December 24, 2012.
Everything seemed to move at a slow pace, time was 9:00pm; the retreat program had ended for the day. “Oh boy!” I exclaimed, “This camp matter self de tire me.” I explained to my best friend Uche “Make them do make we de go house.” I continued to complain, I had grown weary of the camp, the scorching heat had rented our clothes, the lengthy messages dampen our souls and Uche concurred as he cut in “Oh boy I de tell you.” He sighed.
We lay on our fallen seats in the car, as we talked about girls, life in the university, parents and many things we considered as problems.
“How far Onyi na?” Uche asked as he shifted his gaze to me. As usual, I would smile and make a shy grin and give a reason why I hadn’t spoken to her or couldn’t speak to her “she say make I give her time.” I would reply. “You be very big fool o!” he would cut in abruptly. “You de really de give her time?” he would ask. “Yes na.” I would reply in defense. “Shut up your mouth, what do you know? Better buckle up, sharp messi de everywhere o.” he warned.
Time was 10:00 pm, our discussion never seemed to end, and we talked endlessly. “Guy see!” uche called out, cutting our conversation short, as he tapped me. “Wetin?” I asked, trying to look out to who he was pointing at. “I nor de see anything o” I shrugged, “look well” he urged. It was Onyi, my heart rate had increased by a few pounds, I could feel my pupils’ dilate. I just watched in awe, as she walked past the vehicle with her younger sister, they both laughed as they both walked away swiftly.
I was lost, my eyes shone as I gazed at Onyi, she was too beautiful. “As u de look am, na so e go de go!” uche warned, as he grinned mockingly.
I was pressed, so I left the car to go ease myself. “O boy piss de catch me, I de come make I go throw way sapele water.” On coming back, the doors had been locked from the inside. “Uche!” I called out desperately, the cold was wicked, the harmattan dew was falling and I was freezing. I called out a few more times and then he finally answered. “Open the door na.” I urged. “I nor go open this door, till you meet Onyi, tell her wetin de your mind and she give you definite answer.” He face was stern, I knew he was serious, I pleaded to no avail and I knew I had to face her- my greatest fear.
I hadn’t seriously asked anyone out, until I met Onyi, it has been six months and she had left me at the “gimme some time to think about it” stage. I loved her beyond words and I did everything she asked me and I did give her time. Well today, everything was about to change.
“Philip you can do this.” I encouraged myself, as I walked briskly in the stiff cold.
I made my way to the camp’s super-market, bought some bananas and a can malt. “These would keep me distracted.” I thought out loud. I strolled down to where I had last seen Mrs. Okoh’s car.
Mrs. Okoh was Onyi’s mum, her daughters were beautiful and graceful like her, a light complexioned lady in her early fifties, she was stern but welcoming.
I finally saw the car.
She stood beside the car, she and her sisters were laughing as they talked at pitched voices. She was five feet and some inches, her hair was dark brown, the harmattan breeze seemed to grace them perfectly, her hazel eyes blended with her well fixed pointed nose as they both outlined to show her thin pink lips and perfectly sculptured oval face. Her body was exquisite, her fair skin glowed in the dark, and she was perfect in every little way. She was simply beautiful.
I walked down slowly, as I thought of what to say as I got to the car. The closer I got, the more my heart pounded faster, my body became warm, the cold seemed to disappear, so many scenarios of how to start a conversation between us had clouded my head. Finally, I got to the car.
“Oga lover u don show?” Ebube asked. I smiled widely and answered politely. After much questioning from her sisters, we left the car and strolled to somewhere more private.
We both sat down, as we took long glances at each other, sometimes we both smiled for no reason, I was thinking of the perfect way to start up the conversation and then finally she asked. “I hope you are enjoying the camp?” I smiled widely, arched my eyebrows and answered calmly “yes I am, and you?” I asked. “well it’s okay.” She replied. We talked about a lot of things and we laughed and giggled about every joke we both made.
Soon tensioned gripped the air, the silence had become elusive; we both knew what was coming next. My once calm heart had started pounding furiously again; I had to say it now or never. Finally, the words started coming out. I sounded like a poet, more of a motivational speaker on drugs; every word had its gripping meaning. “I don’t want to be just someone who you smile at and say hi, but that special someone who wants to grace your smile every day, hold you tight and call you mine.” I spoke with the little confidence I could wrinkle, my voice did break down at certain points and finally I ended my heartfelt love quote with “Onyeka Daniella Okoh, I want you to be my one and only as long as I live, so would you do me the honor of loving me?”
My heart seemed to stop as I asked the question, her face was puzzled she was lost, she smiled and sat upright.
“Em” she started. My mind yearned for the “yes” answer, I hardened my gaze, she changed positions as she shrugged and said “give me a little more time.”
My heart sank as I heard those words, what would I do now I asked myself.
“But don’t worry; I will give you your answer tonight.” She said, as she gave that look that made my heart flutter. I felt relieved; Alas! There was still hope.
I walked her back to her car, we laughed some more and finally we got to their car. “Good night dear.” I spoke in the most charming way, “you too, sleep well.” She replied. “You know I won’t” I replied with a wry gaping smile, trying to remind her to reply. We said our good byes.
“Uche, Uche open this door!” I called out. “Open now! Cold de o!” I begged. “You don run am?” he asked. “Yes.” I answered hurriedly; the cold was getting to me. “Wetin she talk?” he continued. “She say she go gimme reply this night!” I hollered from outside. “Good boy, now you can sleep” as he clicked the master control and the door opened. I hurriedly got into the car and we had started conversing about what transpired between me and Onyi.
As we talked, I grew impatient, I took a quick glance at my phone-the time was 11:45 pm; “had she slept?” I thought to myself, or maybe she didn’t like me that’s why the continued posting. Uche had slowly drifted into a deep sleep, I was the only one awake, time was now 11:59 pm. I decided to sleep, as I picked up my phone to send a good night message, my phone rang out.
I quickly picked up the phone; my message notification signalled an unread message. It was from Onyi, my heart pounded faster as I anxiously opened the message.
“Yes and I love you too.”
I couldn’t explain the rush I felt, I wanted to shout, I jerked like I scored a goal. “Uche! Uche!” I called out, as I tapped him. “wetin?” he asked in sleepy voice, his eyes half opened. “She gree! She gree!” I replied excitedly. “when I de tell you something since, you nor de gree!” he said with drowsiness lodged in his voice. “Oga sleep, make u nor de disturb!” as he managed a smile and slept off.
I replied quickly with a text message, telling her how much I loved her and how she had made my life complete. I looked at the time it was 12:10 am, Dec 25th. I concluded with “you are the best Christmas present anyone would ever want!” I clicked send and two minutes later I received another text from her, in all we couldn’t contain how much we felt for each other.
I hit my bed hard in frustration, my eyes glimmered.
It was a dream.
Submitted by CHUKS CHUKS