July 17, 2018 at 5:34 am #1236601ValentineAdmin
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Tuesday services were one of my favorites among our church programmes, especially because of one reason – one major reason – Sister Deborah.
I couldn’t remember the last time I missed any church service just because of her – just to hear her sopranic, angelic voice and to see her beautiful, dimpled smile.
I often made sure to reserve a seat at the front row where I could easily have a good, clearer view of her – her spotless fair skin complexion, her long black plaited hair and her adorable straight legs; exactly most of what I wanted in a woman – she had it all.
I myself, I could quite say I was somewhat attractive to an extent – at least from the compliments I often do get from people. I wasnʼt fair like Deborah but my dark-brownish skin was perfect. I liked my average height, even if I wasnʼt too tall. I had a slim, fitted stature that complimented my physique also – and as for my facial looks, I could use Korede Bello as a perfect description for it. Only that I lacked dimples.
However, asides all of that, Deborah had never for once noticed me, neither had I made any move either. I always had this ecstatic feeling of boldness to talk to her in my imaginations, but when the time comes, my courage fails me terribly. I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t bold enough.
That was Timiʼs voice – a friend of mine – calling me repeatedly over and over again, but I chose to ignore him.
“Chinecherem!” He called again, tapping me by my shoulder this time around.
Annoyingly turning to face him, I gave him a stern stare and asked, “What?!”
He looked dazed at my response.
“I don dey call you since say make we go house, you no wan answer. Service don close na!” he said.
I hissed and ignored him, turning my gaze back to what I was looking at.
Timi tapped me again, more harder.
“Chineche no be you I dey follow talk…” he sounded frustrated. Yet, I ignored him.
Then, instinctively, he followed my gaze to see what I was looking at.
He then heaved a sigh and muttered silently under his breath, “No wonder!”
“So you havenʼt given up on this girl?” he asked, and added, “If you like her this much, why donʼt you just man up, walk to her and tell her?”
“You think itʼs that easy?” I responded, still keeping my gaze fixated forward.
“Are you afraid of her?”
That was Timiʼs next question to me. I turned my gaze to him instantly.
“Afraid of her?” I laughed. “Why should I be afraid of her?”
“I have a reason for asking because, the Chineche I know would never take this long to woo a girl he likes. Iʼve always known you to be a sharp, rugged boy over the years who doesnʼt take no for an answer. What suddenly happened? You don change finish.” Timi said.
In a truthful sense, he had some iota of truth in what he said. I had truly changed, a whole lot.
“I can’t just understand either,” I answered, heaving a sigh. “Itʼs just that when it comes to Deborah, everything turns around. Everything changes! It feels entirely different.”
“Then talk to her!” Timi chipped in. I looked at him with an avid stare, processing his last said words in my head carefully, before heaving a sigh to face elsewhere.
“Timi, I canʼt. You wonʼt understand.” I gave up in mock surrender, getting up on my feet.
“Letʼs go home.” I added.
Timi looked at me with a complex gaze, obviously surprised at my cowardice.
“Chineche this is so unlike you,” he said, getting up on his feet too.
I ignored his remark and walked forward towards the exit door. Timi followed behind me.
Just close to the exit door was where the choir podium was situated, which meant that I would have to pass through there, close to Deborah. I could see some choristers waiting behind, talking and laughing, probably waiting to have a practice session. I could see Deborah too, standing with a plate of food and a bottled water engulfed in-between her arms as she ate hurriedly, laughing and talking as she chewed the food crumb in her mouth.
I bowed my head towards the ground as I passed behind her, making my way to the exit door. I could smell her cologne – the usual perfume I had grown to like whenever I passed near her. It had an enchanting scent combined with the yellow and black uniform she wore – her choir attire.
A few steps away to the exit door, as I made my way further, out of nowhere, almost out of the blues, someone pushed me forcefully and I stumbled and staggered, almost tripping down. I lost balance and waltzed to a corner to grab onto anything I could hold on to, only to collide heavily with someoneʼs figure beside me.
The plate she was holding slipped off from her hands and fell down, as well as the bottled water. It shattered into pieces on the ground and the water spilled out too.
I raised my head with plain shock, realizing I had just bumped into Deborah. I could see crumbs of stew stained all over her shirt, messing it up. She looked more shocked than I was at that moment.
“My goodness! I am s–s–so sorry,” I stammered frightfully, fidgeting in a trembling way with the unlikely look she had on her face.
Then, instinctively, I turned my gaze backwards to see Timi standing nearby, slightly afar off. He had pushed me intentionally – I could tell from the look on his face.
