Elsie sat at her desk and swirled in her chair mindlessly as her eyes darted again from one end of the room to another. All her three-and-something years in it, she had always felt it was quite a large and spacious office but today, after avoiding it for a week, she had finally come back to face the habitation of her iniquity, and its walls felt as if they were closing in on her; the room had suddenly become too small. She let her eyes dart around, wishing her mind would be able to put together the bits and pieces of that act that had altered her entire existence but it came up with nothing but a blank emptiness that she feared was sooner or later going to send her raving mad.
She sat up in her chair and tried to put herself together for the umpteenth time so she could get back to work. She had a bunch of reports to transcribe, mails to sort through and out and a whole lot of filing to do; all accumulation of a week’s work and her boss’ business voyage. The grandfather-clock imitation on her wall began to chime and she looked up to discover that it was already one o’clock and she had barely gotten anything reasonable done since morning. She remembered also that it was lunch time and that she could go and get something to eat but she did not, knowing that Ezinne was going to have lunch at the same spot as she – the spot that they had over the years shared a lot of meals in.
Tears welled up in Elsie’s already blood-shot eyes.
There was a knock on her door and before she could answer, the door swung open and in stepped her boss, his tie hanging loosely around his neck.
He held up his android tab and shook it in the air above his head.
“Elsie, when did you transcribe this report?”
She literally jumped to her feet. “Uh, I…”
He cut in. “It must have been before you took your leave because this work could only have been done by a sick Elsie!”
His tone was upset but calm. He never was the kind of man who raised his voice.
“I’m sorry sir”
“Fix it, please. I need it yesterday!”
He turned around and let himself out the same way he had come in.
She crumbled back into her seat, let her head fall to the desk and sobbed. She felt extremely tired, like she had just run a marathon race; only that this tiredness was not in her muscles, it was some place deep within where analgesics could not reach.
It was amazing how just one night could turn everything she had been in the last five years topsy-turvy. There was no doubting the fact that she was crazily in love with Kamal and that he loved her right back and they couldn’t wait to be married to each other, but right now, she wondered if he ever wanted to set eyes on her again. All of her consultations with wedding planners, obsession with bridal magazines and hours on the internet comparing colour schemes and checking out event centres were now in vain.
Now, as she shuddered with tears at her desk, the last thing she could remember him saying to her was the lethal silence that followed after she, through her tears, told him that she had just slept with her best friend’s ex-fiancé.
Slut! Traitor! Her mind yelled at her.
She raised her head with a jerk and shrieked as her blurry vision cleared, making out who it was who stood before her.
“I knocked but you didn’t answer so I tried the…”
She nodded, mute.
She couldn’t take her eyes off him as he stood by the door, his skin glowing and his muscles taut and intimidating in the T-shirt he wore. She must have stared like a goon for several seconds before she suddenly jumped to her feet again, almost tripping over herself as she ran into the bathroom. She turned on the tap, splashed handfuls of water on her face and then grabbed hold of the sink as she fought to steady herself and calm down.
“Are you okay?” His voice flowed with the air through the door.
She looked at her face in the mirror – washed mascara, smeared kohl, bloodshot eyes, dry hair – she looked awful.
“Just a second”
She gulped in lots of air and exhaled loudly. She stepped out of the bathroom and shut the door behind herself, leaning on it.
“I thought you weren’t supposed to be back for another few days?”
“Change of plans”
He was resting his back against the wall opposite of her seat, the same wall that bore the framed painting of her silhouette that he had given her as a gift on her last birthday. He didn’t look like he wanted to sit down, like he wanted to stay long.
She stayed on her spot, her gaze dancing above his head, scared of what they’ll see in his eyes. Every fiber of her being screamed at her to go and hug him and fall at his feet and beg for forgiveness; to tell him again how sorry she was and how she knew he was mad and how she didn’t want him to ever leave but, her feet stayed glued to the spot, they didn’t move an inch.
He broke the awkward silence. “It’s Thursday tomorrow”
She nodded again. She actually didn’t even remember what day of the week any day was anymore.
“La Grande still runs, yeah?”
“I’ll call in to confirm six o’clock”
Her heart skipped a beat. He wanted them to go to dinner? She couldn’t believe her ears.
Kamal walked over to her and tipped her head up with his fingers so he could catch her gaze. She looked away, tears forming at the corners of her eyes.
“I’ll pick you up here by five-forty”
She didn’t say anything. Any word she tried to let out would come out as tears instead.
He kissed her on the forehead and, still searching for her eyes said, “I miss you Elsie”
His baritone rang in her heart and the tears came now, hard.
Kamal turned around and walked towards the door.
He pointed to a fancy plastic bag on her table. “That’s a little something I’d love to see you in tomorrow. Five-forty”
…and so Pierced is one episode away from being concluded! It looks like a not-so-sad story after all, right? Well, if I were you, I’d like to find out how this thrilling love concludes. The final episode comes up next Friday. Don’t miss it!