Episode 9 – (HELEN AGAIN?)
I turned to behold a plump, fair pretty bombshell. Her face was a face I wouldn’t forget, her hair was still dense and black, and her pink lips glittered. She hadn’t changed much, she smelled of a fragrance so familiar to me. We had only spent a few hours in a night and a few hours in a day, and I already knew all that about her. I was sensationally memorable.
Her waist made a round shape under her white lace gown, the gown stopped somewhere above her knees, revealing smooth long legs, fair and fascinating.
Helen smiled and whispered: “How was your exam today?” she took my hands, hers still felt soft like foam, or rather newly baked bread in mine. I swallowed saliva and allowed myself a smile back to her. What happened the last time we met wasn’t something good to write home about, it reminded me of the muscular stranger who made me hate myself for a moment.
“It was tough, but I tried my best. Yours?”
“Mine?” she girlishly touched her chest, pouted her mouth and said, “Mine wasn’t so bad though” she looked at me, wetting her lips.
Helen’s interest in me was evident in her actions; she made every of our conversation so lively and stylish – and luring. She showcased every beauty in her, while saying anything to me. I noticed it because I had talked with other girls and I knew how they behaved. Also, I had been in the world long enough to know when a girl is enveloped in infatuation.
“Eeerm, after the incident back in my room, eeerm I have been wanting to meet with you, but eeerm” she gesticulated like a newscaster who finds it difficult to explain a point, “We…sorry, not ‘we’ – ‘I’ was incommunicado because I don’t have your contact, and so I asked my CHF, Paul to arrange…”
I sadly cut her short; “…to arrange for us to see. So, I heard. You wanted us to meet, and what for?”
The sudden look on her face showed that my words shot her like gunshots, and she was forced to say – “Isn’t that so harsh dear?” she sounded politely now, with a sad smile though. “Please, could you please bring down your spirit, I know how hard it must have been on you, that’s why I decided to meet with you and apologise” she paused and waited to hear from me.
That very moment, I regretted sounding the way I did. What was I even feeling like? A girl was begging me and I had the balls to be frowning, a pretty girl for that matter. I came to my senses and decided to behave more maturely.
“Sorry, if I sounded harsh” she kept quiet as if she was deaf. “You did great by coming back after almost two months for apology, you did great” I touched her shoulders softly. “You did great, you really did great” sincerely I didn’t know what else to say.
“Alright. I’m so sorry for what happened like I said earlier” she was off balance now. “I planned to tell you the reasons why it happened that way, but you just…well, it`s alright” There was silence amongst the three of us, including Paul who pretended to be busy with his phone.
After some minutes, she mumbled: “Can we start going now, Paul” I knew she was unhappy because of my early overreaction.
I wanted to allow her to go with Paul like she said, but again I decided to swallow my pride, “Helen, you don’t wanna leave now, do you?”
Helen was the type of girl who never pretended, she snapped: “Maybe you caused me to change my mind” she stood and picked her small bag in a bid to leave since her childhood friend wouldn’t follow her. “See you, Paul”. She made to leave, but Paul signalled me with his eyes, so I held her hands.
“I’m sorry to have sounded harsh earlier…” I stuttered.
Then, she began: “What happened wasn’t entirely my fault, but I still felt it would be good if I apologised to you, but you made me feel out of place.”
“It’s my turn to beg you now dear, forgive me for sounding harsh” I said, with all sincerity as I still held hands.
She just turned, looked at me and sat back without saying a word. “And this bighead was sitting here without even making a word” she frowned and poked Paul on his cheeks.
“What do you want me to say naa?” Paul swayed his face away from her.
“Shut up osiso” she said, squeezing his ears. He feigned pains, and flung away her fingers. We all chuckled and it seemed our moods were lightened up once more.
“So, where are you headed from here?” I said to her.
She was carried away by the beauty of my footwear, “Awwwn! I love this, where did you buy it?” she touched my red knitted footwear in admiration.
“I didn’t buy it, a friend did it for me”
She said: “Woaw! A girl baa?”
I nodded, “Her name is Oge, maybe one of these days you’ll get to meet her.”
“It will be a pleasure for a writer to meet a knitter.” She articulated.
“Oh, do you write?” I raised my eyebrows in amazement.
“So, Paul never told you?” she inquired.
“Omo, this girl will kill you with love poems oo” Paul said.
I smiled in admiration. She eyed Paul, saying: “Don’t mind him, I also write other sort of…”
Paul, her childhood friend didn’t let her finish before he snapped; “But you write more of love poems naa”
* * *
Dusk started growing dimmer when Paul left us, saying he needed to catch an appointment, I guessed he only wanted me and Helen to spend time alone.
“So, can you tell me the reason surrounding the embarrassment your brother gave to me?” I broke the silence between me and her.
“Well, to start with; he – is…?” she muttered. “…he’s not really my brother, he – is…” she looked away. “…he’s my step-brother”
“How?” she was quiet before I added: “Do you wanna talk about it”
“I’m not comfortable here”
She girlishly waved her hands around, saying: “Mosquitoes” she pouted and added: “Don’t they bite you as well?” her attractive style of talking was becoming alarming.
“So, what do you suggest?”
“Errmm…” she touched her lips and rolled her eyes, as if to think. Finally, something came to her mind and she said: “Let’s stroll, how about that?”
That was the moment I knew that Helen was romantic actually, strolling was the best thing for that evening, what a perfect timing. We planned we were going to stroll from Garuba Square to Management Science because she said she wanted to study Till-Day-Break, the so-called TDB. She had her books inside her small bag.
