“Good morning Coty. Today is August 14 2025 and it is seven ‘o’ clock in the morning. The temperature is twenty-seven degree outside, mostly sunny with a bit of clouds. Your calendar and reminders for the day have been set. Have a wonderful day.”
Coty groaned into her pillow. Her bones felt raw and her muscles sore, she knew from the discomfort that she should have slept earlier instead of working into the morning. The winding of the machine reached her ears as the curtains rolled away from the windows. She had fallen asleep with her computer and a few files littered at the head of her bed as she turned on her back, she tried not to knock anyone of them over. Her personal AI continued to wake the house up while she was barely able to convince herself to get out of bed. The windows drones, their sound proofing turn off, allowing the business of the streets to reach her ears. The loudspeaker comes on next, playing soothing music around the room.
It was summer, and as global warming was reaching its peak, the sun was scorching even so early in the morning. Coty sat up on her bed, reaching forward to pile the files up into a neat stack and plant them on the top of her laptop. Her neck was sore from the position in which she slept and she reached up to massage it with her hand, muttering at the discomfort. The heat from the summer was unbearable; it was one reason why her bills usually shot up at that particular season. Her air-conditioned was always on and she always had to leave her windows open and use a regulator more often than not. It was even more irritating to leave her home because the heat irritated her skin; it usually felt like little ants were biting up her arm. She hated to use an umbrella because it was uncomfortable. Most days she stayed home watching television instead of stepping out but it was a luxury she didn’t see too often.
Coty slipped down to her knees, taking a short moment to pray before she got up to begin her day. Coty took a quick shower under the cool spray, enjoying the temperature of the water as it contrasted the heat of the day. She padded out of the bathroom, ruffling a soft towel through her wet her while her mind swarmed with thoughts. There was so much to do, not only at work but also back at home. Her cousin’s birthday was around the corner and she had to get her a gift. There was also the matter of the meetings she had scheduled for the week, her mind was scattered.
The cotton texture of her stool brushed against the back of her thighs as she sat down.
“Ava.” She called out to her AI, setting the damp towel. “Call Baba.”
The phone rang for a while then there was small click before her father voice broke into the room, “Cot! My little girl how are you?”
“I am so glad you finally called me back, your mother and I were getting so worried. You haven’t called since Sunday and whenever we called you, you never answered the phone. I was actually about to call one of your friends or take a train over there to see you.”
“I am so sorry I caused such worry. Honestly.” Coty sighed and dropped her face into her palm. “Work has become my own personal Alcatraz the last few days and I can barely remember what day it is. If not for Ava alerting me every morning I am sure I would be a mess. I had so much to write up and had to take care of the bills for this month, coupled with trying to figure out things with Regina’s birthday party. I have been a mess. I am sorry I got you worried, it wasn’t my intention.”
“Cot don’t worry about it. I just want to make sure you are okay?” Coty nodded though she knew he could not see the reaction. She could hear her family in the background, her mother yelling at her siblings while also trying to be involved in the conversation at the same time. Her parents were the light of her life, always so full of energy and love. “I am glad you didn’t risk taking the train to come here. You know the doctor warned you not to stress yourself after that last scare. Which brings me to the good news. I would be home this weekend.”
Coty nodded again, picking up the brush on the dressing table and sending it through her damp hair. “Yes. Weekend. Thanks to all work I am hurling in, I would be free for some days, enough to travel out and meet you at home. I wanted it to be a surprise but I think it is better to let it out now.”
“You don’t know how happy I am to hear that. I will make sure that your room is cleaned so you can find your way around easily.” Her father yelled the announcement to the rest of the family and Coty had to cup her ears when they screamed in excitement. She broke out in laughter, already feeling like she was still in the house. “Well, honey, everyone is excited that you are coming over.”
“I know baba. Look, I hate to end the call but I have to get ready for the day. I still have some work to do for the next few days but I would call you during my lunch break so we can talk some more.”
“No, don’t worry. We would talk about everything later. I am just glad to know you are okay. Your siblings are driving us nuts, as it would seem. When you come over maybe you would take over the position of game master and help is out a bit. For now, take care of yourself.”
“You too baba.” Cot sighed, mentally counting the bristles on her brush as she sighed. “I’ll see you in a few days. Make sure you follow the doctor’s orders to a tee and don’t give mama any trouble either.”
“Sometimes it’s hard to remember which one of you is my wife.”
Cot laughed as her father ended the call and her smile dropped. Living alone had been her choice from the start, a choice she made to be closer to her work. Her family home was at the far end of the city and the expenses would have been too great a strain to put on them and on herself. Still, even though she was sure of her choice, she could not help but feel lonely most days. She missed the sound of her siblings, cousins and her nieces shouting so early in the morning. The business of their home as the children prepared for school and the adults prepared for work. It was a healthy distraction, a ray of excitement before facing a hard day at work.
Coty stood up, walking over to her cupboard to pick her outfit for the day. She reached to the top of the wooden cupboard, reading the words written above so she could find the label for her Thursday clothes. She pulled her suit out then squatted down to pick up the matching heels at the bottom of the wardrobe. She dressed by the wardrobe, putting on her lose camisole and buttoning her sailor pants at her hips. Ava began to read out the schedule for her day while she hunkered down at the edge of her bed to slip into her platforms. She gathered the documents on her bed, sticking them into her file, before slipping her laptop into the bag as well.
