Sprawled on the floor she laid as she scribbled relentlessly into her ‘lesson note’ book, a required necessity for any teacher. So she was told, and so she would come to realize. She was serving her country, compelled to undergo the mandatory 1 year NYSC programme of her nation , her fatherland which bears the bit- tersweet, truthful lie label of ‘giant of Africa’.
It was a chilly Sunday night, and she had a class the next day, and so she was compiling her lesson note, prelude task to grading test scores. Normally, she would have completed her teacher-task earlier than now, but I am the sole distraction, the visitor, the lover boy who’s come from Lagos to Okemesi, Ekiti, to visit the woman who presently holds in her grasp his heart.
We’d been through countless bouts of steamy, passionate sessions of rumblings and epic lovemaking between the sheets. We had literally worn ourselves out, hence this little break.
So, there she was trying to accomplish her task fast enough, so she could spend some more quality time with me because I was due to take my leave in the wee hours of the next day.
And here I am, scribbling relentlessly as she’s doing, only difference is, I am writing about her! Her name, Nwamaka, in Igbo language of Nigeria, means ‘this child is beautiful’. And she is quite beautiful.
Well, she seemed more beautiful to me in the NYSC khakis than in regular clothes. So I came to realize later on, but I dare not mention this observation of mine to her.
This was my second trip to these parts (technically my third trip). The first time was immediately after the 3-week orientation camp where I met her, and unwittingly fell in love with her. I had been so into her that hanging out with her for a day or two after camp was a no-brainer.
We had both agreed not to have a quick cautious sex in the inclement conditions and facilities of the dilapidating Ekiti camp premises. We were both too matured to rush into the bush for a quickie like sex starved maniacs. We were on the same wave length about waiting till after camp. One of the many things we both agreed on.
Being like-minds on so many issues was a major factor in letting down my usually uptight guard. If anyone had told me I’d have any sort of fun at the 3-week camp, I’d have easily played down the notion.
I went there hardened and armed with a mindset of complete indifference, determined to wearily labor through the whole process.
Alas, I was in for a shocker. I met Nwamaka, Molinda, and Alex. We had innumerable fun most of the time. It turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
I surprised myself. The trip surprised me. In life, I guess its best and safe to never say ‘never.
I and Amaka were an item, a serious topic of discussion amongst corp members, camp officials, soldiers, and even the camp commandant. Everyone was on our case! Every lip spoke of our circumstantial union.
And we loved it, we enjoyed every moment of it. We could feel the stares, the not too silent whispers, the malicious sniggers, the contemptuous smiles, the obvious adoration, the evident envy, the attempted belittling.
In 3-weeks, we saw it all, we experienced it all. We were bonafide camp celebrity couple. We were an enviable item.
Therefore, it was only natural that our romance would extend beyond the makeshift gate of the relic camp. Everyone expected it, many suggested it, and we planned for it.
The day I announced my redeployment inten- tions to her, I could see the blood momentarily drain from her face, I could see the pained look she was desperately trying to mask. I saw the dis- appointment spread from her face to her body as her shoulders dropped by reflex, albeit involuntarily.
I said to her, ‘don’t worry; we will always keep in touch. Ekiti is not far from Lagos, I will always come around periodically.’
Still silently brooding, she looked up into my eyes as if to search for the truthfulness of my utterance. Having seemingly sensed some semblance of genuineness in my nuance and body language, a faint light of hope flickered in her eyes.
I added, ‘besides, what we’ve built here is not something I can just throw away. It is something I would love to nurture and hope for the best out ofit’.
Instantly, she believed me, but apparently still be- mused, she blurted out, ‘why do you have to rede- ploy, why do you have to go back to Lagos’.
I replied, ‘I’ve got work and many things going on for me in Lagos, and I have to get back to them.’ To which she responded, ‘don’t mind me, that’s the selfish me talking. I just wish you didn’t have to redeploy’.
Eventually, she came to accept our collective fate; the fact that I will definitely redeploy and that we would attempt to nurture a long distance relationship.
For someone like me with trust issues, and distance barrier problems, it was surprising that I saw no red flags; instead I envisioned a romance filled with endless possibilities. At that moment in my life, love, for the first time became blind.