Who Got The Keys? (Short Story)

I alerted the driver that I would alight at the Michel Camp bus stop. I alighted and paced on the side of the road to position myself to cross the road, to the military camp. Few metres after I’d crossed the road, nearing the entrance of the camp, my conscience quickened me to dip my hand into my right pocket. My heart skipped a faint beat. I surfed my left pocked with my left hand, and this time, my heart skipped a heavy beat.

I continued to search my back pocket, and fear gripped me. I repeated the search for both side pockets again but, nada. I couldn’t feel the keys to my room in my pockets.

I felt the awakened fears and consequences of my ‘unfound’ keys in any of my pockets. Suddenly, I could feel the breeze on my skin than before. Everything looked clearer than minutes before I crossed the road. My mind raced for thoughts in my head.

I continued to walk on into the camp to make the quick transaction I had to do. A gentleman in a camouflage trousers passed me by and greeted but I was in a different realm to offer my response with words. I only hummed back.

I completed the quick pick up about 100metres away from the entrance, into the camp, and returned to the Taxi station outside the camp to board a Taxi. My mind still wasn’t settled—numerous thoughts paraded in my mind.

“I go bed outside today?”

“What if I didn’t lock my door but left key in the lock?”

“How did I misplace my keys”

I thought and thought ‘saaa’ till the taxi finally arrived at the final stop. I had one vehicle more to board to my awaiting fate. I was hot, but I managed to grab home two hot banku and okro stew at the nearby eatery.

Chaley, in the troski home, I was thinking and “thought-ing” till I arrived at my junction. I alighted and bought a screwdriver on my way home. Whatever purpose I had for the screwdriver, I’m still asking myself why I bought it.

I got home, entered the kitchen and unravelled my banku into a bowl. I told myself, the door is probably not locked, maybe I left the key, or something else positive, so let me enjoy my banku before I attend to that later. I took off my shirt, took a seat and began to eat my banku. I ate, highly in denial of the situation at hand but a small portion of my mind held pints of fears.

I finished feeding on my two balls of banku, heavily filled, washed my hand and walked to my door in full grown faith or some magic that my door will open when I turn the hand.

Open sesame, I turned the handle, and the door still stayed in position. Whew, open sesame, I turned the handle again, and I was still behind a locked door. It was at this moment, I knew I’d ‘forked up’. The sudden stress eliminated half of the satisfaction the banku I just ate. I felt hungry again. I turned the handle gently again but not even ‘gentility’ could open a locked door.

I began to sweat, and retrace a narration of my movement in the morning, to myself. “So in the morning, I locked the door, put the key in my pocket, I walked out. I picked troski, alighted, picked Uber, got to the venue… I sat… so where did it get missing…”

“Okay, I locked my door, walked out, boarded a troski…” I retraced my movement again, hoping to know where the keys must have fallen from my pocket. I restrained myself from getting angry since it wouldn’t help the situation. I bargained with myself, why I stepped out in the first place. And that, my keys wouldn’t have gotten missing if I didn’t step out. Honestly, the screwdriver served no tangible purpose.

I went back to the shop I bought the screwdriver from, and inquired of a carpenter who could fix my door. The owner called the only carpenter she knows of, but he was unreachable. Quite unfortunate, there isn’t any carpentery shop within the closest 200metres. I was on my way to a carpenter I’d been directed to, along the main street, when I met a friend. She gave me a number of a carpenter, who offered to help, only after he was done consuming his banku in his house. I was patient enough.

Depressing as the situation was, I managed to hold some calm. The carpenter went with me to assess the situation, excused himself to pick up his tools and return. Night was already falling. After an hour and half of waiting, he returned, did his ‘thing’, and got the door broken.

“Boss, you for change the whole lock oo. Night catch so morrow, I go come fix give you.’

“No yawa” I replied.

The weight of the moment had drained the banku so I warmed my rice and stew and dished out a plate. I could feel the sense of calm and relief. I sat on my bed, munched on the plate of rice whilst laughing at a funny prank video on Senam Biddah’s wall on Facebook.

Not long before that, my mind was haywire, muddled in a whole lot of uncertainties and dread. But here I was, minutes after, laughing out loud. While the storm lasts, and passes, there’s room for laughter when it draws nigh. And even when the storm isn’t fully over, enjoy the calm breeze that passes by.

©️ 2021 Eben Ace **************** ************** ************

—Stages of grief.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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