Bimbo threw the clothes from the previous day’s washing off the wooden chair opposite her bed. She picked up the medium-sized music box off the table and sat on the chair. She cradled it in her hands like a most prized treasure, closed her eyes and smiled sadly. Bimbo opened her eyes as if she remembered something. She needed soothing music already. On the table, was a set of memory cards, the memory cards were labelled 1, 2 and 3 with a red marker. She popped out the unmarked memory card that was already in the music box and replaced it with the one marked 1. 

After setting up the music box, she pressed play and turned down the volume. Slow, soft piano music wafted from the box. She heaved a sigh of relief as she became lucid. Only then was she truly fine. Slow and soft, the music continued playing as she cleaned the whole room. After cleaning and cooking, she would resume at her new boss’s hairdressing shop as an apprentice. Finally, she understood why hairdressers had their associations. Her former boss had just handed her over to her hairdresser friend, and she was to resume today, on a Saturday which was usually the most hectic day.

“Plug in your charger,” the multipurpose music box spoke. Bimbo dropped the broom and connected the charger to the single socket in her room. She would do anything to keep her lifesaver active. Beside the set of memory cards was a 20,000mAH power bank. There was no way that her lifesaver would ever be inactive in case of an emergency. She was able to keep her mental health in check, thanks to them.

It was ten minutes to 10 am when she was done with her daily routine. She bundled her hair into a bun and tied a purple bandana around it as she watched her reflection in the mirror. She was ready for the day’s work.

His hand on the handrail on the balcony which overlooked Alagbayun Street, Femi yawned from lack of proper sleep as he watched the sun slowly rise to shine upon the semi-ghetto. He had woken up before his two-hour alarm went off. Watching how people bustled on the busy street fascinated him. He did so tirelessly whenever he wanted a peaceful time. He had no explanation as to why he loved watching the people from the top floor: he just loved it. Saturday mornings were usually even quieter, his fellow top floor tenants were always doing their laundry downstairs by this time-he did his much later.

Femi yawned again, this time from hunger. By the time he looked down yet again, he happened to see Bimbo walk out through the black gate that secured the storey building’s compound. The side view of her face was discernible enough for him to recognize her, even though he had only seen her once. She looked a bit different, maybe because of the dash of colour. The red cardigan she wore was eye-catching, same as the purple bandana, but that was not it.

He watched Bimbo smile at another passerby as she walked farther away from the storey building. She greeted a fairly old woman who walked down the street while the former walked up the street and laughed heartily. Femi watched as the old woman walked towards the storey building, thereby giving him a clearer view of her face. It was Deacon Samson’s wife, his landlord’s wife. Femi yawned again. What was his business with Bimbo if she was already fine? Her muffled crying might have been because of a temporary issue which by God’s grace was already solved. 

“I have done enough being my sister’s keeper, a plate of rice is enough reward.” Femi stretched, yawned without covering his mouth and found his way into the kitchen. He hoped that there would be no more quiet time distractions. How he hoped.

Femi forgot everything about Bimbo until Sunday morning. Having his bath in preparation for the Sunday service was a sacred thing. Despite having his devotion in the room, he usually made small talk with God in the bathroom. Every bathroom session was spent with God, especially Sunday mornings. Were he not tone deaf, he would have been unashamedly screaming out his lungs in adoration to Abba. Either way, he was able to talk to God.

Femi carried a bucket of water from the well downstairs to the bathroom. As if on cue, the annoyingly loud songs that usually came from Bimbo’s room started blaring. Femi sighed deeply, his patience was being terribly stretched.

“Another intimate session ruined,” he muttered underneath his breath and entered the bathroom.

“Gba! Gba! Gba!” Femi could hear someone banging aggressively on something downstairs. After a long pause, the banging resumed. The noise that reverberated in the house became multiplied. Not long after, Femi heard many incoherent voices rebuking the bang-er.

“We all know that the girl is crying. You now carry your own noise join. Abeg, na church I dey go. Don’t let me vex this early morning o!” Mummy Bridget spoke in a loud voice, hushing the noises with immediate effect. Her voice had the same effect as her big frame.

Femi hurriedly dressed for church and went downstairs. He smoothened his ushering uniform, white and black plus Ankara bow. The song was still blaring, but all the tenants had already given up on getting Bimbo to reduce the volume. He checked his wristwatch and still had a few minutes to spare. He walked tentatively towards Bimbo’s door and knocked softly.

Once. Twice. Once more.

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