Idị n’otu is a Nigerian Word for Unity

Eze Ihenetu
9 min readDec 26, 2019
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If I were asked to choose between an invasive procedure of my brain with no anesthesia and small talk with strangers — individuals I’ve known for less than a month — in closed spaces, I’d choose the first option. Small talk is a really awkward exercise, and often pointless, I think, since we usually babble on about stuff that will add no real value to our lives, in addition to it being likely that I won’t see my conversation partner in the subsequent days to follow.

On the morning of December 6, 2019, two days before my forty-third birthday, I arrived at my place of work. I walked over to the first floor elevator, pressed the “UP” button on the console, and began swiping at images on my phone. I heard shoe heels clicking on the linoleum floor as I waited for the decrepit elevator doors to spread apart. Out of reflex, I turned in the direction of the oncoming individual, and saw that a young woman with flowing brown hair, which extended to the small of her back, had her feet encased in those heels. I was able to distinguish the woman as she came closer. She was the new supervisor of the laboratory that is situated on the fifth floor of the building; she was the one that everyone had been fawning over.

Upon recognizing me, the young woman smiled and said, “Good morning Eze. How are you?”

“I’m good Erin,” I replied. “How are you?”

“Good, good.”

The elevator made a ding sound and then the doors slowly creaked open. I took a step backwards and said, “Go ahead.”

“Thanks,” she said before stepping into the elevator.

I followed her inside. While crossing the threshold I looked back at the floor buttons. The button to my floor was lighted up red. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Erin said.

I leaned back against the wall, sighed, and settled in for the ride. For the journey up to the third floor on a one-hundred year old elevator was going to be a long one. If I had been riding with a complete stranger I would have commenced to staring at the ceiling the whole way up. But on this day I was riding in an elevator with a fellow employee, who wanted to continue the conversation. So I made ready to push the words from my mouth.

Eze Ihenetu

Eze is a teacher, survivor, and politically astute. He is a 2X Top Writer and has been published in multiple digital magazines.