It all started with that phone call
The kind looking officer asked if she would be visiting anytime soon. She was still too stunned to reply. She knew her smile was plastic, as she retrieved her handbag with her phone and walked out of the premises.
She heard the huge wooden door close behind her, then turned to look at where she just came out from and sighed deeply, looking at the high walls, the inner iron gate, the huge outer wooden gate, and the uniformed men. The security in that place is maximum, with a second-deep sigh she placed her purse into her bag, and her thoughts went back to how it all began……
It was on a Sunday, the only day in the week that Joy has as a free day, so after church, she decided to go visit her elder brother and his wife, the only family she had left. They had lost both parents in a car accident, so they had only each other until five years ago when Frank her brother got married to Simbi who turned out to be an adorable sister-in-law. Joy loves Simbi like a sister not only because she behaves like one but because it’s obvious she makes her brother so happy.
Joy always looked forward to visiting them because of the homely and relaxing atmosphere in their home. They had just had a delicious meal of rice, fish stew, and fried plantain for lunch.
While relaxing after the meal, there was a knock on their door, and in came their neighbor.
Frank and Simbi were obviously expecting him, because they both asked to be excused for a brief period and stepped out with the man.
Joy wasn’t in the mood to watch television so she decided to read the papers.
As she went through one of the dailies to kill time, page twenty of that daily was dedicated to those searching for love, romance, and marriage, amused but curious, she read through. The requests of two men caught her attention. Not knowing what made her open her bag, Joy brought out a pen and paper to scribble down the details of both men.
Frank and Simbi walked in, just as she finished folding the paper she had scribbled on, back into her bag.
After another three hours of joking and bonding, it was a few minutes past five in the evening and about time for her to head home. She hugged them both, and as she made to get into her car,
she expected her brother to ask his usual question of when they should expect to meet the young man in her life, he didn’t and for some queer reason, it made her uncomfortable.
The drive home was fast because luckily there wasn’t too much traffic. She parked in her normal spot and entered the house, dropping her car keys and bag on the nearest chair she phoned her brother to let him know she had gotten home safe. As she climbed the stairs, she smiled at the pictures of her parents. Her brother had wanted them to rent out the duplex when their parents died but she had insisted on staying. It has been years and Joy has been able to maintain the house and the staff of two.
After her shower, she decided there was no point going downstairs to the main sitting room. So, she curled up on the couch in her room to watch a movie on her laptop. She couldn’t concentrate on the movie. She was in a dilemma, as to whether to call the numbers she had scribbled out at her brother’s place earlier on or to trash the paper.
Joy's job had taken over her whole life. She wasn’t in any love relationship since Steve her former boyfriend who traveled to the United States for a course hadn’t deemed it fit to call her for over five months. Being a realtor in one of the most reputable estate organizations in the country. Joy was always at work Mondays to Saturdays. She was just twenty-eight, but within six years of being in the industry, she had risen to the position of General manager. The major price for her rise was not having time for anything else.
Looking at the paper, she summoned up the courage to go ahead and make the call, deciding not to divulge much about herself.
She placed a call to the number of the man who wrote that he is an accountant, 30 years old, who wanted a woman of between 25 and 30 for a relationship and it rang. Not knowing what to say, she cut the call before it was picked up. Laughing at herself, she sat back but not for long, because her phone rang and she saw that the man was calling back. A little apprehensive she answered the call and his ‘hello’ got to her. His voice sounded very nice and friendly. After introducing herself, Joy told him where she had gotten his number, and that she had dialed because she was so sure it wasn’t going to go through. Joy went on to say that she didn’t believe it was for real. He laughed at her words and his laughter was boisterous.
He mellowed out and introduced himself as Tony, he then went ahead to say that there are a lot of busy people who need such mediums to meet.
Joy agreed with him on that. When he asked her, Joy told him what she does for a living he chuckled and called her an independent woman. Strangely, Joy didn’t find it offensive.
They spoke on life, politics, and music, and Joy realized that they have a lot in common so when Tony asked if he could see her the next day. With butterflies in her stomach, she said yes.
