Your belly does a little somersault and suddenly, you have the inordinate wish for the earth to open to a depth of twenty feet and swallow you.
These moments can happen when you’re caught doing something you shouldn’t be doing. Like stealing meat from the pot of stew. Or having an ex post your nudes on the internet.
Like when I missed my period in JSS3 and my best friend Edidiong insisted I was pregnant.
“Did Omokhafe not hug you when you came to school yesterday? You’re pregnant jor.”
See, my mother was a Biology teacher. I knew that the chances of me ever getting pregnant through an innocent hug shared with a friend, was zero.
That’s how I started fretting o. I cried and cried; I couldn’t eat for a week. Until the darn period resurfaced.
You see, what happened was…I had a crush on Ekemini. One, that when I think back on it today, I want to kick myself ten ways to Sunday.
My Crush was trying to convince me to stay back and copy twenty pages of notes.
The frisson of pleasure that shot through my frame was undeniable. So was the terror I felt.
I was trying to decide whether to shove his hand away or pretend I didn’t notice it, while enjoying the feeling, when I heard a loud voice behind us.
He stood there, holding the door open and pointing outside, his expression part annoyance and part amusement.
I was so embarrassed!
Without looking at Ekemini, I scurried out of the class, fast. Then I remembered that my schoolbag was still inside.
I trudged back head bowed, mumbled an inaudible excuse as I walked...
Do you know the most painful part of this?
The other guy and his bae, who happened to have sat at the back of the class in a corner, had gone unnoticed.
“God, if you do this for me, I’ll never ask you for anything else in this life.”
I prayed till I fell asleep at night. By morning, I was convinced that my fervent prayers had been answered.
With hesitant steps and a heart filled with trepidation, I went into the staff room. His desk was at the far end of the room.
The only person who smiled at me on that long, tortuous journey was Mrs Obule, the Literature teacher. She was my most favourite teacher and was ever so nice. Her smile gave me hope.
I was thinking this, when I arrived at Mr Timothy’s desk. He was marking some scripts, and asked me to wait. After a few minutes he looked up at me. Then he smiled. And shook his head.
“How are you?”
“Fine, sir,” I replied.
Lowering his voice, he said, “Look, I don’t want to know what happened in that class yesterday. I understand that you’re young.”
I nodded vigorously like he was saying the most profound thing ever.
My people, just like that, Olowogbogboro did it. Disaster was averted.
And that same day, my crush for Ekemini died. After school, he asked me to copy his notes. Again. I’d have loved to oblige but I refused.
I told him this. Know what he said?
“You’re putting your sister above me? See ehn, if you don’t copy them, you know that pretty girl who lives on our street?