by Oke Peter
Stephanie was well aware Bolu had given her the once-over. She knew her unexpected transformation had literally knocked her friend out of her shoes.
“I’m happy to see you too. It’s a small world isn’t it? What happened to you Bolu, you are looking…big,” she said, just stopping short of saying fat.
“Ha, ha…” Bolu laughed with forced enthusiasm. She absolutely hated it when people talked about her weight, “I guess I got tired of being skinny. So what brings you here?”
Smooth, Stephanie thought, realizing her friend was a bit touchy about her size. “Uh, well I just acquired a shop in this complex; a salon actually, of my very own!”
“Wow, that’s wonderful. Congratulations!” she said, with genuine excitement for her friend’s success.
“Thank you,” Stephanie beamed. “That makes two of you, doing your own thing. You and Florence, she owns a catering outfit not too far from this Estate.”
“Florence? You’ve seen her lately?”
“Yes, we just rediscovered ourselves two days ago. She lives on the next street, Pike Avenue. Do you live in this estate too?”
“Yes, on James’ street. That’s like ten minutes’ drive from here. And you?”
“I live on this street, down the road.”
“I see,” Stephanie said. “Oh Stephanie, don’t you think it is amazing how all three of us ended up living in the same neighbourhood…?” Bolu beamed.
“Amazing…? No, weird is more like it. We should get together, you know.”
“Of course, Florence is coming to my place on Sunday. She called me yesterday, so how about it?”
“Sunday is it? No problem. Let me have your phone number,” Stephanie said reaching into her bag for her cell phone. Bolu noticed the gold wedding band, with a matching diamond studded ring on Stephanie’s finger, for the first time.
“You are married?” Bolu asked incredulously. Stephanie heard the surprise in her friend’s voice and for an instant was incensed.
“Of course I am,” she snapped, “Why…? Is that so surprising, shouldn’t I be married?”
“No, I mean yes. Please Stephanie I didn’t mean it that way, it’s just that you were always kicking against the idea of getting married, so I thought,” her voice trailed away suddenly.
“People change you know and don’t get worked up over nothing. Just, give me your number..?”
Bolu was immensely glad Stephanie had so quickly diffused the tension her comment caused. But then, she had never really been the quarrelsome type. The two exchanged phone numbers and addresses, chatted casually for a short time and several minutes later, Stephanie got into her car and drove off.
Bolu stood, staring thoughtfully after her friend’s car as it disappeared out of sight. Thank God Stephanie hadn’t inquired about her profession or family, she thought to herself, What would she have said? That she’s resting at home, waiting till her body was ready to accommodate a baby?
Lord! Even naughty Stephanie was married with a three-year old son. The son, she had just rushed off to pick up from the crèche. So, what’s your story Bolu…? She asked herself. Maybe this reunion with her friends on Sunday wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Oke Peter is the CEO of Writer’s Haven Press. Aside from her debut book – A Life Past Perfect, she has also written a script titled The Oracles, for an upcoming Afrinolly production. She is also a contributing writer for the Litcaf Nigerian Encyclopedia project. She tweets from @OkePeter01