It was 6:40 am, Dolapo woke up to the sound of rain pattering against her window. She had to rush for work as she was thirty minutes late already; her alarm must have gotten tired of snoozing. The previous night, she had decided to watch a movie since she was so bored and sleep ignored her humble beckons. She went to bed around 2:00 am or thereabout.
Dolapo got out of her wide bed, went into the bathroom and came out after twenty good minutes; well, she loves taking her time in the bathroom. She went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea and toast bread. After eating, it was already 7:20 am she was super late. She had to get to work by 8:00 am and the drive to her office was exactly ‘half an hour’. She went back to her room to dress up, she noticed her bed was a mess; “I must have really enjoyed my sleep” she thought out loud. The thought of cleaning it up was damn tempting but she was not going to fall for this kind of temptation, not when she was already late. As Dolapo dressed up, her mind went back to what had happened at noon the day before.
She had stepped out for lunch adjacent her office the day before. Just as she was about entering the eatery, she saw a figure, that familiar masculine figure. Although his back was turned to her, she could still recognize it. He was six feet tall, in his late fifties and “he still kept that afro” she thought. He looked really tattered and scruffy from behind, he probably had not had his bath for days. She tried avoiding him seeing her. As she turned in a rush to head directly back to her office, luck was not on her side; she bumped into a young lady. As the lady shouted in anger, all attention were drawn to Dolapo, including the man’s. Dolapo and the man stared at each other for a while and long enough for her to notice the crusty and big bags under his eyes. She hurriedly left the front of the eatery and ran back to her office.
Back to the present day, Dolapo dismissed the whole thought as she did not want to ruin her just-beginning day. She wore a pink chiffon with black pants and took her favorite black heels from her shoe collections on the rack just beside her bed, did a little makeup, carried her bag and locked the door. Fortunately, the rain had already stopped and the traffic was not much. After her whole ‘trying to beat time’, she got to work some minutes past 8:00 am. She entered her office quietly and as she was about settling down, something rang, Oh! It was her telephone ringing harshly. “It must be Oga” she said. Her boss had earlier checked on her and was angry because this was not Dolapo’s first time of coming late to office. She picked up the telephone and he gently-angrily told her to come to his office, she knew he was annoyed but he being who he is, did not want his emotion rule him. As she got to his door, she prayed silently that she would not be scolded, at least not too much, then entered. Dolapo greeted her boss with a partially shy and I-am-sorry tone but as expected, he did not answer. “Dolapo, you are late again” he said. “I’m sorry sir, it was the traffic” she replied. ‘’It’s always the traffic every time, I don’t like this your late-coming attitude at all, don’t you cherish your job?” she wished the man would just stop talking, at least he also came late the previous day. ‘’I’m sorry sir, it won’t happen again’’ Dolapo replied. He looked at her with slight disgust, then told her to take the file on his desk, and he shook his wrist to and fro towards his door, signaling her dismissal.
Dolapo climbed the stairs down towards her office and as she entered, sat down, there was a knock on the door. It was Nancy, Dolapo’s best friend and of course, her gossip partner.
Dolapo had met Nancy in her 100-level days in the university. They were roommates; roomies as they often called themselves. Luckily for both of them, they were also course mates. What attracted Dolapo to Nancy was her beauty, she was really beautiful. Also, Nancy had gap tooth, she was ‘perfect’. If Dolapo were to be a boy or a dyke, she probably would have asked her out; Dolapo was very fond of her friend. As the duo got along, Dolapo realized Nancy was not only pretty, smart as well.
Back at the office, ‘’Babe, how una dey? You don late today again abi?” Nancy asked sarcastically. ‘’I woke up late ni jare’’ Dolapo replied. ‘’As usual, you this sleepy head’’ she said. ‘’Dolapo, I love this your top o, come give me now’’, she winked as she finished talking. ‘’no o, I can’t give you, I’ll buy another one for you’’ Dolapo replied. ‘’Okay then’’ Nancy said. She took her leave five minutes after and Dolapo continued with the day’s work; her boss in anger had bombarded her with files she had to sort out carefully and perfectly. Nevertheless, Dolapo really loved every bit of her job as it has always been her dream to become an accountant and work for a big company, she was not just an early riser.
