Hakeem shrugged. “Wetin concern me. If
they like let them kill themselves, the world
must surely go on.”
“Timi please sit down. Ignore the fool.” Fatai
persuaded further, snubbing Hakeem with
“Fool or no fool, all I know is that they must
end up settling. So…”
“Would you at least shut up?” Fataiʼs voice
was obviously fed up of Hakeemʼs babbling.
That was the typical Hakeem with his carefree
nature. He often goofed around and cared
less about anything, so I wasn’t the least
surprised at his attitude. It wasn’t his first time,
neither would it be his last.
Hell, in another word, was the same thing as
staying with Hakeem under the same roof.
However, Timi heeded to Fataiʼs words and
sat on the bed, directly opposite me. I was
sitting at the edge, while Fatai sat in the
middle, and Timi at the opposite edge. So
Fatai was virtually in-between us.
“Chineche, let us talk man to man. What
“Tell him to tell you.” I answered with a
straight look at Timi, pointing to him.
“He already has,” Fatai countered. “He told
us on our way coming in, but I also need to
hear from you too.”
“I hope he told you how he embarrassed
“Embarrassed you? Chineche, you call that
embarrassment?” Timi laughed cockily. “I only
“You were helping me by pushing me
forcefully to a girl to the extent that I squashed
and spilled her plate of food and water? You
even made me stain her clothes too. Did I
ask you to help me? Who asked for your
help? Who send you message?”
“Chineche calm down. Timi you too talk small
small. I don’t want a situation whereby we
would start exchanging blows now o! You
guys should behave na.” Fatai cautioned,
trying to ease the tension.
“No, leave them, let them fight.” Hakeem said
with a smile, scooping a spoonful of garri as
Fatai ignored him and continued: “Timi, how
would you do something like that? You f—-d
“I didn’t f–k up. Chineche f—-d up.” Timi
“How did I f–k up?” I demanded, obviously
puzzled. “Timi, you know how much I like that
girl. You know how much I have been secretly
admiring her. You are the least of all people I
expected this from.”
“Chineche, I said you f—-d up. That push I
gave you was your stepping stone to move
forward, but you fumbled. You wasted it. So,
don’t blame me.”
“Hold on, this particular girl in question, who is
she?” Fatai interrupted.
“Deborah.” Timi answered. “She’s a
“She attends this school?”
“Yes, she does. In fact, she stays in this
campus.” Timi affirmed.
“Then it must be her!” Fatai confirmed as he
shook his head. “I know her, she is my
“Excuse me?” I spoke up instantly on hearing
the word ‘girlfriend.’ I had thought he was
referring to Deborah as his girlfriend.
“Chineche, remember the girl you saw when
you came in earlier?” Fatai asked.
“Divine – that’s her name. She’s my girlfriend
and also Deborah’s friend and roommate.” He
“Wait a minute, you mean you brought a girl
into this room?” Hakeem’s mouth flung open,
almost spilling his mouthful of garri. “No
wonder you refused to come to mosque.”
“Out of everything, that was the only one he
heard.” Fatai hissed, and continued, “So all
hope is not lost, we can still do something if
you want to, Chineche.”