He smiled and winked at me immediately, bursting out into laughter.0July 17, 2018 at 5:35 am #1236602ValentineAdmin
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I still trembled frantically as I exchanged glances with her, eyeball to eyeball.
“I am terribly sorry,” I pleaded on, hoping to hear her say something. She showed no facial expression whatsoever, rather than staying mute, facing me with an expressionless stare.
“I am really sorry,” I said again. She kept mute, still.
Then, Timi came closer to where we were stood, lifting his legs to avoid stepping on the broken pieces of plate on the floor. I eyed him badly as he came nearer.
“Oh, my God! Sister Deborah I’m very very sorry,” he said as he finally stood near us. “I and my friend were just joking when I unconsciously pushed him and…”
“Itʼs okay.” Deborah cut in, interrupting him.
“It was a mistake, please. It wasn’t intentional.” Timi persisted further.
“I said it’s okay, it’s fine. You can leave.”
“Okay, let us pack and sweep the broken pieces of plate and mop the floor first before we leave.” Timi said, kneeling towards the ground.
“Stop. I’ll clean it up myself.” Deborah declined. “You can go, both of you.”
“Are you sure you’re not annoyed?” Timi questioned again.
“Trust me, it is fine. You can leave.” She affirmed softly, adding a smile.
“Thank you. Iʼm really sorry once again.” I said, feeling at ease this time around. She only smiled and nodded at me, uttering nothing in response.
I bowed my head and proceeded towards the exit door as Timi followed me behind. I was still angry with him, obviously, and he knew it.
When I exited the church premises, Timi ran up to me laughing hardly and trying to start a conversation with me, but I ignored him. He kept talking and teasing me about the recent incident, trying to get me to talk, but I paid deaf ears to everything he was saying. When he realized I wasn’t giving him the attention he was looking for, he gradually kept shut and composed himself.
Usually, it was a normal routine for I and Timi to walk together whenever we closed from the church service, trekking the long distance back home. But because of my angered state at that moment I was forced to take a cab back to school, where I would then stroll the remaining distance to our hostel.
I left Timi behind and took a cab.
On getting to our hostel, I had barely stretched out my hand onto the door knob when it creaked open on its own. Fatai, our fellow roommate, stepped out of the room with a girl beside him. At first glance, he looked rather surprised to see me standing there – not until he took a peek at his wristwatch and glanced back at me.
“Una don close?” he said, sounding uneasy.
I only nodded absentmindedly as I proceeded to make my way inside.
“Where is Timi?” Fatai asked again, holding me back.
I turned around and fixed a stern glance straight at him, directly at his eyes.
“Guy, give yourself brain.” I said bluntly and jerked my arm away from his grasp as I walked back inside.
Shutting the door behind me, I flung my Bible to the small center table and tossed my shoes to a corner, falling straight to the bed.
“What’s his problem?” I heard a feminine voice speaking. “Is he alright?”
“Heʼs probably in a bad mood. Letʼs just go. Let me see you off and return back to him.” Fatai responded, heaving a sigh.
“Please do.” The feminine voice spoke and, after that, I heard footsteps walking away.
I closed my eyes and buried my head into the pillow to soak myself in thoughts.
Timi fumbled this time around. He clearly crossed his boundaries. Was that necessary? I asked myself. Did he have to push me? Did he have to embarrass me that way?
In the middle of these thoughts, the door opened up and I looked from the corner of my eyes to see Fatai, accompanied by Timi and Hakeem, our co-roommate. I hissed and buried my head into the pillow again.
“Omo Igbo ki lon sé ė?” Hakeem asked jovially. Which means, “Igbo boy what is your problem?”
I paid deaf ears to his remark and remained motionless.
“Iwo ko ni moʼn ba soro ni?” He asked again. Which means, “Is it not you I am talking to?”
“Hakeem, apurum aka biko.” I answered in the calmest way I could. Which means, “Hakeem, please leave me alone.”
“You dey swear for me?” Hakeem exclaimed, confused.
“I said leave me alone.” I annoyingly repeated.
I wanted to be left alone. Out of my expectation to be left alone from Hakeemʼs disturbing questions, someone dragged my leg and pulled me upright roughly. I looked up with a frown, expecting to see Hakeemʼs figure, but it turned out to be Fataiʼs instead.
“Don’t bone face for me. Sit down properly, letʼs talk.” Fatai said calmly.
I tried not to sound rude. “Fatai, please stay out of this issue. It’s not your concern.”
“Chineche, I said sit down.” Fatai repeated, sounding blunt.
I took a glance at both Timi and Hakeemʼs direction, giving a bloodshot stare particularly at Timi, before turning back to Fatai.
