There was a slacking in my abdomen at the sight of the person I met at my door when I opened it. I met Olay, my upstairs neighbour’s daugther seven years old daughter there.
‘My mum said I should give you these and tell you she’s grateful,’ she said childishly, handing me a pack of books I’d borrowed her mum few days back. I said nothing as I took the books from her. I was at a fix about whether to be angry with her or to simply ignore her. Quite true that ordinarily she hadn’t done me anything, but factly she had. I felt foolish when I saw her. After I dropped the books on my table, I stared into Evaristus’ office but I didn’t see him.
I finally got the chance to speak with Evaristus a month later. It was on a windy night. The wind had been really strong. Inspite of the fact that my windows were closed, my candles and lanterns kept going off as I lighted them, and this went on till I exhausted my matchbox. After the last try which also didn’t stay, I went to my door to draw my curtains which the wind was threatening to tear apart. This was when I saw a figure hurrying down the direction of my door. At first I thought whoever it was would hurry past through the side of my place, but surprisingly the figure stopped right in front of my door. I stepped back and peered frighteningly into the darkness that surrounded us. From the shape of the figure, I knew it was male. At first I thought it to be Evaristus but my mind discarded the thought quicker than it came.
The quiet rap on my door made me move back the more and I nearly tumbled over my centre table. I seldom had visitors, not to talk of males. I never had them.
‘Who’s there?’ I asked, my eyes still fixed intently at the figure. The figure said nothing. I stayed there quietly waiting for the figure to say something, but he remained quiet. I decided to say nothing too.
His voice eventually came with the first thrumb of raindrops on my roof.
‘Have you got some spare matchsticks there please?’ his rich barritone reverberated all over my body. I couldn’t keep myself from running to open the door for Evaristus. I get drained if he did.
I didn’t ask him about anything when I let him in. I gave him a seat first before telling him that I had none left, that the last one I struck was also blown off by the wind. The same thing happened to him, he told me.
For about an hour we just sat quietly in the dark listening to the rhythmic beats of the rain against our roof, and probably conversing with our imaginations. We had dinner together in the dark. And when it was time for me to go to bed, we went to my room together, still in the dark.
It was when we got to the room that I brought out a small torch from underneath my pillow which we used to see our way around. While I climbed my bed, he requested for a pen and paper and took his seat at my dressing table. He drew all through the night. Then in the early hours of the morning, he cuddled up into the bed beside me. I wasn’t surprised when he did this because he had done it before. The first time he stayed at my place. Then, I’d wondered what mischief he was up to. But still I chose to believe he wasn’t up to any and things had gone fine.
By the time I awakened the next morning, Evaristus had left. But not with his drawing. The drawing was placed face down still on my table. I turned it over. It was exactly the kind his father used to draw. But this time the figure was more carved out and had a feminine feature. There was a signature underneath it. I couldn’t make it out clearly, but I knew the first name signed began with the letter ‘E’, and the second was ‘Cornfield’.