I spotted him in the distance among the crowd. Elegant, bold and jovial. His frame hung in the right proportion. His gait was commanding and his confidence was as neat as his clothes. My Gosh! I could tell he was every lady’s heart desire.
“ This Babe don foh!” my friends concluded as they saw my eyes tracking his movement like a magnetic radar.
“Wait…” I tried to feign a solid stony countenance, “what?”
They all stared at me, expectantly. The silence was tough to sustain.
“We saaaw you,” Oluwaseunara dragged.
Everyone’s jaw dropped in laughter.
“What are you talking about?” I tried to pretend like I was ignorant of the centre of the gist.
“He may like you, you know.” Emmanuella added, a smirk stamped on her check.
“Ella, focus!” I pointed my chin to the book infront of me, “don’t disturb my reading.”
The breeze that flowed beneath the tree was cool. The atmosphere was “read-o-philic” and dried leaves rained down on us all.
That guy has truly stolen my mind. He might not even look down to my side. I bet he’s from a wealthier home or something. What if…
“Tola o…” Damilola finally spoke out, “I will tell your aunty you are now reading fine boys.”
The whole quadrangle at faculty of Arts echoed with laughter, drawing disturbed eyes towards their direction.
“Sorry o…” the four of us apologized for disturbing those who came to devour every pages they could devour, “Emabinu o…”
The quadrangle wasn’t a reading room per se, — it wasn’t even a room — but it was a serene and cooler alternative to the already crowded library. Exam was in three weeks.
The test results weren’t even encouraging and these girls are here poking at my feelings for a guy, stirring the emotion that should have been dead minutes after the guy had passed by.
They were making me less likely to cover the 3 CHE 126 slides I planned to cover in 4 hours — including a topic in Campbell and Reece zoology textbook. Ah Physics nko? I haven’t even finished writing my note on that one sef.
“Hi” I froze at the figure I met when I raised my head from my books. It was him.
“Please can I see you for a moment?”
I wanted to rush to him of course, but I just had to play a little hard to get, you know. My girls gingered me to go meet him and I did so with a feigned reluctance. God must have plotted a quadratic graph before deriving the perfect equation to formulate this perfect figure. I stared at him and then pointed to the softness of my chest.
“Yes, you, please,” he replied.
I packed my books, slipped my blue Leo Smart pen into the pages where I was reading, collapsed the front cover of my book and then laid it aside.
“Help me watch over my books,” I pointed at them and looked my friends in the face to get an affirmation, “my books and my bag.”
I stood up and followed the guy to where he went.
I thought love was gradual, this one na fast connect oh… I was trying to compose my mind; I tried to act objectively; I wanted to be logical in my reasoning.
We got to a corner where only a few eyes shot.
“I want you to do me a favour please,” he finally spoke after a long stare.
I could paralyse any guy with my sidelong smirk. I know it. I have done it before when I wanted Kunle to give me his note to read the day before our first test in CHE 156 —physical chemistry- and although he hadn’t read the book, my feminine stare rendered him irrational enough to give me his notes to read even when the test was the next day. I did it for Kehinde when I wanted someone to escort me to the University of Ibadan gate even when his hostel was far away from the gate. I even used my facial magic on the gatekeeper of our hall — for the records, I handled him effortlessly — when we came back from a party 48 minutes after the curfew at our female hostel.
It was the two of us. Alone. I was eager for anything to happen, although I’d have played defensive and uninterested if he made some funny moves, you know, an act of girl’s pride and all, even when I clearly wanted him.
“Ermm… I… Would you…” he started, then threw his gaze at the bundle of A4 paper in the clear file bag he was holding.
I sensed he was confused and I liked the fact that I was the cause of his confusion, not in a negative way though; I felt I was a powerful controller. We, girls, have real superhero powers. I believed it to the core of my heart.
Maybe he wants me to write out my phone number boldly on an A4 paper. I thought.
“…help me fill out this questioneer? I need the data for my final year project.”
What?! Questionnaire? I hated questionnaire.
I had screamed only within the skull of my head, but not out through my mouth.
“Okayyyy?” I was defeated.
I started filling it out. It was a period of long standing. It even seemed like a Mathematics exam to me. My head ached after about seven minutes of writing, ticking boxes — strongly agree, disagree, indifferent, you know those things — it seemed like some of the questions were repeated, to my annoyance within. I looked at him and smiled. My heart was more honest that my face; it didn’t smile. “I am done.”
“Thank you so much,” I really appreciate.
“Why didn’t you give all of us at the quadrangle since it was just to fill in a form?” I asked.
I could tell he was shy to speak to everyone at once. And that he would lie about it. This was probably a reason why he called people one by one.
“No… I… Don’t. I didn’t want to disturb people who were really reading.”
“What?” my soul shattered, “so I was the unserious student abi?”
“Not really,” he gave a soft cackle, “I saw you mindlessly peeling off the edges of the dried leaves that fell on the floor.”
I was mad. Like, mad mad. Really really mad. But there was something in his face that made me not to use curse words on him for such derogatory remark. How can someone be so handsome and heartless and, you know, insensitive?! Arrgh!!
I took a turn to leave. Then I remembered that he hasn’t collected my phone number and I slowed down my pace, expecting him to call me back, or more heroically, to run to me, apologize and request for my phone number so we could at least chat like real human beings on WhatsApp. But it was pointless, a side look at him showed me he had left the spot I left him and was probably looking for another person to fill his boring questioneers.
“Argh!” my fist were as round and heavy as a moulded fufu.
I saw my fellow ladies whispering to each other.
“Èléyì tì rì Prince charming o!” Emmanuella said.
The only people who didn’t laugh out loud were either those who didn’t know what was going on or didn’t understand the Yoruba Ella said.
I could tell that there were some who craved eavesdropping to reading too.
I bursted into laughter too, and it was because of the various harmonies of laughter Ella sparked.
How do I tell my girls that it wasn’t what they thought it was? How would I tell them that prince charming was neither charming nor easily charmed?
How would I tell them that the long time spent with him was in filling a questionnaire? He didn’t even make attempt, let me help me, to collect my number… At least!
I just packed my books into my bag and silently left the quadrangle. My girls stood up, teasing me to tell them how the prince charming kiss felt like.