My hand began to tremble involuntarily and I cursed myself.
How could a human being I hadn’t seen in how long have this terrible effect on me?
My eyes were glued to the phone as it rang out.
The caller ID had no name; it was just his number which Ronke had deleted when she realized I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I didn’t need to tell her that I had the number carved into my brain, that even if she deleted it a million times, I wouldn’t forget the double twos and the zeros at the end of his number that reminded me of the emptiness I felt when he left me.
I hadn’t re-saved his number, but I hadn’t forgotten it either. It was easier deleting it from my phone than my memory.
Since when have memories been easy to let go off anyway?
I let it ring, not making a move to pick it. What could I possibly say? Why did you leave me at the altar? Why haven’t you called in two years?
The second time the phone began to ring, I almost flung it away.
A part of me wanted to pick it and listen to him, maybe he finally wanted to apologize for the cruel thing he did to me. That part of me also wanted closure, I wanted to hear him tell me why.
But another part of me was afraid, afraid of what would happen if I heard his voice again. If I opened a door that I had shut only recently.
“Babe, what’s up with you na?”
I had forgotten Ronke was in my room, reading.
Quickly I snatched up the phone and silenced it.
“One of your toasters abi?” she asked.
“Erm…strange number.” I glanced at the phone in my hand. It had stopped ringing.
“Just pick now, it might be business. Besides Shebi you’re planning a party? It might be your party planner.” she chuckled as she spoke.
My laughter sounded forced even in my ears, a bid to run away from the reality that faced me.
By the time the phone began to ring a third time, I knew I couldn’t escape the inevitable any longer.
My hand was still trembling as I pressed the green button.
My voice froze in my throat. He was the only one who called me that and since he left, I hadn’t heard it.
Hearing it now was opening a dam in me that I had managed to shut only a short while ago.
“Kay-Kay? You there?” his voice didn’t sound different. It was still that deep baritone that sent signals to my brain when we first met.
“Babe, you okay? Aren’t you supposed to be on the phone?” even though Ronke was in the same room with me, her voice sounded like it was coming from a faraway tunnel.
I couldn’t move nor speak. I held the phone to my ears listening to him say ‘Kay-Kay’ all over again.
“Kehinde?” Ronke, again.
I let the phone fall from my hand and clatter to the desk.
“It’s him. Austin.” I finally spoke.