More Than A Friend – Episode 1

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© Olasunkanmi Opeyemi Ajibola

This story originally belongs to the author, Olasunkanmi Opeyemi Ajibola . The Title, thoughts, plot, characters, settings, quotes and all its contents are properties of the author. No parts of this work; either in parts or in whole should be reproduced, sold in any format; electronic or otherwise without permission from the author.

“David went to the field while Deborah and I began to chat. One thing about Deborah was that, she’d smile along with every word coming out of her mouth.

“Why don’t you want to play football with them?” Deborah asked.

“You mean early this morning? And as we’ve not even known how to move, where to stay and how to dwell here?” I responded in hypophora

“Is true sha, don’t tell me you brought that very big bag o” She said, grinning.

“OK” I responded nonchalantly.

“What is OK? Did you bring that bag? I asked.” She protested

“You said I should not tell you that I brought it” I reminded her and smiled, she beamed.

“OK, now tell me the fact, who brought that big bag? Smiling.

“Madam! Pease leave that bag alone, are you jealous or what? Do you want me to give you or buy you the same type? “I grumbled non-violently.

“Oya, buy me the type” She dared, rolling her eyes and smiling.

“Hehehe” I let out a mocking laughter; “OK, when I’m coming tomorrow, I’ll bring yours……” I deceived, “and I’ll wake up from my dream.” I added for her to know I was not serious.

“Mtshhhw” She hissed, “I know, it’ll be only in your dreams that you can buy anything for anybody. You’ll even be provoked to wake up.” She assured.

“What do you mean? Oya let’s go to the school canteen.” I boasted emptily.

“You know am ready to follow you.” She responded determined.

“Ehn, let’s go then, I’ll order food for you and you’ll pay.” I turned her expectation down ironically and laughed.

“Hahahahaha” She laughed in the manner LIKE-I’VE-KNOWN; “I know you can’t pay for me before. Change your ways and be saved.” She joked.

We both laughed, held each other’s hands and off to school canteen.

____

“Henry, this is another step in the journey of your life, you’re getting more matured and exposed, remember the child of whom you are, don’t associate yourself with bad groups, don’t be too playful, remember they don’t give positions in Senior Secondary School (SSS) so, that should not make you relax neither am I expecting you to come home with lower percentage in your exams, most importantly and the main reason I’m telling you all this now, DON’T HAVE A GIRLFRIEND;” I raised my eyebrows and bugged-out my eyes in surprise then continued to listen.

“Opeyemi, look here, let me tell you the pure truth in case you don’t know, girlfriends have nothing to offer you at this level but distractions at its peak, am not saying you should not have female friends, of course you’re going to have that but never let anything like dating or sexual act in any form knock the door of your mind for now, why? Simply because, you’re still small for that, I’m not saying having a girlfriend is bad thing but the right thing at the right time is always the best, happiness is when you realize that what you’re doing and what you’re supposed to do are the same. I repeat, DON’T HAVE A GIRLFRIEND! taken?” My elder sister ended her advice in expectation of a confirmation from me;

“Yes ma, I promise to make use of your advice so that I’ll come out in flying colour as you did”. I responded dutifully contrary to how I felt. I respect my sister for the fact that she’s almost seven years older than I’m, the difference is really clear.

“That’s my man! The Henry!!!!” She hailed me, I feigned a smile, stood up and left her there as if I wanted to attend to something else, the girlfriend part of the discussion was somehow strange to me as no one had ever sat me down and discussed that kind of thing with me before, I was shy.

That was on Sunday, the 6th day of September, 2009, when I was to resume into SS1 class in my secondary school the next day.

Around 7:45pm: “Up NEPA!!!” my typical Nigerian neighbours screamed as if they won sport-bet, the PHCN just restored the electricity, hearing the noise and seeing shying bulbs everywhere, I didn’t need any seer to tell me the next thing to do, I was watching one Yoruba movie (Ogbologbo) when I came back from church around 2:30pm, I knew I had to continue my movie, I jumped up from where I was sketching the picture of Ronaldinho at the back of one of my old notes on an A4 paper, I carried the electric lamp and wanted to switch it off when I heard my mom’s voice;

“Ope ooooo! Dont come and iron your school uniform now that there is light, you’ll do that when they take it again” My mom shouted from the kitchen ironically, a typical Yoruba mother.

