I was hiding behind the chinese door when Khadijat walked hurriedly past me. I saw her stop at the window and peeped through the window pane. I heard her calling Aminu’s name in a desperate weak voice. Her voice, as faint as the chirping of a cricket in the long wide dark night, wasn’t too loud, so it was lost in the noisy Prep room (students class for reading). And when she became tired of calling, the class suddenly became quiet as though someone had paused each and everyone of them with a single remote control, and this time I could see her slim coca cola bottle shape standing there as if she would never call his name again. Due to the frustration, all her strength seems to have forsaken her as though it were a few dust being swept away by a big hurricane.
She stood there so long that I eventually stopped looking at her any more, but then I overheard her talking to someone else.
Do you know Tofa please!
The way her voice disappeared I knew deep inside of me that she didn’t get the answer she wanted. I stood behind the door feeling guilty and my eyes turned red with shame. I was still where I was waiting for her to go back to where she was coming from. But still I couldn’t hear a thing. At last when I heard her friend commanding her with a cracking voice as though someone was holding her neck, a chill ran through my vein.
Lets get out of here Khadi, allow them to make face because it’s their time.
I listened to their footstep fades away and I felt the urge to go to her, comfort her, and explain to her why I couldn’t show up that night. But Khadi had already gone away and my heart became heavy.
Directly opposite me Aminu sat with his big head still pretending he was listening to music with my headset. When I came out of hiding he laughed uncontrollably and in mind I couldn’t understand why I had to be that stupid that night.
Aminu you’re a bad friend!
I whispered to myself and I began to pack my books and laptop. I had no desire to read anymore and I stride off towards the school gate, which was still open. It was just half past eleven in the night.
I shouted at one of the security guard and soon I disappeared into the dark lonely night with the feeling of guilt that has engulfed my heart.
It was just two months that I met her. That cozy evening, after so much had happened in the class earlier in the afternoon, I sat in one of the deserted class room and decided to go over what we had done in the afternoon. Because the night was a cold one, I wore a coat over the thick long sleeves which I had been wearing since that morning. The breeze blew as if trying to show itself and the tree got their voices as it sounded like the whistle of someone who was learning how to whistle. There was nothing worse than that that weather in the northern Nigeria. Even though it has been long that I had sat there, it was still impossible for me to open the pages of my books and my music was no doubt at its peak. That was because I could never read without it.
In a split second someone entered the class and I didn’t bother to raise my gaze at what or who it was. After some seconds a voice came out of no where;
Could you please reduce the volume of your music?
At this juncture I raised my head and I saw her for the first time. I didn’t look at her for long and I oblige to her request. Even though I wanted to take a second look I didn’t. I didn’t want our gaze to meet or get caught staring at her. I wanted to create a first impression of someone who had no time for women.
Some moments later, she called out again but this time a request. My heart raced faster and I was eager to hear it. To be frank I was a novice when it comes to teasing or flirting with women by then. So I was afraid I would mess up and create a stupid first impression.
Please which department are you!
The question came to me like an arrow and I was ready to catch it. It was a great thing for any guy in school to be a science student not only that but also a good one.
I said stammering and by this time I knew the nature of my being was going to disgrace me. I tried as much as I could to confuse and control the animal in me.
Thank God, I guess God sent me here because you were here!
The statement sounded in my ear like “you were the one I have been waiting for all my life” I wanted to shout eureka but I controlled myself.
I guess you are right, I said feebly
You said what? Nothing I said still staring at her as she does same. And I was thinking to myself how stupid she must be thinking of me.
She left where she was sitting and came closer to where I sat. She opened the pages of her textbook as though she was there to count it and I just pretended I wasn’t seeing a thing. Soon, it became worse since she didn’t stopped
Sorry are you counting the pages or you are reading it?
She looked at me; fumbled at herself she faked a smile revealing her rare homodont dentition which appeared bright in the bright class room.
Please could you teach me the course? I will gladly be your student she said hiding her face in between her two palms.
That was how everything started months ago and my stupidity that night kept hunting me through out the night that sleeping became hard for me.
Actually the idea to be hiding from her wasn’t mine. It was all Aminu’s, right from the day I told him I was in love with her I became his TV that he remote as he pleases with all sorts of advice, some of which were stupid.
The following night I went to school with the intention of telling her about my feelings even though it was hard for me. She was standing in the dark path leading to the class when I met her.
How far Hadi? I said as my heart raced faster. I was about making a hard decision in my life. I knew deep within me she was going to think I was taking advantage of the lesson. It was barely two month and she would never believe me, but I was afraid I had to proclaim my love before another guy from the blues do the unexpected.
I called your line countless of time last night and you refused to pick; am I disturbing you that much?
Immediately she utters those words my heart melted. I was so much in love with her that I could not live to see her bittered. I became very angry with myself and it was clear she too wasn’t ready to hear any bullshit that night.
Am sorry Khadi, I said without any explanation or any word in defense. I could never lie to her. I would rather say sorry and end the matter than lie and cover everything up. What ever I say aside hiding from her and trying to show her I wasn’t a kind of guy who would not easily fall in love with girls was a lie and I wouldn’t do that.
She paused for a little and said it was ok. It’s not compulsory you must be there every night but what your friend did made me angry not you.
That night I couldn’t spoil her mood with my love proposal and I just pretended everything was ok till we left the class.
One hour after I came back home, I could not think straight. It was as though I just met her for the first time. I was already becoming a prisoner in the new feelings. I couldn’t control myself any longer. It was like something was missing inside of me. It was a strange feeling which I had never felt before.
It was around past twelve that night that I called her on the phone, but she didn’t pick until the third time.
What’s wrong? You have never called by this time before!
I just want to hear your voice before sleeping, I said as my heart beat against my flat breast very fast.
That’s ok. I guess you can now go back to sleep
She said as I ended the call and the urge to talk to her the more increased. Because I didn’t wanted everything to look like it was a disturbance I decided to text her. I waited for her yes like a prisoner on a death roll until sleep overtook the poor me.
Very early in the morning the following day she called and I cleared my throat before picking. I was very composed and would never want to sound stupid this time.
That’s your tutorial abi? All this while you were just after my body right? Please don’t call my line again!
That was the end of it. She never gave me the opportunity to explain anything. I did what I had to do because I couldn’t afford to lose her and I lost her forever. Each time I remember her all I just do was to stare at her picture. I wish I could turn back the hand of time and make her see it was truly love from the deepest part of my heart. I wish I could let her know how every fibre of my being is in love with her. In another birth if there is any I will never be that stupid again. I love Khadi and will forever do.