Monday, June 14, 2010

Novella: La Conferencia (Chapter 31)

Not one person was in the lecture hall yet, she had only seen one girl at the entrance on her way in, probably waiting for her friend. Tunbosun wouldn’t have been there that early either if she hadn’t fixed a meeting with George during the rally the day before. They had agreed to meet five minutes to seven, to deliberate on decisions they would need to make to move their group forward. They had guessed group meetings would continue today, they would wait to see if that happened.
Tunbosun looked at her wristwatch again. It was already seven. If it had been someone else, she wouldn’t have cared but George had never been late to any appointment they had fixed prior to this time. He had even said once that one of his strengths was organization. She had no doubt about that; George Ahmadu was very organized. She was certain something very important must have delayed him.
She turned again to check if he was coming, and this time, he was. He was looking as neat as ever. Tunbosun could even smell his cologne as he drew closer. She noticed however that his gait was different. It lacked the usual aura of confidence it exuded. He seemed rather tired; she wondered if he was okay.
When he was five steps away, she greeted him with a smile. “Good morning, George.”
“Good morning” he replied as he walked round her to the seat next to hers.
“You were late” she said.
“Yeah. I’m sorry. I had to sort some things out.”
Tunbosun kept staring at him in the silence. There was something wrong.
“Why are you staring Tunbosun?”
“What’s wrong with you?” she replied his question with a question.
George sighed. “I had a long night. Nothing too special; just took a lot from me; that’s all”
“What were you doing that took so much energy?”
“I was trying to come up with ideas for our group” he lied, but noticed Tunbosun couldn’t tell. He was actually tired of himself; frustrated that he couldn’t stop himself any longer. He had just masturbated before leaving the hostel. He wanted to bite at his flesh; do whatever would wake him up. He felt helpless – he knew he was drowning.
“Can we start now?” He asked, to avoid any further questions been asked.
Tunbosun nodded and George was relieved. That was the end of it at least for now. He knew Faith would soon come looking for him. He was ready for her today. If she wanted to psyche him into opening up, she had already failed. He couldn’t and wouldn’t open up to anybody about anything. He couldn’t bare the shame.
Christiana smiled at herself. She had looked at herself over and again in the mirror as she left her room and she knew she was looking the finest she had looked in a long while. She had taken her tightest school uniform shirt, and the tightest skirt, which was fortunately the shortest too. She could perceive her own perfume. “You smell good girl”, she told herself.
She had been in front of the lecture hall for about fifteen minutes. She had been the first to reach there. She wasn’t missing her words when she had said she would be the first person that Igbo boy would see.
She had seen a girl walk into the hall, one of the girls that had told her story at the meeting the previous night. Shortly after that a tall Hausa guy, one of them too walked in. She guessed they had a meeting of some sort. The tall guy had looked at her a little longer than she would have expected of him.
She couldn’t blame him. She knew her body was screaming only one word. Look! Any male who saw her would have to respond to that call.
She was almost getting impatient; about a dozen people had passed by. She looked down the path and saw the image she had been waiting for. He seemed to be walking with his head down, but she had so memorized what he looked like, she was sure he was the one. As he got closer, she re-adjusted. She didn’t want to seem too obvious. She sat on a bench there, close to the entrance and crossed her legs, acting distracted.
When he was up the brief flight of steps to the entrance door, she turned to look at him. “Hi!” she said in her most feminine voice. She was impressed at herself.
He looked at her. She saw he recognized her. He looked rather surprised than appalled. That was a good start. The look in that short moment became one of admiration. “Hi” he responded.
‘Now we’re talking’ she thought to herself.
She stood up and took a few steps towards him. “I’ve wanted to meet you”, she said and was satisfied with his knowing smile. “My name is Christiana”. She extended her hand for a shake.
“I’m Uche”, he said.
“Nice meeting you at last” she said, with a smile.
“Same here”.
“Would you mind if I sat with you during the briefing?” she asked. His answer was going to determine what happened next.
If he said yes, then she knew after just one sitting with her during the briefing, he would never want to sit elsewhere again. At least, until she had done what she wanted to do with him. Afterwards, he won’t have a choice because she would have deserted him. He was still in control now. If he gave in now, the tide would definitely turn.
“That would be nice”, he said and Christiana smiled. The deed was done. They walked together and Uche led the way to where they would sit. He took them to the fifth row.
Christiana smiled. Uche obviously was a good boy. Another boy would have taken her to the back where he would be freer to talk with her and maybe do more, but not this boy. She knew it would be short-lived.
‘By the time I’m through with you Uche, you would be a bad boy. A real bad boy’, she thought to herself. When they were seated, she adjusted herself. She slouched a little, inched her legs towards him and made sure substantial parts of her legs were exposed. She would make sure she didn’t fail.
Fatima hurried to the lecture hall. She was almost late. Making programmes on time was one of her weaknesses; she was not too organized. It was one of the things she was working on. She was already making progress but she knew she could do better. She entered the hall, hoping to see Uche but she didn’t see him immediately.
The briefing had not started yet, so she afforded herself the luxury of walking down the aisle in search of him. She had almost gotten to the front when she saw him but he was facing the other way. She was about calling him when she saw who he was talking to. He was talking to that same girl that had practically told him she was available.
They were so fixed on whatever they were saying that none of them saw her. She was happy they didn’t see her because she couldn’t have afforded them seeing the reaction on her face. She wanted to cry. She turned and walked to the far back, dejected. When she was seated, she buried her head in her hands.
‘Uche, don’t do this to yourself’, she said to herself afraid for her friend. She looked up in their direction and her heart dropped some more. ‘Fatima, who are you more afraid for? Uche or yourself? Are you scared of losing him to her?’ she asked herself and was unable to answer.

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