Walking towards Etekamba was this voluptuous lady that reminded him of the voluptuous lady from Texas. She ambled her way to the space next to Etekamba. She was wearing a local tan and dye material that was loose, to conceal the amount of flesh that was hidden inside it. She was scouting for any free seat. It was a Friday evening and the local wing of the airport was full to capacity with passengers on the weekend getaway. Etekamba’s mind was on Sgt. Jackson and the bursar. “Why would Sgt. Jackson behead the bursar? Sgt. Jackson had fought for his homeland in the civil war up north, he came back home alive. All his entitlements were embezzled. Why would humans be so mean and evil?” These thoughts preoccupied Etekamba’s mind.
Sgt. Jackson worked as a gardener, for the local university. For six and a half months he had not been paid his wages. The officials of the university were driving in nice posh cars, living in well maintained staff quarters and all the low salaried workers were suffering in abject poverty. Promises upon promises. Meetings upon meetings. The bursar did not have a clue about when the workers will be paid. One of the office staff leaked that the staff salaries had been deposited in a bank account to reap dividends for the top officials of the university. How could Jackson believe such a story? He went berserk and beheaded the bursar. He was arrested and put into prison.
“Excuse me, is there anybody sitting here?” the voice asked.
Etekamba looked up and saw the plump lady. He took his rucksack away from the seat and placed it in between his legs and continued his thoughts on Sgt. Jackson.
A few seconds later, that voice rang a bell in his brain. He took a closer look at the lady. She smelt of perspiration masked by a cheap perfume that stank like stale. She kept trying to bring up phlegm from her throat.
A chord struck within him. “I know her from somewhere” he said to himself. She looked like a rain dance. She had rings on her neck. She portrayed a typical African lady from Zanzibar.
“Edima” Etekamba whispered.
She turned around and looked at him in utter shock. Nobody called her by that name except her dad and a friend of long ago.
Long time ago, when Etekamba first met her, it was a battle to get to call her Edima. Her English name was Charity and everybody called her Charity.
She stared at Etekamba. He removed his fez and looked at her straight in the eyes.
“Ladies and gentleman this is to announce boarding of flight AP245 to Abuja. All passengers for the 4.30pm flight are advised to proceed to gate E for boarding. Thank you.”
“Etekamba, oh my gosh. Is this you?” she asked.
“Yes, it is me.”
“You look so different” she went on.
“Really. How?” Etekamba quizzed.
“I mean you are now sporting a beard. You look like a bouncer and you still look very fresh” Edima went on.
“Thanks very much. You look different too” he stated.
“I know I have gained a lot of weight. I know I look older” Edima carried on.
“I never said so” Etekamba protested.
“Ok, that’s fine. So where are you off to?” she asked.
“You?” Etekamba asked in return.
“Enugu” she replied.
“What do you do now?”
“I am a housewife and I still do my private business of buying and selling” Edima answered.
“Nice” Etekamba said. “You have always been a business minded person”.
“What about you? What do you do now?” she asked.
“Currently I live and work in Geneva. My home is in Chelsea. I also spend a considerable amount of time in Dubai consulting for a firm there”.
“Wow! I knew you’d go places” she complimented Etekamba.
“Thanks” Etekamba muttered.
That same voice intercepted the conversation again.
“Final boarding call for flight AP…”
“Can I have your telephone number please?” she requested.
“Yep”, Etekamba responded. “I will give you my Geneva number and fixed Chelsea number. That way you can always reach me”.
“Thanks” she said. “Would you like my number?” she carried on.
“No, thanks” Etekamba replied.
Etekamba saw five missed calls from a Nigerian number. He didn’t recognize the number. Just as he was trying to figure it out, the phone rang again.
It was Edima on the other end.
“I have just lost my mother in law, can you please give us some help to help us do the funeral?” she asked.
“I am sorry I don’t have.”
“Really, wow. If you had would you have given me?”
“Honestly I don’t know, Most probably I won’t.”
“Are you still upset?”
“Upset about what?”
“About the way I walked out of your life?”
“I was never upset and will never be upset. I was just disappointed.”
“You know what? I have to go. Take care and bye for now” Etekamba said and hung up.
Uwem Mbot Umana©2017