It was a Saturday.
I think it was a Saturday.
Or you know what? I’m not sure. There was very little difference between the various days of the week to me. I had structured my life in a way that made my schedule entirely under my control, and so the days of the week had no special significance other than that which I assigned to them.
Mondays were no different from Sundays because there was no early morning rush to get dressed and head to work. My working hours were very flexible, and completely determined by me. Every day of the week was the same- entirely open to my interpretation, and entirely subject to my intent.
Well, banks didn’t open on Sundays. This was one way external routines still exerted some sort of influence on my life: There could be no banking on Sundays. But the banks were open on Saturdays. Banks are open on Saturdays in Cape Verde.
I got up that morning with a pliable schedule: What did I intend to do?
I probably walked about in my studio apartment for a while, doing some things which I now do not remember. I then opened the door, basking in the exhilarating view of Praia Antonio D’Souza- the excellent beach on the South side of the island of Sal. I loved that beachfront apartment. I really loved it.
I do not remember how I got upstairs. I probably bumped into one of my Cape Verdean neighbours in the hotel, had a short chat (as much as I was able to chat in Cape Verdean Creole- a language which I was only mildly fluent in) and then followed him upstairs to spend some time with his friends.
They were passing around a cup. Inside it was some sort of beverage. It had evidently been mixed with alcohol- I could smell it. I did not object. I accepted the communal cup and gently sipped some of their questionable beverage.
We were all enjoying our conversation- the alcohol was doing its job I think. Inside my head I was marvelling at my position: living in a foreign country, spending time with interesting locals and engaging in conversation, partly in a completely new language. I was living the life.
Every once in a while though, my mind would steer my attention to my MacBook Pro in my apartment downstairs. That computer was my most prized possession- I spent thousands of dollars purchasing it in San Francisco, USA. And these Cape Verdean boys, interesting and exotic as they were, were very light fingered. A number of things had spontaneously gone missing from my place in the preceding few weeks: My binoculars, my mini-drone, my bluetooth speakers, and God knows what else had gone missing that I had not yet noticed.
These boys were thieves.
And so in reaction to that, I resorted to hiding my MacBook Pro in the ceiling of my room whenever I was going out. The door to the room had a non-functional lock, and Simon- my Senegalese neighbour cum de facto caretaker, had not fixed it despite my having provided him with the money.
And so while I was chatting with the guys in Creole and sipping their dubious drink, my inner man was very anxious about the safety of my computer.
Shit what if one of them finds out where I keep it?
Nah they can’t. My hiding place is pretty covert.
Wait but what if they do?
Calm down Mayowa, calm down your MacBook is safe.
Shit but what if they do though? I mean, look at that guy, the one with the purple beanie- look at how widely he’s grinning. He knows. He definitely knows. Oh he so knows. Fuck I am in so much trouble, fuck.
My MacBook Pro is gone, my MacBook Pro is fucking gone. Fuck.
“A odj means to see.” One of my Cape Verdean neighbours said to me.
“Ahh. A odj. To see. Ohh.” I nodded my head excitedly, adding the new term to my Creole lexicon.
“Ah wait, so that hotel- the really nice one by the beach- Odjo d’Agua, Odjo means to see right? And Agua means water right?”
“Yes yes!” Replied Nilton. “Odjo d’Agua means sea view! Sea view!”
“Ahhhh. Sea view! Odjo d’Agua! Ahhh!” The previously cryptic name of the hotel suddenly realized some sort of meaning in my head. Before that moment, all it was was the nebulous indecipherable alien name of some fancy hotel.
I was enjoying myself.
“Odjo d’Agua. Sea view. Ahhhh.” I nodded slowly to myself.
Two of the guys in the room were engaging in a transaction. I think one of them was buying marijuana from the other. Marijuana was definitely something that united young people from all over the world. From all walks of life. If there was a global political party having Marijuana as being core to its ideology it would definitely have all of the world’s young people solidly behind it. Definitely.
It was time for the Marijuana-buyer to pay his vendor. He walked to a corner of the room and stood on a small table that was positioned there. He tiptoed and stretched his right hand into the ceiling…
My brain froze.
He was reaching into the ceiling to get his money. Where he kept his money was exactly the same position I had hidden my MacBook Pro in my own room.
Shit shit shit shit shit Mayowa.
Your hiding place is no fucking secret.
Everybody knows it.
Everybody fucking knows it.
Your MacBook Pro is gone.
Your MacBook Pro is fucking gone.
PS: I actually do not swear this much. I only indulged in profanities to this extent because I was in a pretty precarious situation. And all of the swearing was in my head anyway, not out loud.
For those bothered about the swearing, that is.