A time to heal

Mide’s Abor with Olamide Longe

Email:  araokian@gmail.com Twitter: @araokian

Maria eyes popped open. For a minute, she wasn’t sure where she was. She looked around her in a confused state, and then everything seemed to settle and get back into focus. And she remembered where she was.

She was breathing heavily.

It occurred frequently these days, this disorientation, feeling lost whenever she woke up. And whenever she eventually gathered and placed herself, there was always a peculiar feeling that she could not put a name to.

It was heavy, as if something was crushing her chest.

She sat up and leaned against the headboard. What was happening to her? Maybe she should visit the doctor after work today to find out if she wasn’t developing some ailment. These things have a funny way of presenting themselves. Might be a chest cold. Not that she was coughing or…

The bed made a funny sound, making her jump. It was only her phone. She had been playing with it when sleep took her away. It must have fallen out of her hand. She usually kept it on the small table.

She reached for it, wondering who could be calling so early.

It was a private number. She let out a hissing sound and let the phone fall back on the bed.

Whoever it was had to be crazy. It was too early to entertain craziness.

She left the bed to start getting ready for work.


Lord, she needed a break.

As she walked down to the bus stop, her bag began to buzz.

It was her phone again.

She stopped to rummage through the bag.

A private number. She answered this time, curiosity overcoming annoyance.


“Good morning, Maria,” a male voice responded. “This is Emmanuel here.”

She frowned. Emmanuel? He said her name as if he’d been saying it every day. “I’m sorry, I can’t place you.”

“Elizabeth, your best friend’s brother.”

She froze.

“Do you remember now?”

Yes, she remembered. But he was causing havoc to her balance.

She pulled herself together.  “Emmanuel, it’s been a long time.” She hoped that was pleasant enough. But it had indeed been ages. And she and Elizabeth hadn’t been best friends since they left secondary school. Why was he calling and how did he get her number? And why was his number hidden?

“I am sure you are surprised to hear from me.”

“Of course.”

“That’s what I thought. The thing is, I had to call because I need your assistance. I’m sorry to call this early. What time is it there, by the way?”

“Can’t you tell?”

He laughed softly. “I’m not in the country. Can’t you tell from my number?”

Maria rolled her eyes. Indeed. I shan’t fall for your trick. You picked the wrong girl. “I can’t see your number. What kind of assistance do you need? No. Wait. Who gave you my number?”

“Your brother gave it to me.”

“I see,” she said slowly. Why would her brother do that?

“It’s all right to be confused; I would be too, if a voice from the past called me this early. Especially, a forgotten one.”

“Hmm. So how can I help you?”

“Thank you. It is actually Elizabeth that I need you to help. It is the reason I called this early. I’d even called much earlier, but I guess you were still asleep. It is that urgent.”

“What’s wrong with Elizabeth?”

He explained to her. “The strange thing is, she has been asking for you. You won’t believe the length I went to get your brother’s number. Please, Maria. My mum is at the end of her rope.”

Maria with a frown etched on her face, looked about her. The early morning rush was reaching its peak. This was not the place to receive this call. She needed to be in a calm place. “Emmanuel, I am on my way to work, why don’t you call me, say, in an hour, and then we can continue this conversation?”

“Okay. I am so sorry to bother you, but we didn’t know what else to do.”

“No problem, Emmanuel. I understand. I’ll be awaiting your call.”

The frown remained on her face.

Poor Elizabeth.

Poor Emmanuel.

Poor everyone.

Her eyes grew wet. She couldn’t start crying on the bus. She blinked back the tears.

Her heart lurched and her eyes widened suddenly.

Dear God. Could it be the explanation for the weirdness that accompanied her waking these past couple of days?