“You look amazing Coty.”
“Thanks Ava.” Cot replied with a smile. She walked back to the dresser to put on some lipstick and slip on some rings before she gave the order for her AI to shut down her house. One by one, just as they came on, the gadgets switched off. Coty locked her home, hurrying towards the elevators. The clack of her heels rebounded around the partially filled parking lot as she made her way to her car. The oval shaped car buzzed when she clicked on the keys to open it, its doors winding back so she could slip inside.
The car came alive and Ava took the controls of the car, switching the gadgets on and steering the car out of the lot. Coty pulled out a file from her bag, reading it over while her car sped down the street. She had spent so many hours working that she barely had any interest in being within the walls of her office for the next few weeks. There were times when all she wanted was to get a job and work for her own money. After three years, she was ready to leave and for a vacation to any beach in the world. As far away from her building as she could manage.
The car bleeped and she looked up from the files. “We have arrived.”
“Thanks Ava.” Coty slipped the documents back in the bag and slung the strap over her shoulder before she stepped out of the car. The elevator took her to the top floor and she found her way into the conference room.
She pushed the door open and stepped in, taking in the rowdy setting of the room. Someone walked up behind her, the prominent scent of Playboy deodorant filled her nostrils before a polite hand was set at the small of her back. Coty stopped in her stride, turning her head over her shoulder just as her boss moved closer.
“Good morning Coty.”
He walked her forward, pulling a chair out for her before crouching beside it. “After the meeting I need to see you in my office.”
Coty’s finger went down to her watch, her brows knitted as she turned to him. “I am not late. Is there a problem?”
“No.” he laughed, “there isn’t. It is an issue of a more personal nature. After this meeting can I please see you?”
Coty considered his words for a moment. Allowing them to skin into her mind before she smiled with a polite nod. Kyle was a good boss, respectful and polite; she knew there was no chance in the world he would try to pull any moves on her. He left her with a small pat on her shoulder and she turned towards his direction. Even though he told her not to worry, she found herself feeling silently uneasy about the whole situation.
Before she could delve into what he might need to talk to her about, the chair beside her scraped back and Maggie took the seat, her familiar scent of leaves and deodorant, something Coty always teased her about. “Morning Maggie.”
“Hey Coty.” Maggie tapped the table and Coty reached forward to read what she had slipped in front of her. A small smile stretched over her lips as she read the words on the small sheet of paper Maggie had passed over.
All around her, the people began to pull out their seats, preparing for the meeting while Coty continued to read. Maggie was one of the colleagues at work whose company she enjoyed. Coty would never go as far as calling them friends because she never met with Maggie outside the walls of the office. They shared stories on their lunchbreak, Maggie sometimes came to the office armed with coffee from Coty’s favourite café and they shared gossip occasionally. Maggie was a spy behind the walls; the woman was good at her job because she knew everything that happened in the building. Coty smouldered a bubbling laughter when she finished reading. Yeah, Maggie knew even the things that were not her concern.
Maggie leaned closer, mischief riding her tone. “Lunch break, today, make sure you get there early. I have so much to tell you, you will probably shit yourself laughing. Plus, I have two tickets to go see Candy Jar at the cinema, you interested?”
“Um.” Coty laughed, pushing the slip of paper off the table and into the front pocket of her suit. “I’ll see how early I can make it. The boss wants to see me after this meeting and I don’t know how long he would take to fill me in with whatever is going on.”
The meeting began and they all fell silent, listening to the new developments rising in the office. It did not take long for the conference to be emptied out after the meeting drew to a close and Coty made her way to the office. Kyle’s assistant greeted her in a cheery mood, walking ahead to announce Coty’s presence before allowing her into the cool office.
Coty walked up to the chair, pulling out a seat for herself with a polite greeting, even though she already saw him in the morning. Kyles drummed on the table, his chair screeching when he drug it closer to the desk. “Well I am glad you are here Coty. Please allow me to introduce to you, Lina Smith; she is from the Westbrook Medical Research Hospital.”
Coty turned to the woman who took her hand in a firm grip before letting go. “It is a pleasure to meet you Miss Adesina; I have been looking forward to talking to you.”
Coty was fully confused the more the woman spoke; she could not quite pick up on any reason she should be in the office with a medical researcher. Kyle must have noticed her discomfort because he spoke, “Coty. The lady is here to ask if you would be interested in taking part in her clinical trial.”
“Clinical trial.” Coty repeated dumbly. Like a toddler learning to speak, she tried to test the words against her tongue.
“Allow me to explain.” Lina offered in a small tone. “I and a few colleagues of mine have been working on an alternative treatment for blindness. This trial has come up with an effective way to restore full and complete sight to person’s suffering from partial or total visual impairment without risking surgery of any kind.”
Coty blinked, turning back to face her boss then towards the woman at her side. The words still sounded like gibberish to her. Partly because when she woke up in the morning she never thought the words, “you want to give me back my sight?” would ever leave her mouth.