My Call (A Journey) – Chapter 4 || The Crush
My second year at the university was momentous that I cannot stop myself from talking about it.
After my first year, I was the top student in my department at my level with an outstanding grade point that I became most lecturers favorite and revered by a few others.
We had some direct entry students in our class, I wasn’t particularly fond of any of them because they always had an air about them that was just too arrogant to ignore.
It was as though they felt they were more intelligent than the rest of us and because of that, they segregated themselves from the rest of us.
But one guy stood out for me amongst them, not because he was nice or friendly although he seems to be, but because he was a very handsome guy. His name was Richard and the first day I set my eyes on him, I was infatuated.
I told Rebecca who had now told us to call us Girlfriend or Becky because Rebecca seemed mouthful and Lara about my crush on the new guy, Becky wasn’t especially impressed, he thought I shouldn’t focus on guys and I shouldn’t be having a crush. She was a religiously upright girl and wasn’t interested in anything boys.
Since Becky hadn’t been interested in my crush topic, Lara had been my go-to person and we had talked extensively about it. She advised me to go talk to him and tell him how I felt but I wasn’t going to do anything of the sort. I did try to get his attention though.
There was a time during lectures when I knowingly walked past him or sat in front or behind him just to get him to notice me even though I wasn’t that indiscernible since I was the class representative.
The very first time Richard and I had a conversation was when a professor was well known for his reputation of failing students. Every year there were hundreds of students carrying over his course, which he was proud of.
At first, I had been perplexed at why a lecturer would take pride in the number of students failing his course but as time goes by I got used to it, I realized that the failure of the student was a medicinal boost to his ego, the more they fail the happier he becomes.
Professor Godwin had given us an assignment that he had instructed us to submit on Tuesday after his class but he suddenly called me early hours of Monday to make sure the assignment was submitted on Monday instead.
This news had caused an uproar amongst the students especially those who had not done the assignment, they had to rush to do it and I had to wait on them. Richard had rushed into the class with an expression that reveals that he had just heard the news, then he walked up to me
“Hi, Class Rep, Good morning” he had said unsettled
“Good morning” I replied with an unsteady voice of my own, unsteady from being intrigued at his beauty
“Abeg no vex o, he switched to pidgin English, I hear say professor Godwin say make we submit our assignment today”
“Yes, he did” I answered “Are you ready to submit yours?”
“Shit” he cussed hitting his hand on the desk in front of me “Abeg I’ve not done it, he stopped himself realizing something and said “I meant that I’ve not completed it” he finished in English
“Oh?” I muttered
“Please can you give me a minute to finish up before you go submit?” He asked skeptical.
“Sure, why not but please be fast with it,” I said coolly even though I wasn’t supposed to dawdle on the time set for the submission.
“Thank you” he muttered and ran to find a chair to sit in to write.
That got me in his good book, because ever since he waved and greeted me whenever he came across me. And every single time my heart lurches and I come to be deeply infatuated by his demeanour.
Every single time I will tell Lara how I felt about the guy and she was patient enough to hear me out and often had the advice to give me on how to go about it.
Even though I never acted on most of her advice I was glad I had a listening ear to ease my mind.
I harbored this feeling for years and did not disclose it to anyone except my friends, I had wanted to tell him about how I feel but I had not had an opportunity to although I had sent Lara to tell him she had been adamant and said she couldn’t tell him.
Becca had said it’s too brazen to tell a boy I have a crush on him and she frowned and warned me sternly against it.
One day about a time in our third year at the university, a course mate who was quite popular had invited us to his birthday bash at one popular hotel in Ibadan, the guy had been quite persuasive when he asked me to come, I had told him I will try but when Becca and Lara said they wouldn’t be attending, I had finally set my mind on not going until I had heard Richard and some of the department guys saying they would be going then I changed my mind and decided to go.
The D-Day arrived and I was confused about what to wear to the party and felt dejected since I had nothing that could be worn there even though I had clothes I felt they weren’t worthy of getting Richard’s attention, although I had not disclosed this Lara understood, she seemed to understand my tacit words and had been quick to lend me one of her gowns and had given me one of her heels to match.
I left for the party with the expectation to have a nice time at the party not knowing I was in for an embarrassment instead.
I had arrived at the party early, there were few people already seated on the long couch most of them were course mates so I exchanged greetings and sat at the edge of the couch.
I looked around hoping to catch a glimpse of Richard but he wasn’t at the party yet.
People started arriving at the party and since the birthday boy had been Richard’s friend, they had both arrived at the party last.
I was so excited to see him, the party began, wishes and gifts were given to the celebrant and then we began to wine and dine. People were dancing and drinking since I don’t drink alcohol, I took the only pack of juice I could find on the table and ate some peppered meat popularly known as (Suya) and sat at the corner watching the people on the dance floor
Richard sat with the celebrant at the other couch facing me and I couldn’t stop peering at him occasionally as he spoke and laughed with other people. He was oblivious of me which gave me more chances to look at him without him noticing.
After a while, I decided to get his attention but I was in for more.
I got up with the intent to walk to where he sat, I had almost rounded the table when I heard something break. Alas, it was the heels I had on, I went tumbling on the ground causing quite a stir while trying to grasp on to something to save me from falling.
Everyone had gone silent that even the disc jockey paused the music and every eye was on me. I pulled the other shoe off my feet and scrambled off the floor embarrassed at what I had caused.
Suddenly, everyone started speaking at the same time and a girl whose face I couldn’t place hurried to my side to inquire if I was alright and I replied uneasily that I was fine.
I took a look at Richard where he stood and saw that he was staring at me in curiosity, I had gotten his attention in the most humiliating way, which intensified my embarrassment and I quickly scurried unsteadily out of the party to go home barefooted.
I had gotten on a motorcycle to take me to the hostel when I realized that I had forgotten my purse at the party.
I asked the man on the motorcycle to take me back to the party to take my purse. When I got back I had no intention of speaking with anyone but I was in for more shock.
I got to the party and could not find my handbag, I looked under the couch I sat on to check but the bag was nowhere to be found. I was unsettled and wanted to ask the person beside me if she had seen the purse but decided against that and walked back outside to ask the man to take me home, deciding to borrow some money from Rebecca.
I had almost gotten to the entrance of the hotel when two people at the corner caught my attention. I did not know what made me try to discern who they were but what when I could recognize them I was shocked that I left my mouth open.
Lara and Richard were making out at the corner of a hotel, I was dumbfounded.