She was beautiful. Her face dark, but beautiful dark, like refined dark smooth chocolate, with lips perfect in shape, size and suppleness, covered in luscious lip gloss pleasantly catching and reflecting the light off them. I was drooling, and I know I was drooling, I only hoped with my mouth shut.
s___ I am supposed to say something.
“Oh, Hi?” I chuckle a little.
“Why are you laughing?” She asks, puzzled and possibly irritated.
“Nothing much, I’m just seriously hoping I am the Nigerian boy you are looking for.”
She relaxes and smiles a little then asks, “Are you Cheeniedu?”
I almost burst out laughing, as her pronunciation of my name was one for the books. But I hold myself back and simple reply: “Ermm… Yeah, any problem?”
“Not really, we’ve just been assigned as group partners in the next assignment, so just wanted to know what you looked like.”
Wow, straight to the point
“I hope you’re not too disappointed…” I smile, hoping my smile is enough to make her continue the conversation.
“Well, no, but I was hoping for more height.”
I immediately burst out laughing saying, “Five-eleven is a perfectly reasonable height for God’s sake, but for you I can add a few more inches.” And immediately go on my tip-toes, still giggling uncontrollably.
Which in turn makes her laugh. And it was music to my ears. At that point I could give anything to hear it again, and immediately say a quick thank you to whoever made this magnificent being take this group assignment with me.
“You’re cool.” She says smiling, “This is my number, text me and I’ll add you to the project group chat.” She added, scribbling on a lemon sticky notepad paper.
“I’ll make sure to do that…” I say, staring straight into her eyes, “Assignment groups are very important” I add sarcastically.
She smiles and starts to walk away, before turning around, “I’m gonna call you Nedu, it’s…cooler.”
And I’m not going to lie, that was in fact the coolest thing I had ever heard. And it was until I could no longer see her, I remembered I didn’t get her name.
I immediately and delicately pick up the lemon sticky note, hoping she added her name to the number, but instead I saw the most beautiful phone number I had ever seen in my life. Haters would say I’m whipped, but I am just being objective, her number is almost as beautiful as her.
I take a look at the number again and I can’t stop the smile from forming and developing into a full-blown embarrassing blush. I take a look at the big wall clock, and I can see the short hand on 2, while the long hand just narrowly passed 12.
Don’t I have something to do by 2?
s___ the Tryouts!!!
I instantly start stuffing my books in my bag, muttering a mixture of curses and prayers, hoping the coaches are not like the ones back home in Nigeria, that would make you run laps for coming even a minute late.
I race to the locker room, while frantically trying to take my sweatshirt off. I throw my duffel bag against the bench, and hurriedly took off my shorts. I change into more comfortable running clothes. I didn’t bring my tights. I had thought it would be too much for the first tryouts. But now that I think about it, I should have brought it. I look way under dressed now.
I put on my track spikes and do the sign of the crucifix for luck then make my way to the track.
“…The track team in this prestigious college have always won championships. We have never dropped our standards, and we never will…”
Upon getting on the track, I see a man with a little beer belly, who I assume to be the coach, addressing a huddle of about 7 people listening intently. While two other guys, I assumed to be other members of the track team standing on either side of the coach, nodding in emphasis to what the coach was saying. And as I take a look at their outfits, I begin to cry internally.
Chinedu, why are you so dumb!!!
“Join them.” Said one of the boys beside the coach. He was wearing a black jersey and black shorts, but substituted his track spikes for normal trainers. I walk towards the huddle, making sure to avoid any eye contact with the other players, so as to not feel any sympathy that might knock me off my game. I mean say what you want, I am a sucker for sad eyes.
“…We want to compete with the best and be the best. So, I want you all to show me how much you can a spot on this track team means to you.” He paused staring keenly into our eyes, then says: “Alright then. Let’s get it.”
I remove my spikes as soon as I crash onto the locker room benches, giddy with excitement. My tryouts were an unquestionable success. I had run significantly faster than all the other newcomers, except for one. I found out his name was Derek. Why in God’s beautiful name, did it have to be a Derek? I mean, what type of dumb name is that? Regardless, I won’t let that dull my excitement.
All that matters is that I left a good impression on the coach and I made sure I used all the tricks my parents thought me in wooing elderly people. I greeted him with a bow and I made sure to add “Sah” after every sentence.
It felt as if my mouth may break as I had been smiling non-stop, and immediately that excitement turned into some form of confidence, as I thought of the beautiful goddess that visited me earlier.
To hell with the 3 days rule, I am texting her right now.
I immediately begin to rummage through my duffel bag, desperately hoping to find the paper with her number on it. And then it hit me.
I forgot it in class.