Dolapo was so engrossed in the files that she did not notice it was time for lunch already. Nancy came to her office again, this time to call her along so they would go grab lunch together. Dolapo however was not in the mood, she had to turn Nancy’s offer down politely. She was hungry but sincerely did not want to see that man again. “Who knows, he might be lurking around, hoping to see me again” she wondered. Nancy, unlike her left not trying to force Dolapo. Dolapo was grateful that she did not. She came back almost immediately and entered Dolapo’s office without knocking. ‘’Nancy, what is wrong?” Dolapo asked with shock; expecting Nancy to give her the ‘gist’. “Girl, who is that haggard-looking man here for you?’’ Nancy asked with a worried look.
“Haggard-looking man? Where is he?” Dolapo asked. “He’s right behind your window downstairs’’ Nancy replied. Dolapo stood up to peep out of her window and then she gasped ‘’Oh my God! Nancy, get that man out of this place, he must not see me’’. ‘’What is wrong with you?’’ Nancy asked with a confused look. ‘’What is happening? Just go and see him’’. ‘’No, I can’t’’ Dolapo shouted at her.
Nancy stepped back with shock. ‘’so what am I supposed to do?’’ She asked. ‘’I don’t know, ask the security to send him away or tell him I’m not around or I’m in a meeting, just tell him something, he must not see me’’. ‘’Why would I do that?’’ Nancy asked, still confused. ‘’Can you just stop asking questions and do what I asked you to do!” Dolapo answered, this time, her voice getting louder and getting angry already. ‘’Okay fine, I’ve heard you’’ Nancy replied. She wondered what was wrong with her friend as she had never seen her like that before, in fact, she hardly got angry. This new side of Dolapo was a real surprise to her. She headed downstairs to meet the man looking for Dolapo. ‘’Sir, you have to leave right now, she is busy so she cannot see you’’. ‘’Okay’’ the man said and left.
Nancy wondered who the man could be. She decided to go and ask her friend the bothering question. She was almost at Dolapo’s door when she decided to go back. She felt Dolapo might still be angry, which was really scary and might need some space and also, it was Friday, which was ladies’ night, so they would settle everything when they meet at her place. Dolapo, on the other hand was so disturbed. She could not focus on her work as she had lost all concentration. She kept cancelling all her calculations. She just prayed her boss would not query her the following week.
As soon as it was 4pm, Dolapo prepared to leave her office, but not before peeping through her window again. She saw no one there so she left. It took her almost 2hours to get home as the traffic was heavy. Immediately she got home, without even changing her clothes, she dropped into her bed. Now she wished she had taken care of the bed in the morning before leaving for work because at that moment, she could not do anything. Her mind kept wandering about, she was hungry, yet she could not eat anything as she had lost her appetite. Her phone kept ringing but she did not bother to answer to check who was calling her. She just wanted to be alone at that moment. She was also glad she did not have to go work the next day which was a Saturday. ‘’How did that man find my office?’’ she thought aloud. ‘’He must have followed me yesterday’’ she concluded.
He had entered Dolapo’s room that night and sat on the chair opposite her bed. He really did not look okay again. He started sipping his tea and pretending to read the magazine in his hand. Dolapo knew he was not reading the magazine as he had not turned a page for the last ten minutes. She tried not to look at the disturbing tiny scar across his left cheek. Suddenly, he stood up, flung the magazine and moved close to Dolapo on her bed. She ran towards the door, opened it and ran outside. She ran down the road gasping for breath, she was more terrified than ever before. She hid behind a tree not far from the house, there, she felt safe. Just as she was praying silently that he would not see her, she saw something out of the corner of her eye. She turned to look but found nothing, then she dismissed it as an illusion or probably a trick of the dim street light. Suddenly, she heard a scary and monstrous laughter behind her. It was him. She screamed, hoping someone would hear her, but unfortunately, no one did. He continued laughing and simultaneously raising his hand, ready to attack her with the knife he had been holding. The knife had blood on it already. Dolapo screamed again, this time, very loud.
