Leaving the supermarket and walking to my car, I answer a call on my mobile.
“Hello? It’s Blessing. I wanted some advice on my essay,” says the voice on the other end of the line; one of my student tutors. I stuff the mobile between my ear and shoulder as I fumble for my car keys in my left hand pocket, shaking them loose and clicking the button to unlock the car.
“I have managed to finish my assignments, but think I have exceeded the word count,” Blessing explains. I load the heavy bag of shopping in the boot and shut it, walking around to the driver’s door.
“How many words are you over?” I ask, as I climb into the seat and check my right pocket. Something isn’t right.
“About three hundred and fifty,” he explains, “do I need to cut it down?”
I check my jacket pockets, more fervently than my trouser pocket, then exit the car, looking around the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat.
“Erm, no, that should be OK,” I assure Blessing, not really concentrating now. I’m hurriedly heading back to the boot, opening it and searching through the groceries as Blessing expresses his relief, in direct proportion to my panic. I’m trying to think how it’s completely disappeared, I’m usually so careful. I make my way back to the driver’s seat and pretend to listen to Blessing’s description of his assignment. Where has it gone?
“Can I ask you about my teaching assignment next week? Only I – ”
Now completely freaked, sweaty and unable to continue the conversation, I interrupt my student.
“I’m really sorry, Blessing, I have to go. I’ve lost my phone.”