When Ifeanyi asked me for a walk, on the day of our final papers for first semester, I was excited. Our affection had grown in leaps and bounds over the past few months. Being together in the same fellowship has provided the cement I felt we needed to set things in the right way. He usually walked me home after DFC choir rehearsals, while we bond over our personal and family stories. I got to know he is from a wealthy home with a dad who was a philanderer. I told him my dad was strict disciplinarian who refused me doing many things I would have loved to do growing up. That was the easiest way I could say it without feeling like a wicked daughter.
It was during our occasional walks that he asked about Dare. I had said nothing to him about Dare after the incident, even though I felt I should have. The matter of Dare had always been a sacred matter for me. I could only divulge in full details to someone whom I fully trust. Although I loved Ifeanyi, I hadn’t been certain I could trust him with such information yet.
“Who was the guy you were speaking to that day?” He asked, while holding my hand.
I knew I could not feign ignorance.
“His name is Dare. He is not in this school.”
“An ex?” He asked, with a look in his eyes that make my stomach warble.
We continued walking for a while without a word.
“Why didn’t you tell me about him?”
“Well, I don’t know.” I looked away.
I knew that was a perfect opportunity to ask him what we were. Even though our closeness had overstepped boundaries, he had still not asked me for a relationship. Seeing him as my boyfriend was just me adding obvious ones and twos together.
“Why did you speak to him like that?”
“He didn’t want to accept the relationship was over.”
I marvelled at the way the simple answer flew out of my mouth. I waited if he would press further. He didn’t.
I still wondered why I allowed that opportunity to define our relationship that day to pass, just like I did many times after that.
Although we agreed to meet by 6pm, I decided to go to his room by 4pm—I was too anxious to wait. It was going to be one of our last few nights together before the session break, and I needed to maximize it. I do not mind spending every minute of the few days I have more in school with him; I knew my parents would be expecting me to come home very soon.
As I dressed up, I tried to think about we were going to do that night. Since we planned to explore the school, we would take new roads. And then, we would talk about everything. I would bring up the subject of us. He would ask me out. I would blush. He would tell me how beautiful I and how much he loved me. Everything would turn out just perfect.
I looked into the mirror to place my hair accessory correctly—I needed to look perfect for tonight.
Ifeanyi was not in his room when I got there. Segun, his roommate that was in, told me he was playing football at their hostel’s football pitch right behind their room. He offered to call him, but I declined because he said the match would soon be over.
After Segun left, I sat for some minutes, but my restlessness made me go to the back porch that oversaw the football pitch.
I came out just about time to see Ifeanyi dribble the ball past another player. Pride rose within me. That was Ifeanyi, my boyfriend. He dribbled another player trying to get the ball from him, and passed the ball to a tall guy. The guy, after dribbling two other guys, gave Ifeanyi a high pass. Ifeanyi had run towards the opponent’s goal post by the time the ball got to him. Since he had seen the ball coming, he gave a high jump and nodded the ball forward at about angle 45o, sending it into the goal post. The field erupted with loud cheers of “Goal!” as the ball touched the net. I myself was clapping before I realized I was. Ifeanyi removed his shirt and waved it towards the spectators. His muscular torso—that was dripping with sweat that looked like tiny spheres of glass—kept drawing my eyes.
The whole scoring happened so fast, and kept my blood surging. It then made sense why guys were so crazy about football—it was a game that engaged all of one’s body and emotions and enable one to forget one worries for the meantime.
“I saw your goal.” I said when Ifeanyi eventually came in.
“Which one of them? The last one?” He was beaming with smiles.
I didn’t know he had scored before.
“You are so full of yourself!” I giggled.
“No, I’m not. I am just giving you reasons to be proud of me.” He winked.
His shower lasted for about thirty minutes, and left me wondering if he was washing himself limb by limb. By 6pm, he was ready for the walk.
Our walk went as planned, and I was having a good time while we rested on a pavement along Science road—until he kissed me. It was over before I could think.
Color seeped out my face.
“Why did you do that?”
“I have tried to resist the urge for a long time. I love you, Esther.”
“I have always looked forward to holding you in my arms, and kissing you passionately.” His dark eyes suddenly seemed small.
He came nearer again, and held me in an embrace. My head was screaming “Push him away!” but my hands refused to cooperate.
He kissed my lips again, but this time he lingered and waited for my mouth to open.
I flew up from the pavement before I knew what I was doing.
“Ifeanyi, I can’t do this. I have done it before. I can’t do it again.”
I didn’t wait for a response before I fled. He didn’t follow me.
I was in front of my hall before I stopped.I sat down on the dusty chair at the reception. With my head within my palms, I mourned how fast it took my past to catch up with me. Again.