“We were saying something”
“Yeah, it was about my step-brother”
“Yeah, does that mean your father married two wives or something?”
“He married a woman who only gave birth to Emeka, my step-brother, but the woman died some years later, then my father decided to remarry. That was when he married my mum and I was given birth to”
“Oh!” I pathetically nodded. “He must be a desperate man, well he finally…”
“He was also a good man, I loved him more than any man I’ve seen”
“’Was?’ What do you mean – ‘he was’?”
She looked away, saying: “He’s dead… died last year”
“Helen!” I snapped surprisingly. “What…what killed him” I stopped walking.
“Can we please switch this discussion?” she mumbled. Her face wasn’t funny any longer.
“Sure, my dear. Errrm…. How was your exam toda… I mean how many papers did you take today?” She didn’t answer; instead I noticed her eyes were clouded with tears. “Swidy, I’m sorry if I rekindled old wound”. That was when I came with a better point of discussion. “How was your Departmental Night party?”
“It was fun” she said in a very low tone.
“Ok, hope Paul invited you to their LAWSA Dinner Night?”
“Yes, but I didn’t make it” she whispered. “But, I attended the parties which held throughout S.U.G. week, they all rocked, especially the Born-Fire night.”
“Oh, I see. I performed in LAWSA Dinner Night party, I sang.”
“Awwwn! Can you really sing?” I nodded my yes and she added “Eiiyaa, I missed.”
We didn’t talk much until we trekked the long way to Management Science. According to people who came to read that night, they said there was power problem. Because the light we met before we sat down soon went off and we stayed in darkness. I was weak from our trek, but Helen was weaker, so she rested her head on my shoulders as we waited for the light to come back on.
“What’s the time” she mumbled into my ears.
I checked my phone. “Seven thirty”
“You will stay and read with me, right?” she inquired.
“But I didn’t come with any book, you know”
“Oooh m” she hummed in disappointment. “So, you’ll soon start going?”
“Of course, maybe after the light comes back on” I said as she was still resting her head on my shoulders. My amazement was how she felt so free with me, I wouldn’t say we were still strangers that time, but at least we haven’t gotten to know each other that much, and she was that loose with me. I heard she was tough to other guys, why was my own different, what did she see in me?
“Hope you ain’t crying anymore?” I traced her face in the darkness and started touching her face to know if I would feel tears.
“Leave me jhooor, who is crying?” she said huskily; taking off my hands. Then she asked: “What’s your Igbo name?”
“Oh!” her voice was still husky. “I heard you are an erudite writer”
“Who told you?”
“Don’t you know I’m like the FBI, I run research on people” she now leaned on me. “I ran a research on you”. I was feeling every weight of her soft, plump body on me. “Hope I ain’t discomforting you?” she sat up and asked me.
I dragged her back to me, and made her lean again, “Don’t worry”. That moment, I only felt responsible. I don’t know how or even why. I just felt like I was under a spell, SHE-POWER is really a strong power. I felt the onus was on me to take care of her.
“I’m feeling cold” she whispered.
I wanted to sound funny, so I said, “Will it be helpful if I hug you tightly?”
But I never knew she would say: “Be my guest, then”
Hugging her wasn’t what I bargained for, at least not in a class she was supposed to be studying. But I’ve already said it, and she permitted me, I had no choice than to hold her soft, plump body closely on me. Only then I perceived the inviting fragrance of her huge hair. It kept the moment emotional, and boosted my gaga for her. But the truth was that I didn’t really feel a strong gaga for her, I didn’t feel love; I just didn’t. I was just playing along, so as not to make her feel bad. I had a crush out there, but she was busy crushing on me, what a life! We love people who don’t love us; we’re too straight forward to seek people who seek other people. It was sure that there must be a host of fine, good boys who flocked after Helen, but she left them for me. Love is crazy.
After what seem like a long time, the light came abruptly and students, who have been straining their eyes with phone touches, took a vantage position and read properly. Helen sat up and brought out her books. I watched her gently, from her huge hair to her knees. Her eyes caught mine, and the spikes of her eyelashes were still as erect as though they were fixed. Helen was just naturally beautiful, no doubt.
Something vibrated inside my pocket, and I dipped my hands to get my phone. It was a message; the sender was someone I had wanted to visit once I was done with my last exam paper. She really spent time typing such a long text, and heaven knew how much MTN deducted from her for it.
I read the message with rapt attention:
‘Sori dat am telin u dis stuff lately. Maybe u hav heard abt d latest fight, but for d sake of our frndshp I jst hope am d 1st persn u ar hearing it frm. Things got worse & there was a fight, & I rendered Tobias almost useless. I still hav my child, it is a month old plus now, bt I am still confused on what to do. Tonio, u re d only ears dat hav heard about my pregnancy, cos I even lied to dat monster called Tobias. Pls seal it as a secret b/w d both of us, let no other ear hear it. Hope ur exams re going well? I don’t wanna disturb ur reading by askin 4 us 2see be4 we go bak 4 long vac. My last paper wil b nxt 2mao & am supposed 2 go home once I drop my pen, bt my conditn z making it hard 4me 2 decide on wht exactly 2do. Exam success, see u nxt semester dear. #Oge_cares’.
…To be continued
We are passengers of life, who came naked from dust and shall return to dust. Beyond HERE is a Paradise for saints and Doom for sinners, but before this train of life transits us, there`s still little time to decide.
© Nwoye T. Anthony 2017
(CHRONICLES OF TONIO LAWREX)