Nina (5)

Shagba Nguher

The next day I came to work early, hoping to have a word with
Nina. She came in a few minutes after I did, dropped her stuff
on her desk, took one glance at me and headed into the boss’s
office where she stayed for almost an hour. I watched and
waited until she finally came out. As soon as she saw me
approaching, she meandered into the secretary’s office. I was
like, what? Weren’t we going to talk about this? I went back to
my seat and waited. She came out soon after and seeing that
the coast was clear, went to her desk. I decided to leave it till
lunchtime. I just couldn’t keep my mind off her though. I had
been in relationships in the past but this was different. She
intruiged me. She was like a case I wanted to solve and didn’t
mind spending the rest of my life doing it. I knew I was in love
with her and had to find out if she had the same feelings for
me. I had seen other people before with blackened wings,
broken wings, bat-like wings even, but she…I couldn’t put my
finger on it. But I knew if I could see my own manifestation in
a mirror it would be me bursting into flames whenever she
came around me.
1pm. Lunch time.
I had avoided making eye contact with her the whole time.
Still, I had been watching her every once in a while from a
reflecting teapot. She hadn’t left her seat and seemed totally
engrossed in her work. Probably had forgotten all about me. . ,
, !
The lunch bell sounded and she got up along with everyone
else and went to the cafeteria. I followed behind her. I watched
as she took a helping of spaghetti and salad with chicken and
moved to a corner of the table. I asked for rice and pepper
stew and was about going to join her when she received a call.
As she answered it I was hit with a wave of visuals so
stunning I almost fell. A dark cloud appeared around her and
her gold chains tightened painfully around her wings, so tight
in fact, I thought I saw them bleed. Whoever was on the other
side of the phone was responsible for my nina’s misery. As the
conversation continued it was as if something dark was being
absorbed from the phone into her ears and head and I watched
as her entire demeanor became dull and miserable. I was still
looking at all of this when a co-worker bumper into me from
behind. I apologised and walked straight up to Nina who had
finished her mysterious conversation. She looked up at me
and tried to smile. I ignored the gesture.
“Who was that?” I asked sitting beside her.
“Who was who?” She replied.
“The caller on the phone?”
“Wow. That was quick. You’re not the jealous type are you? I
can’t stand having a jealous boyfriend.” She said with a smile.
“Whoever that was, was very important to you, and obviously
causes you a lot of misery. I can help.”
“No you can’t” she sighed and looked down at her plate.It was
obvious she had lost her appetite. “No one can help me.”
“Maybe I can, if you’ll just tell me.” I pleaded.
“You go first. You had something you wanted to say in your
apartment earlier. Before the assignment. Before we..kissed.”
She looked back down at her plate shyly.
“Oh, come-on, not that again. You know it has nothing to do
with…wait. Did you call me “boyfriend” just now?”
“Jealous boyfriend” she said, making a face.
“Then what’s the problem?” I asked. She became quiet again. I
took a deep breath and went for it.
“Nina, you know how I feel about you. I know you do. I don’t
like beating about the bush, so I would like to know, are you
“No I’m not.” She said.
” Fiancé?”
“Not really…”
Oh. So there was someone. It was my turn to lose my
appetite. Then again, this person wasn’t really her fiancé. Isn’t
that what she meant by her statement just now? I looked at
her and she met my eyes.
“Come back to my place, we will be able to talk more freely
there. I promise to be the perfect gentleman.” I had decided to
tell her everything. If she called me crazy and ran, so be it. But
I would do my best to help her if she let me.
She smiled again. I never got tired of that smile. It started at
the centre of her lips and parted to show small white well
shaped teeth. I longed for that smile like a kid longed for
“You have been too much of a gentleman already, ” she said.
“Ok. Your place. But tomorrow. Tonight I’m going to be kind
“Busy doing what?” I said alarmed.
“Hey, you are the jealous type aren’t you?”
“Who wouldn’t be jealous over you?” I said. “That person
would have to be blind.”
“Or overly confident” she finished with a faraway look in her
eyes. I frowned but she didn’t explain further. She held my
hands and squeezed them tight. “Thanks for being so
concerned about me. You are a good friend.”
That was definitely what I was trying to avoid being to her. I
wanted more than friendship. Much more. But I smiled back
and said nothing. All I could think about now was how to help
her with whatever problem she had.
The story continues…

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