“You would arrive Lexington and Co. in fifteen minutes”
“You go reach Lexington and co. for fifteen minutes”
“Wa de Lexington and Co. ni Iseju meedogun”
The multi-lingual voice announced over the busy babble in the carriage. I was seated at the far end typing a last minute report that had started to leave me rattled when I sighted him. He was posed on the train’s single rail just above the pink line; texting rapidly in a navy plaid suit. Tall, dark with a good amount of facial hair
“Damn he’s fine”
The naughty voice in my head began to plan ways to get his attention but this one is tough; barely lifting his gaze off his phone.
“Shish Ronke, you’re thirty five! If you like a guy, you talk to him!” I scolded myself
“Arriving Lexington and Co. in five minutes…”
“You go reach Lexington and Co. for five minutes…”
“A’nde Lexington and Co. laarin iseju maarun”
I gathered my laptop and headed towards the double doors as the countdown began…
“Hello. Are you stopping at Lexington and Co.?”
He looked up a little confused. Brown eyes met mine.
“Oh, why yes I am. Thank you” he said, chuckling. “I was so lost in this…”
He smiled gratefully, just as he looked me over. I adjusted my red pinafore culottes. I know I looked fine.
“I’m Ronke” I said, holding out my hand.
“Hi, Ronke. I’m Timi”
There was a pause, before we let go.
“Well, nice to meet you”
The year is 2065, mid April. We meandered our way through the throng of people. It was rush hour and everyone moved with a quick in their step. Lexington and Co. was the new CMS to VI metro station terminal which also served as a three hundred capacity garage for the business district and provided a wide range of cafeterias and cafes for early morning Lagos rush.
We stepped off the elevator leading to the underground car park. There was the occasional clink of metal.
“Well, I guess I would be stepping off here” I said, turning to him at the exit.
“Okay. Well…thanks Ronke. Erm…would you mind if I get to call you sometime?” he asked. I could pick up the politeness and hesitation. I smiled; a little wink in my eyes.
“Here’s my card. I work just off District A. You can give me a call or drop a message” I replied, handing him my gold embossed card. I had never felt so proud of the signature “Communications Director – ASBN Centre” etched at the title bar as I did. He took a quick glance and smiled.
“Cool…I work off District A as well. I’d give you a call at lunch today”
“Alright. Have a good day Timi”
By mid-morning, a text popped up on my phone screen.
“Hello, Ronke. This is Timi. I was wondering if you would be free for coffee this afternoon. We could go to Lade’s Creamery. I heard its the best in District A. Please do let me know if it’s fine with you”.
I smiled. Ah! this is going as planned.
“Hey Timi. Sure thing. I particularly love Lade’s Creamery especially the double frap. Could we meet there at 1:00pm? See you”. I hit the send icon feeling satisfied with myself.
At 12:50, I touched up my make up and headed to Lade’s. Luckily, it was just five minutes from ASBN Centre and the weather was friendly. Soon I was seated at the left end of the coffee shop; the smell of well-brewed coffee seducing my nostrils as I read witty coffee quotes displayed on the walls. I had just ordered a double frap when Timi stepped into the shop. He was striking in the dimly-lit room and everyone turned to check him out.
“Hey,…how are you?” I asked, as he sat.
“Fine. I see you started already”
“Well, a girl loves her coffee…”
He chuckled as our eyes met. Was that a glint? I wasn’t sure but there was something charged about the air. It seemed to hold still whenever our eyes met.
“So, I was intrigued when I saw you work at the ASBN Centre…'” he said just as the robo-waiter stopped to take his order. “I was particularly interested in how the news agency covered “The Collide” that year and how they managed through all the chaos to give such detailed coverage over the state of affairs.”
I beamed. That was one of the reasons I had decided to join the ASBN Centre. They were thorough in investigative journalism especially during “The Collide” that had rocked Nigeria in 2045 and the ten gory years that followed.
“Well, we’re the best” I said, proud. “What about you? Where do you work?”
“I work with Marigold Group. I believe you know it”.
Damn! Of course I knew Marigold Group. Everyone knew Marigold Group and everyone wanted to work there. During “The Collide”, when every international investor was fleeing the country and citizens turned on each other just as the nation’s economy crumbled to a point of no return; Marigold stepped out as a beacon of hope; taking advantage of the nation’s insecurity to provide state of the art security technology that marked the Nigerian Renaissance. Today, they were the top security agency in the country and a major player in Nigeria’s technological industry. My interest peaked.
“What area at Marigold?”
“I’m the Innovations Head for the entire South South”. he said waving it off like he had just said he worked as a senior janitor.
I stared at him surprised. He did seem well put together but the Head of Innovations? Then I remembered a cover from our e-news platform a while back:
Marigold hires youngest Innovations Head from South South…’
“Timini Adonye!?” I exclaimed, almost spilling my frap.
“One and the same”
“The young hire is set to revolutionize the group’s innovations strat…”
My mind trailed off. That was five years ago.
Shit! He’s 29…
Over the next few minutes, we chatted about everything. It was interesting to find that he had gained employment with Marigold Group just right after his PHD in Robotics and Advanced AI Engineering. I, on the other hand had gone on to tell him about my move from the FMCG industry where I worked as communications officer and explained that ASBN was not just a news agency but a giant player in emerging communication systems.
“It was nice hanging out with you Ronke.”
“I enjoyed my time with you as well. Would you like to do dinner sometime?” I blurted it out before I could stop myself. He grinned.
“Well, this Friday would be great if you’re free”
“Friday…8pm?” he asked, raising a brow. I nodded and with a peck on the wrist, I walked back to the centre.