TEXT MESSAGE FROM ANNIE
Tunde instinctually glanced at his phone as a notification lit it up.
Upon realising who the message came from he looked again - distracting him briefly from the game.
'Do you want to jump on FaceTime?' the text read
'Tunde man - I'm getting smoked, TF you doing?' Alex's voice piped through the headset.
'Oi, mandem - I might have to cut still... ' he replied
'I heard your phone vibrate, who's texting us?' Sean added
'None of your business - let's just finish this mission' Tunde laughed.
'Nahhh this is you only safe space bro, we deserve to know' Alex replied.
'Well, if you must know - I'm never telling' Tunde retorted as he left the game.
'Sure give me 5 minutes.' he replied the message.
Tunde ran to his room and changed his shirt... the one he'd been wearing for the past few days served him no favour. He retied his du-rag and brushed up his beard.
'Not too neat' he said out loud.
He then went into his room and began to spray perfume.
'You idiot, she can't smell you over video call' he said to himself.
He sat at his desk and called her.
'Wow, exactly 5 minutes. Impressive' she said.
'You know how I am, a man of my word' he smiled.
'Ha! What was you doing?' she asked
'Just finishing up some laundry really' Tunde lied.
His laundry basket, the pile of clothes beside it and the t-shirt he'd just flung off all scowled at him. He moved his laptop to a position that would block the bulk of the load and made a mental note to actually do some laundry after the call.
'So tell me about your day...' he said
Annie began to narrate the events of her day. She lived with four others so there was always one or two stories to tell. Tunde didn't care much for the stories to be honest, but he always listened. First to the sound of her voice. It was her voice that led him to her in the first place. A few months ago, Tunde had been on holiday with the boys. It was from there Tunde gained the most attention he'd ever received in his life. The group had a photographer who helped them all build 'content' for their social media. Tunde wasn't bothered by it at all. But when all the lads put up their pictures and the comments were full of 'tag your friend' or 'whose the cutie in white shorts', Tunde was forced to reactivate his account.
His followers grew exponentially and it garnered but there wasn't much of him on his page. Just views and drawings. Tunde was a basic man. Very little excited him. He was easily pleased. In fact Tunde quickly forgot about his rise to popularity and abandoned the app. It wasn't until a link was dropped in the group chat that Tunde remembered to open his page. The messages and posts were overwhelming.
'Mandem... am I supposed to reply them all?' he asked as he dropped a screenshot of the influx of his messages in the group chat.
'Man like Tunde yuhnuh... 74 DMs!' Alex replied in a voice note. The group chat teased Tunde about his ability to 'pull gyal' online only.
Tunde decided he'd ignore them all, but just as he was about to close the app, an notification came through. 'Hey husband'. He opened the profile and it wasn't too different from his. Full of landscapes and art and one picture of her face, at an angle, mostly hidden by shadows. he was intrigued. So he followed her.
It was almost two months after when she posted a video. Again, the group chat had redirected him to his social media and he stumbled across her video. 'Affirmations' she called it. That was when he heard a voice. Tunde listened to the affirmations repeatedly for an hour. Her voice was soothing and calm but not one to be spoken over. Tunde woke up from his nap and opened tried to look for the video but it had gone. He needed to hear her voice again, and he wasn't willing to wait for the next video. His boys would troll him again if he asked for their opinion and they were right. Tunde had a zero success rate when it came to women. His only girlfriend ever had been his friend from college who broke up with him after she moved to America. They were still friends, but Tunde was fine with just that. She was the one who initiated the relationship and ended it. It wasn't that Tunde didn't like her or that he didn't like the relationship. He just didn't feel there was a deep enough connection and so was fine with whatever status they held. In fact when Shola ended things he was indifferent.
Tunde thought about messaging Shola for advice but then quickly decided against it. Shola was sensitive and Tunde never putting thought or asking for opinions in their relationships was one of the reasons Shola gave for ending things. She might have been insulted by this. After exploring the possible options of his only 4 friends and one ex, Tunde settled on taking matters in his own hands.
'Oh hey wifey, where did the affirmations go?' he replied her two month old message.
It wasn't long before they started talking. Phone calls happened within a week but Tunde still couldn't get enough of Annie's voice. He also yearned to see her face. Tunde knew that the owner of the voice would be just as beautiful but still wanted to see her. He didn't know how to ask, so it came as a surprise to him when she suggested their first video call. It wasn't so much a scheduled call. They were on the phone and Annie was describing something to him.
'Lemme just FaceTime and show you' she said.
'Uhm, o-okay...' Tunde stammered
The call came in before he had time to process what was happening.
'Yeah so this is what I mean.' Annie said as she showed Tunde her new purchase. The camera was flipped so he couldn't see her but he was pleased nonetheless. He could at least see around her to an extent and that was nice. Annie placed the phone on her desk by the mirror and continued talking. He'd catch glimpses of her reflection but not so much of her.
'Wait, you're actually there?' she randomly said after five minutes.
'What do you mean?' Tunde asked
'I mean, like your face, it's actually here' she replied. Her voice sounded somewhat shocked but pleased.
'I mean, it IS FaceTime' Tunde replied.
'Yeah, well you're the anonymous guy. Mr White shorts. I wasn't expecting you to show your face.' she replied.
Tunde wasn't sure if Annie was comfortable and he didn't want to say anything to make her feel bad about not showing her face.
'Well I'm not anonymous if you know my white shorts' he joked.
'Fair enough - well here's me' she said as she flipped the camera to her face 'I've taken off my make up so you're gonna have to -'
'Wow, you're beautiful' Tunde interrupted.
There was a pause
'Sorry I cut you off.' he continued
'Oh no, don't apologise, I AM beautiful' Annie laughed. Her laughter was almost musical.
'Well hello confident one' Tunde chuckled in response.
'Thank you.' she replied.
The video calls became daily. Tunde needed a fix of Annie each day and knew that he'd never get bored of her. She had a lot to tell. She wasn't talkative - but Tunde made sure that she talked a lot because he wanted to hear it all. He'd ask questions and probe deep into her thoughts. Which was the second reason he always listened to Annie. Even in her irrelevant tales which had nothing to do with anything, she always found a way to say something beautiful from it.