Monday, January 3, 2011


Edna and I met at the university. I was in my third year and just had one of the most hectic eight hours of my university days, rushing from one lecture hall to the other.

“Hey brotherman, let’s roll to Mama Osato for some swallows,” Toyin called out to me after we had ended the fourth lecture of the day. The next one was due in two hours. I hadn’t had breakfast or read the last lecture note for the next class. Starch and banga soup was tempting enough. Although she cooked other meals,Mama Osato’s joint flourished on her unique Niger Delta recipe. But today, I couldn’t take the sumptuous risk for Dr. Nwabueze’s class. Renowned on campus for his no-nonsense attitude - this bald, bespectacled and sprightly vegetarian, with horn rimmed glasses tipping close to the top of his nose - knew how to make the most unprepared student a scapegoat and so caused that student a miserable three days before his next lecture.

“Sorry, man, I go block you later,” I replied, hurrying away, as the rest of our mates came down to join the building community under the tree outside the lecture hall. It wasn’t a case of economics, only that my pot of well-prepared egusi soup was left untouched since I had left my off-campus hostel in a rush. Eating out would have been suicidal because I wouldn’t have got home until late evening. By then, the soup may have turned sour. Since I had already wasted three richly prepared ones like that in two weeks, I really needed to learn the basic laws of prudence in feeding matters. My next installments in allowance was due in three days. Na wah for student life sometimes sha, I exhaled with a wry smile.

On getting to the hostel fifteen minutes later, I met a stranger fiddling with a key to the vacant room opposite mine. Probably a jambito, as she had two hefty luggage and a knapsack slugged over her shoulders. But I needed to be sure. On getting closer, she turned to look at me.

“Hi,” she said. She was of average height, with lovely natural hair, a blossoming figure covered in blue denim, softly red top with flowery decoration and flat-soled slippers, with shiny pupils dancing inside sockets, and a smile that would make Julia Roberts envious. The world, as it existed then, stopped for a second or two.

“Uh, hi,” I replied, still staring, as she finally unlocked the door.

She said something and laughed. It wasn’t like I was dazzled by the vision in front of me, after all my family and circle of friends are full of beautiful women. But, in my current state, this was slightly becoming unbearable – a vision of loveliness with a smile that took one’s breath away, a musical voice and laughter that resonated in the soul… and two heavy bags. Any famished being would stare sheepishly or get lost in conversation, like I was then.

“What?” I asked, when I finally managed to drag the bags inside the room.

“I said I know what you’re thinking,” she replied. Her accent was exotic. I couldn’t figure out her state of origin immediately, nor the reason for her enquiry. God, please, don’t let it be that.

“And what do you think I was thinking,” I asked, my strength returning after I had dropped the second luggage.

“You’re wondering what this jambito was doing here at this time of the semester,”


“I’m on the last supplementary list, but couldn’t travel on time. So I have to endure late registration,” she answered. She was going to major in Mass Communications and just paid for the accommodation here.

“Oh, ok, welcome to the club,” I said relieved. The next day, she promised to give me her number to call her as she said she needed to travel home immediately after her registration to get some other stuff for the long semester. She never did. Or rather, we never saw again until exactly three weeks later, in the library.

It was a Thursday. I had to study for an assignment at the library. Just when I sat down on the table at the far end, I saw a familiar face opposite me.

“Hi, again!” she said smiling, in that musical voice, looking lovelier than the last time and fully baptized into the student community.

“Hi… it’s so nice to see you again,” I replied, hoping that this time, I was not as transparent as a store window; because my heart was dancing like water droplets on a hot frying pan. After a slight banter, she continued her study. For the next hour, I couldn’t concentrate on mine. The next time she looked up. She caught me staring. One and a half hours later, we left the library together.

So, the next three weeks unraveled the some of the most beautiful qualities I had seen a woman. We became friends, then best of friends. The pivotal moment came when I took her out to celebrate the end of our second semester exams. She was in her second year while I was in my final.

“If it were in my power, I would turn water to wine for you,” I told her afterwards. She laughed in that relishing way of hers.

“Oh, I wish. But fortunately or unfortunately, I am not Mary and you’re not Jesus,” she replied. She, like me, had an appreciable sense of humour. And in most ways, we travelled on similar wave lengths.

“Really. You’re my best friend and I would do anything for you,” I said, seriously.

“I know. You’ve proved it many times,” she agreed.

 “Many times is not enough. I want to prove it always. You’re amazing. You’re like a kind of once-in-a-lifetime woman. I want to be with you all the time. Since our first days together, you’ve been my earth, wind and fire, my music, my one true desire. I’ve been in love before but never this way…,”

“Ehen?” she asked playfully. We laughed and I wondered if I should let this moment pass like I had allowed many others to in the past. Like nail to a magnet, she drew me into the circle of decision with her next statement.

“Speak English, sir,” she added, impassively. Sometimes, Edna’s frankness could be disarming. But I was ready. She had stopped sipping her juice to drink in my affirmation. It was the first time I was coming clean with my feelings towards her.
“Maybe I can’t live without you, I don’t know yet. But I do know that I’m in love with you, Edna, and would like you to be my girlfriend, then my queen,” I said, holding her hands across the table. She looked at me intently, searching for truth, with soft eyes that I could die for. The heavens clapped as lightning flashed outside. It was about to rain.

When her gaze met mine, I knew the answer. Romeo had met Juliet.

Our eyes locked; with souls kissing.


Her attention seemed far away.

“Okay baby, what was it that couldn’t wait for another 24 hours?” I asked Edna, diverting my train of thoughts back to the present


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