“To be or not to be….” Read the literature teacher as the
class kept quiet and hung on her every word. Chioma had been dreaming in
colour, her dream was woven around her small family; her father, herself,
Thomas, Ekene and Zubby. In the dream, they lived in a bigger house and were quite
wealthy, they had maids, cooks and different kinds of cars.
They even went to
better schools. Chioma smiled wistfully as she imagined and fantasized a land
without worries when she felt a hand nudge her from behind. Turning abruptly
and angry at being interrupted from her reverie, she faced the impostor.

“What is it?” Chioma hissed at the girl who had nudged her.
“You’ve got mail.” Whispered the girl known as Bukky.
“What?” Chioma arched her eye brows puzzled.
Bukky stretched out her hand and gave Chioma a piece of
paper. Chioma looked at Bukky then stared at the paper, shrugging, she unfolded
the folded paper, it read;
STAY AWAY FROM MY BOYFRIEND!
EVIL WITCH!
Chioma
was taken aback. She couldn’t believe that she had been sent a threatening note, turning back to Bukky she asked who sent the note.
“Thelma.” Bukky replied.
“Thelma? Why should she send me such a threatening note?”
Chioma asked.
“Wait a minute… was that a threat? Can I read the note?”
Bukky asked, itching to gossip.
Chioma handed over the piece of paper and Bukky gasped in
delight as she greedily read the contents of the note.
“Waaaooow…so it’s true.” Bukky said.
“What is true?” Chioma asked confused.
“That you are Caleb’s girlfriend.”
“What? That’s not true.”
“That’s what it says in the note.”
“Wait…what do you mean?”
“Didn’t you know or are you playing dumb?”
“Stop beating about the bush, what does this note have to do
with Caleb?”
“Thelma is Caleb’s boo.”
“Boo?” Chioma asked frowning.
“Girlfriend… does that ring a bell? Caleb and Thelma were an
item in school before you popped in.”
“What has that got to do with me?” Chioma asked, clearly
offended.
“Do you think we do not notice that you and Caleb are always
together? He even walks you home.”
“Please shut up!”
“Don’t insult me, I’m just telling you what I know.” Bukky
said.
Chioma ignored Bukky and faced the teacher who was
still reading from the literature text book, oblivious to the chat that went on
between Chioma and Bukky.
**************
Break time came quite suddenly, Caleb stepped out of his
classroom and walked towards the toilet which was quite far from the classroom,
he had just eased himself when he bumped into Chris the social prefect.
“Omo see dulling oo, a whole head boy no get babe. Have you
forgotten that today is Valentine?” Asked Chris smiling.
“How can I forget?” Caleb answered.
“Which of the girls have you decided to pick as your Val?”
“I don’t have many girls to choose from.” Caleb answered.
“What? You? Every girl is tripping for you! Don’t dull oo…
my red rose is already in my pocket for my one and only Chika. I can’t let the
greedy hands of Moses get to her first.”
“Good luck to you bro.” Caleb answered.
“Wow you have definitely lost your touch. Hmm… but tell
me, what of the pretty little girl you have been chasing around.”
“What pretty little girl?” Caleb asked puzzled.
“The one you hang out with… what’s her name again? Hmmm…
Chioma… yes Chioma.”
“Oh that!”
“What’s oh that?”
“She’s not… err…” Caleb stuttered, clearly unsure of what to say.
“Wait, don’t you like her?”
“I do but…”
“But what?”
“She’s going through a lot of emotional trauma, her mother
abandoned her and her brother lives in a psychiatric hospital. I don’t think
she’ll want to be my Val.”
“What? This means that her family is a nut case.” Chris said
with eyes wide open.
“It’s not what I meant… it’s just…”
“Abeg… leave the psycho girl jor… there’s Thelma, the girl
you represented the school with last year in the Big brains competition.”
“I don’t like her besides… forget about this Valentine thing
joor… I’m not interested.” Caleb replied.
“Okay bro… sorry for not minding my business. It’s a pity that a pity cannot pity what a pity can pity in the land of pity!!!” Scoffed Chris.
“Give me a break… sugar boy! Stop deceiving those girls.” Caleb teased.
The two boys left the toilet. As soon as they stepped out,
one of the toilet doors opened and a young boy emerged and bringing out a comb
from his pocket, he brushed his hair and smiled to himself. His sister will be
happy to hear this!

