“So this unit is called print media practice. What do you think print media practice is all about?” She asked. I am seated in the first class of the semester. We were given a three hour notice that there was a class scheduled for today. The lecturer couldn’t let this first Monday of the semester slide. She didn’t care about the hangovers mjangos might have drenched themselves with over the weekend. Some are still in mental captivity and denial due to the match their favorite football teams lost. Others went to church and it’s like the whole sermon was targeting them. It was a rebuke all the way that left them sitting on the fence on whether to forsake the things of the world or end up in hell because allegedly, they will only live once. While others, others just experienced a shift in psychological energy maybe because they are bereaved (take heart) or heartbroken (take more heart.) I am not sure where I lie because my mind couldn’t help but take a free fall through the abyss of memory.
She had just called before class began. That was our first phone call in like two weeks or is it a month? It didn’t go beyond five minutes compared to the possible two hours we used to talk over the phone; non-stop! Hearing from her again after she vanished mysteriously from my real world – stirred the still waters that rested on the crater she had recently created in my manly heart. Now every system in my body went on a boycott because of that.
I remember it was on a Wednesday. I usually sit by the small coffee shop whenever I want to be alone. It’s usually quite busy in the evening but I liked it in the morning. I’d be their first customer immediately they open. The nice lady who takes my order every morning still doesn’t know why I don’t take coffee or anything with caffeine. Surprisingly enough, I have never known her name either. So that’s a win-win huh? A few other customers would slowly stream in one by one but none of them would sit in like I did until around 10.00AM. Some even thought I owned the place. One time a mjango walked up to me to complain about the sugar in his coffee. He left the table I was at more pissed off than he came because I waited for him to finish complaining then I said, “Sorry, I’m just a customer like you.” I think he is the type that doesn’t like his time wasted. Had he sat down, I would have told him how I don’t like my time wasted too. Some choices we make in life hijack time in our lives in ways we have never pictured.
I had been seeing her quite often and even said hi a number of times whenever she came in to take her usual. I even got to know her usual order; chocolate milk shake. I later found out that she has a deep liking for chocolate but much later I would be beaten by chocolate when it came to who would be liked more than the other. I don’t know, I’m just saying. She came into the shop at the same time every day; 7.17AM. She always had a smile on her face. Made me wonder whether she ever had bad days like I was about to have on Wednesday. In fact, it was the beginning of the year. What is more terrifying than starting the year with the wrong foot? Or maybe she won her bad days with just that smile. Or did she only wear a big smile when she got into the coffee shop knowing that I’d be there like always?
So yes, that Wednesday she must have walked into the coffee shop but something seemed amiss. There was someone she was not seeing. Someone who made her leave the coffee shop a few seconds later than she should perhaps because of the time taken to share glances and compete on who would have the biggest smile. She must have asked the nice lady at the counter whether I had left earlier than usual or something. She must have been told I didn’t even check in on that day. I checked in at 12.14PM and this time, I ordered coffee. The coffee shop must have had a toast after I left since their most loyal customer had finally ordered their special beverage. Little did they know that mjango was looking for something he would use to find some solace. And just like that, she showed up. As if the unusual order I had taken had called her. I later got to know it was telepathy by the way.
This time, she was not here for any order with chocolate. She was here to know the whereabouts of the good and good looking stranger who has been hesitant to ask her to take a sit next him one day when she was not in a hurry to go to work.
“Is everything alright?” She asked.
“You weren’t here in the morning. That is so unlike you. Something must be wrong.”
“Nah it’s just a different day.” I said and sipped the coffee I was not even enjoying.
“I’m not leaving until you tell me what’s up!”
I sighed, “Alright, if you insist. But wait, how do I know you will be able to help me?”
She said, “You won’t know until you tell me.”
She was in a blue trench coat, black pair of jeans and black doll shoes. I have never seen her in anything else apart from jeans. I have never smelt her perfume this close. The best I have ever had of her perfume was the tail fragrances she left behind after she left the coffee shop with chocolate milk shake in her hand and a purse in the other. She always had this golden ring on the index finger of her left hand. On that day it was on her middle finger. And the ring would keep moving to her left as time went by. And as time went by even further, I suppose the ring began to move back to the right to where it had been in the beginning. Never had I seen her teeth so clearly like I was seeing on that day. So the neat milky white teeth is what she kept hidden behind the unfading smile. Shall we go to the eyes? I prefer not to. It will make a man cry all over this place.
“Well. And here I am telling a stranger who I only know by her smiles about what is eating me up,” I said.
“I am a gangster. It has been about seven months now in the game. I come here every morning to plan a new heist for every week. I got away with all of them, but as they say, the fortieth day caught up with me faster than I expected. I had to burn everything I acquired from the heists since they’d act as evidence. I am now at zero. I don’t know where to start.”
For the first time, I saw how she looked without a smile on.
I said, “That’s quite a lot to take in I know because all that time you have been seeing me here, you have never imagined that was what I was up to. I even don’t look like…”
She interrupted, “No wonder you have never invited me over to sit with you. If you did, I would have known all what you have always been up to and you would have spoilt the nice thing we had going on that involved smiles and glances huh?”
After sighing, I said, “Whether you will help me out or not, I just want you to know what I have for you is real.”
I sipped the rest of the coffee. After placing the black mug on the table, I see her smiling. She had been silent for a while. The same silence she upheld when I asked her whether she would choose me over chocolate.
She said, “Yes I will help you and I will even do more than that. I want to be your new starting point. What I have for you is real too.” She moved the black mug aside and held my hand.
Just when our faces were drawing close to each other, I hear, “Mjango! Sign the attendance list quickly then we go.” Del, my classmate and closest friend says.
“The lesson is over already?” I ask.
“Yea. That was not even a lesson. It was an intro to the lessons. Kwani you were not in class? Wait. Did you sleep well last night? You look awful. Are you okay?” Nobody can stop Del from being over-concerned.
“I will be fine.” I say while packing my books and standing up.
“No mjango! I know when you’re not okay. Tell me what’s wrong?”
I sigh and hand her my phone, “Check the call log.”
I turn to sign the attendance sheet and before ink meets paper, I hear her say, “Damn! She called?”
“Yea!” I say, “Just to say hi!”
I guess life is just like that coffee shop. They come in, smile at you and you smile at them and when you invite them over to sit with you at your table, God knows the next coffee shop they will go to that serves better chocolate milk shakes.
Ps: So one of my huge fans was born on a day like this like two decades ago. She’s getting younger don’t you think? And prettier too by the way. Whoa! So the Mjango Family, please help me wish Shirlene Nait a happy birthday. God speed Dear Nait!


What do you think?

100 Points
Upvote Downvote

Written by The Mjango

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

Am confused by your seen at the coffee shop and the scene at class… the coffee shop scene a dream

Og fyasko
Og fyasko
4 years ago

Yoh bro is there any connection between the chic at the coffee shop and the lecture in class…but all in all I get your point, though its a hard but to crack

4 years ago

Sadly, no coffee shop is perfect. Perfection is an illusion.