Thursday, October 22, 2009

Novella: La Conferencia (Chapter 17)

It was Tunbosun’s turn to wonder what was wrong with Shade. She was still in bed at past 6. She tapped her Bunkie. “Shade!” Their bunk was at the extreme end of the room, beside a wall. Shade’s face was to the wall so Tunbosun couldn’t see her face to know if she was awake or not.
She tapped her again, and this time, Shade turned. As Tunbosun saw her face, she instinctively reached out to touch her face. “What’s wrong?” she asked, trying to wipe at the tears on her bunk mate’s face.
“Nothing” she lied.
“Don’t say that. Tears don’t just come out that way.”
“I had a bad dream” she lied again but that seemed to satisfy Tunbosun. “I’ll be alright”
“Okay then. Hurry up, so we could make the briefing on time.”
“Alright, thanks.” Shade said. Deep within, she knew she wasn’t alright. The pain she had felt about going all the way with Utibe was intensified when she woke up at about 5am and the first thoughts on her mind where the words she had spoken to her late mother shortly after her twelfth birthday. Her mother had felt it was high time to give her daughter some sex education.
After the lengthy talk with her mother, she had promised not to ever allow anyboy touch her. She had even advocated it while in school at different times. But now, she’d just fumbled. She was glad however that she hadn’t lost it all; her ultimate pride, her virginity was still intact.
As she got ready to go to the bathroom, she promised herself she wouldn’t allow Utibe touch her again. She was going to try to make right the wrong she’d done. She still wanted him as a friend, but nothing more. But if he insisted, she would have to cut off totally from him, and the thought of that brought more tears to her eyes.
This morning was just so different. Uche was trying to understand why he was this happy. It was then he remembered the dream he had had. In the dream, he had given his life to Jesus and was all together refreshed and joyful. That feeling followed him into reality. There was a deep sense of urgency within him that he needed to surrender to Christ immediately.
Uche couldn’t explain how he was feeling. He felt like he would burst; he was so full of joy. He had given God a condition on which He would give his life to Him but now, he knew he didn’t need that anymore. He knew what he had to do – what he must. He knelt down beside his bunk and confessed his sins to God; apologizing for all he had done wrong, especially the blasphemous statements he had made against God at different times.
As he prayed, he could literarily feel peace seep into his heart; gradually filling him up. He didn’t yet know how to talk to God well, but he talked with him as best as He could. He still wasn’t sure if he did it right but he knew God heard him and had forgiven him. He was refreshed and couldn’t wait to share the news with George, and Fatima, whenever she returned from the hospital.
George Ahmadu was lost in thought. He hardly had been about to think of anything else apart from the conversation he had had with Tara the evening before. As he laced his shoe, preparing to go for the morning briefing, he could feel a tenderness develop in his heart for her. He felt he had an obligation to care for her and protect her. He wanted to be there for her; to help her overcome this pain of her past. He wanted to do all in his power to make sure she was alright again.
She had said she was pregnant, and he could see that there was no life in her belly. It was either she had a miscarriage, which George desperately wanted to believe or she aborted the unborn child. The latter option wasn’t a pleasant one as George knew it was a terrible sin against God, the unborn baby, and even the body of the woman who aborted, not to talk about the complications that are known to plague the victims afterwards, mentally, emotionally and physically.
There were so many assumptions he could make, but he decided to keep his mind open and wait for Tara to tell him personally what happened to the baby that she carried. ‘I will be there for you Tara, till your hurts are healed and you’re restored’ he thought to himself. But even as he did that, he felt a cautioning in his spirit.
A scripture came to his mind. ‘It’s not by power, not by might, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.’ God was reminding him not to try to do it in his own strength. The message was clear.
George went on his knees. “I’m so sorry Lord. I know you’ve put in me a desire to see that Tara becomes whole again but I’m sorry for thinking I could play God in her life. Please let me just be an instrument in your hand to touch this hurting soul and to help her find joy again.” That was his prayer. Those few lines restored peace in his heart. He was sure things would go fine. He did not foresee however, a very big obstacle that was about to get in the way of Tara’s redemption.
“Guys, I never knew that was what I had been missing”, Utibe said, after updating his friends on the progress he made with Shade the previous night. “The experience was just outta-this-world”
“Those were just preliminaries. Wait till you get inside proper.” Stanley said.
“Yes o!” Okpara said.
