The abrupt pause caused Mula to go slow on the chorus. In his mind, the blood of Jesus was still ringing and his lips were vibrating but no sound came. He stared at his Madam. She was staring at his table but she was not blinking, her mind clearly miles away from the small congested room they were both hiding in. The mad man tapped the glass again.
Like someone had suddenly given her a jolt, Buki sprang to her feet.
“From where?” She asked.
“What is that?”
Mula tapped her shoulder. “This man doesn’t sound mad.”
“Shhh..” She shoved his hand away.
“Do you remember me?” Sam asked trying to peep into the dimly lit room through the small window.
Of course, she did! The cultist who killed someone and was sentenced to prison for it.
“Your boyfriend.” He added.
Buki and Mula chorused a resounding “God forbid!”
“Madam the man just said he is your boyfriend.”
” I said God forbid” Buki took her hand around her head.
Mula followed her actions “I forbid it for you too.”
“What do you want?” Buki spoke. The beating in her chest was still causing vibration in her ears but she was not as shaken up as before.
“Was surprised to see you and wanted to talk”
“About what?” Mula had impulsively replied him.
“Shhhh..” Buki flagged him down.
“I don’t know….” Sam really didn’t know. In fact, he wished now that he didn’t recognize her. He wished he didn’t call her name or made himself look crazy. He was not crazy.
“I’m not crazy.” He thought he should let her know.
Buki was not sure of what to make of the whole scenario. She would definitely not get over the shock of what just happened and was certainly going to call up her friends to let them know who she ran into. Buki was picturing it in her head.
“Should I chase him away?” Mula asked a very sincere question and something Buki would have really liked.
She stared at him and nodded.
“But give him this” she pulled out her wallet from her bag and counted five thousand naira. She handed it over to Mula to give it to the man.
“Madam are you sure?”
Mula peered out of the small glass window. “Eys step back. You said you are not crazy abi? Go and stand outside the gate.”
Sam was hesitant for a second. But he didn’t want any trouble, not even one that would land him back in prison. He obeyed.
Mula unlocked the door. Carrying a stick, he emerged from his man cave.
Stepping a few centimeters from the gate he ordered Sam to step back again. Mula placed the notes on the floor in front of the gate and then stepped back a few centimeters. “She said I should give you.”
Sam was silent.
“Oya take it and go.” Mula wove his stick in the air.
Sam was not sure what to do. He needed money. He hadn’t decided yet however what he was going to do if he had it. He muttered a thank you then moved to retrieve the notes off the floor. The first thing he was going to do was find a way to call home, then find a place to shower and probably something different to wear. He counted the notes given him- five thousand naira. Whether it was enough or not, he was thankful.
It was a head start to a new life after 20 years. When he was cleaned up he would come back to look for Buki maybe then she would see him differently and not the crazy person that tried to attack her.
He muttered another thank you. Mula wove his stick.
He walked away in the opposite direction from the main road figuring that Buki would want to head in that direction. But even when he glanced back he didn’t see her. She was probably still frightened because it was Mula that headed to the main road instead. Probably to fetch her a taxi.
For the first time in the one week of getting out of Prison, Sam cried. He allowed himself to cry. He allowed the anger, the pain, the sympathy, all of it to just overwhelm him and he cried. He collapsed to his knees in the middle of the dark street sobbing into his palms; unto the notes that had been given him.
His shoulders rocked violently and he gasped for breath as the tears flowed down his cheeks.
Who was he going to blame? He made the wrong decision just because he wanted to be cool. It seemed like a harmless decision then but still a puppy that lives in the midst of lions is still seen as a wild animal.