Nancy dipped her spoon into the cup of ice cream before her. It was past 8:00pm and Dolapo was not around yet. Aisha and Tife, their other friends were present already. Aisha was equally worried as Dolapo had never being late to their ladies’ night before. Tife on the other hand, who was the ‘I-don’t-care’ type did not see it as any big deal, in fact, she was already half drunk in like thirty minutes. Tife owned a boutique while Aisha worked as an estate agent. ‘’Maybe we should go to her house, or what do you think?’’ Aisha suggested. ‘’I think you are right’’ Nancy replied. ‘’Why do you two like disturbing yourselves? Just leave her alone and let’s continue having fun, maybe she forgot or needs a break or something’’ Tife said. ‘’No, we are going to her house, with or without you, so are you going with us or not?’’ ‘’Okay fine, let’s go’’ Tife rolled her eyes as she finished talking.
The four friends had become quite close ever since they met at Tife’s boutique one afternoon. They all wanted to buy the same cloth which was not available yet, so they had to wait for a while. They got talking and exchanged contacts thereafter. Nancy volunteered to drive and they all headed to Dolapo’s house.
Dolapo was so terrified, all thanks to her phone that snapped her out of the flashes she was having. She stood up to get water from her fridge and also to get something to eat as she was very hungry at that moment. She got a little bit scared as her doorbell rang immediately she finished eating. She peeped through the door hole and saw her friends. ‘’Ladies, hello! Come in’’ Dolapo said. They all entered and Dolapo made sure she locked her door.
‘’Dolapo, it’s ladies’ night! Have you forgotten?’’ Aisha said. ‘’Oh my God! I’m really sorry. I have so much going on in my mind, you should have called me’’ Dolapo said. ‘’Of course we called you madam, but you did not pick our calls’’ Tife said drunkenly and rolled her eyes as usual while her friends looked at her. ‘’Anyways, I’m feeling really drowsy, I’m just gonna go inside and sleep. Whatever it is that is bothering you, maybe you should tell Nancy, so that you both will solve it, after all, she is your best friend. Good night guys!’’ she finished then stood up and went inside. ‘’Dolapo don’t mind her, you know that’s how she is, but really, what is wrong with you?” Nancy said. ‘’It’s just some personal stuff. I don’t want to talk about it at all, but do not worry, I’ll be fine’’ Dolapo said. ‘’Okay, anything you say, but just know you can talk to us anytime’’ Nancy said, while Aisha nodded in confirmation. ‘’okay babes, thanks a lot and I’m sorry I forgot about our night, it won’t happen again’’
The trio talked for a while, watched movies then later went to bed. Dolapo kept tossing and turning around as she could not sleep. Somewhere in the street, a dog kept barking. ‘’the dog must have many things on its mind too’’ she thought aloud. She really wanted to share her thoughts and feelings with someone, but at the same time, she did not want to disturb anyone with her problems. She sometimes wish she was like Tife who does not care about anything. Dolapo kept staring at the ceiling till she slept off. She woke up the next morning feeling very weak and tired.
‘’Good morning girlfriend, how are you feeling now?’’ Nancy asked. ‘’Fine dear, I’m better, thanks. Aisha and Tife, how are you?’’ ‘’Fine’’ they answered in a chorus. After eating, Dolapo’s friends prepared to leave. A part of her was excited as it would give her the opportunity to rest well as she was still feeling weak. She decided to escort them to the front of her house where Nancy’s car was parked. As they stepped outside, Tife noticed an envelope on the floor. She picked it up and saw Dolapo’s name boldly written at the back. ‘’Dolapo, I think this is for you’’ she said. ‘’okay thanks’’ Dolapo replied. She wondered who dropped the letter outside. After her friends left, she took her bath and as she got back to her room to dress up, her eyes caught the same envelope on the table which she had forgotten about. She took the letter, ripped it open and she saw the words written boldly inside ‘’I’M SORRY’’.