Before I met Calestous, it is possible that I was bored.
The kind of boredom that drives you back into your boarding school habit of cabin biscuits and powdered milk before bed; breaking the biscuit in half and using it as a spoon to scoop the milk powder into your mouth. Everyone knows full fat milk is as deadly as ice cream and chocolate. To me is was like coke. It always seemed to make me feel better in boarding school when people stole my clothes or buckets of water. In fact the whole habit had started because I didn’t have any water and I had to eat something.
I was stressed all the time. If it wasn’t the theft of your water and clothes and provisions, it was senior girls nearly doing you in with mindless errands, ‘Go and tell Senior Ebele that I said she’s stupid’, kill-the-messenger type situations which nobody could win. Tell senior Ebele and die. Don’t relay the message and die. The advantage to such situations was that it made me fast on my feet and quick with my tongue. Which is how I had lied my way into my bank job. Which probably accounted for 99.9% of my boredom.
The waistbands of my skirts and trousers were becoming a little tight but who cared? I was bored with watching and weighing everything that went into my mouth. It was relentless. Tedious. There had to be more to life than that.
The boredom I felt was bone deep. It could not be eased by the usual distractions; novels and YouTube and Two Broke Girls. The day before I met Calestous in the market, I sighed in the middle of attending to a customer. So deep was the sigh that my breath fogged up the glass. The woman eyed me, her lips tightening.
“If you don’t want to attend to me, I can go somewhere else,” she said and she marched off with her Ghana-Must-Go before I could stop her. I had to plaster a smile on my face for the rest of the day. The manager watched me like a rat would watch dry fish in the trap.
I needed a holiday. In the absence of that, a day or so of sick leave. I didn’t mind being ill if it meant I could rest. I would have put my phone alarm on snooze in the morning just so I could get a few minutes to psyche myself up, but as a twenty-seven-year-old banker, who could afford the luxury, boredom or no? Waste even one second and some hungry graduate is there in ill-fitting shoes to take your place for less pay. So I bought and ate my cabin and milk and rode the storm, waiting for it to abate. I was waiting for something to happen to me.
And then Cali did.