“What are you suggesting?” I asked curiously. “It’s now you’re talking!” Fatai heaved a sigh. “I could take you to her hostel around the evening hours, along with Timi also. You know my girl stays there, so it should be easier.” “But what is the need of going to her hostel, if I may ask? It’s pointless.” “You are wrong!” Timi cut in abruptly. “This is another chance for you, that is, if you play it well.” I fixed a thoughtful look at Timi, considering his suggestion carefully. It sounded like a nice idea, but still…not too nice, too. “I’ve heard you. I’ll give it a try.” I affirmed. “But,” I added, “that doesn’t mean I have forgiven you, though.” Timi laughed calmly. “Let’s wait and see.” ___________ ___________ Hours later, at exactly six thirty on the dot in the evening, Fatai and Timi had gotten ready to leave, apart from me. I wasn’t prepared. I was nervous. I even went the extra mile to shower and freshen up into new clothes, just to impress her. I brushed again for the umpteenth time that day, and I sprayed a good amount of perfume to enhance my cologne. I also had a piece of paper I wrote something into about how I was supposed to act and what to say in front of her, and if I wasn’t mistaken, I had read this same paper over a hundred times. After the whole prancing about, we finally left the house at seven on the dot, due to my childish delay. I did the sign of the cross three times when we finally approached the female hostel, precisely in front of a particular room. “Is this it?” I asked nervously. Fatai nodded. “Are you ready?” I heaved a sigh, breathed in as much air as I could, and said “Yes!” Then, Fatai knocked on the door. Immediately, a voice from inside responded. “Yes, who’s there?” “It’s me.” “You as in, who?” “Somebody.” Fatai answered. “Don’t you have a name?” “I don’t.” He said, smiling. “Okay. Hold on, I am coming.” The voice responded and we heard footsteps approaching the door. Then, it opened. “Baby!” Divine gasped in surprise as she saw Fatai. She leaned closer and wrapped him in a tight hug. Fatai laughed. “You didn’t tell me you were coming here.” She said as she withdrew from the hug, turning her gaze towards us; I and Timi. We exchanged pleasantries and then she turned back to face Fatai. “Why don’t you guys come in? Let me prepare something for…” “Actually,” Fatai interrupted, “we are here to see your friend, Deborah. Is she in?” “She’s around. Hope no problem?” “No, nothing at all. We just need to see her.” Fatai affirmed calmly. Divine gave a skeptical suspicious look at Fatai closely: a very serious look. “Baby, I hope it’s not what I’m thinking o.” She jokingly said and walked back inside. Fatai and Timi laughed, except from me. Laughing was the least of my problems at that moment. Shortly after, Divine returned outside with my greatest fear… Deborah. Everything I had practiced before coming there suddenly melted and dried off on sighting her. Imaginary goosebumps popped out all over my body and I noticed I was vibrating like an electrocuted person. “Hey!” Deborah’s voice echoed through my ears, reviving me from my reverie. “I remember you.” I tried to say something, but my voice was unable to form words. She turned to Timi. “And you too. I remember you, too.” “You guys know each other?” Divine spoke up, amused. “Not exactly,” Deborah replied. “They’re the guys I told you about, concerning the issue of my stained dress.” “Oh, they’re the ones?” Divine asked, shifting glances between I and Timi. “Yes, they are.” Deborah affirmed. “And that is why we came here,” Timi interjected. “To apologise!” “To apologise?” Deborah repeated. “I already told you it’s fine. I’m serious.” Timi’s eyes narrowed towards mine, giving me signs to take over. “Deborah, can I have a minute with you?” I sharply cut in. “Ehm. Sure…” She said hesitantly, a bit of confusion evident from her features. She then stepped forward while I followed closely behind, away from Timi, Divine and Fatai.
“Deborah…” I called out, feeling my heart beat thumping rapidly. “Yeah?” She folded her hands as she answered, fixing an avid focus on me. “Well,” I continued, managing to summon enough courage. “I know I offended you and I know I have said sorry a lot of time, but I just need to be assured that it’s from your heart. Please, forgive me.” Deborah chuckled. “I have forgiven you. Believe me. It’s nothing.” “Are you sure?” “More than sure,” she said, giving me a warm smile. “Like, really really sure?” I asked, returning a warmer smile to her. She laughed. “You’re very funny, you know that? I can’t believe you came all the way from wherever you came from to tell me this. I’m overwhelmed.” “Actually, I school here.” I said. “I stay in campus.” “I figured as much.” She said, and added, “Besides, you haven’t even told me your name.” “Don’t mind me. I’m Chinecherem.” “Chinecherem! It’s a nice name. I’ll rather call you Neche.” “Anyhow you feel like.” I concurred shyly. She smiled. “So . . . friends?” I stretched a hand towards her, offering a handshake. “Of course. Friends!” She ignored my handshake and, instead, to the peak of my surprise, she pulled me into a warm hug. It was swift and light. Then, we withdrew from the hug, smiling. Finally, at long last, my dream came true!