The whole school had heard about the fight between Chioma
and Thelma, lucky enough, the teachers were right on time to the rescue as
they had pried the two girls away from each other. Thelma’s school uniform was
torn while Chioma’s buttons were ripped but in all, any onlooker would
pronounce Chioma as the winner as the more bruised of the two was Thelma.
They both knelt down in front of the head teachers’ office
and it was almost closing hours. Before the bell was rung to signify the end of
the lessons for the day, Caleb strolled into the hall and completely ignoring
them both, he walked into the head teacher’s office. The two girls remained on
their kneels fuming in anger over their fight but they were too exhausted to
continue. Some minutes later, Caleb opened the door to the head teacher’s
office and beckoned them in. Chioma and Thelma rose and walked into the small
office.
“Who is Chioma?” Asked the head teacher.
“I am sir.” Answered Chioma.
“According to eye witnesses, you started the fight.”
“Yes… I did sir.” Replied Chioma.
Looking at Thelma, he said
“And you are…”
“Thelma sir… Thelma Aghoghopia.”
“Hmm… how long have you been in this school?”
“I enrolled when I was in J.ss 1 sir, that was last year…”
“Is this what we teach you at school? To fight?”
“No sir… I was on my own when she pounced on me and…”
“Keep quiet, we are not in a law court. If we were, you
could give me your reasons.”
“I am sorry sir.” Replied Thelma.
“I have invited the junior school Head Boy to my office
because of your behaviour, I believe he is the best person to met out this
punishment. I do not waste time flogging students who do not want to learn to
be mature.” Said the head teacher.
Thelma sighed in relief and smiled, nodding her head vigorously.
Chioma was appalled. ‘How could the head teacher instruct
Caleb to punish her?’ she asked herself, he was just one year older than
herself and only a class higher.
“You may leave my office.” Said the head teacher.
They all left, following Caleb behind as he led them to the
small field behind the school. The bell had rung and students were already
going home, Chioma’s thoughts strayed to her brother who might have to wait a
while longer for her at his school. As soon as they reached the field, Caleb showed
Thelma a portion of land to clear and instructed her to begin her work. Thelma
was confused.
“Caleb, but… where is Chioma’s share?” She asked.
“Don’t ask me useless questions, clear the field now!”
Thelma stared at Caleb with an accusing glare on her face.
“Why have you decided to treat me this way? Since she came
to this school, we’ve stopped being friends.” Thelma whined.
“I was never friends with you. We studied together for the
debate competition that’s all.”
“Yes we did and we really liked each other. Remember I voted
for you in your bid to become the head prefect of the junior school.”
“Stop talking rubbish and get to work.” Shouted Caleb.
Chioma was not interested in Caleb and Thelma’s
conversation, she wanted to do her portion of the punishment and go to pick
Zubby from school. She saw a cutlass on the ground not too far away and made to
clear the grasses.
“Stop it Chioma! The punishment is not for you but Thelma.”
“That’s not my business, I just want to get home quickly
today.” Snapped Chioma, irritated.
“Okay… you can go, just drop the cutlass.” Caleb pleaded.
“What! Are you letting her leave?” Thelma’s eyes almost
popped out of their sockets.
“Yes I am.” Caleb said.
“Caleb… don’t think that this one kind act of yours
exonerates you from everything you told Thelma.”
Caleb turned to Chioma looking sober.
“I don’t know how she knew about it, please believe me. She
didn’t hear it from me.” Pleaded Caleb.
“If she didn’t hear it from you, who told her? You are the
only one I have ever told about my life, even the principal does not know about
it.” Said Chioma, trying hard to fight the tears.
“I don’t know… I can’t say… I mean, I never meant to tell
someone but somehow, I told Chris… the social prefect and…” Stuttered Caleb.
“What! How dare you broadcast my life to everyone… who do
you think you are?” Shouted Chioma.
“It must have slipped from him… he must have told Thelma.”
Turning to Thelma Caleb asks, “Who told you about Chioma’s family.”
Thelma shrugged and didn’t speak.
“Who told you?” Screamed Caleb in anger.
“Well, walls have ears, my brother heard you tell Chris
about Chioma in the toilet. He felt he had to tell me… since she stole you from
me.” Said Thelma, almost in tears.
“And you felt you had to embarrass her like that before your
class?” Demanded Caleb.
“No… I mean yes… especially when you surprised her with a
Valentine gift, I got jealous.” Thelma said, tears falling from her lids.
“I never got her a Valentine gift. What are you talking
about?” Asked Caleb.
“You didn’t?” Chioma and Thelma chorused at once.
“What do you girls mean? I have never bought a gift for a
girl before.”
“What? Where did the gift come from?”Asked Chioma.
“Your secret admirer, isn’t it obvious?” Said Thelma.
“Are you sure it wasn’t a mistake?” Chioma asked.
“Your name was written on the parcel or have you forgotten?”
Said Thelma to Chioma.
“What parcel? I don’t understand……” Caleb spoke
The girls acted as if he wasn’t addressing them. As though
their thoughts were in sync, they hurried off to their class with a confused
Caleb at their heels.
The class was empty but the gift was still there, sitting on
Chioma’s desk, untouched.
“What could be inside?” Asked Thelma.
“I can’t say.” Answered Chioma.
“The parcel looks heavy, open it up let’s see what’s
inside.” Said Caleb.
