1 Meet cute


... A wave of turbulent emotions threatened to overwhelm me as I began to type in my digital journal.

My hands flew over the keyboard with lightning speed trying to translate all the feelings raging inside me into coherent words. I tried my best to not let tears seep out from my eyes because I was tired of crying. 

Finally, I was done and my brain and heart could finally take a break as I looked over what I had put down.





That tightening feeling in your chest when you realize that you could have waited a bit more before making that decision.

Maybe you could have thought it over one more time. but now, what's done is done and you can't retract it.

So you try to scream, rage, cry, anything to make that fist around your heart loosen its grip. nothing works though. so you're left panting for air, mucus filling your nostrils, tears streaming from your eyes and saliva stuck in your throat. 

You wish you could turn it all off like the vampires in the movies. but that is not your reality.

In this reality, you feel everything raging inside you. and there's nothing you can do except let it run its course. 

You'll be fine... eventually. 



...Two years ago

The portly man on the podium kept droning on and on about the benefits of learning a skill before entering university and during our stay there. I was bored out of my mind, sweaty and thirsty as the air conditioners in the small hall where the Ejigbo Youth Empowerment program-August 2019 edition was held were faulty and I was seated where the breeze from the creaky fans above could not reach me. I swiped a bottle of water from my friend, Emmanuel who was hyper-focused on what the man was talking about, and gulped it down.

I tapped him on the shoulder and spoke in a low tone. "How have you not dozed off yet? I feel so sleepy."

"Lazy girl, it's every time you'll be feeling sleepy. What Mr. Ajayi is saying is interesting and helpful for when we go to university," He replied.

His eyes were animated with the thought of finally becoming responsible for ourselves and our future.

I didn't understand how people entertained the thought of the future. I've always lived my life one day at a time, waiting to get to the bridge before I crossed it.

I never liked to think too much of the future because I know that only I can make my path that would determine my future.

My other friend, Mariam, was also listening to the lecture and I decided to not disrupt her attention lest she beats me.

"Finding trouble isn't worth the hot slap that will land on my leg," I murmured to myself and decided to be serious and grasp knowledge.

The portly man finally left the podium, wiping his sweaty face with a white handkerchief as a short, stout woman took his place. Thankfully, she was the last speaker of the day.

She began lecturing us on the essence of learning a skill or a trade in school, becoming an entrepreneur, and supporting our parents. Her voice was really beautiful and due to it, my attention was property grounded in what she was saying.

Roughly thirty minutes later, the program was over, pictures were being taken and all I could think about was leaving the stuffy hall and going outside where fresh air was.

I gestured to Emmanuel and Mariam to finish up their note-taking so we could leave. "Chisom, I just saw one of my friends from my GCE center. Let me go and greet him, I promise not to waste time."

She was already walking towards the person she wanted to greet while talking so I knew my protests wouldn't matter.

I didn't look to see who the friend was before turning to Emmanuel.

"Guy, but you and Mariam are mean. Both of you applied to the University of Lagos and left me. It's not fair o," I whined. Emmanuel, Mariam, and I have been inseparable for years.

We attended the same primary school though we were in different classes, and recently graduated from the same secondary school in which we were in the same class right from Ss1-Ss3. 

" Didn't we tell you to apply to Unilag too? It's you that said you'd apply to Abia state university where you'll get easy admission because you're from one of the catchment areas. Now, look at you, nobody you know is going there." He poked his tongue out at me mockingly and I was overcome with the urge to whack him upside the head.

I would try to and probably fail because of our height difference; I didn't know when he grew so tall.

Anyway, I hated it when he was right so I did what I usually do.

I plastered a scowl on my face.

" Who is this one frowning at? Let's go and meet Mariam, she's been greeting one person for almost thirty minutes. Doesn't she realize that this place is stuffy?"

We walked to the other end of the hall where Mariam was laughing with a guy.

He was wiry, tall, fair, bespectacled like me, quite ordinary-looking but his hair and lips caught my attention.

His hair was a short afro; full, well carved at the front, tightly coiled, and looked soft to touch.

His eyes were almond-shaped in a way that made him seem racially ambiguous.

In addition, his lips were perfectly proportioned and heart-shaped.

They were so pink and inviting that the dominant thought winding through my mind was how good it would feel to run my fingers through his hair.

To fist it in my hands as I brushed my lips against his.

"...this is Chisom, one of my closest friends." Mariam's voice snapped me out of my daydream and I mustered my best smile, making sure that my dimples and gap-tooth were on full display.

I straightened my blouse, patted my long braids, and extended my hand for a handshake.

He held my hand firmly as he introduced himself.

"I'm Tobi and you're really beautiful." My heart jumped for joy as my stomach did a backflip simultaneously. 

"Thank you, you look really good as well," I responded shyly causing him to smile exposing his perfect row of teeth.

He and Emmanuel shook hands and did that bro hug thing that guys do as Mariam did the introductions. 

After Emmanuel complained about how hot it was yet again, we left the hall and went outside to the pavilion near the gates of the building.

I was happy about finally receiving fresh air along with engaging in conversation with Tobi.

He and Mariam got close during GCE and while Emmanuel was in the same center with them, he didn't know much about him because he was always on his own and had a low social battery the entire period.

I rued the day I registered outside of my secondary school.

Maybe, I would have met him. 

Tobi was charismatic, keeping the conversation light and full of laughter.

He seemed like the main character of a TV series.

He had this air of charm around him that even Emmanuel was conversing brightly.

He lived not too far from my house, and he was from Oyo state just like Emmanuel so their kindred spirit sparked. 

I hoped that he would ask for my number at some point but he didn't and that left me disappointed as we finally parted ways and I and my friends boarded a bus back to our homes.

Next chapter