“hi, i am committing suicide in three hours, i need someone to talk to.” he stepped slightly away from her, looked around the crowded room, stepped back towards her and added in a whisper “do you have six minutes?”

she inhaled – nothing. she was good with smells, she worked in the perfume section of options. he had no smell. without saying a word else, he walked away, slow-paced, through the crowd and out of the room.

several buses took off inside her head: ‘that’s a very fresh pick-up line… but he said it without smiling. he might be serious… but he did not look ill…. he was joking, how can you walk up to a stranger at a party and tell her you are committing suicide in three hours?’

she removes her phone from her bag and texted her friend

‘hey girl, where are you. smth strange just hapnd. get here qwk.’

moments later her phoned buzzed, she read the message and chuckled. she looked at her watch, a minute had passed since he left the room.

‘what if he is truly committing suicide? six minutes… that was weird, the confidence, the nerve.’ she looks around her, she was the only one sitting alone, she laughed in her head. she smiled and took a sip of her brandy, looked at the glass and downed the remainder of the drink, got up and walked out of the room. he was not outside, he was nowhere, he was gone. she looked at her watch – seven minutes after he first spoke to her. she looked around, there were several cars packed in the compound, she knew the owners. she knew most of the people inside, but she didn’t know him.

she went back to the party, her mind preoccupied by the tall and elegant stranger in a red polo shirt with a little crocodile on his chest. the party passed in a blur, and by the time she left the party at 04:13, his words were still ringing in he ears. this chance meeting changed her life…

she is at work on wdenesday when she overhears the other girls talking about a young executive kennedy legodile molale, who was found dead in mysterious circumstances.

“kennedy was the hottest thing to happen to the insurance world.”

“i hear a lot of people were not happy with the progress he was making within the party.”

“so why did he kill himself? why will klm kill himself? he had a good job, was rising politically, and…”

“i heard his academic records were fake.”

“that’s just rumors by people who were trying to bring him down.”

“i heard that’s why he did not get the job at air botswana…”

“that’s a lie. when was this?”

“a week ago. i heard he was under investigation…” she trails off as sego joins them.

“who are you talking about?”

“klm.”

“who?”

“klm! khumo, please show this bush girl the midweek sun. how can any young motswana female not know the hottest, most eligible bachelor in botswana?”

khumo fetches the paper from a drawer, opens the page and shows the article about klm’s death to her.

“i know this guy!”

“didn’t you just say you didn’t know him?”

“yea, i mean, i met… we met at a party on saturday. he walked -“

Copyright © Fani-Kayode Omoregie 2014

read the full story in my collected short stories – gravity of desire