Midnight

Midnight (25-05-2014)

He had been feeling restless lately. His mind was on many things: his mind was on one thing.
He went to bed pretty early now to see if he could at least get a decent amount of sleep. On days that he had an important or early meeting, he took a sleeping tablet the night before which helped a little. Such a night was this one. He had a meeting with a big prospect tomorrow. If the meeting went well, he could easily make his numbers for the year!

He came awake suddenly. Tapping the face of his phone revealed the time was a minute after 12. He should have been all groggy but for some reason he felt as if he had had a whole night’s sleep. His throat felt patched so he made his way from the bedroom across the sitting/dinning room to the kitchen. He didn’t bother to put on any lights on the way since he was quite familiar with the layout of the apartment.

He opened the fridge door and stood there looking at the Content. He tried to decide on whether to take a soft-drink or water. The soft-drink might keep him awake due to the sugar and caffeine content so he went with the water.
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She wasn’t much of a drinker. But she liked a little drink now and again – especially after a very stressful day. This was one of those days. All she wanted to do was take a shower, jump into bed, and wind down with a cup in her hand and her favourite romance soap on the TV. She must have been more tired than she suspected because all she was able to manage was the bath before she hopped into bed and straight into a dreamless sleep.

She couldn’t be sure why she was suddenly awake. There was a soft glow coming from the screen of her phone. The source could be anything. Probably WhatsApp. She couldn’t avoid “him”. She could of course block him but that would be obvious. Besides she did like him but just as a friend – why does life have to be so complicated – it would have been great if she felt “something” for him.

She laid there in the dark thinking of him with her hand covering the face of the phone. He was a nice guy. Maybe too nice. Never seems to get angry at anything. Not so much emotional display until he ambushed her with the question.
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He took the bottle of water out of the fridge and got a clean cup from the set on the kitchen counter. He made his way to the dining table and sat down on one of the chairs. He decided to switch on one of the lights so as not to make a mess while pouring the water into the cup. He returned to his seat and had finished filling up the cup when he realized he wasn’t alone. There seated right across from him was a man he didn’t recognize. He would have guessed the age as being approximately the same as his. Somewhere deep in his mind, he knew alarm bells should have started ringing, but yet he felt not even the slightest inclination towards fight or flight. It was peace that he felt. In fact he felt so peaceful, it amazed him.

“Who are you?”, he asked.
“Who do you think I am?” He responded with a smile.
There was a shimmering to him. A certain lack of solidness.
Only one thought that came to his mind: “An angel”. He said it more as a statement and less as a question.
The other man smiled.
“Where or whom do you think I am from?” The angel asked.
“God.” He said.
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She finally rolled out of bed unto her feet. The little fridge in her room hummed slightly. She opened the door and light flooded the room. A few little bottles stared back at her.

Well. She might as well take something. She selected a small half empty bottle and closed the door of the fridge. But the room didn’t go dark. Right there on the single seat at her dressing table sat someone. Her first inclination was to scream as loudly as she could. But there was something comforting about the person. Besides she looked like a woman. It was the soft glow from her that made the room light enough to see. A little smile played on her lips.

“Who are you?”, she asked.
“I am a messenger of the living God. Baah! That sounds too officious. I am an angel.”
“Don’t be afraid. Come. Sit on your bed. Let’s talk.” The angel said.
“I am not afraid”, she responded as she made her way cautiously to the bed.
“Great” the angel said.
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“Great” the angel said.
And went on almost immediately. “Can you remember the last thing you prayed about before falling asleep?”
His questions had that “one must answer” quality to them.
He tried to think. His brain was now fully awake.
“Ah!” He said. “I prayed for my family.”
“But was that the very last prayer you said?”
He fidgeted a little in his seat. That was sort of personal. Maybe a little embarrassing even. And he really hadn’t remembered until the angel pressed further.
But the angel had an expectant look on his face.
“I , … , I prayed for her.”
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They both sat facing each other: the angel and her. Like a couple of good friends about to indulge in some juicy piece of gossip. Somewhere at the back of her mind, a thought briefly intruded on the present: “This is ludicrous” but just as quickly faded away.

She glanced briefly at her phone.

