Nduka watched the fingers of smoke curl towards the ceiling. He stretched his hand out to the side without looking and tapped, once, twice on the butt of his cigarette. He inhaled again.
“I wish you wouldn’t smoke,” said Buti.
“Sorry, babe. I can’t not smoke. I need to get my strength back. You almost killed me.”
“Smoking is not the way to ‘get your strength back’. If anything it’s going to make you lose your breath even more,” Buti slid out from under the sheets and tiptoed over to the window. Thrusting a hand between the curtains, she pushed the window open. Nduka put his hands to his ears. “And that,” she continued, “Was a double negative.”
“Yes, madam. Why are you hiding yourself like that?” he asked as Buti slipped back under the covers. “I’m sure everyone in this compound heard you. Even that little boy downstairs you said was spying on you when you dressed up.”
Buti twirled a lock of her weave around an index finger. “Do you think so?” She looked at the stump - all that was left of the tree outside her bedroom window after the landlord had taken care of her ‘little problem’.
“You said that too.”