“Ma! Let me quickly finish this part 2, it’s the part where Ogbologbo wants to escape from the pri….” I had not pronounced the “prison” before my mom raised her voice;

“Ehnn? ‘Ibi ti Ogbologbo ti fe sa kuro lewon ni mo bere lowo e abi? Mo ro wipe nkan nse e, mo ni ko wa lo aso school e, o ni Ogbologbo fe sa kuro lewon, afara! O ti kuro ni idi TV yen nisin abi ki n kan disk yen loju e. Omo oro, enu o ki kuro lara yin bi owo’ (Really? Where Ogbologbo wants to escape from the prison is what I asked you right? I think something is wrong with you, I said you should go and iron your school uniform, you’re telling me that Ogbologbo wants to escape from prison, Have you left that TV now or I break the disc in your presence. Son of words, someone can’t do without talking about you just like money.)” I sluggishly switched the TV off, dropped the remote control with frowned face and walked indolently into my sister’s room, crawling would be faster than my speed if compared, my sister was busy laughing and singing from the kitchen to show that she was happy with my mom’s decision, she had never loved seeing me watching movies whenever she’s cooking, I just ignored her because I know her for such character. I picked up the iron, arranged a table and was ready to iron, as I switched the iron on, the current dropped totally, even some appliances stopped working;

“Off that iron!” My mom screamed from the kitchen and rushed to the sitting room to switch off the main socket;

“You’ll iron when we finish cooking, I forgot that we can’t use the hot plate and the iron at the same time” My mom said and was going back to the kitchen, I was fully happy, I was swaggering back to continue my film when I heard my sister’s voice from the kitchen;

“Mummy, I’m through with the hot-plate, Ope can go back to iron his school uniform” she said with ecstasy.

“Which kind person be this now? Enemy of progress” I muttered as I returned to iron my uniform, praying that something should spark again, but nothing bad happened. I finished ironing my uniform, they were through with cooking, we ate, I could not watch my movie because my sister insisted she wanted to watch Pastor Samson Ayorinde’s sermon on OGTV, later we prayed and went to bed.

I was on my fat neat bed reminiscing at random, I thought about how I’d see my friends the next day especially David, how I’d meet new friends and cope with the seniors, later my mind shifted to what my sister discussed with me in the evening, I was just asking myself questions that even I could not provide answers to;

What has my sister heard about me?

Did she see or listen to my mind?

Why should she tell me not to have a girlfriend when am actually fantasizing and planning to have the first one?

No! She must be joking, wait, she said that sexual acts should not knock the door of my heart, how does dating relate to sexual act or what does she really mean by sexual act?

Why didn’t I even ask her if she had a boyfriend during her secondary school days? “She might even lie.

Come to think of it, she’s my sister, she can’t lead me to the wrong path of course. It’s like I will follow what she said, but…… anyway, let the session begin

That was all I could think before I went into the land of dream amidst my thoughts. I slept off.

____

“Grannnnn! Grannnnn!! Grannnnn!!!…” My alarm clock dutifully rang out loud violently;

“Ooooh! What kind of noise is this for God’s sake? What is that thing making that noise again! Was it not 20minutes ago that I slept off? So, this alarm noise means it’s morning again?” That was all I could murmur in an hypnopompic manner before I fully gained consciousness from sleep, when I discovered it was really morning and also Monday (my 1st day in SS1), I was a bit excited, that gave me the eagerness to get off bed, I checked time and it was 6:02am, I could hear my sister praying in her room.

“From 9:30pm to 6: 00am is now as short as 20minutes, nawa o” I wondered in complaint and knelt down facing bed to say my morning prayers, after that, I dashed out of the room for the necessary house chores, in some minutes I was done, off to bathroom, took my bath, as at exactly 7:05am, I was through with everything:

“Mummy, I’m leaving for school” I announced.

“Oh, oko mi, se jeje o (Oh, my husband, play gently/carefully)” she responded and smiled as she saw me with my big school bag, we had argued the previous night about me going to school with bag on the first day of resumption which I reluctantly agreed.

“Alright ma” I responded, stepping out of the house. Off to school.

The school security men were on duty, some covered foodstuffs were on the tables at the school canteen while the vendors were no where to be found yet, some whitish water (dew) were on the field which changed the natural colour green of the grasses to something like “whitish-green”, the morning breeze was so cool as the sun was about to resume duty, I checked my wrist watch it was 7:23am;

“I knew it! Students will come late on the day-one of the resumption” I uttered audible enough for only myself to hear, I could see some students hanging around afar in junior school, about five male students sitting in the school hall discussing the previous Sunday premiership matches, I looked back and saw a set of seniors coming without school bags;

“Over-serious too dey worry me, see me see this heavy bag now as I know say we no go do anything today, see students coming without school bags, na my mama cause am, I for no carry bag come school today self, mtshhhw” I murmured to myself and hissed.