“Fatai, na because say na you o.” I said and properly adjusted to sit upright.
Fatai sat beside me, followed by Hakeem who held a bowl of garri and a plate as he absentmindedly scooped some spoons from the bowl into the plate; while Timi remained standing.
“Won’t you sit?” Fatai asked, referring to Timi.
“Una go drink garri?” Hakeem interrupted.
Fatai turned to face Hakeem with a disgusted look. “So that garri is the most important thing to you in this issue, isn’t it?”
Hakeem shrugged. “Wetin concern me. If they like let them kill themselves, the world must surely go on.”
“Timi please sit down. Ignore the fool.” Fatai persuaded further, snubbing Hakeem with maturity.
“Fool or no fool, all I know is that they must end up settling. So…”
“Would you at least shut up?” Fataiʼs voice was obviously fed up of Hakeemʼs babbling.
That was the typical Hakeem with his carefree nature. He often goofed around and cared less about anything, so I wasn’t the least surprised at his attitude. It wasn’t his first time, neither would it be his last.
Hell, in another word, was the same thing as staying with Hakeem under the same roof.
However, Timi heeded to Fataiʼs words and sat on the bed, directly opposite me. I was sitting at the edge, while Fatai sat in the middle, and Timi at the opposite edge. So Fatai was virtually in-between us.
“Chineche, let us talk man to man. What actually happened?”
“Tell him to tell you.” I answered with a straight look at Timi, pointing to him.
“He already has,” Fatai countered. “He told us on our way coming in, but I also need to hear from you too.”
“I hope he told you how he embarrassed me?”
“Embarrassed you? Chineche, you call that embarrassment?” Timi laughed cockily. “I only helped you.”
“You were helping me by pushing me forcefully to a girl to the extent that I squashed and spilled her plate of food and water? You even made me stain her clothes too. Did I ask you to help me? Who asked for your help? Who send you message?”
“Chineche calm down. Timi you too talk small small. I don’t want a situation whereby we would start exchanging blows now o! You guys should behave na.” Fatai cautioned, trying to ease the tension.
“No, leave them, let them fight.” Hakeem said with a smile, scooping a spoonful of garri as he talked.
Fatai ignored him and continued: “Timi, how would you do something like that? You f----d up.”
“I didn’t f--k up. Chineche f----d up.” Timi replied sharply.
“How did I f--k up?” I demanded, obviously puzzled. “Timi, you know how much I like that girl. You know how much I have been secretly admiring her. You are the least of all people I expected this from.”
“Chineche, I said you f----d up. That push I gave you was your stepping stone to move forward, but you fumbled. You wasted it. So, don’t blame me.”
“Hold on, this particular girl in question, who is she?” Fatai interrupted.
“Deborah.” Timi answered. “She’s a chorister.”
“She attends this school?”
“Yes, she does. In fact, she stays in this campus.” Timi affirmed.
“Then it must be her!” Fatai confirmed as he shook his head. “I know her, she is my girlfriend’s friend.”
“Excuse me?” I spoke up instantly on hearing the word ‘girlfriend.’ I had thought he was referring to Deborah as his girlfriend.
“Chineche, remember the girl you saw when you came in earlier?” Fatai asked.
“Divine – that’s her name. She’s my girlfriend and also Deborah’s friend and roommate.” He explained clearly.
“Wait a minute, you mean you brought a girl into this room?” Hakeem’s mouth flung open, almost spilling his mouthful of garri. “No wonder you refused to come to mosque.”
“Out of everything, that was the only one he heard.” Fatai hissed, and continued, “So all hope is not lost, we can still do something if you want to, Chineche.”
“What are you suggesting?” I asked curiously.
“It’s now you’re talking!” Fatai heaved a sigh. “I could take you to her hostel around the evening hours, along with Timi also. You know my girl stays there, so it should be easier.”
“But what is the need of going to her hostel, if I may ask? It’s pointless.”
“You are wrong!” Timi cut in abruptly. “This is another chance for you, that is, if you play it well.”
I fixed a thoughtful look at Timi, considering his suggestion carefully. It sounded like a nice idea, but still…not too nice, too.
“I’ve heard you. I’ll give it a try.” I affirmed. “But,” I added, “that doesn’t mean I have forgiven you, though.”
Timi laughed calmly.
“Let’s wait and see.”
Hours later, at exactly six thirty on the dot in the evening, Fatai and Timi had gotten ready to leave, apart from me. I wasn’t prepared. I was nervous.
I even went the extra mile to shower and freshen up into new clothes, just to impress her. I brushed again for the umpteenth time that day, and I sprayed a good amount of perfume to enhance my cologne.
