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After My Neighbour

Episode 1

(Sequel to My Neighbour by Anita C Herbert)

With days, weeks, months and just a year gone, my Neigbour and I started talking again but it was like reading a history book and pasting pictures of all the beautiful places you want to go on your fridge. Not that you can't go there, but you must not, so you can't.

Our romance became cordial and he told me how he struggled to move on. I could not tell him what I've been through, so I acted like a typical Nigerian Christian who always says it is well.

His name was Tony, a name I also vowed to give my son, if I  have one. I could still settle for Tonia if boys take time to come. I want to keep his memories fresh with me, I want to have him forever even when it was obvious he would be with someone else.

My Facebook inbox became a dumping ground for both married and single men who learnt the window was open. Every morning I stood in front of my door waiting for Tony to step out of his flat, but my neighbour was actually somewhere in USA.

"Anita why can't you tell him you miss him. You just de form badoo" My friend Jane would always say.

I was stubborn and a fighter; I could fight anything, love, pain, boredom and even myself. I was fighting myself everyday.

"Are you missing someone" A masculine voice asked. I hear things from men but that was different and I reluctantly turned and he wasn't bad for a man.

Oh my God! I just admired him. Hhmmm. Nice jawline, clean shaves, red lips and on that red lips, I asked myself "When was your kiss"

"Two centuries ago" the other side of me replied and the man stood there like a plastic model in a boutique.

"Do I owe you?" Yeah. I'm back and finally asked.

"I'm Alfred" He replied, I must confess his voice would be good for a pop star.

"Can I call you Fred?" I asked, after cooking up a little smile.

Who on earths meets you in the middle of nowhere to ask you if you're missing someone. Only this Fred guy could do it. But it won't work for him.

He bought my smile, returned it and gave me green light to call him Fred.

"Okay Fred, I asked if I owe you, not if I know you" I said. That's how hash I could be and usually the guy is supposed to conclude that I'm stupid, let me be and I will walk home peaceful.

"Yes and No" He replied. I used to be the tormentor but he took over now. His eyes were bright like a neon light and as they fixed on mine, it blinded me.

I was somehow deaf as if I was speaking through my eyes. He had intimidated me. Maybe he succeeded because I've not be in the game for a while. Maybe it was the will of God that I lose to him.

"Yes and No how?" I asked and then I realized I had been standing there with him, instead of walking home.

"No, you don't owe, yes you us some beautiful smiles and because I'm part of us, I'm asking for my share" He said.

As I digested those words, I watched his jawline move up and down, and the lips. Yes the red lips.

"What gave you the right to asked for that?"

"I've been watching you" He replied. Now it was his turn to smile.

"How long?" I asked.

"Two months or more" His response was shocking and I couldn't believe it.

"And your findings are"

"Plenty things, number one is lack of sweet smiles" He paused and stared deeper into my eyes.

He was beginning to amaze me. He was like magic, he was like a wand, how could he have taken time to read me that much.

"It could be trick" I told myself.

"Tell me the others" I said.

"under one condition" he said, still hanging on to the smile.

"Which is?"

"We get a drink together, dinner or anything"

"This guy has guts" I said within.

"How can I facilitate my own kidnap?" I asked.

"Just a drink, nothing more. Let the venue be your choice" He said and I felt like I have had enough.

"I'm too busy after work, it won't work. So sorry Fred. Goodbye" I said and walked away.

How did he even get me into this discussion?

"I've been watching you. You don't go out after work. You buy fruits twice a week from the woman at the junction. The next time you come is when you want to turn on your generator. You're bored. Let's get the drink" he said, having ran after me. His words were accurate and came with authority.

Everything he said was true.

"Who are you?" I asked and my tone was a little higher.

"Let's say your new neighbour" He said and stretched his hands for a handshake.

© Chinedu Hardy Nwadike, 2016


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