The night was still young, the drinks were flowing and the music was very soothing to the conversation between Seyi, Biola, Diana and Joyce a friend of Diana. It was Diana’s birthday and she was very sad that her boyfriend dumped her via twitter so Biola called Seyi to take them out to a nice but secretive restaurant where Umar would not be able to track or find her.
Seyi looked unusually handsome that night, he looked like a man in his late thirties even though he was in his mid- fifties; Biola was not sure if it was the light or she was projecting her emotions on him “you look nice” she said with a drunk smile “are you already drunk?” he asked “maybe” she giggled.
Later that night a waiter brought a birthday cake for Diana and she blew out the candles trying very hard not to put her drunken spit on it. When the night was over Seyi hired two cabs, one for a very grateful Diana and her friend while the second one for Biola “you know I can drop you at home myself, I don’t care about that bastard you live with” he held Biola in his arms stroking her hair “I know but I don’t want you to” she gave him a long passionate kiss and got into the car. For the first time Biola made Seyi aware of her true feelings towards him and it made him happy, happy enough to believe that she was going to leave Umar eventually.
The next day Biola and Diana were hungover as they arrived at the office, it was only 7a.m. and the bank was not yet opened to customers “Biola e get one boy weh dey find you” the security man’s voice penetrated Biola’s banging head which she carefully placed on the desk. She wanted to ignore him but her curiosity did not let her
“Where is he?” she asked “e dey outside” the security man answered his eyes filled with expectation that made Biola get up from her seat and walk towards the door. When she got outside she headed straight to the car park forgetting that her visitor was a boy, “Biola! Biola!” a familiar voice made her turn quickly
“Salim!” she smiled overlooking her aching head as she hugged him happily “what are you doing here?” she wondered as his smile faded slowly. Salim who was supposed to be in school that morning skipped and went to see Biola, he knew the name of the bank she worked in but he wasn’t sure about the branch until he asked his mother casually telling her that his school was taking them on an excursion to Grande bank.
As he got dressed for the day he planned the things he was going to tell Biola when he sees her, he was awake till midnight the night before writing down what he was going to say to her; then he realised that the entrance of the bank was an unromantic place to tell Biola how he felt about her, so he decided to ask her out instead, he wasn’t sure where but he knew it had to be nice.
“I got this for you” Salim gave Biola the diary he got for her “thank you” Biola said without looking at the book; Salim’s visit made her nervous and she wanted him to go back to school “how is your mother?” she asked looking for a way to put the fear of being in the wrong place in him but he wasn’t moved
“She misses you” he responded and proceeded to ask her out on a date but Biola declined quickly without remorse. Salim was the son of someone she could consider a mother, so she did not want to give him any ounce of encouragement; she didn’t even try to console him or try to make him feel better about himself.
She wanted him to remember the pain of her rejection anytime he thought about pursuing her again “you have to go, you have to go back to school Salim… please go” she said and walked away from him very conscious of the fact that he was looking at her walk away.
When she got back to her desk, Ijeoma’s nagging voice brought back her headache. As she organized her desk she noticed the picture on the cover of the diary Salim gave her the picture astounded her. The face of the mermaid on the cover was identical to the face of Madame Deloris.
Biola looked at her wrist watch and smiled heartily, it was 3 p.m. and she was happy that she had just an hour to stop attending to annoying and demanding customers. Her last customer for the day was Seyi; he came to find out if she was really going to marry Umar
“I am… I am… it’s what I deserve for the things I have done” she responded calmly, they were in his car the only place private enough for them to talk. Seyi was unhappy with her answer but felt sorry for her at the same time, he felt a need to rescue her “I don’t want you to marry anyone but me” he touched her face but she removed his hand and told him to stay away from her and her relationship with Umar.
Before Seyi could say anything to change her mind she was out of the car. “Thank God the day is almost over” Diana said to Biola as she fell to her seat, Biola didn’t respond but Diana continued to talk to her anyway by asking Biola why she was getting married to Umar when she liked Seyi “it’s complicated” Biola retorted “well can I date him then?” Diana asked, the question came to Biola like a dirty slap and she laughed seriously hoping that it was an expensive joke but she was sure it wasn’t when Diana repeated herself
“No you cannot” Biola responded sharply and left her desk in order to hide her annoyance from Diana. She couldn’t believe Diana could ask her such a question and while she was in the bathroom containing her feeling of anger; Diana was in the cafeteria talking to Seyi on the phone
“I just wanted to check on you and also thank you for the other day” she said; she offered to buy him lunch as a proper thank you and he declined but that was not the end of them communicating with each other.