Photo: Lifedaily.com
Read Parts 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Pristine series herehere  Here Here here herehere,  here
Here and here

“Happy birthday!”
“Jeez, is it twelve already?” Dara
yawned, sitting up on the bed to rub her eyes with one hand while holding the
phone closer to her ear with the other.
“Not yet. It’s eleven. But I
wanted to be your first caller, just in case I slept off before it’s time,” Dan
replied, chuckling.
She pictured his mischievous look
and smiled. “Thanks dear. You know, I just realized it’s going to be my first
birthday away from home. Aww. I miss you guys.”
“Miss you too, sis.” He feigned a
sob.
“I have no idea how the day is
going to be. Maybe I’ll go withdraw some money and go to the market after work,
cook myself something really nice,” she mused.
He teased, “Yea, the
marketplace…perfect place to meet your dream Fulani.”
Dara laughed. “Dan, you’re just a
case.”
“And you’re just telling me that
now? You’re sixteen years late.”
“Okay, now I give up,” Dara
sighed, still smiling. “Where’s everyone? Asleep?”
“I’m sure Gidddie’s just waiting
for the strike of twelve, and of course mum and dad will call later. But at
least it’s on record that I called first. Yayyy. Gotta go now though, exam in
the morning.”
“Alright. Love you!”
                                                               
              ************
The day was going as
expected—early morning birthday calls, work as usual, with school closing at
2pm and the private tutoring ending at exactly 4.
Dara got to the ATM, and on her
first attempt received a debit alert without any cash being dispensed. She
immediately made for the bank entrance and told the security guard when he
tried to stop her, “The machine didn’t dispense and money has been deducted
from my account. I have to lodge a complaint.”
“Bank is closed. Come back tomorrow,”
he replied curtly, standing in her way.
Dara glanced at her wristwatch.
“It’s just five minutes past four. Please let me go in so my problem can be
resolved quickly.”
“Come on time tomorrow,” he
repeated, his face expressionless.
Agitated, she explained, “I need
the money now. Please.”
“What’s going on here? Madam, how
may I help you?” asked a tall, dark man who had just come out of the banking
hall through the second door. He was wearing a suit and an ID card hung around
his neck, obviously a bank official.
After Dara had told him what
happened, he gently assured her, “Usually, the cash is reverted within
twenty-four hours so you should have it back in your account latest tomorrow.
But just in case you don’t, can you give me your account details so I can do
the follow-up?”
Dara went back to her room that
day blinking back tears. It was her twenty-first birthday and she couldn’t even
afford to cook herself a decent meal. Birthdays at home were fetes, and here
she was in a strange land, alone and depressed.
She did get the money back in her
account the following day. The alert came in during break at work, right before
she got a call from an unknown number.
“Hello?”
“Hello, good day. I’m calling to
confirm that your transaction error has been resolved. Your cash should be in your
account anytime from now if it isn’t already.”
She recognized the gentle,
assuring voice and smiled. “Yes, thanks. I just got the alert .”
“Alright. So sorry for any
inconvenience you may have been caused.”
“Seriously? You do this for all
your customers? How nice,” she said, genuinely touched.
“Well, not all customers turn out
to be my birthday mates,” he replied. “I saw it on your account profile this
morning and realized what an awful day you must have had with your money stuck
in thin air.”
“Yeah…worst I’ve ever had.”
He said after a brief pause, “I’d
tell you how mine was too, but you didn’t ask. And I have to get back to work.”
Dara laughed. “Well, I have a
class to teach too in a few minutes, so maybe we could save the birthday gists
for another time.”
“Oh, there’s going to be another
time? Alright, I’ll be expecting your call.”
“Wait…what?”
“You just promised me a call,
right?”
Confused, Dara said, “Did I?”
He laughed, then asked, “You’re a
corper?”
“Yeah.”
“I just got transferred here a few
months ago. I know how lonely and boring Gombe gets sometimes. I also know
teaching is a lot of work and I’d hate to disturb. So if you’re ever free to
talk sometime, I don’t mind a call.”
“Okay, but I didn’t get your
name.”
“You didn’t ask for it.”
“So now I’m asking. Otherwise,
I’ll just save your number as ‘man in suit’.”
“Tayo. It’s good to know my suit
made an impression,” he said, a smile detectable in his voice.
To be continued….
*********************************************************************************
Morountodun is a writer and a microbiology ‎ graduate of University of Ilorin.
Twitter: @Morountosweet




*********************************************************************************
Are you a writer? Interested in sharing ‎your short stories on this

platform? Be‎ our guest on our Short Story Fridays segment. Email: loladevilleblog@gmail.com or ololade.olatunji@yahoo/ gmail.com