I also had a piece of paper I wrote something into about how I was supposed to act and what to say in front of her, and if I wasn’t mistaken, I had read this same paper over a hundred times.
After the whole prancing about, we finally left the house at seven on the dot, due to my childish delay. I did the sign of the cross three times when we finally approached the female hostel, precisely in front of a particular room.
“Is this it?” I asked nervously.
Fatai nodded. “Are you ready?”
I heaved a sigh, breathed in as much air as I could, and said “Yes!”
Then, Fatai knocked on the door.
Immediately, a voice from inside responded.
“Yes, who’s there?”
“You as in, who?”
“Somebody.” Fatai answered.
“Don’t you have a name?”
“I don’t.” He said, smiling.
“Okay. Hold on, I am coming.” The voice responded and we heard footsteps approaching the door. Then, it opened.
“Baby!” Divine gasped in surprise as she saw Fatai. She leaned closer and wrapped him in a tight hug. Fatai laughed.
“You didn’t tell me you were coming here.” She said as she withdrew from the hug, turning her gaze towards us; I and Timi.
We exchanged pleasantries and then she turned back to face Fatai.
“Why don’t you guys come in? Let me prepare something for…”
“Actually,” Fatai interrupted, “we are here to see your friend, Deborah. Is she in?”
“She’s around. Hope no problem?”
“No, nothing at all. We just need to see her.” Fatai affirmed calmly.
Divine gave a skeptical suspicious look at Fatai closely: a very serious look.
“Baby, I hope it’s not what I’m thinking o.” She jokingly said and walked back inside. Fatai and Timi laughed, except from me. Laughing was the least of my problems at that moment.
Shortly after, Divine returned outside with my greatest fear… Deborah.
Everything I had practiced before coming there suddenly melted and dried off on sighting her. Imaginary goosebumps popped out all over my body and I noticed I was vibrating like an electrocuted person.
“Hey!” Deborah’s voice echoed through my ears, reviving me from my reverie. “I remember you.”
I tried to say something, but my voice was unable to form words. She turned to Timi. “And you too. I remember you, too.”
“You guys know each other?” Divine spoke up, amused.
“Not exactly,” Deborah replied. “They’re the guys I told you about, concerning the issue of my stained dress.”
“Oh, they’re the ones?” Divine asked, shifting glances between I and Timi.
“Yes, they are.” Deborah affirmed.
“And that is why we came here,” Timi interjected. “To apologise!”
“To apologise?” Deborah repeated. “I already told you it’s fine. I’m serious.”
Timi’s eyes narrowed towards mine, giving me signs to take over.
“Deborah, can I have a minute with you?” I sharply cut in.
“Ehm. Sure…” She said hesitantly, a bit of confusion evident from her features.
She then stepped forward while I followed closely behind, away from Timi, Divine and Fatai.
“Deborah…” I called out, feeling my heart beat thumping rapidly.
“Yeah?” She folded her hands as she answered, fixing an avid focus on me.
“Well,” I continued, managing to summon enough courage. “I know I offended you and I know I have said sorry a lot of time, but I just need to be assured that it’s from your heart. Please, forgive me.”
Deborah chuckled. “I have forgiven you. Believe me. It’s nothing.”
“Are you sure?”
“More than sure,” she said, giving me a warm smile.
“Like, really really sure?” I asked, returning a warmer smile to her.
“You’re very funny, you know that? I can’t believe you came all the way from wherever you came from to tell me this. I’m overwhelmed.”
“Actually, I school here.” I said. “I stay in campus.”
“I figured as much.” She said, and added, “Besides, you haven’t even told me your name.”
“Don’t mind me. I’m Chinecherem.”
“Chinecherem! It’s a nice name. I’ll rather call you Neche.”
“Anyhow you feel like.” I concurred shyly. She smiled.
“So . . . friends?” I stretched a hand towards her, offering a handshake.
“Of course. Friends!” She ignored my handshake and, instead, to the peak of my surprise, she pulled me into a warm hug. It was swift and light.
Then, we withdrew from the hug, smiling.
Finally, at long last, my dream came true!1+July 17, 2018 at 7:06 am #1236611sheegokeysMember
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- super active contributor
Nice story we have here
links to available episode0July 17, 2018 at 7:59 am #1236622BUKOLAMIMember
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interesting0July 17, 2018 at 8:10 am #1236625kinginMember
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Sister debby0July 17, 2018 at 9:35 am #1236639kingsabintoMember
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Am on my seat…….,@skyblueking come and read this o0July 17, 2018 at 10:06 am #1236643lil tunchiMember
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next pls0July 17, 2018 at 10:36 am #1236645
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