The senior school environment was still somehow strange to me, I didn’t really know where to head to again and my friends have not come, I located under a tree, dropped my bag on one of the tyres half-buried to form circle round the tree in decoration and sat on another tyre, I brought out my brick-game and began to play game-A (hope you can remember that game). I stopped playing game when students began to arrive;

“See Henry over there” I heard David’s voice from not too far, looking up, I saw five friends of mine approaching me with big grin on their faces, (David, Roliat, Deborah, Felix and Salamot), among them all, David whom we call Dave was my closest friend while others are normal friends, I call him Divide whenever I want to tease him.

“Henry the serious student!” David teased and continued; “I know you won’t disappoint me, I told them that we would meet you in school no matter how early we come” He jeered again as they kept coming closer; “Where are your four school bags? Abi na only three you bring today? Wey your drawing board and T-square na?” Dave was teasing me as they were coming nearer, while others were just laughing, I stood up.

“Divide!, your sickness don migrate go brain, you no con well at all, na me dey bring four bags to school abi?” I responded jokingly as I was laughing and moving closer to them;

“Paaaaa!” David and I had a resounding clapping handshake and used our right shoulders to touch eachother;

“O boy! you no wan tall again? Try tall small na, mad boy, Bet9ja don take your height finish” I jested David, he just stood-still looking at me and laughing as I was about to greet others, I knew he had my response but he didn’t talk, I greeted Felix the gentle boy, Roliat and Salamot looked fatter yet prettier than before;

“Hmmmmmmm see babes” I said with smiles on my face, I had handshake with Roliat and Salamot, Deborah was busy looking at me and smiling – Deborah is a portable girl, somehow short, fair in complexion, V-shape face, white and well arranged set of teeth.

Before I stretched my hand to Deborah for handshake, she had already opened arms for hug, no dulling, a brief good morning hug took place for some seconds, we chatted for a while, Felix left us there to greet some others;

“Is that not football those Junior School students are holding?” David asked without waiting for response, he sighted Quazeem – one of our friends;

“Quazeem! Quazeem!!” He screamed his name and quickly added; “Deaf hears” as Quazeem finally heard him, David pointed to the direction of the boys holding the ball (health), he knew that Quazeem could quit his wedding for a football match:

“Don’t tell me you want to go and play football this morning o” I queried indirectly.

“No. I want to go and borrow Maths textbook from them. “David responded sarcastically”

“Assuming you can play the ball well now, it’d be better, but it’s a lie, na dance you go dey dance on top ball” I mocked and laughed.

“Orin yin ni o… e maa koo lo… (It’s your song… continue singing it…)” He spat back nonchalantly and quickly asked; “How far, you dey play? Oh! I don forget say na woman dey your front, ‘alaye’run’ (broken-life fellow), continue your mission, it’s just that you won’t make our heaven with Jesus.” He yabbed jokingly.

(laughs out loud) “Your heaven indeed, “olokan’doti” (dirty-minded being), go and dance with the ball on the field as usual and come back, check me at the school canteen.” I responded still laughing while Deborah chuckled.

David went to the field as decided, Deborah and I began to chat. One thing about Deborah was that, she’d let out a charming smile along with every word coming out of her mouth.

“Why don’t you want to play football with them?” Deborah asked.

“You mean early this morning? And as we’ve not even known how to move, where to stay and how to dwell here?” I responded in hypophora

“Is true sha, don’t tell me you brought that very big bag o” She said, grinning.

“OK” I responded nonchalantly.

“What is OK? Did you bring that bag? I asked.” She protested

“You said I should not tell you that I brought it” I reminded her and smiled, she beamed.

“OK, now tell me the fact, who brought that big bag? Smiling.

“Madam! Pease leave that bag alone, are you jealous or what? Do you want me to give you or buy you the same type? “I grumbled non-violently.

“Oya, buy me the type” She dared, rolling her eyes and smiling.

“Hehehe” I let out a mocking laughter; “OK, when I’m coming tomorrow, I’ll bring yours……” I deceived her; “…and I’ll wake up from my dream.” I added for her to know I was not serious.

“Mtshhhw” She hissed, “I know, it’ll be only in your dreams that you can buy anything for anybody. You’ll even be provoked to wake up.” She assured.

“What do you mean? Oya let’s go to the school canteen.” I boasted emptily.

“You know am ready to follow you.” She responded determined.

“Ehn, let’s go then, I’ll order food for you and you’ll pay.” I turned her expectation down ironically and laughed.

“Hahahahaha” She laughed in the manner LIKE-I’VE-KNOWN; “I know you can’t pay for me before. Change your ways and be saved.” She joked.

We both laughed, held each other’s hands and off to school canteen.

…to be continued

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