Tuesday services were one of my favorites among our church programmes, especially because of one reason – one major reason – Sister Deborah.
I couldn’t remember the last time I missed any church service just because of her – just to hear her sopranic, angelic voice and to see her beautiful, dimpled smile.
I often made sure to reserve a seat at the front row where I could easily have a good, clearer view of her – her spotless fair skin complexion, her long black plaited hair and her adorable straight legs; exactly most of what I wanted in a woman – she had it all.
I myself, I could quite say I was somewhat attractive to an extent – at least from the compliments I often do get from people. I wasnʼt fair like Deborah but my dark-brownish skin was perfect. I liked my average height, even if I wasnʼt too tall. I had a slim, fitted stature that complimented my physique also – and as for my facial looks, I could use Korede Bello as a perfect description for it. Only that I lacked dimples.
However, asides all of that, Deborah had never for once noticed me, neither had I made any move either. I always had this ecstatic feeling of boldness to talk to her in my imaginations, but when the time comes, my courage fails me terribly. I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t bold enough.
That was Timiʼs voice – a friend of mine – calling me repeatedly over and over again, but I chose to ignore him.
“Chinecherem!” He called again, tapping me by my shoulder this time around.
Annoyingly turning to face him, I gave him a stern stare and asked, “What?!”
He looked dazed at my response.
“I don dey call you since say make we go house, you no wan answer. Service don close na!” he said.
I hissed and ignored him, turning my gaze back to what I was looking at.
Timi tapped me again, more harder.
“Chineche no be you I dey follow talk…” he sounded frustrated. Yet, I ignored him.
Then, instinctively, he followed my gaze to see what I was looking at.
He then heaved a sigh and muttered silently under his breath, “No wonder!”
“So you havenʼt given up on this girl?” he asked, and added, “If you like her this much, why donʼt you just man up, walk to her and tell her?”
“You think itʼs that easy?” I responded, still keeping my gaze fixated forward.
“Are you afraid of her?”
That was Timiʼs next question to me. I turned my gaze to him instantly.
“Afraid of her?” I laughed. “Why should I be afraid of her?”
“I have a reason for asking because, the Chineche I know would never take this long to woo a girl he likes. Iʼve always known you to be a sharp, rugged boy over the years who doesnʼt take no for an answer. What suddenly happened? You don change finish.” Timi said.
In a truthful sense, he had some iota of truth in what he said. I had truly changed, a whole lot.
“I can’t just understand either,” I answered, heaving a sigh. “Itʼs just that when it comes to Deborah, everything turns around. Everything changes! It feels entirely different.”
“Then talk to her!” Timi chipped in. I looked at him with an avid stare, processing his last said words in my head carefully, before heaving a sigh to face elsewhere.
“Timi, I canʼt. You wonʼt understand.” I gave up in mock surrender, getting up on my feet.
“Letʼs go home.” I added.
Timi looked at me with a complex gaze, obviously surprised at my cowardice.
“Chineche this is so unlike you,” he said, getting up on his feet too.
I ignored his remark and walked forward towards the exit door. Timi followed behind me.
Just close to the exit door was where the choir podium was situated, which meant that I would have to pass through there, close to Deborah. I could see some choristers waiting behind, talking and laughing, probably waiting to have a practice session. I could see Deborah too, standing with a plate of food and a bottled water engulfed in-between her arms as she ate hurriedly, laughing and talking as she chewed the food crumb in her mouth.
I bowed my head towards the ground as I passed behind her, making my way to the exit door. I could smell her cologne – the usual perfume I had grown to like whenever I passed near her. It had an enchanting scent combined with the yellow and black uniform she wore – her choir attire.
A few steps away to the exit door, as I made my way further, out of nowhere, almost out of the blues, someone pushed me forcefully and I stumbled and staggered, almost tripping down. I lost balance and waltzed to a corner to grab onto anything I could hold on to, only to collide heavily with someoneʼs figure beside me.
The plate she was holding slipped off from her hands and fell down, as well as the bottled water. It shattered into pieces on the ground and the water spilled out too.
I raised my head with plain shock, realizing I had just bumped into Deborah. I could see crumbs of stew stained all over her shirt, messing it up. She looked more shocked than I was at that moment.
“My goodness! I am s–s–so sorry,” I stammered frightfully, fidgeting in a trembling way with the unlikely look she had on her face.
Then, instinctively, I turned my gaze backwards to see Timi standing nearby, slightly afar off. He had pushed me intentionally – I could tell from the look on his face.
He smiled and winked at me immediately, bursting out into laughter.