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The Persistent Flamingo

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The flamingo appeared one Monday morning when Mofe was having breakfast. He was leaning against the kitchen island, a spoon in his right hand, rhythmically dipping and rising to deliver oats into his mouth, and a newspaper in his left hand. The flamingo’s head rose from the other side of the counter, and once it had reached its full height, it just stared at him. He had no idea where it had come from, but he had no time to make it his problem. He grabbed his work bag, pushed the flamingo out of the door and made his way to the train station. The flamingo followed him.

When he got to the station, the flamingo followed him through the gate. 

“Didn’t you see that?” he asked the station attendant.

“See what?” the attendant asked.

“The flamingo,” Mofe said. “It doesn’t have a ticket.”

The attendant look at him with confusion and concern.

“Sir, have a good day,” said the attendant. “Maybe book an appointment with a doctor when you get off work.”

Mofe stared at the flamingo. A hallucination was the last thing he needed, but he still had to get to work.

The flamingo was his companion on the train, on his walk to the office and on the elevator to the floor where his team’s desks were. The flamingo stood at Mofe’s shoulder as he worked on his computer. It sat beside him in team meetings. None of his colleagues noticed it. In one meeting, the flamingo flapped its wings, knocking some papers off a shelf. 

“I’m sorry,” Mofe said hurriedly. 

“It’s not your fault,” a colleague responded with a laugh. “You’re on the other side of the room.”

Each morning, Mofe woke up to find the flamingo still there, and got on with his day. By Friday, he had grown accustomed to his strange companion. He would eventually make an appointment and do the necessary to make it go away. For now, he was too busy. Friday was his work from home day, so he and the flamingo were at his dining table which had become his desk for the day. As he sat down for lunch, the flamingo settling down opposite him, a memory suddenly flashed into his mind. He must have been twelve-years old. His little brother Deji was sitting beside him, yammering on about something he had learnt at school. 

“Mofe, flamingos are pink because they eat algae and shrimp that contain carotenoids,” said Deji. “Cartenoids are pigments, they can be red or orange and when flamingos metabolise them, their feathers turn pink.”

“That’s interesting,” had been Mofe’s response, momentarily looking up from his textbook.

“Cartenoids are in carrots,” his brother continued. “Do you think I’ll turn pink if I eat too many carrots?”

“Maybe you’ll turn into a flamingo,” Mofe said with a smirk.

Mofe had not spoken to his brother in almost a year. He was just so busy. Deji was married, to a woman Mofe barely knew, with two daughters that Mofe had never met. The flamingo leaned forward, its beak almost touching Mofe’s face. Mofe picked up his phone and dialled his brother’s number. 

“Bro!” Deji’s voice was filled with surprise and happiness. “It’s so good to hear from you.”

“I’ve had a weird week,” Mofe replied.

“I’ve got time, I’d love to hear about it,” said Deji.

Mofe looked up. The flamingo was gone. 

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