He smiled like a child who has been told that he has passed his exam.


He talked about everything and told her nothing. Did she know that Okada motorbikes had now replaced ordinary bicycles? That the nearby oil refinery had stopped recruiting local labourers and contractors and that Mama John’s daughter had just left her second husband? Was she aware that his mother had the malaria fever so bad that she had to be rushed to Benin Teaching hospital where she had been on drips for two weeks?


His voice buzzed around her head like a demented mosquito searching desperately for a way out of a net.


Are you not happy with this room? Why are you squeezing your face as if your head is hurting you? Are you well? Shall I go and get some food? Is it true that Oyibo people eat food with pepper? Did she miss Nigeria at all?


“Yes. No. Godwin…I’m tired. I want to sleep.”


“Yes of course. Italy is not a village down the road. Get some rest. I will leave you.”


Ese sensed the relief flooding out of him as he closed the door then heard him talking on the phone.  She imagined that he was telling Miss or Mrs Red shoe off, for leaving evidence under the bed.

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