Loud bangs jostled Mia from her sleep. A few seconds passed before she figured the thumps were coming from her front door. Hazy from sleep and miffed that her sleep was interrupted, Mia heaved out of bed and flounced to the door. She rolled her eyes when she saw it was Judith, her exasperatingly intrusive neighbor who lived 3 houses from hers.
“What is it, Judith?” Mia said. Mia’s unwelcoming tone of voice did not faze Judith.
“A hot guy just moved into that house.” Judith pointed to the house after Mia’s.
“You need a man in your life. This is your chance.”
As if Judith knew what Mia was thinking, she added, “He’s not married. I did my findings.”
“Of course you did,” Mia said. Just then, Mia spotted the new guy coming out of his house and her jaws dropped. “Oh my God!” she said.
The new neighbor was Christopher, her university crush. The same Christopher that Mia drooled over as if he was an irresistible exotic delicacy. But he had a girlfriend back then. So Mia had settled for being just friends with him. Mia felt alarmed that Christopher still had this electric effect on her. The intensity of it baffled her. She felt a flurry in her stomach as she drank in Christopher’s god-like handsomeness.
Judith cleared her throat, startling Mia out of her daydream.
“You are ogling.”
“No, I’m not,” Mia said, trying to keep her dignity in place.
“Yes, you were.”
Mia shrugged. “That’s just Chris. My classmate at University. He’s good-looking but nah he’s not my type. I’ve seen better-looking guys.”
Judith was skeptical, “You have seen better guys and you are still single?” she asked.
Mia glared at Judith. “Alright, you have overstayed your welcome. You can go now.” Mia said and shut her door.
Inside, Mia pressed her back against the door and gulped some air. Her chest was beating so fast she had to tell herself to relax. What were the odds? Who would have thought Christopher would become her next-door neighbor after 12 years?
Unmarried, If Judith’s findings were to be trusted. And drop-dead handsome, as ever.
Mia found herself peeking out her window to check for signs that Christopher was back. Wheels turned in her head with plans to ask Chris on a date. Not snatching this opportunity would be witless. What if this was fate, playing matchmaker? She couldn’t have him then, but she could now.
A few minutes after 4 PM, Mia glimpsed Christopher unlocking his door. She took a quick shower, made herself presentable, and went over by 5:30 PM, but not before rehearsing her line.
Mia rang the doorbell and waited. The door flung open a few seconds later to reveal a gorgeous lady. Oh no, but Judith said he had no wife.
“Uh hi there,” Mia said.
“Hi,” the lady said with a satin-smooth voice.
“I am Mia. Chris’s old classmate. Looks like you just moved in. I’ve come to say hi.”
“Chris!” the lady called, “Someone is looking for you.” She invited Mia into the house. “I’m Zoe, Chris’s sister,” she said.
“Oh,” Mia remarked. That was good news. Mia hoped she concealed her relief and excitement well.
“Please have a seat. I’ll go get Chris.”
“Thank you,” Mia said and perched on a sofa.
Zoe came back a few minutes later. “He’ll be with you soon. Can I get you something?” she said.
“Water is fine. Thank you.”
Mia took in the apartment while she waited for Christopher to join her. Artworks lined the living room wall and there was a bookshelf on a corner. While she looked through the books, Mia heard someone cough behind her. She turned around and there stood Christopher.
“Chris! Oh my God” Mia said. She threw her arms around Christopher and hugged him. But she sensed that Christopher was disinclined and retreated. She found him staring at her like she was an incongruous piece of furniture he didn’t remember buying.
“It’s me, Mia. We were classmates at University. The girl with the afro. We were paired together for Mr Atkinson’s infamous assignment in 400 level,” Mia said, trying to jog his memory.
Christopher’s face was blank. “I’m sorry, but I don’t think we’ve ever met. Maybe you have me confused with someone else.” He said.
“Oh,” Mia said, nonplussed. “You don’t remember me? No kidding?” Mia asked.
Christopher opened his mouth to say something but remained quiet.
“Um okay. I’m just going to take my leave. I’m sorry.”
Mia was turning the doorknob when Christopher asked her to wait.
“Which University are you referring to?” He asked.
Goodness, he wasn’t kidding. He genuinely didn’t remember her. That was weird. Did he get into an accident that took his memory?
“Lagos State University, LASU.” Mia replied.
“I went to Unilag.” He said. “But my brother went to LASU. My twin brother.” Twins. It never occurred to her that Christopher could be a twin. Because Christopher never mentioned it.
“So you aren’t Christopher?”
“No, that’s my brother. I’m Christian.”
“Goodness! I can swear you are the same person. But Christopher never mentioned he had a twin. Where is he though?”
“Christopher is married, so he’s there in Abuja being a family man.”
“Married! Wow! Great!” Mia’s voice increased with each word. “Um anyway, welcome to the neighborhood. It’s a lovely place to be. Except for Judith, my nosey neighbor.”
“Judith was here so I understand what you mean.”
They both stood there, not saying a word.
“I’ll take my leave now. Welcome once again.” Mia finally said.
“Yea, thanks for dropping by.”
Mia started to leave but she paused and turned to face Christian.
“I had a huge crush on Christopher when we were at University. I thought I’d gotten over that crush, but when I saw you, thinking it was Chris of course, it came back, stronger.”
Mia broke off and looked at Christian. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I said that. I’ll take my leave now.” Mia opened the door, mentally dumping her lines in a waste bin.
“Chris used to talk to me on the phone about a girl. A Mia. I’m sorry that slipped my mind. It must be you. He always talked about you. I told him to ask you out, but he said you intimidated him.”
Mia raised a brow and scoffed. Intimidated? She wasn’t expecting that.
“So I wasn’t the only one who had a crush. Good to know.”
“What Chris had was beyond a mere crush.”
But he did nothing about it, Mia thought. She thanked Christian for the info, and left.
Two weeks later, Christian dropped by Mia’s house, looking disheveled. Mia did a double-take when she answered the door.
“Oh my God, you look like shit!”
“I know. I need to talk to you. I will not be myself if I don’t.”
“Alright. Come in.” Mia said.
“Mia, I know this is going to sound crazy but…” he trailed off
“But what?” Mia nudged him.
Christian took a deep breath, as if he was trying to compose himself and getting ready for whatever comes.
“It’s me, Christopher.”
Silence hung in the air like damp clouds.
“I don’t think I get you.” She said.
“I lied. I don’t have a twin. Coming here wasn’t by chance. I knew you lived here. How I found out where you live is another story.I loved you. I still do. Very much. I’m sorry I lied.”
Mia was dumbfounded.
“Um this is crazy. So why did you make up all that story?”
“Okay, that was stupid. I’m sorry, Mia.”
“You know what, I’ll need time to process this. But for now, you need to leave.”
Two weeks later, Mia visited Christian and asked for a date. Just like she had wanted to do the first time. They went to Cozy Place and ordered some food and chatted while they ate.
“You are such an idiot, you know,” Mia said, laughing. “Where did the married twin brother story even come from?”
“I have no idea. I do stupid things when I am near you. Like never telling you I loved you back in University. Mia, we got off on the wrong foot but I’m ready to make amends for that.”
“You kinda took it too far though.”
Christopher laughed. “I know. Jeez, I’m cringing inside.”
“So how did you find out where I lived?”
Lene Juliana is a Health Education graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State. She is naturally quiet person so writing is a regular hobby to release her emotions. She can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.