Here and here
yawned, sitting up on the bed to rub her eyes with one hand while holding the
phone closer to her ear with the other.
wanted to be your first caller, just in case I slept off before it’s time,” Dan
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.”
going to be. Maybe I’ll go withdraw some money and go to the market after work,
cook myself something really nice,” she mused.
marketplace…perfect place to meet your dream Fulani.”
now? You’re sixteen years late.”
sighed, still smiling. “Where’s everyone? Asleep?”
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
expected—early morning birthday calls, work as usual, with school closing at
2pm and the private tutoring ending at exactly 4.
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.”
he replied curtly, standing in her way.
“It’s just five minutes past four. Please let me go in so my problem can be
repeated, his face expressionless.
the money now. Please.”
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.
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
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.
account the following day. The alert came in during break at work, right before
she got a call from an unknown number.
confirm that your transaction error has been resolved. Your cash should be in your
account anytime from now if it isn’t already.”
assuring voice and smiled. “Yes, thanks. I just got the alert .”
inconvenience you may have been caused.”
your customers? How nice,” she said, genuinely touched.
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.”
tell you how mine was too, but you didn’t ask. And I have to get back to work.”
class to teach too in a few minutes, so maybe we could save the birthday gists
for another time.”
time? Alright, I’ll be expecting your call.”
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.”
I’ll just save your number as ‘man in suit’.”
made an impression,” he said, a smile detectable in his voice.