“A wink was the only conversation I’ve ever had with her – Ella. And now she hates me? Was I wrong to have winked?”.
“But what could I have done? She stared at me, she smiled at me too. Her eyes glistened like the reflection of a mirror in a shallow stream. I was only enchanted by her smiles. The fault was all hers; not any of mine. I never meant to smile back, I was only betrayed by my lips and then… That wink from the pit of hell! Aaargh!”. My right palm covered my face.
To think that it didn’t end there, Rita just had to make everything worse. Just imagine the guts; “Hello, my name is Rita, this is my friend Ella and she doesn’t fancy fair guys…”
Oh Lord! What the! Who asked you?!
“But…”, I bit my finger as two voices conversed in my head.
“could it be that she really doesn’t like fair guys?”.
“Oh! snap out of that already, who wouldn’t like you?!”.
“Hmm really now? Can’t you see she doesn’t? At least it doesn’t seem like it”.
“So she doesn’t like me and she was so shy that she eclipsed her face in her arm?”
“Oh wow!…. So she was shy. And that meant she liked you? And now she wants nothing to do with you?”
“Oh God!”, I slapped my head.
“Touch that person”, Dr Nnadi knocked me off my thoughts.
“You on the third roll”, she pointed.
I jolted up flickering my eyes sideways and hoping not to have been the one caught by her drooling hook.
“You”, She gazed at me.
I patted my chest weakly like I was being maltreated.
“Yes you”, she affirmed. “You seem like the most attentive person in this class so answer the question”.
“Oh God! There was a question?”, My heart pounded in my throat. Then the silence of the class yelled back at me. “Yes there was!”
Jeez! I had no clue!. My eyes foraged the class in search of a hint that I was sure would never come. Every eyes that met mine looked a little perplexed, expecting the smartest guy in class to dish the answer with the snap of a finger. But then, my shoe ached in my teeth and they had no idea because they never had to wear them. Things couldn’t have been any worse, SHE was in class too!.
I felt tiny balls of sweat converge eagerly on my forehead while my palms sprouted warm waters. My spirit was gravely stirred, but in the middle of it all I knew… More than anyone else that “I don’t know” was a “NO NO” for an answer! So I’ve caught to do something!.
I exhaled deeply and adjusted my tie. “Uhmm… I didn’t get the question ma pardon me”.
“You couldn’t have”, she retorted. “An unexamined life is not worth living”.
“Oh no”, My heart sank. She was about to dessimate my life with her usual strategy – The quotes first before the pangs of her stinging words.
She fixed her gaze at me, “Who was quoted to have said that ‘an unexamined life is not worth living’?”
What?! It was near impossible that I believed that. That was it?!
“Socrates!”. I rushed the answer like it would run off.
“Socrates”, she smiled. “Handsome and smart altogether”.
The class cheered, “heeeeeyyyy!”.
She chuckled and teased them off. “Children of Sodom”, that will be all for today, have a nice day”.
She glanced at me and smiled while she walked out the door. Then I felt my heart tick back to life as I let off an onerous smile, slumping back to my seat with a heavy sigh. My heart still beat a bit faster than usual but my blood pressure seemed to have been dropping to what appeared more normal than before.
“So even lecturers admire you these days”, Edozie nudged my shoulder.
I laughed. “Please allow me, you hallowed son of Adam”.
We laughed and stormed outside to the open veranda where students as a matter of routine chat and kiss themselves goodbye at the end of each lecture that marked the last for the day.
“So how is your Rita?”, Edozie chuckled.
“It’s your own Rita”, I smirked.
“Woops!”, He made a funny face, “speak of the devil!”.
“Sorry, speak of wha….?”
I felt someone’s arms stream around me from behind.
Edozie grinned and turned his back at me. “See you in the hostel man”.
My eyes smiled before dropping onto the arms that grasped me. One wore a gold bracelet and some finely shaped finger nails at the tips, the type that would make you wish to observe the English practice of kissing a hand all of a sudden.
“Rita”, my lips whispered.