“Do you want to check that? It’s a WhatsApp message. It’s from him” said the angel.
She could guess at the content. Usually some variation on “How was your day” but she checked it all the same. All the message said was “Hi”.
“Now.” The angel said. “You like him. A lot in fact. He just doesn’t make your heart go racing like a wild horse across the open prairie. Right?”
“Yes”. She responded. A little smile on her lips at the angel’s turn of words.
“Also. You are not so sure about him. You think he has got secrets”.
She nodded.
“Yes he has. Just like all humans. The totality of what you get is not just what you see.”
“Don’t worry. His secrets are not heinous or deal breakers. In fact most of them are completely harmless. Even bothering on the ridiculous.”
Both of them laughed silently.
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“Yes indeed. That was the very last piece of prayer you said. And God was listening as usual.” said the angel.
He doesn’t usually get involved in these things beyond a certain extent, but in this case there are other things hanging in the balance. I know you don’t understand fully, but trust me, it’s the truth.
“She has said no”. He said it with a flatness that betrayed his composure.
“Yes I know. But this time you must fight. You must not just go quietly into that good night. You must remain in whatever capacity possible. Be her friend if that’s what she wants. Be there if she calls.”
“She doesn’t.” He said.
“Be patient. I know you think of yourself as a patient person but really you are not much more patient than other people.”
“She will call” said the angel.
“She will call” he repeated after the angel. His expression gave nothing away. But the angel could see right through him, that his stomach was churning.
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“He is a keeper”. The angel said. “Like his father before him. And his father’s father before his father.”
“If you want a keeper, give it a chance. I know you think of him as a friend right now. There is nothing wrong with that. But before you look elsewhere, when you are ready, give it a chance.”
“I know literally what you are thinking. People such as him are not always exciting in the beginning. But trust me, when the time comes, he will upend your world. Your friends will wonder how it happened. I have said too much already.” said the angel.
“If you absolutely can’t think of him as anything other than a friend, then make your decisions accordingly. Follow your heart as you have always done. You are a strong woman.” concluded the angel.
“Complicated much.” She said with a wry smile.
“Complicated much.” The angel said in response.
Then she started to fade. And the room started to get darker.
“Wait a minute!” she wasn’t sure what or why so she blurted out the only thing that came to her mind “What’s your name?”
“It doesn’t matter what you call me. Even the genie in the bottle is fine.” She said with a smile, eyeing the little bottle in her hand.
Then she was gone.
She put the bottle down on the bedside table, turned on her side. She wasn’t sure she would be able to sleep any more till morning, but in a few minutes, she was fast asleep.
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They sat there quietly. For some reason there was no awkwardness in the silence.
“What now?” He finally asked.
“I return to where I came from, and you go to bed.” The angel said with a smile.
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25-05-2014 – 5:05am (That “special” person who might read this story and who is not moved by words should pay attention to the date it was written: Over a year ago. The person will know 🙂

To and Fro

To and Fro

I think it was just as the train doors opened at Northfields that I heard the “heave”. The lady doubled over and the content of her stomach came up and out. She waited for the doors to open and stepped out. Continuing to heave even as she did. She sat on one of the benches and continued to throw up. I felt for her. It must be one of those really embarrassing moments. That on top of the fact that she was ill. I think if it had been my stop, I would have offered her assistance.

Not sure if it was the “puke” (excuse me) that smelled like chips afterwards, but I only seem to notice it around about then. I looked around to be sure no one was eating, even though of course, the food may be in someone’s bag.

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And the old lady tottered to the escalator, and unfortunately, the old lady rolled (tumbled) down the escalator – all the way to the bottom.

An accident waiting to happen: she wasn’t fit and the escalator was as had always being the case very fast: blink, and you “take off”. Fortunately, she seemed to have survived it intact. Someone commented that she was probably in shock but not injured. But of course, the adrenaline may mask the pains from a sustained injury until much later. The only service offered by the immigration officials (mostly due to the anger of the crowd at their negligence) to the lady was to expedite her transition through the immigration process, after that she was on her own.

Lots of people verbally took the immigration officers to task. As one person commented, in foreign lands, the old lady would have been looked after and conveyed round in a trolley, only to return “home” and take a tumble.

Some dude in a jacket but with a funky Afro commented that immigrations had nothing to do with it.

Of course, that caused several comments to be directed at him “No home training; one day he will take the same fall; etc.”

More comments on the immigration service as money grubbers: “going; they say what do you have for them.  Returning, they ask what did you bring for them.”

Someone commented that in other countries, as in the UK for example, citizens zip through immigration, but in Nigeria, as usual the reverse is the case, we had a double line that snaked back up the escalator and the stairway.

While the foreign nationalities line (foreigners sounds xenophobic for some reason) was quite short. And it took them forever to “reconfigure” themselves so that the now “free” officers start attending to some of the people on the “citizens” queue.

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It’s amazing how many things/experiences you can pack into a few days away from your regular territory.

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On Friday night, “we” tried to get seats (for 3 people in case some people start on “flights of fancy” 🙂 for SkyFall (latest 007 reboot) but it was booked solid. Even the IMAX option was fully booked. I think the fact that 007 is a British Spy was responsible to a large extent (quite separate  from the fact that 007 is one of those “Franchises” that have become part of the cultural fabric of society irrespective of country, and it was the 50th anniversary of Bond, etc).

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I brought back a bag for a colleague and when the brother who gave me the bag put it on the electronic scale at the airport, it was exactly 23.0KG. I think that’s the first time I saw such a thing! Did he throw in a pencil or face towel just to get it to that exact figure (which is what the airline stipulates as the max size for luggage)?. Mine was 22.7KG (I think)

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I like to think at least I tried – harder than almost any other time in my life – maybe I tried too hard too late. Sad. Is there anything else I can do? (Completely out of context statement. 99.9% of those who read this blog entry will have no clue of what I am on about – which is how it is meant to be 🙁