I gulped. “Erm, I’m sorry. I came to collect my lesson note and I got carried away.”
She snatched the book from me. “Didn’t your parents teach you not to snoop on people’s things?”
I stiffened. “Really? You want to start this again?”
“Just get out.” She barked.
“Fine. Can I have my lesson note? I have a class.”
She rudely handed the lesson note to me, dismissing me. I turned to leave. I only got to the door and looked back.
“By the way, your story is very interesting. You’re a good writer. Ok, bye.” I faced the door on my way out.
Then an extraordinary thing happened.
A gentle and surprised voice said behind me. “Really? You think I’m a good writer?”
It took me some minutes to know it was Nkechi. I turned to stare at her. She stared back at me like a compliment is a foreign concept to her.
“Yes, I think you should publish it.” I replied.
Another extraordinary thing happened. She gave me a shy smile. A smile! This woman is really beautiful. I thought. If I were not female and totally into males, that smile could be doing me tinkuli tinkuli in my chest. Her smile did a total transformation of her face from a she devil to an angel.
I smiled back. “Well, you’re very talented. I don’t know why you’re hiding it.”
She looked at me for a moment as if deciding to tell me something. She sighed. “I want to tell you my story.”
Nkechi wasn’t always the stone faced Obiakpor/Hitleress we knew her to be. There was actually a time when she a cheerful, lovely, intelligent, outgoing, goal driven young lady everybody adored.
Coming from a poor home and the first born of five children, her parents couldn’t afford her education. But she was a brilliant child and lucky. She won a scholarship that saw her through the University level where she graduated flawlessly.
Her luck continued to shine. She was posted to one of the best and expensive schools in Lagos for her NYSC. She was an excellent teacher. Her teaching prowess was so unrivalled that she was retained with decent salary and accommodation after her service year.
All that time, she was in a serious relationship with Collins whom she met and began to date since her first year in the University. As a resourceful person, she sold jewelries to supplement her scholarship stipend. So she lived well throughout her undergraduate days and shared everything with Collins who wasn’t financially buoyant.
Even when the school retained her after her NYSC and he still unemployed, she shared her fortunes with him. He moved in with her. They were together for eight years.
Finally, he got a lucrative job and they began to plan their wedding. Nkechi was over the moon. Things were falling into place. Everything was perfect.
Until it wasn’t. He married someone else! Turned out that Collins was dating someone else behind her back. He got the lady pregnant and he had to wed her.
Nkechi’s world shattered. Eight years of loving, caring, sharing, praying, planning and waiting. Eight years of sacrifice was a total waste. She thought of all the men she turned down, including Mekus Zentus (read about him here), because of Collins.
Her heartbreak was excruciating. She lost her warmth and cheerful disposition to life. At first, she began to withdraw into her shell. She yelled at people who tried to come close to her especially if they had ‘a long thing’ between their legs. Her resentment gradually grew to include all genders, male, female, transgender, everything.
Her resentment cost her dearly one day. She was brooding over her heartbreak when a snobbish male student stormed to her and demanded why she failed him in her test. She tried to ignore him. He continued to rant and rant until she snapped. She gave him a dirty slap!
That was a mistake. The school had a strict policy that teachers were not allowed to touch the students no matter what. To make matters worse, the boy’s father was the chairman of the school board. She was fired!
Things went downhill fast from there. She tried to start a business but it failed. Very soon, she went very broke and was forced to relocate to the village where she took up a teaching appointment in the community school.
“That is my story.” Nkechi continued. “I’ve been here since then. I’m thirty-six years old. No husband, no money, no friends. I’m living with my mother who wants to kick me out if I don’t find a husband in a year. And I have this job.”
“I’m sorry.” I said.
“It’s okay. What has happened has happened.”
I was thinking about her story as I walked towards the lodge with Debbie and Dami when school was over for the day.
“I heard Bunmi won the State award for building a cassava processing mill for this community.” Debbie said, interrupting my thoughts.
“Oh, that’s nice. I hope she wins a National award.” I replied.
“Me, I have decided to do a community project too.” Debbie announced. “I must win award. Not State o, National so I can travel abroad for my Masters.”
I raised my brow at that. “Wait, I thought the idea of community project is to help the community?”
“Eh, I’m helping them na. But I must benefit from the help. National award is not too much.”
“Nawao. It’s okay. Carry go. Nothing do you.”
“The problem is I don’t know what to do. Wait, I know. I’m going to remove that nonsense signboard on the road and put another one.” She said, pleased with the idea.
“Ha! Leave it o.” A Corper who overheard us as he passed by said. “I’m doing that one. In fact, I have already received an approval letter from the State Coordinator’s office.”
Debbie wasn’t happy and brightened up as another idea struck. “I’m going to build a borehole.”
“There are already three boreholes in this community. David built the last one.” I informed her.
“Then I will build the fourth one.”
“Really? You think that will get you a National award?”
Debbie sighed. “You’re right. I’ll think of another community project.”
“Me, I don’t care about any community project. I just want to finish service and join my bae so we can get married.” Dami announced proudly.
I was fed up. “Bae, bae, bae, every time, bae. What is it sef? This bae you keep yarning about has never visited you for once.”
“So that you will snatch him, abi?” She shot back.
We stared at her, stunned.
“Are you serious? Why do you think I want to snatch your bae?”
“I don’t know. Why do you want him to visit me?”
“Dami, you’re being childish.” Debbie said.
“I don’t care! All I want is to be with him and I won’t let you or anyone take him from me because you’re baeless!” She stalked off.
“Hian! This girl don kolo o” I said in disbelief.
“I tell you.” Debbie replied, feeling the same way.
“And ‘baeless’? Who talks like that?”
“Dami.” Debbie confirmed. “Don’t mind her. I overheard her talking with her bae on the phone last night. It looks like Oga is cheating.”
“Forget her, jare.” She said dismissively. “Let’s talk about you. Are you doing any community project?”
I shrugged nonchalantly. “I don’t know.” Then I stopped, inspired. “Actually, I do.”
“What?” Debbie asked, eagerly curious.
But I wasn’t looking at her. I was looking at someone else. She followed the direction of my gaze. From a distance, Nkechi was leaving the school. Debbie stared at me in disbelief.
“You’re not serious!”
Episode 9 will come out next week Monday. Cheers!