She woke up around 6 am the following morning, and hurriedly got ready for the office. She was in the car when she noticed she had gotten a text message on her phone. She checked and found out it was from Tony. The sweet message was that he will ever be grateful that he made the newspaper placement because it had brought an angel his way. She smiled and called him, they exchanged pleasantries. He told her he will be leaving his end which was about an hour’s drive to her office at about noon so they would have lunch together.
The minute it was noon, he called her and encouraged her to feel free to call him if he was running late on the appointment, that statement made her a little uneasy but she waved it aside.
After two hours of waiting and he still hadn’t arrived, a worried Joy called him and that was when the twist began…. instead of Tony answering, she was surprised to hear a strange voice telling her that the owner of the vehicle had been involved in an accident and had been taken to the police station. Too stunned to say a word, she listened as the person asked her to state her relationship with the owner of the phone. She excused herself and cut the call, she wanted to respond that he is her friend but she realized she had only spoken to him on phone. She was confused and her conscience was also in a bad state. She felt very bad because misfortune had befallen the man when he was on the way to see her.
Joy called back an hour later, and she was told by the policeman that the case had been transferred to another station. The station she was told was handling the case initially, and the station where she was told the case had been transferred to isn't under the same state and that got her suspicious. The next call Joy got, was from Tony asking her to find time to come and see him in prison custody. Joy knew no case would escalate from police to prison custody so fast, and this was when she told him she was finding it difficult to believe him.
Tony told her he wasn’t lying and that Joy should come to the maximum prison to check him.
Out of curiosity and concern, Joy took the next day off and headed for the prison, a place she had never been to before. During the drive to the prison, Joy was finding it hard to believe she was actually going where she was going.
Upon arrival, the Prison officers in front of the building accosted her and asked for lunch money. The flattering statements they made about not being able to resist asking a beautiful aunty for money for lunch didn’t come as a surprise to her, most uniformed officers did that in her ‘beloved country Nigeria’.
Joy gave them their ‘gift’ and the huge main door was opened for her. She stepped in and met a few people waiting to see the inmates, eight out of the eleven persons waiting, were women.
Soon enough, one of the prison officers walked up to her and asked the name of the inmate she came to see. She told him and the look he gave her when she responded that he is just an acquaintance made her feel uncomfortable. He asked her to write the details down in a book. He then told her to go and sit down, and that whenever it was her turn she would be called up. While waiting, Joy noticed that most of the gorgeously dressed women waiting to see the inmates were not literate enough to fill the register book. A few minutes later the visitor for Tony Adams was asked to come forward, and once again Joy was asked to pay some money.
She saw the woman who was right in front of her do so, instead of asking what the money was for she did the same without bothering to ask what she just paid for.
As she made to enter she was asked to drop her bag and phones, she, however, requested to keep her purse and she was obliged.
As she made her way up the stairs into the waiting room she could see the prisoners in the field there was only a wall demarcating them from her and she heard a few of them begging her for money. A little saddened, she made her way into a room with an array of wooden benches and tables. She sat down where she was directed to sit and noticed that visitors were made to sit opposite the inmate that came to visit. The minute Tony came in, Joy knew he was the one because he looked exactly like the display picture on WhatsApp.
He greeted her and as he sat opposite her, all she could see was a young handsome man wasting away in prison. Then, as she thought over the events of the past two days, she allowed anger to take over knowing that he had lied to her.
As if he could read her thoughts, with eyes pleading he, first of all, asked to be given a chance to explain. Joy’s silence, he saw as a go ahead. He first thanked her for creating time to visit him, he then went on to say that all he had told her was the truth. He told her that he got into prison because he mistakenly hit a young man with his car three years ago.
He went on to explain that he is an accountant and yet to be married. He also added from the little he knew of her he already liked Joy and that after seeing how she handled the situation he is even getting to like her more. He said he could see Joy has all the basic qualities to make a good wife. He went on to tell her he would be out of prison in six months, that she should please wait for him. He gave her his complimentary card and told her that his accounting firm is still being run effectively by his younger brother and the junior partner. He promised he will make Joy happy, if given the chance.
Joy found it all too much to assimilate, there were so many questions she wanted to ask, but that was when they were told their time was up. So she got up and left.
About the Creator
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
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