When she answered the phone she was in a state of complete dishevelment. This bothered her when the voice on the other end announced he would be dropping by her apartment in less than half an hour.
She grabbed a shirt and pants ensemble that she had grown quite fond of and quickly dressed herself before heading to the bathroom to wash the oil from her face that had appeared overnight. As she was reaching for the towel on the rack behind her his name appeared on her phone screen informing her of another incoming call.
“I’m outside,” the voice on the other end informed her.
“Okay, I’ll be right there,” she said then ended the call.
She finished wiping the water off of her face and took the ten steps to the front door of her apartment to let him in.
Neither of them looked particularly pleased to see each other as he strolled past her and began to take his shoes off.
“So, what’s up?” he asked.
“Not a lot. You?”
“Oh, you know, just taking a break from working with pig shit today,” he said.
He walked over to the oddly placed couches in her living room and placed himself entirely on the three seater. She stood standing at the kitchen table, her left hand on her mug of tea.
“How have you been?” he asked.
“I’ve been okay. Going a little mad living by myself these past couple weeks. And besides going grocery shopping yesterday I haven’t left my apartment or spoken to anybody since Monday when I sat down with my mentor. My internet is also down which is not helping,” she said.
“Why haven’t you left? Or seen anybody?”
She started to reply but he cut her off.
“Grab a chair. Grab a chair and pull it over here,” she followed his orders and dragged a chair from the table, placed it near the back of the couch, and sat down with her mug in hand.
“I don’t know. Mostly because my anxiety has been awful and preventing me from doing anything. I almost had a panic attack leaving my apartment to get groceries. While I was there I was freaking out the entire time and then almost had a panic attack at the checkout when my card wasn’t working. She asked if I had another way of paying and I was terrified because I didn’t. I asked if I could swipe it-”
“They’re not allowed to do that anymore,” he said.
“I know, she told me. Why still have the stripes and the swipe function if you can’t even use it? But then it finally worked and I started to calm down a little. That experience certainly didn’t help me,” she said.
“So then what are your plans for today?”
“It was to go to a coffee shop, most likely Starbucks, so that I can do some things that require the internet.”
“Starbucks? That’s where you want to go?”
“It’s the only thing I can afford since I have money for it on my card,” she said.
“Forget about that, I am your wallet today. Where do you want to go?” she grew uncomfortable at this gesture, as she did with most of her friends’ generosity.
“I don’t know. Any coffee shop, then. It only has to be far off of campus. I’ve been stuck here for too long,” she said.
“Alright, but are you sure? We could go out to an actual restaurant. Just a reminder that today I am your wallet,” he said.
“Yes, but I need to be sure that they have wifi and won’t get annoyed if we are there for hours.”
“True,” he said, then added, “There’s this great steak house, it’s quite fancy, that we could go to if you wanted.”
“What would I eat there? I’m vegetarian,” she said.
“I’m only saying we could go anywhere.”
She thought that they would have left almost immediately after settling this but he didn’t move from his seat. Instead of speaking up she decided to enjoy it and quickly realized how much she missed talking to others.
Among other topics they chatted a little about Nigerian, American, and Canadian politics. And while she didn’t fully understand everything to do with the actual politics, she enjoyed not having to as they focused on the ridiculousness of American candidates, polarization of Canadian opinions, and incredibleness of Nigerian corruption.
After half an hour of conversation he excused himself to the bathroom and she took the opportunity to go to her room and apply make up to her face. Even if she wasn’t feeling her greatest she would at least present herself to appear as if she was.
She was still in the process when he walked back into the living room.
“Sorry, but if I’m going to leave I need to at least look human,” she said.
“All you need for that is two arms, two legs, a head, torso…” he trailed off and chuckled at his own joke.
“Very funny,” she said as she finished her process off with a small coat of mascara.
She began to go around her room and collect anything she might need while at the coffee shop.
“Are you ready to go?” he asked her.
“I will be once I’m done packing up my bag.”
He fiddled around on his phone and they continued to make small talk as she did one last sweep of her apartment to make sure she didn’t leave anything behind.
“Alright, let’s go,” she said.
They headed towards the door to put on their shoes.
She stopped, looked at the clock, and said, “It is almost lunch, should we go to eat first?”
“It’s your decision,” he said.
“A coffee shop should be fine. I just don’t know which one. Maybe we should decide before leaving.”
“Again, it’s your decision. Where do you want to go? What’s your favourite coffee shop?”
She pondered this for a moment. The goal was to go to a coffee shop far from her apartment on campus. Her favourite coffee shop was very close to campus.
“I think my favourite coffee shop and the coffee shop I want to go to are two different places today,” she paused, “But I think I have an idea of where I want to go now.”
“Alright, lead the way,” he said as she opened the door and they left the apartment.