Resting her cheek on my back and pressing her body harder against mine like she wanted to submerge herself into me, she exhaled softly. “Mmm?”.
I felt a bit uncomfortable as people watched; Some in admiration, some out of scorn, while others brewed with envy. Rita was such a beauty, the type you would wrestle Hades to glance at just one more time if you passed by. Tall, fair and finely shaped like an hour glass. Her skin looked soft like the petals of an infant rose; almost penetrable by the eyes. Her face was a priceless work of art; second only to one – Ella’s.
She stood there at a distance – the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Her slender body looked even more curvy as she stood on a wedge with both feet in close proximity. Her fitted top sunk neatly in her skirt and gifted her butt a neatly carved shape like a “c”. The breeze added to her glory, swaying her natural afro hair gently and backwards with levity while long lashes spread over her eyes like frayed wings of serene flees. I felt the urge to run a finger down the rail of her nose; that nose that perched on her face like a riverbird. It looked European; tall and pointed like the tip of an arrow.
I wished one too many things… If I were the wind, I would run my fingers through her hair all day long, or I could be the sun; these ruby lips would’ve been mine to kiss till they grew pale, or maybe I could conjure myself to be the mirror she looked at every morning, then… I may just stare at these pair of eyes that held the stars till I fall asleep. I wished, and I wished and I wished; but more than anything, I wished she had lent us the slightest chance to come even an inch closer to us.
She glanced at me and looked away almost in a hurry. I could tell she waited for Rita.
My eyelids dropped in hopelessness.
“I can’t just have her can I?”. My forehead creased. How life always brings suffering. Here I am with a heart that wants me so dearly clinging to my black, but this confused and fatally gullible heart of mine won’t stop steaming with senseless desire for someone who just doesn’t care!.
Rita’s arms still clutched themselves round my abdomen and I wasn’t sure how to wriggle out.
“Rita”, My eyes deemed helplessly; “people are watching”.
I slowly broke free.
“It’s not okay to do this”, my voice hushed. “Especially not here”.
“But…”, she took my left hand quietly.
“But why not?”
I exhaled deeply. I would’ve perspired if I had the slightest strength in me but they were all drained. I hoped she never had to ask. What exactly do I tell her? That I do not feel as excited with her? Shouldn’t I know better not to do that?. My heartbeat rose and drowned my voice somewhere up my gullet. I blinked intermittently in search of words.
“It’s just that”, I swallowed hard. “People might get impressions about it all”.
She didn’t make a sound. Her eyes still stuck to my left palm which she caressed slowly with both hands. I could tell she fought to stay strong but… Her eyelids betrayed the thoughts of her heart. She looked scared… Scared to the teeth. she looked like she prayed, and she hoped but it would only take a hair’s breath before poor faith escaped the grasp of her sullen heart.
She looked up my face.
“What impressions would they have?”, Her eyes locked with mine. “That I love you and can’t do anything about it?”.
I felt the tense in her voice tear my skin. Tears lurked her eyes and… I was sure it would take only a whisper of my voice before they rained.
My brows raised out of deep pity and genuine care.
“Shhhh”, my arms wrapped her.
“Don’t be like that now, they’ll think I made you cry”.
Her grip tightened as she buried her face in my shoulder.
“well didn’t you?”, She chortled.
I rubbed her hair.
“You know I wouldn’t do that”.
We disbanded ourselves while her lips rippled with smiles, showing neatly shaped sets of white teeth.
Her eyes coyly ran through my face and down to her fingers which she pricked inadvertently.
“Mhmm”, I nodded gently.
Then she let a weak smile and my heart melted.
“How could I have ignored her for so long?”, My thoughts pricked.
“Yes I’ve got these flamy feelings for Ella but then what?!” I scolded myself.
“Rita loves me… She’ll do almost anything for me and… I care about her. Why am I just realizing that that was enough?”, I sighed deeply.
“I’ll take my chances with her and shun all odds, I’ll put her first and second to none. Because she has become my lady from this moment on, I’ll pay her love for love and nothing less!”.
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