Chioma regarded the two pairs of eyes that stared at her
questioningly and taking a deep breath, she spoke;
“Thelma, I am sorry for fighting you… I understand that you
were angry that I had received a gift from Caleb and you didn’t. Caleb, I don’t
think we can be friends anymore especially after all that transpired. I never expected
you to tell anyone about my family but you did, this shows you aren’t
trustworthy.”
“I am so sorry Chioma… it slipped, I know I shouldn’t have
said anything to anyone but I… I am sorry.” Caleb said sounding remorseful.
“Please forgive him Chioma, I am sorry too. I have been
quite silly all these while believing that I and Caleb were… err…” Thelma said,
too embarrassed to finish her statement.
“It’s okay… let’s start afresh. Let’s put the past behind
us.” Said Chioma smiling and finding peace within herself.
They all smiled and shook hands, joking over their past
attitudes. Then the business of the parcel box came to mind again and giving
Chioma center stage, they asked her to open it.
Not one sound was made as the wrapping paper was stripped
off the box, they all held their breaths and waited as they watched wrapper
after wrapper peeled off. The box was heavily wrapped, the secret admirer
obviously did some work with the wrapping as Chioma peeled off over ten layers
of wrapping paper. Then a small box was sighted, carefully, Chioma pried open
the box and gasped.
It was a very small tick tock clock; attached to it was a
note.
Till we
meet
Love,
Your secret
admirer.
******************************

The hotel was more than she had expected. Ego had never been
treated this way in her entire life and she knew deep down that she was falling
head over heels in love with her mathematics tutor. She was however
uncomfortable by stares from the people in the hotel’s restaurant. They swung
their gazes from Mr. Nwabunor to Ego, most of them whispered to their partners
as the restaurant was filled with couples celebrating Valentine and Ego felt
the food stick in her throat. ‘What if her sister’s friends are here?’ She
asked herself; ‘No, it’s not possible… the hotel was too far away from home.’ She
assured herself.
“Are you having fun baby?” Asked Mr. Nwabunor, his French fries
still in his mouth.
“Hmm… yes… I am. Thanks for such a wonderful surprise.”
“There’s more to enjoy dear, this is just the beginning.”
“Really? Wow! I am so happy.”
Mr. Nwabunor looked at her closely and sensing her unease he
asked;
“Are you sure you are alright? You are jittery.”
“Well… em… people are staring at me. They feel you are too
older than I am… I think.” Ego said with her igbotic accent.
Mr. Nwabunor laughed hard.
“People will think whatever they like. What matters is you
and I. I can’t describe how I feel about you Ego. You’ve brought peace into my
life.”
Ego blushed, pleased at his words.
“I think… I feel that… I may be falling in love with you…”
Ego whispered shyly and averted her gaze.
“Oh… my love, this is the best news I’ve heard in forever… I
wish I could just kiss you here infront of everyone.”
Ego’s mouth hung open, but she clasped it shut and burst out
in giggles.
“You can’t do that. Haven’t I received enough stares
already?” She warned playfully.
“I don’t care about the stares, if you want, we could go
somewhere else. Do you know what? Why don’t we hire a room for let’s say two
hours, we could finish the rest of our meal there.” Mr. Nwabunor suggested.
“Okay… let me use the toilet for a minute, I’ll be back.”
Said Ego as she stood from her chair and made her way to the ladies room.
She had only entered the ladies room when she saw two ladies
refreshing their make-up before the mirror, they were both engrossed in their
discussion to notice her presence.
“My dear, I couldn’t help but look ooo… did you see the
sense of that old man? He wants awoof, the highest thing he can give that girl
is five thousand naira and she’s all his.” Said the fairer of the two ladies.
“That’s not even my problem, I just feel like beating sense
into that little head of hers. Does she have a family at all? Look at the way
she’s flaunting herself with that old hag.” Spat the other.
“Someone should better advise that little rat… flaunting
herself with a man the age of her father isn’t appropriate. That man should be
arrested. Haba!”
Ego’s desperate urge to be unnoticed flew to the moon as her
leg accidentally hit the dustbin, the ladies turned to see what had caused the
noise. They were surprised to see Ego. Ego took in a deep breath and walked
past them, going straight into one of the empty toilets, something told her
that they were talking about her.
As soon as she closed the door to the toilet, one of the
ladies hissed.
“Na wah… abeg, I no wan put mouth for wetin no concern me ooo.”
“As for me, I came to enjoy valentine with my Bobo and not
preach the gospel to an already lost youth.” Said the other.
Ego heard the exit door of the ladies slam shut and heaved a
sigh of relief. As soon as she was done with the ladies room, she walked back
into the restaurant. The table that was reserved for Mr. Nwabunor and herself
was vacant and she quietly sat down, staring at the television before her. A ‘Moments
with Mo show’ was on air and the topic was; ‘underage sex and sexual abuse’ Ego
sighed in frustration ‘how come the television stations couldn’t show anything bothering
on love, atleast for valentine’s day’ she moaned in frustration. Her thoughts
were interrupted as soon as Mr. Nwabunor came out from the hotel area at the
left side of the restaurant. Beckoning to her, she rose and glided towards him
in a shy smile; as they left the restaurant and headed towards the hotel area,
he whispered.
“Come with me baby, your valentine gift awaits.”
Ego knew at that instant, that whatever he had to offer was
hers for the taking!

4 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here