Ada smiled to herself. At the first ring, nobody answered, but on the fourth, a woman with a similar voice as Jerry answered
The red velvet made her very chocolate skin glow, that men seated on other tables dropped a smile or two when their eyes locked. Ada had never felt this good since Jude; she felt like a woman in love, for the first time. She made sure to dress not just for the occasion, but for the season. They arranged to meet after work, and she had to close early enough to rush home and get something worthwhile for dinner. It was not every day that a bachelor asked a young lady in her forties out in New York City.
Ada’s colleague had helped her pick out something good at Dat’s, and she prepped up with a good make up. Through the glass, she could see others retire to the subway, into a Taxi or up the stairs to one of the blocks of flats that surrounded the neighbourhood. Ada and Jerry had been going out on the internet for over eight months; they have never seen each other. Each knew what the other did for a living, but they started off as chat mates on a dating site, till they exchanged phone numbers.
Ada was a paramedic nurse while Jerry worked in a law firm. Both dated around the time frame of their work; they shared their best and worst moments in America, while reminiscing on home. Ada worked as a care giver when she came to America from Nigeria; she told Jerry of how she faced assault and near rape in the hands of some patients. Once, a patient purposely soiled his bed over and over again, because she refused to give in to his delirious advances.
Then she was in dire need of her pay cheque, because she was about to be kicked out of her co-rented apartment and her tuition debt piled up in quivering numbers. Ada didn’t call her parents, because they sold their only land in the village to pay for her flight ticket. Both became each other’s confidant within a space of time that they couldn’t wait to talk to each other at each close of work, until Jerry suggested that they met.
Their relationship brought in some sunshine into Ada’s life: she took caution to dress for work, each morning, that her colleagues commended the drastic change in her. Sometimes, she would be caught stealing some smiles off her phone. Ada became born-again: it was as though a happier life was birthed right inside her system. Formerly, she dressed to work in oversized cloths, old wigs and unfashionable looking foot wears. She made herself look far older than her age, and people thought her delusional, because she was short tempered and often talked alone.
But Jerry was a miracle: Ada smiled often, made jokes, and became friendlier and outgoing. In fact, she gave her people hope of bringing back someone next holiday for a wedding. Things could never be better. Ada, after the last heart break swore never to fall for any man without a signed contract. Jude was a very big mistake. Jude was her childhood sweetheart. They kept in contact when she travelled. Jude had already gone to meet her people in Nigeria to do her wine carrying. Ada came back to Nigeria for the first time for their court marriage and wedding. It did not take too long to bring Jude over to join her.
A year into their marriage, Jude turned into a demon; he turned to battering her, but she covered at work by saying that she fell and hit her head. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was Ada walking into Jude with their next door neighbour who was a social worker, after she lost their last baby due to his violence. Ada was shattered beyond comprehension; she ended up broken that she almost lost her job and mind. She moved farther away from Baltimore, got a new job and started all over again. Five years later, Jerry walked right through the door –he was her Christmas gift.
Ada looked at her wrist watch, and found out that he was already ten minutes late. It was actually unlike him, but maybe he got held up by a board meeting. Ada ordered scotch, because she was already getting nervous. She remembered her first emergency as a paramedic; the patient was stabbed by his wife, because he wanted a divorce. It was the first time Ada got in contact with so much blood. The woman was too hysterical when they got there; she made the call, and still had the knife covered in blood. They called in the police to calm her down.
Ada at that point could not imagine such a thing happening in Nigeria. It was getting really late and she had to make it up early in the morning. She chat him up, but he didn’t respond. She ordered another scotch –double, this time around, because she was already having cold feet. It was over an hour when Ada dialled his number and brought her phone to her ear. She felt the pearls on her ears, it was the first gift she got from Jerry to celebrate their three months together.
Ada smiled to herself. At the first ring, nobody answered, but on the fourth, a woman with a similar voice as Jerry answered:
The smile was slapped off Ada’s face. Her head spun, but she got a good grip on herself, maybe it was a wrong number. Ada asked:
The voice on the other end of the line kept quiet, and in a split second, the female voice quickly elevated to a base voice.
The voice sounded embarrassed and guilty at once. Ada looked at her phone with so much bitterness and disappointment. She tapped the red button, dropped some change on the table, and disappeared into the night.
Written by Udemezue, Oluoma.
Udemezue, Oluoma loves to read, travel, meet new people, create new things, and write. She believes that life is twisted by a touch of romance, thriller and suspense. You can catch her on email@example.com, oluomaudemezue on Instagram, and @Udemezueoluoma on Twitter.