Façade | a short story by Jedidiah Ifeoluwadamilola Oligbinde

– Photo Credits: Nigeria News Online

Ponmile did not need a Prophet to tell her how the rest of the week would turn out to be. The day was over, yet she was left with an aching body to show for it.

She was harassed as usual by a Manager who could not take a simple no for an answer, made to do his job while he went for a pretense meeting and was glued to her office desk trying to meet up with several targets. And despite a bulky and flourishing bank account, she no longer derived pleasure from her work.

With a tired countenance and some resignation, she dragged her feet as she made to close for the day. She gave the old security guard a plastic smile and nodded in greetings.

As she headed towards the BRT motor park, the thought of a warm bath and her cool bed made her increase her steps. Making a meal when she got home wasn’t on her list. She could always wake up in the middle of the night to cook something spicy and light.

She joined the people waiting for the bus and mindlessly went through her social media chats.

Out of nowhere, Ponmile’s face was suddenly cupped by two hands.

Keeping her irritation in check, she managed to move her Samsung Galaxy phone from the right to the left hand, so she could have a feel of the fingers.

Her kidnapper was a female; this she naturally knew from the soft, slim and long fingers. She was also wearing a flowery, rosy fragrance that teased her nostrils and pricked her memory. Ponmile tried to bring the perfume into remembrance from where it stayed locked in her head.

While struggling with the memory, she heard the person’s voice, saying, “Pom-Pom, Pom-Pom.”

Only one person called her Pom-Pom: Tomiwa.

Ponmile was released simultaneously as she made to turn to the person. Seeing that her guess was right, Ponmile screamed and warmly hugged Tomiwa. The two were talking at the same time. They separated for a while, perused one another and hugged again. Afterwards, they were both hurriedly asking questions.

“How are you?”

“Where have you been?”

“It’s been 3 years!”

By the time they realized their chorus, they smiled and said, “You first”―and together, again. That prompted another round of laughter.

And then, Tomiwa started, “I couldn‘t believe my eyes when I saw you. You look good Pom-Pom!”

“Thanks, Tomiwa. Your perfume, your voice and the name you called me by gave you away. How are you? Where have you been?”

By now, the people around them were unabashedly staring at them. The ladies, however, did not give them a thought. They cared less!

Ponmile lamented, “I lost your contact with some others shortly after we graduated from college. I tried to get it from our mutual friends, but that failed.”

“It’s alright,” Tomiwa replied. “My phone was stolen around that period and I decided not to retrieve the line. So it would have been useless if you had gotten it. So, tell me Ponmile; what have you been up to? Do you work around here?”

“I do. I’m with Mortgage and Structures Firm.”

“Are you for real?! That’s one of the top 3 companies here on the Island!”

“Thanks, Sis. What about you? Do you work around here too?”

“Not at all. I resigned from work about 2 months ago. It‘s a long story. But I’m considering some companies that contacted me for Consultancy. Enough about works! Are you married?”

“Tomiwa! You haven’t changed! I’ll be getting married in about 6 months’ time. We are putting things in place. What about you?”

“I’m getting married next month. I came here to see the caterer.”

“Wow! I congratulate you in advance then. Let me have your number.” With that, they exchanged mobile numbers and promised to call each other.

Tomiwa was still deep in thought as she came to her place. Meeting Ponmile, her roommate at the university when she was in her final year, was another slap of fate. She had met a former classmate the week before who looked accomplished, polished and successful. She again thought of the lies she had fed Ponmile with. How would she have told her that she was yet to graduate after 3 years? How would she have revealed that she still had a course to sit for before the faculty board could consider her for graduation? How much more telling her that her fiancé cut it loose with her 5 months before their wedding?

I have to delete the number. I hope she doesn’t call me though.

And with a frustrated sigh, Tomiwa deleted Ponmile’s mobile number.

Miles apart, in a reserved and beautifully designed estate, Ponmile was turning in the comfort of her bed. The warm bath and air-conditioned atmosphere could not help in bringing serenity to her mind. She was no longer physically tired. At the moment, her heart was burdened and very heavy.

She again remembered the old friend she met. Tomiwa had not changed at all. She was still the easy-going, extrovert roommate she knew then. They stayed together for a year and it was wonderful and pleasant. Ponmile sighed at the thought of the lie she had told Tomiwa. She just could not just imagine telling her what she was going through. All seemed beautiful with her.

She had hardly left a job before companies started to compete over her. And she will be getting married next month.

Turning to the other side, Ponmile thought of her own ugly and wilting life. She couldn’t even boast of a boyfriend, not to talk of the idea of getting married in 6 months’ time. Miracles do happen, like they say. But memories of how Kunle, Thomas, Banji and Mosope played and deceived her between her final year in the university and the present day made tears trickle down her eyes.

Such a cruel world, she thought.

I really envy her. I hope Tomiwa won’t invite me for her wedding. I think I’ll delete her number right away and feign ignorance the next time she calls.

And with that thought, Ponmile shut her eyes and tried to relax her muscles in the warm embrace of sleep.

—–

Jedidiah Ifeoluwadamilola Oligbinde is from Ogun State of Nigeria. She graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, where she studied Law. If Jedidiah is not writing, encouraging people, or planning, you can be sure to find her conceiving and birthing ideas. She is a lover of God.

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