Ngozi rolled over and as she stretched out her hands, reaching for Chad’s hairy chest, she touched nothing. He had left while she slept likely to have been earlier in the morning. She didn’t move her hands regardless. Why should she?

Through a sleepy squinting pair of eyes, she held that vacuum in her gaze. She loved everything about him…his breath, his gesticulations, his wardrobe choices and the string of words that he drew out of his mouth like a chain of pearls. She imagined him as another photo subject in interesting lights. She would schedule him for a photo shoot. Nothing sophisticated, he would tell her. She knew how he liked to keep things under the radar, understated, nothing flashy or loud.

She stroked the bed upwards and downwards as if he were still there but rumpled bed space that gave under the weight of her hands was all there was. Her hand rolled over a button-sized object. She found his cuff links with his initials T.C. engraved on them. Something new, she thought. How long had she known him and she had never noticed these cuff links? She was awake now and the world was waking after her…a bucket knocked over in the apartment upstairs, the faint hum of a TV programme she couldn’t place its direction, and there it was – Nkechi’s voice shrieking over the bated sound of her facility manager Jide cautiously but sternly reprimanding her, “…Madam, you can’t talk to me like this.” It was coming from the direction of the gate.

She jumped out of bed and started picking her pair of jeans and t-shirt off the floor so she could go out to rescue the situation whatever it was. Nkechi didn’t live here with Ngozi but at the slightest provocation she made demands on the standard of service even the ones she couldn’t lay claims to as a guest. The last time, she stopped the Facility Manager in the corridor to take him on the issue of a leaking pipe that posed a nuisance in Ngozi’s kitchen but she had been too busy to follow up on. Of course, the Facility Manager had borne this genially in previous instances out of respect for Ngozi whom he had commended before for being a peaceful “customer” as he called her but this time, he just couldn’t take it anymore.

What could they be fighting about this time?


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