Three days. It took them three days to notice her absence. Said days had been silent, peaceful even, and not once did it occur to any of them, to be peculiar. The evening was also quiet. Not the normal quiet. An unusual quiet like the calm before a storm, a sort of premonition of doom. Everyone wanted to ask. The question was right there on the tip of their tongues, just waiting to roll out. Everyone wanted to know, but none dared to speak.
“Has anyone seen her today?” one brave soul asked, and just like that the silence was broken. The calm long gone, and the air thick with something else entirely. Concern? Regret? Fear? Uncertainty? Only they knew.
“Did anyone see her yesterday?” the brave soul added. The air got thicker. Some chocked on it, some got teary, and the rest had this expressionless look on their faces.
“Huh, some friends you are!”
The brave soul had now crossed that fine line and one would argue that, at the moment, this reflected some level of stupidity.
“Wewe,” the rest could not take it anymore, “nyamaza ama utoke hapa. Has anyone tried calling her?”
One quickly dialed her number, put the phone on speaker only for the response to make them all feel worse, ‘Sorry, the mobile subscriber cannot be reached.’
“Ni mteja,” the one who called spoke, pointing out the obvious.
“Was that saf or airtel?” the stupid, formerly brave one, asked.
“Saf,” the one who called replied.
“Try airtel,” the stupid one said.
The one who’d called before dialed again, not on speaker this time. “It’s ringing” had everyone optimistic, relief evident on some of their faces. Then a phone started ringing somewhere among them.
“Whose phone is that?” another asked.
“It’s coming from inside her house,” yet another replied.
“That must be her phone,” again came the one who called, who seemed to be excelling in the art of the obvious. Silence roamed around, and knowing looks were exchanged.
“Okay what is happening?” asked the stupid one. “Anyone understand what is going on here?”
His questions, just like all of yours, remain unanswered…(for the moment)