The atmosphere in the restaurant was sober and happy. This had less to do with the restaurant and more with the suited up individuals that had stopped for their mid-day lunch. The sound of laughter and silver stirred in this beautiful place in uptown Lagos. It was set on the topmost floor of a high-rise building. It was one of the top choice places for a meal because of its one-of-a-kind glass walls. During the day, light streamed in with a cascade of color appreciated by the clientele but at night, its real beauty was revealed. The glass floors had beneath them a multitude of colored bulbs that lit up the room in a myriad of color and whimsy.
Must office days, the place is tightly packed and run by the very stiff and official Usher, who ensured that no one came in without a prior booking. Important men in agbada frowned at this new system and usually created a ruckus as they made all sort of threats. The two burly men at the main entrance usually made short order of such persons. In short, as far as you could afford the food and a phone call for reservations, be you beggar or senator, you had a seat at any exclusive spot in the ‘cuisine de verres’.
Ronke frowned at the paragraph, not quite sure if any senator would appreciate sitting next to the beggar he gave a twenty to or the likelihood of being turned away by bouncers. A small laugh escaped her lips at the thought. They would rather die.
“Your drink…” a well modulated voice broke into her thoughts, bringing her back to the present. with a stiff smile, Ronke accepted the warm cup of tea from the server. Today was not a good day to write. she shut the laptop and slipped it into her bag. With the warm cup nestling in her hand, she moved out into the balcony, a wave of nausea enveloped her as she leaned over the ledge. She had always being afraid of heights. She moved away from it to occupy one of the outside picnic sittings.. Her mind was tired… of strumming up words for her piece on the restaurant, of trying to think of Funso, of cursing Eunice, of everything. She needed to not think. Her mind had other ideas.
Funso. The night before had being a sleepless one. Full of thoughts after his ominous: “we need to talk…” threat.
Four simple words that had disconcerted and shaken her till she had almost gone mad. She knew what the talk was going to be on. Knew it like her surname… She never should have said anything to Eunice. That blabber-mouth.
“Smart move, Ronks,” she muttered, “wait till she turns and bites you in the ass before you accept her right?”
Through the glass, Usher watched the young lady on balcony muttering to herself. A suicide attempt would not do any good to the restaurant’s name no matter how innocent they were of anything but ensuring their patron’s comfort. He moved to the bar man. No, there was no alcohol in the young lady’s tea, it was just chamomile tea with honey and vinegar. Yes, he would keep an eye on her. convinced of his competence, Usher disappeared into the swinging doors of the kitchen.
Unaware of the goings-on in the restaurant, Ronke continued her pondering. What had she being thinking? Eunice could barely keep her mouth closed when she was eating talk less of to hold a ‘gist’. Everything was ruined and she had no-one to blame but herself.
Her phone vibrated. She picked it without looking.
A voice as familiar as her own said, “I’m here… where are you?”
She cut the phone without replying. Rubbing sweaty palms on her pants, she set the glass down and walked into the restaurant.