I’d just had the best night in a long, long time. I had almost forgotten I was tired, broke and dissatisfied with my life. I’d connected with an amazing girl and felt something deep for her. As you can imagine, I was practically bursting with joy when I got back to my room.
And who do I find on my bed?
The girl who had confused me for the better part of the semester, single-handedly wreaking havoc on my GPA in the process.
She just sat there, fidgeting with her bracelet in one hand, smiling at me.
“I’ve missed you, Otu.” She was saying this with no shame. Just smiling at me like we were friends. Awurade.
But by God, she was beautiful. I’d put so much effort into blocking out her memory that I’d almost forgotten her face: her exquisite bone structure, and her teeth, the way they glinted as she smiled that particular smile…
I had to remember she’d said something and tried to think of an appropriate response.
“Uh..are you okay, Naa?”
“I’m fine. I just came to look for you. I tried a couple of times after…but I didn’t think you’d want to see me.”
And why would you think I’d want to see you now? I considered what to say next very carefully before I opened my mouth to talk.
“Look, Naa, I appreciate your coming, but-“
She lifted her left hand and lightly tapped the space beside her on the bed. “Climb up.”
I pretended to hesitate but deep down, my foolish brain knew what I was going to do. I grabbed the side of the bed and got on the bed.
“I’ve been stupid, Otu. I don’t need you to tell me this, I know.” She was sitting close, really close. I needed some distance between us for my brain to function well or else who knew what I’d do? I pushed myself off to the corner of the bed.
“Why are you here, Naa?”
“I’ve missed you-“
“-And so what should I do about it?” I was being a bastard. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that-“
“I get it, it’s fine, really.. I deserve it. How have you been? Where did you go?”
“I’m fine. I was out.”
“Oh? Really, with who?” She’d kicked off her shoes and now she sat cross-legged in the bed.
At this point I really can’t tell you what I was thinking. I was basically watching myself from somewhere in my head like a spectator.
“Oh, you don’t know them.” Naa knew who Chloe was. Why had I just lied?
Whatever was going to happen here wasn’t going to end well for my self-control, I realised.
“Oh really? Mr. Social butterfly, already making friends outside pharmacy. That’s nice.” She laughed a little, and my lips twitched in response. “Did you have fun?”
“Mm, I guess. I mean, it was- Naa, why are you really here?” I was tired of the nonsense smalltalk.
“Otu, I-“ she stopped and wringed her hands. She looked at them like she didn’t know what they were, and then she looked up at me. Her wide eyes were filled with tears.
I want you to understand; Naa wasn’t someone who showed vulnerability, ever. She was always ready with a cocky comment or a confident smile. She could get kicked out of class and she wouldn’t even blink, just sashay out like her father owned the place.
So to see her like this? It distressed me. I reached out and pulled her to me. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled into my shirt. I could feel wetness on my chest where her head was. She was crying.
“It’s fine, Naa,” I was rubbing her head. “I mean, I was a bit broken after what happened, but I’m fine now. It’s all good.”
She lifted her head. “Really? You don’t have to say that for my benefit, you know.” Her voice was cracked.
This was not going as planned. I hadn’t thought about it when I pulled her to me, but now she was pressed tight against my chest, staring at me. I could literally feel the air leave her lips when her mouth opened. I could feel other things too.
“Naa, I-uh..I..” what was I going to say? A furtive smile appeared and quickly disappeared from her face.
“Otu, before all this happened, a month ago, I mean, was there something you’d been meaning to tell me?” She was smiling, now. “I kept waiting for you to say something..” she trailed off, looking away for a second.
Friends, to say I was confused would be an understatement. My mind was exploding in all directions. Naa wanted me? Naa, who I spent months besotted with, feisty, quirky, gorgeous Naa.
Oh, but there was Chloe..
She was watching me when I looked back at her. “Are you okay? You look kinda sad.” I was. This was really sad. What was I to do? I couldn’t believe this was happening.
She continued,”Was it the midsem results? I heard it wasn’t good for some people.”
My mind snapped back to reality. “What..What did you get?” The question came out of me slowly.
“Oh, it’s not important.” She smiled that way people do when they want to look modest, but they’re really not. “Oh, tell me. What did you get?” I asked her.
“Well, it wasn’t so bad. It could’ve been better, only 66. I think it was this man’s part…”
I practically jumped in the air. 66 over 75! I didn’t even know it was possible to get marks like that. I was confused at this point. “Did they dash you marks?”
She laughed. “Oh, no. I used to learn right after class before you came to see me. I’ve been learning more recently. It’s going well.” She was grinning now, all attempts at modesty abandoned.
I went numb.
Oh okay. So as I’d wasted my time doing lab work for her to copy, she’d been learning. Then she would waste my time with talk and laughter and confusion, and I would stupidly go to bed happy, with my head empty.
If it hadn’t been whatever accident that made me get 45, I would be coming back to rewrite this paper in August.
My house witches following me everywhere were well disguised, I realised. Sometimes they came in the form of dark faced beauties. I knew what I had to do.
“Oh I see.” I calmly said. “Please leave wai. I’ll talk to you later.”
She looked so confused. “But, Otu, what did I say?”
“Please.” It took a lot of self-control to not shout. She jumped off the bed without another word, put on her shoes and walked out.
I was a free man.
I turned around when I heard someone clapping. I’d forgotten Jeff and Abdul were there. Those two were the world’s biggest gossips. Abdul burst out laughing and tapped Jeff’s bed.
“Chale! Did you see how he kicked her out? This is the kind of self-control we need o.”
Jeff was shaking his head. “Foolish girl, she has come with her black face to come and do ‘Oh, Otu Sorry.’ Sorry for yourself!”
I couldn’t help it, I started laughing. Today had been a day of laughter, it seemed. It had almost been ruined, but chale. I thanked God. I stretched out on the bed, smiling. wondering what to say to Chloe tomorrow.