STRANGE MEETING

“Come up to meet you, tell you am sorry, you don’t know how lovely you are…..”

Coldplay was wisping sensous serenade into my ears, through my dangling earphone. I was nodding sponteneously like an agama lizard that had just skipped from some three storeyed building; that kind of satisfied nod. Each musical note, each sweetly spoken word flowed into my brain like steady current, creating some soothing rivulet within my mind. I kept nodding.
“I just love Coldplay…” I muttered almost inaudibly, releasing a repressed sigh of satisfaction as the song trickled to an end. I twitched a bit on my chair, resting myself better. I had been reclined on the soft furniture with my eyes closed. They were still closed. I tapped the replay button on my pod and resigned myself to another lovely trip with Coldplay when I heard something; a statement perhaps. At first I couldn’t pick up the words. But someone had said something along the lines of “me too”. It wasn’t directed at me though. I smiled incongruously and opted into a daze as the first wave of beautiful symphony took my ears. Wait…..it had been directed at me. A reply to my inaudible mutter most perhaps.I jerked from my daze, opening my eyes as i realized how embarrasing the scenario i would be facing could be.That was when I noticed her for the first time. She had been sitting by my side on the chair. She must have helped herself to the furniture while I had been off in Elysian.
“Hi…” she said…flashing the most magnificent set of teeth I ever came upon in a smile. Well probably not the most magnificent. But close. They were darn white.
“Hey…” I replied. Trying my best to sound debonair. Truth was I had been so ruffled by the prospect of her unexpected appearance and was at the moment totally bereft of any iota of composure. I took in her appearance most diligently. I have a habit of checking people out. She had these pair of eyes one may describe as glittery. They reflected the light in thin pretty spectres, shimmering like some ornament would in the dark of night. She had a face one would describe as cute oval for want of a better descriptive. She was petite. Her hair was rounded up to one side and her mouth seemed to be in a constant pout. She was not bad….Not half bad I thought. But who was I kidding? She was gorgeous. And appealing too. She had noticed that I was checking her out. She smiled. They always took it as a complement. Girls….
“Pardon my manners…I was deeply engaged” I offered trying to be as polite as possible. I was for some unknown reason willing to be of my best behavior.
“Oh…..I saw as much. No offence taken” she said still smiling. I took that as a cue. She seemed bored anyways.
“You like Coldplay?” I asked. More of an assertion than a question.
“Who doesn’t? They are just epic. I just love their thing. From their instrumentals down to the wordings of their song and certainly, their choice genre. Its pure beauty in my opinion. They are my favorite band”
And she talks quiet well too.
“Wow….you are really into them I see” I offered in an overemphasized note, smirking mischevioysly as i did. “I guess we already have one thing in common”
“Unfortunately so” she offered rolling her piercing eyes. She smiled. This was going to be fun. “You were listening to ‘the scientist’ I suppose?” she asked.
“Yeah I was. How did you know that” I asked feigning surprise.
“You were humming and I know the song by heart. How hard could it have been?”
“I see…..” I started…intent on keeping the conversation. “So you know a lot about Coldplay I bet. You probably know all their songs by heart?”

She laughed. “Not at all. ‘The Scientist is kind of very common. But I know a lot about Coldplay. Like I said, they are my favorite band. I’ve heard a good number of their songs too.”

