Thursday, January 27, 2011


Edna's shenanigans apart, I guess I had not yet learned the lessons of the heart well enough. The last time I felt a loss as excruciating as this, it felt the same way. Although I was much younger then, I was man enough to understand that giddy feelings of affection. She meant the whole world to me, just like Edna did. Her voice was magical. And it was love at first sight the first time I saw her. I was charmed, just the way I was with Edna on the first day. I craved so much to see her every day that any weekend we spent apart felt like ages to me. But those weekends were maybe twice or thrice in a month. She came to visit me the other weekends. I had always been the sprightly one. So my parents, who I was still living with then, noticed it each time I went morose on those weekends when she had to go see her parents. Thankfully, they understood my feelings.

“It’s Linda, huh,” Mum would ask with a sympathetic smile. I would put on the tough masculine look, smile, and then walk away. Father, well, at times, father tried to talk some ‘sense’ into me.

“Grow up, son,” What would you do if her job eventually takes her far away from you?” he once asked. With every will power I could summon then, I had silently refused it. The pain disappeared in a flash when I set eyes on her lovely face again. She always welcomed me with a passionate, bear hug. I couldn’t wait to spend forever with her.

“My favourite man, my darling,” she would say, with that smile that took my breath away, and give me another hug. I loved it whenever she called me that. I felt most special. Sometimes, I got lost just staring into her gorgeous eyes and watching her speak, that she sometimes had to look at me directly, repeat a question or a statement to catch my attention. The day she kissed me, I felt like a hot-air balloon; I floated all day in the clouds.

I would never forget the day father’s words came to pass. It was a Friday and she asked me to wait for her after work so that she could arrange her files and tidy up her table. She had wanted to come home with me. It was that week I was going to move away from my parents’ house to my own place; although I was going to be sharing the space with some friends. That day, we held hands as we walked home together. I held her more tightly for an unexpected event had kept her away from me for two days.

On getting home that day, I rushed to the room to bring the card I made for her. Her eyes lit up when she saw it “Aww, darling, thank you,” she said and hugged me tightly. “I would always treasure this,” she said.

“I’m sure you must be proud to have such a son. I’m so proud of him,” she gushed to my parents, while holding my hands. Oh, she had such child-like qualities that also endeared her more to me and my parents. Some few minutes afterwards, she brought my world crashing down when she informed me that she had been transferred to another state. Not even her magical voice and soothing hugs could take the piercing pain away. “Don’t worry, my darling. We’ll stay in touch,” she had told me, with that angelic look in her eyes. Afterwards, I hoped and prayed. But that week was the last I heard of her. Hurt and betrayed, it felt like my world had ended. Linda was my first love. Our affair lasted for nine months.

For the rest of that week, maybe longer, I was inconsolable. My parents had to go the extra mile just to help me forget her. Linda, my English teacher, who was posted to do her National Youth Service in my school, was my first love. I was barely nine-years old. The pain lingered until I went to boarding school, where I came of age.

© Arukaino Umukoro

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