**************

Break time was over, from the screams heard in most
classrooms it was obvious that their Val’s had paid their desks and bags a
visit during break time. Chioma walked to her desk and was rooted to the spot.
Wrapped in the most beautiful paper and adorned with red ribbons was a medium sized parcel and it was sitting
right on her desk. She couldn’t believe her eyes, she stared and blinking
rapidly she touched the parcel.
“Who is it from?” Asked one of her classmates, they had gathered around her table. Some were inquisitive,
others were jealous, Chioma was confused.
Thelma stood beside her empty desk, a rude reminder that she
had no gifts for Valentine.
“Is it from Caleb?” One girl asked.
Some boys had walked into the class and were whistling,
Chioma’s desk was gathering more crowd by the minute. Chioma tugged off the
small card at the side of the parcel and read aloud.
“Happy Valentine Chioma, from your secret admirer.”
“O my gosh! She has a secret admirer.” Shouted Bukky, the
dimples on her cheeks deepening.
The girls ooed and aahed as they waited in eager
anticipation for Chioma to open her parcel but she wasn’t in a hurry.
“Open it please.” Shouted one of her classmates.
Chioma kept staring, she was still in shock, she could not
recall having any secret admirer.
Thelma was embittered, she had hoped and prayed for a
miracle to no avail, instead Chioma had become the recipient of what was
originally reserved for her. She couldn’t hold herself anymore, she had to
speak.
“Guys… stop this rubbish. What’s so special in her gift
anyway, besides even if it’s from Caleb I’ll bet that he doesn’t even like her
that much.”
“You are just too jealous Thelma, stop it! It’s not Chioma’s
fault that Caleb likes her.” Said Bukky.
“Like her my foot! He detests her.” Thelma said.
“That’s not true, why do you say such malicious words.”
“I’m telling the truth…. Caleb is with her because he pities
her, that’s all.” Scoffed Thelma.
“Pities? Why would he pity Chioma?” Another girl asked.
“Caleb told me all about Chioma.”
“Please stop this nonsense Thelma.” Said one of the boys.
“Chioma’s mother abandoned her and to add an icing to the
delicious gist, her brother is a mental case.” Said Thelma triumphantly.
Chioma felt her heart stop, she stared at Thelma
incredulously, she couldn’t believe her ears. Without thinking, she ran to
Thelma and pounced on her in anger. Thelma didn’t expect it, she fell to the
floor and fought back but not even with all the strength in her body was she a
match for Chioma.
*****************
Ego stepped out of her house in a matching red and white halter neck top and a very short skirt. Her sister had left for the hospital quite early and she was almost late for lessons. Trekking the short distance to the tutorial school, she could feel the eyes of people on her but she didn’t mind. She looked hot!
She had just stepped into the tutorial school when she saw Queen, looking at the test score board. She averted her gaze and tried walking quickly to the class when Queen caught sight of her and called her name.
“Ego!”
Ego turned back and feigned a look of utter surprise and smiled at Queen.
Queen walked up to meet her.
“Don’t tell me you didn’t see me.” Queen said.
“What? Me? No I didn’t, I was just hurrying for lectures.”
“You look good, wow! But that skirt is too short, are you sure you’ll be comfortable in it?”
“Sure… what’s new?” Ego asked, changing the subject of discussion.
“Nothing much dear…. wait-a-minute, did you use make up? Oh my God! Ego!” Queen screamed and clamped her mouth shut with her right palm.
“What is it? Is it new to see someone on make -up?” Ego said in defensive.
“Well.. it’s not but… mehn, you are changing ooo. This isn’t the way you have always been.” Said Queen calmly.
“Abeg change the subject… What were you doing at the test score board?”
“Checking the the scores for last month’s overall assessment test.”
“Ohh…” Ego echoed.
“And I am surprised that you got the highest score in mathematics.”
“Oh… yeah, I worked pretty hard for it.”
“Really? I have never seen you study mathematics. You told me yourself that maths isn’t your favorite subject.”
“Oh… give me a break Queen! Do you think you are the best student in the whole tutorial school? You are very selfish Queen. You get higher scores in everything but I never do, now that I score the highest in maths, you are freaking out.” Snapped Ego.
“What? Are you talking to me? Ego, where is all this coming from?” Queen asked, looking confused.
“Please… give me a break. Today is Valentine, I am not in the mood to listen to rubbish.” Said Ego and walked out on Queen.
Queen was dumbfounded, she felt her mouth pop open in disbelief.
*******************
Ego’s phone beeped in the classroom, thankfully it was on silent mode. She brought her phone out of her bag and stared at her phone screen. It was a text message, opening it brought a smile to her lips as it was from Mr. Nwabunor.

Happy Valentine, Angel, will be waiting for you by twelve noon at the bustop. 
Will pick you up there.
Saw your red and white outfit, you look sensational.
Something special awaits.

Ego smiled and blushed badly. Tucking the phone into her bag again, she returned her gaze to the Economics tutorial teacher. She couldn’t wait; ‘this would bee her best Valentine ever, she thought.

Queen sat no too far from Ego and stared at her friend. Something was definitely wrong and she couldn’t place a finger to it. Looking at the crowd of students in the classroom, she shook her head in disbelief, almost everyone had a touch of red in their outfit. The valentine spirit was definitely in the air!

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