“Now we’re getting cocky eh?” I joked. She seemed to be very easily taken to humor.
“Not at all. I am just stating a matter of fact. Besides, modesty is an unnecessary virtue at times it would seem” she spoke with such an off-handed austerity that would have been rather intimidating if it was not obvious she was acting it up.
“Like I said cocky…”
“As you wish” she offered softly. Almost a whisper. Flashing her smile again. She was looking squarely at me now, and her eyes seemed to be boring holes into my skin through those thin glasses of hers. I was stiff with incertitude. What was she staring at?
“Uhmm…….you have stuff on your eyelashes” she said finally, when she noticed I was beginning to question her stare.
“Oh. I’ll just take it off then…” I said, fidgeting with my eyelashes on cue. Swiftly and without invitation, she moved her slender finger over to my eyes and plucked the debris off, all in one smooth movement.
“So, back to Coldplay…” l began, realizing I already had an aspect I had be willing to converse with her on, before the drift and intending to ease the building tension… “ Do you know that cold play used to be made of 6 individuals?”
“I don’t think I ever heard anything of the sort” she quipped. Genuinely interested in the suggestion. She looked intruiged.
“Ah…indeed there used to be a sixth guy amongst them. Some nice chap like that. He left the group in the late 90s” Her eyes were intent again. Glistering…..like wet apple. “ Truth is, I even used to know the chap personally” I concluded. Realization suddenly dawned on her as her mouth twisted into a smile.
“Really?” she asked, playing along. She seemed amused by my sorry attempt at a joke. “ and who was this sixth man If indeed he exists?”
“Sure they exist. Infact, They are sitting right by you…”
She laughed now. I was rewarded. And the best laugh I ever heard. Perhaps. Not really. These things are tricky. How does one rate laughter anyways. She turned to her right and away from me, in search of the mythical man that was supposed to be sitted by her.
“Certainly, you don’t mean him?” she asked now. Turning to face me. She was referring to the old woman at the far end of the chair, who had been struggling with a fiercely ornery young boy.
“Not at all. I was referring to myself. You see, I used to play tambourine for the group…”
She laughed again. This time with more mirth. I realized I liked her already.
“Wow….now that’s cool. So, like rumored, you left the band eh?” she engaged…playing the fool.
“Yeah. Unfortunately. I had a bigger calling”
“Let me guess….IT?”
“Permit me to call you a genius” I said. I laughed now. I had earned it. I handed her my card. She must have noticer the rather copious designs on my shirt. ‘IT Department’ was carelessly etched on it.
“You are Michael Adebayo?” she asked. Her question was rhetorical at best.
“And you are?” I motioned quickly, offering my hand in mock courtesy. She took it in her soft tiny own.
“Michelle” she said at the same time tucking my card into her purse. “My friends call me Mitch. It is an unusual name I know” she specified in the preemptive.
“On the contrary, I think it’s a great name and I am Michael”
‘I already know that…”
“I know…I was pointing out the similarity of our nomenclatures. Wow….we already have too much in common”
“Don’t flatter yourself dear.” She was smiling even more warmly now
“Don’t worry. I wouldn’t want to leave you out. We can both flatter me if you want.” I said. Tucking my head into a pose. She giggled.
Then she stood up all of a sudden. She was staring at her watch. God…this is the reason why I hate watches. Man I hate watches.
“Time’s up I guess?” I asked, trying too hard not to sound disappointed. I almost ended up sounding arsey.
“Yeah” she said, not hiding her disappointment. “That last call was for my flight. So…..I guess it’s time to ‘fly’” she said, trying to offer a joke.
I laughed for the sake of courtesy. I had no stomach for mirth at this point.
“You are headed to PH I suppose”
“Yeah….it’s my first time travelling there by air too. I have an urgent errand to run. I work in a bank by the way.”
“Cool. Good luck then” I mumbled standing up for no good reason. I really didn’t know what to be saying. I just ranted. “My flight leaves in an hour. Am headed to Lagos. Got some stuff to run”
“Well…good luck to you too then.” She spoke after a while. Slowly, she picked her handsome bag and headed it a direction. I just stood there dazed. She walked very tentatively, such eloquent steps…

“So….if you ever return from your errand….and you feel like listening to some good ol’ tambourine…” I started. But then I stopped. No she stopped me….with a quick smile that said it all. I just relaxed and looked on. She continued walking, but then stopped after some several steps. She turned to look at me. She wanted to say something. But then she pursed her lips and turned away.
And I knew it. I knew I would see her again. It wasn’t going to be the end of us. She had my number. She would call. She would call. We would chat up and meet in some fancy restaurant when we got back to Abuja. We had a connection.

But she never did call. And we never met in the waiting booth of an airport by the good of providence again. Her plane crashed that day. We heard the news some days later. No one survived.

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