“Okpara, I saw you with one chic yesterday, did you have her?”
“Yes, I did” he said, trying to sound exultant. His friends hooted.
“Now, we’re getting closer. I still have four more to go” Stanley said. His mind went back to how easy it was for him to have Faith, how easy it was for Okpara too, and the progress Utibe was making. He laughed.
“What’s funny?” Okpara asked.
“Just seems so ridiculous that a girl would just give a guy her body like that. Some girls are simply fools. Can’t they see that we’re just using them? But I won’t allow anyone do that to my sisters. You should see how much I try to protect them.”
“You’re cruel” Utibe said. “You can mess up other girls and then prevent others from doing that to those you love”
“That’s life men!” he replied. “Moreover, I only go for girls who are stupid enough to allow me or who dress in ways that make me know they have no value for their bodies.” He paused and looked at Okpara, who seemed distracted. “What’s up buddy?”
“I’m actually beginning to wonder if it’s only girls that are stupid when they give in to sex.”
“What are you trying to say?” Utibe asked, curious.
“I think guys are fools too doing it. I felt like a fool yesterday after I got back to the hall, Christiana walked away and I was left alone to think”
“We’re not fools man! Did you lose anything?” Stanley asking, scoffing. “It’s girls that have everything to lose. They are the ones that get pregnant, do abortions or carry the babies. Ours is just to have fun.”
“I don’t agree. I felt an undeniable void in my heart yesterday, after losing my virginity; my pride.”
“You dey talk like woman” Stanley said, laughing at him.
“You can’t tell me a part of you doesn’t hate this lifestyle and at times, you just want to opt out?” Okpara asked, directing his question at Stanley.
“Never!” Stanley said.
“Whatever!” Okapara said, dismissing Stanley’s words. He was beginning to wonder if the guy had a heart at all. He had not felt this adverse to sex before. In fact, he had always wanted it and had been the chief advocate of wanting Stanley to forcefully have Tunbosun if he had to, but his experience with Christiana had put doubts in his heart.
“Stanley, you’ve had many girls, right?”
“Have you ever felt that anyone of them was the one using you instead of being the other way round?”
“Never. Girls die to have me. How can they now be the ones to use me?”
Okpara was still not satisfied but he couldn’t ask Utibe because the boy was new to all these stuffs they were talking about. “I actually feel like Christiana used me last night?”
“Why do you think so?” it was Utibe voicing out this time.
“The way she went all out with me, after meeting me for just a few minutes and didn’t even bother to know my name. Worse was she started flirting with another girl once we got into the hall.”
“You be mumu!” Stanley said. “Faith wasn’t any better. I told her my name, but I’m not even sure, she’ll remember, but I was the one who was doing the using, not the other way round.”
Okpara still wanted to voice his fears about the way things were going but decided to shut up. Stanley was just going to demean him if he bothered trying.
Unknown to Okpara however, he had already succeeded a bit. A seed of doubt had been sown in Utibe’s mind, and the boy was beginning to wonder if he wanted to continue with Stanley’s advices anymore. He wondered if he wanted to take away from Shade what belonged to her husband. He indeed wondered.
Back at home in Calabar, the promiscuity level was really high. Somehow, possibly because of his dedication to his academics, he had never joined the train. Even during the well celebrated Calabar Christmas Carnival in which he was always actively involved, he had stayed away from getting himself involved with the many lewd acts that characterized the activities.
After holding on for so long, was he ready to lose it all; spoil everything, just in the bid to show prove that he was a big boy and capable of having girls. ‘This is not why I came for this conference.’ He thought. As he analyzed a little more, he came to a conclusion. It couldn’t and wouldn’t continue one more day. ‘I’ll call it quits with Shade on the touching part but we could still be friends if she wants’ was his decision. And when Utibe made up his mind about something, no one could stop him.
Christiana looked in the mirror. She smiled. She knew she was beautiful and very attractive. She was from Bayelsa state but lived and schooled in Lagos. She had qualified to come to the conference because she was the dinning hall prefect of her school. But she had chosen to come for a different reason altogether. It had taken her time to begin executing her plan but she was glad she had started.
Her plan was very grand and to achieve it, she needed to sleep with as many guys as she could in the ensuing days of the conference. She had started with the guy that had walked up to her the day before. That was just one. She would have to double up on her tactics if her objective was to be achieved. The guy she had flirted with during the film show was going to be the next.
Still looking at the mirror, she giggled. ‘Those guys will wish they had never given me a second look.’ She was going to give them the shocker of their lives.

No comments: