomie of life!O ya, take this one,” she raised her left hand and Tommie slapped her high five.
“E don do. Just make sure you have fun. Pull off this gloominess you carry about.”
“I don hear.”
Tommie never ceased to laugh anytime she spoke Pidgin. She had said hers is a phonetic Pidgin.
“What are you up to this evening?”
That question came as a surprise but she answered nonetheless. “I have a dinner -”
“A dinner date at last!” she screamed, leaping around the room and waving her hands in the air simultaneously.
“Who said it’s a date?” Sissy asked looking amused?
“And who said it isn’t?” Tommie jeered.
“Whatever,” she waved and continued. “He met me at the park where I was sitting and invited me to dinner for my birthday,” she paused to unpack her bag and as though timed, she added when she saw the questioning look toned with amusement on her roommate’s face.
“I know him from home; his parents attend the same church as mine.” She finished and eyed playfully as if to say, ‘don’t ask me anything more’.
Tommie understood and obeyed.
“Make sure you wear something nice anyway, and have fun too.” She winked.
“I’m off to the jazz concert. I’ll be sleeping over at one of my friend’s.” She gave Sissy a quick hug and left the room.
Finally, she thought and heaved a sigh of relief. Rummaging through her wardrobe, she found a purple lace dress. She had bought it during the annual trade fair held in the school. A scooped neckline back and front with long sleeves, it fitted her pear-shaped silhouette perfectly, sitting just right on her knees. Perfect!
She rushed to the bathroom to freshen up.
“Happy birthday to you, Sissy.” A voice called behind her.
Written By Christianah Ajiki
Hi there, My name is Faith Ijeoma Ezenwere. I am a Broadcast Journalist/OAP and a teen coach. I am passionate about building a community of impact driven Teens and young adults in all spheres of life. In simple terms, I help Teens/Young adults live their dreams. Welcome to my World!
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