The officer in charge of her was already signaling that his time was up so even though he wanted to spend more time with this woman whose thoughts drove him crazy he couldn’t.
“I really appreciate your coming to see me. I never thought I would see you again”
He got up and she followed suit, the moment passed between them, leaving each one longing for what could be. He kissed her forehead resisting the urge to explore his imagination. In a quick swirl his back was on her and he was walking out of the prison with his hands in his pocket.
Ezinne watched him go, her right palm stroking the skin of her neck. This was one moment that would remain etched in her memory. She only hoped that it wouldn’t be the last. Her heart was still thumping so fast in her chest that she was sure the officer standing beside her could hear it but the woman was patient, patient enough to understand or maybe she just as transfixed as she was on the object of her fantasy.
At least ten seconds went by after Chuka had exited the door and before the officer cleared her throat to get Ezinne out of her reverie.
Ezinne stared blankly at the woman for a full five seconds making efforts to gather her thoughts.
“err, no.. no” she blinked twice and swallowed, it really felt like she had just been caught with her hands in her mother’s pot of soup “He is just a friend” she said to quickly in her defence, in her ear she sounded unconvincing, she swallowed hard before moving, a silent signal to the officer that she was not ready to talk about herself to anyone.
The woman didn’t get the message because she kept asking questions, she obviously going to throw away this opportunity to have a peek into the life of this mysterious celebrity.
“So, when did you guys start seeing each other?”
Ezinne wasn’t a lawyer but she knew damn right that little pieces of information here and there may be just enough to complicate her case.
“We are not dating” she maintained, it was really difficult keeping a straight face when she wanted to scream at the woman to mind her own business. Unfortunately her comfort in this place rested on the woman and her colleagues and more than anything she didn’t want any bad blood brewing between them.
“Well, you are free to re-marry now that your husband is dead” The woman continued fishing.
Ezinne remained silent, it was better if the woman believed she was ruminating on the idea of marrying Chuka.
“You are a free woman now”
“I am in a prison, how much freedom can I have?” she chuckled in an attempt to dissolve the edge that was lacing her tone.
The officer laughed along, thinking it was a humorous statement.
Ezinne followed the woman who was walking briskly, but her head was far in cloud nine, unconsciously she was biting her lower lips and smiling like a secondary school girl who had just been noticed for the first time by her crush. Then poom! She missed a step at the third flight of the staircase and the next thing she knew was she was at the bottom of the stairs with her behind on the floor.
“Arrh, crap!, shit!” the pain shot through her body. The officer hurried to help her up obviously wondering how she had hit the floor. Thankfully the woman had reached the end of the stairs before Ezinne missed her step otherwise she would have bumped into her on her way down. She tried to stand.
“Crap! I think I have sprained my ankle. Urrgh!” she balanced herself on her right leg giving her a little relief from the throbbing pain in her left.
“Place your hands around me”
She obeyed dutifully biting back the curse that was about to drop her her lips. If she was superstitious she would quickly take this as a sign that her dead husband was mad at her for even harboring the thought of love even without acting on it yet.
“He-goat” she muttered under her breadth.
Rather than give room to the negativity she determined that she would find love whether he or his ghost liked it or not. The officer must have thought she was still cursing from the pain because she remained silent instead she held her waist more firmly. She led her to the clinic were her already swollen ankle was attended to.