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by Mhembeuter Jeremiah Orhemba

Your DMs are a string of messages.

-Checking up on you. 

-I can't call, my SIM has been blocked.

-Have you resumed yet? 

-I relive your voice notes just to have a feel of your voice. 

-Hey, Mkaneem.

You cease reading and scroll. More messages pull up. A lengthy note stretches out, topped with crying emojis.

-Your line is not going through. 

-Did you block me? 

-Please, say something. 

Thoughts stagger in your head. Your heart sears with delight. You glance up, and yes, it is ‘Prince Charming’—André—who has sent you these messages. 

You notice he is online. And typing…

-Or Wam, are you back? 

-Can we meet? 

You stare, wide eyed. It is wind inside your head. Memories flush into your mind. 

Plunged in a self crisis, you had replaced your SIM card with a new one. Amidst all your troubles, André was the particular reason for your disconnect. Hysteria coalesced in your mind, the air cutting with each pull. You had a crush on him, he saw you as a friend—he was not ready for a relationship. And so you needed space. From him, from people, as much as you could. His goofy grin from previous video calls haunted you. His hollow laughter, killing. Day by day.  Until it haunted you no longer. Life became light, easy to glide through. You reached out to friends and family, told them this was your new number. 

-Heavens, Mkaneem, they gasped. You had us terribly worried!

Now, you are shaking. You returned to WhatsApp expecting an abundance of messages. But not from André. And 50 messages?

-You are online!


-Six months offline, man. Hope all is good?

You don’t know what to type. 

The cursor keeps blinking. 

And it is so hot in your chest.

-Or wam? Mkaneem?

Whatever you decide, to answer or not, will define a new path for you. Should you reply him? Return back into that toxic shell of uncertainty, your heart beating, beating, beating, unsure if his hearts beats same too?

You hover a finger over the screen of your phone. Think hard.

You breathe in.

Yes, André. I'm back.

You put off your data.


Mhembeuter Jeremiah Orhemba is a literary and speculative ficton writer. He is Tiv, Nigerian and first runner-up for the 2021 Kreative Diadem Flash Fiction Contest. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in FictionWrit, The Shallow Tales Review, Arts Lounge, Eboquills,The Muse Journal, Agapanthus Collective, ARTmosterrific, Fiction Niche and elsewhere. In 2021, he was an artist-in residence at ARTmosterrific. He wishes to attain the serenity of water, enjoys watching TK and Carlos kiss, and still loves AURORA and Christina Perri. For more of his works, read here: He tweets @ son_of_faya

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