” Fikayo, what is the name of the young boy who killed Goliath in the bible?” I asked, pointing at the six year old. My Sunday school class was made up of three to seven year old kids. The other kids were actively participating except him, he was busy playing with a toy in his hand. He stood up, looking at me.” Fikayo, answer me”
” It was Jonah,” he said shyly, eliciting laughter from the other kids.
” Silence Children, you shouldn’t laugh at your friend. Rather you correct him, who can tell me the name of that brave young boy who killed Goliath? ” i asked.
” It was David!” Simi, a little girl with glasses said.
” Clap for her” i said, walking towards the door as someone had knocked on it. I opened it and Dupe took hold of my hand, pulling me out of the Children’s class.
” He’s here ” She said, ” I feel like a high school girl seeing him”
I laughed. ” What are you nervous about? ”
” Babe, i have a mad crush on that guy!”
” how can you carry a touch for someone you barely know, since last year?,he’s all you talked about in camp and when we were done with our Service i thought you would have forgotten about him. Stop acting like a girl in pinafore, he probably doesn’t feel the same way about you”
” School girl? I am twenty_ five and this is the first time i am feeling this way about someone. Why won’t i act like a school girl?”
” Dupe, ” I said with a serious face.” I don’t want to see you get hurt. He’s Catholic and he’ s an Igbo guy. Have you even prayed about this? ”
” Well he’s catholic but he’s worshiping with us today. As for his tribe, are we all not one?”
” Have you prayed about it?” i asked again.
” I will start praying about it tonight. How’s your class, hope your kids are not stressing you out?”
” Fikayo is a big case. He’s always occupied with something, if you collect it from him he looks for another diversion.”
” Sorry about that” She laughed, ” I like the color of your skirt. Turquoise blue looks good on you””
” Thank you. You like the color but not the skirt itself? because it is too long?” I asked with laughter, ” one of these days you will be suspended over your mode of dressing. Your gown is too tight and short. ”
” This is even way too loose on me, knee length is not short joor. Enjoy your class” she said, walking towards the staircase.
” Enjoy your distraction” I called after her, I will put him in my prayers i thought as i went back into my class.
I was in a very good mood despite the noise my Siblings were making. They were fighting over a piece of meat. Twenty_ year old Chidubem was obviously trying to cheat the twin girls, Chinasa and Chinonye. They were arguing hotly over the size of the meat he had given them. I started whistling to block out their annoying voices. I closed my eyes, visualizing Dupe’s beautiful face. She was the first person i saw on entering the church premises. She wore a black and white strip gown that was well fitted and it brought out her slim figure well. On her head was a black beret. She was an usher, she had given me a warm smile and directed me to a seat. After the service, i lingered outside until she came out and i swiftly secured a date for the next day. Chinonye started crying as Dubem gave her a knock on the head for daring to challenge his authority.
” Ejima, kedu ife na_eme e be a ” Mama asked, walking into the sitting room. She was a light skinned woman in her fifties, she was tall and fat. She wiped her hands on her wrapper, glancing briefly in my direction. She walked to the section we had made our dinning. ” What is going on here?”
” Mama, bro Dubem knocked Nonye on her head” Chinasa replied, eyeing him.
” Dubem! Since when did you become Bach Ali? Why are you terrorizing your younger sisters?”
” Mama they don’t want to accept the pieces of meat i gave them. They want me to share it equally”
” So you are fighting over meat ehn? where are the pieces of meat? put it on the plate let me see.” They all dropped their piece back into the plate. Mama lifted up the plate, gathered the three pieces of meat and threw them into her mouth. ” ungrateful children! how many of your father’s family has meat to eat? how many times have they brought even a cup of garri to give to their late brother’s children? If i hear peem again ehn,” She went into her room and shouted my name.
I stood up to answer her call. My family and i lived in a three bedroom flat. My mom had one room to herself, i also had one to myself as the eldest child, Chidubem and the twins shared a room with bunk beds.
” Mama, you called me” I said.
” Biko sit down, Uchenna, ”
I sat down on the stool in the room.
” Why were you not in church today?”
” I went to see a friend”
” So that your friend is bigger than God? what was so urgent that couldn’t wait after mass.”
” Who said i didn’t go to church today? I went to see a friend in another church ”
” Hia! Uchenna! which church?”
” Mama what is this nah? why are you questioning me like this?” I asked with anger.
” Nna calm down nah, i was worried when i didn’t see you during or after service.” She said softly, ” Which one of your friends did you visit?”
” You don’t know her mama. She’s a girl i just met and i am interested in her”
” What is her name? is she also a catholic? ” She asked, frowning.
” No. Her name is Dupe ”
” Chineke! Uche kukuma kill me nah, ehn, how could you be interested in a girl that is not catholic? she’s not even an ibo girl. There are several beautiful and decent girls in St. Paul’ s but Mba, it is agbero you want! Yoruba! Tufiakwa! Will your father hear this and not turn in his grave?”
” Mama, i am no longer a child. I am old enough to differentiate between good and bad. Dupe is a decent girl and she’s also from a christian home. As a matter of fact, her father is a pastor.” I stood up.” You will change your view of the yorubas once you get to meet her ”
” I don’t want to meet her! Uche! Uche! Uche! How many times did i call you? I don’t want you to have anything to do with her!” She shouted,” I will not sit and watch you throw your life away ”
I laughed and hugged her, she tried to push my hands away. ” Mama! You haven’t even met this girl o. You don’t know anything about her but you have already written her off. Trust your son nah, you know i can’t go for what is not good. I assure you that you will like her, but you won’t meet her now. It is too early for that.”
” I don’t trust you o and i don’t want to meet her! ” Mama said, ” ask Nasa and Nonye to come put my room in order when they finish eating”
” OK.” I said, ” Mama, can i get five hundred box from you?”
” Mba. It is five hundred packs i will give you. You want to use my money to buy recharge card so that you can Facebook that Yoruba girl, Mba!”
I went out of the room, my mind was already over our conversation. I wondered if i could last till the next day to see her again. I had already made plans to take her to Barcelos at GRA for the date.
To be continued..