Perfection is unexplainable , but in reality there is a big difference between trying to and being the perfect human being. Andrew The old man knew I was peeking over his shoulders. He buried his head deep into his papers and raised it up only when I tried to peek . He adjusted his papa’s cap and flipped the pages of the newspapers. Each time I tried to read out something , his eyes nabbed me with curiosity. He always caught me in the act. I glanced back at him and he snorted. Oh dear! Why was I being tortured like this. Please ,even just the headlines. I would be fine.
The tree that shaded us from the burning sun was my only comfort when the entire universe was against me. The wooden bench was my arch enemy as I sat down in pains ,waiting. Even old grandpa had trust issues. His left eye was partially closed and it focused at the middle like he aimed at a target to instantly terminate it at any sign of life.
“Uhm.. . So .. What’s the headlines for today’sssss —?” I muttered only to cut short when his sniper brown eye killed the words in my throat. I swallowed down my saliva and it didn’t go down well.
” Ok– I gueeeessss—Boko Haram attacked a mosque in the south east…yesterrrrdayyy…?” I managed to joke, and got him smiling a forceful smile. The man/ woman who shot Tayo , was still at large and the police were not active anymore. I thought about it on my way to “Solid start Montesorri” . I had told Kate to let me be there for her in times of trouble. To let me comfort her. And protect her .
I went through a lot as a kid. I had lost both parents at age 10, no siblings and grew up with the worst human ever to have walked the earth’s surface – my uncle, who spanked me at every given opportunity and left a scar on my right forearm. I had been through sorrow, and it didn’t stop there- My uncle died later, leaving me all alone to my father’s empire.
” Life is not perfect ” Old mister Sniper said, when I was lost into thoughts. ” We try to understand , but we fail. ” He continued ” Believe me.. If only it were easier to always protect those we care about , life would have been less complicated.
” So he could talk. Hmm, I thought he was D and G( dumb and grumpy ). I was silent. I imagined how he knew what was on my mind. He must have been a mind reader. Or maybe his newspaper had magical powers . Was it his half closed eye?
” How did–” The school bell saved me. Students came out of the big gate across the streets. I got up from the bench and took out a bevy of flowers from my car’s back seat .
” You kno–” As I turned back to the wooden bench I was shocked to see it empty . The old man had disappeared. Strange . D–n strange . My feet became cold as I walked towards the gate with the flowers behind in one hand. I waited and hoped on the invisible forces of luck to help me out. I was going to do the unthinkable. Kate came out, later, stressed up and tensed.
” Hey! ” She said with a smile that broke every chain of captivity . Even The devil would be glad to see her smile.
” For you … ” I stretched out my hidden arm. Her eyes said something different from that on her mind. She suddenly became blank in smiles and any sign of joy grew smaller . Smaller, and smaller until there was none left on her face ..
” I’m sorry but I cant. I can’t… ” She muttered out and left my arms hanging as she moved away from me.
” At least let me-” She turned and her black wavy hair glided in the same manner.
” I know what you are driving at–” just then her son came out running to hug her. She looked back at me and said ” I just cannot do it” I perfectly understood what she meant. She wanted me to be around , but the “friend zone ” was waiting for me with open arms. *
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” I came before you nah.. ” The tall guy said as he pushed his way into the line.
” Abegi , you didn’t see me here when you entered? ” The grumpy looking man replied.
” You must be mad o. See this man , Me that have been here for an hour or so”
” Your English self is as local as you” They argued about unreasonable things until a security guard called them to order. I wanted the interview to be over as soon as possible. The queue was like people who wanted to apply for a lottery.
I had promised Kate that things would be fine. Tayo was still in coma and it became difficult for me to get a new work. I had lost contact with Damilola, and she had not called me for sometime. School fees and house rent problems became a new burden as all the money I had, was used in my treatment. We went back to ” from hand to mouth”.
” Next please.” Came the voice of the interviewer. I thought it was my turn but I looked and saw the sea of people before me, I was the last on the line. When it actually got to my turn. I was already worn out , thirsty and weak.
” So , Mr.–” The man said His looks were not very important to me but he seemed nice. He flipped my c.v and peered through his glasses at me. ” I’m sorry Mr Gabriel E. Odili.. your ” he muttered and my heart beat stopped.
” My what sir?
” Your skills are not qualified for the position you applied for, Yes we want craftmanship in this new project but–” I had heard enough. I stood up and cursed myself for waiting so long to be rejected. It was the third time that day. I went home and felt like the worst father and husband ever. I had failed in my duties.
A car drove into the compound I peeked through the window to see who it was. It was him again. The guy I saw with Kate on the day of the shootings . I had thought he was a nobody and I did not bother to ask my wife . But this time I suspected him to be a culprit. Even more when he hugged Kate in front of my son.
” D–n you…. ” I punched my fist into the wall.