MY STROKES… HER STRIPES

We were both 10 years old, Chioma and me and we were best friends… inseparable too!
We were in Jss 1, Trinity College, Kaduna. I tell this story everywhere and everytime. It’s time I wrote it too. It was a Home Economics home work; we were to make images out of cardboard papers, we were given a due date, and warned of fiery strokes if we didn’t oblige.

That dreadful day came- dreadful for me cause I hadn’t submitted mineI was scared… However, I hardened my butt for some whipping! Ms. Home Econs. was calling out names of those who hadn’t submitted…I waited for my name to be called, it was never called! A miracle you think? No, true friendship or shall I say; “true love” showed its lovely face!

Chioma’s name was called… wait a minute ma’am! that girl has her home work right there on the table! What was going on?┬áChioma, why are you out here? Isn’t that your home work on the teacher’s table? I asked her. Don’t worry Pauline, it’s yours now. I couldn’t understand it… I went over to the teacher’s table and there it was… Chioma had put my name on her homework!
I watched as my Chioma’s backside was getting scourged by Ms. Home Econs… I watched as her countenance was distorted by each stroke of cane. She came back to her seat, pretending not to hurt… I held her hand and the tears poured…We both cried.

Why did she do this for me? Why did she take my place? I wouldn’t say I was the best friend anyone could ever have but I was Chioma’s best friend…Her love and show of it, was/is akin to the love Jesus showed us…
He said a true friend will lay down his life for another… that was what Chioma did for me.and to think we were only children!
God through Chioma taught me the first and last of Life’s greatest lessons… to Love like Jesus.To this day, I can’t explain in the finest words why Chioma did what she did for me, but one thing is certain… I would never forget. All the days of my life, I will be grateful to God for a true and loving friend as she. We’ve been friends for a decade and seven years now and we’re still on our way! I love you Chioma, I love you eternally!

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The song that played on…

you are nobody until somebody loves you…
you are nobody till somebody cares… Michael Buble was singing over the radio.

nice timing Mike! Christy thought as she sat at the back of the car. She was returning home from work… it was a long day! it looked like it would never end especially since Jeff said those last words that now rang even more in her head as Mike sang that song over the radio!
Jeff had said he was done!
“done? Done with what exactly?” she asked.
“oh don’t play smart with me” Jeff said.
“All I did was love and show you how much I care… but you trampled on my heart. Is it a crime to love? The closer I want to get to you, the farther you run… what are you scared of? It’s been six months now! Today, I reckon that you will never love me back…” Jeff paused.

Six months?! Christy thought to herself… this man had been counting… well not anymore. Today, he was done.

“I wanted to always be around you… Jeff continued. You made me a better person, you gave me a reason to change. I was happier just knowing you were my friend… then I only mentioned those four letter words to you and it changed everything! should I never have told you that I loved you? maybe I should never have shown you that I cared… oh but I couldn’t keep it in! I was convinced I had found the one.”

Christy was deeper in thoughts now, for she had not realized what her actions had done to a man in love. She called to mind those times he would drive all the way to town to come and see her, and she’d keep him waiting like he was an unpleasant surprise. And oh all those messages from his heart…! One time he even wrote her a poem… it wasn’t the best but she had thought the attempt was a kind one. Will he ever know that she kept all those messages and carefully always went back to them? How would he, when she never replied any of them…
what of all the times he begged to see her, what had her response been? it was the same response every time… a flagrant show of disapproval! many times she would even yell; ” please leave me alone! You are not my type ‘o man!”

“Did you hear me Christy?” Jeff was calling out.
She jerked from her musing to see the man standing before her… giving attention to his slender features, his big eyes and an almost piercing nose… his big eyes were now teary for it could only mean that his heart was sobbing too…
“I’m sorry” was the best Christy could summon. I had no idea whatsoever… I feel so terrible…
suddenly, she started to say to herself; ” why do I feel terrible? I had no feelings for this man… why am I sad? I should be happy… he’s finally letting me be! wasn’t this my wish?

“six months of my life down the drain! I hoped that…” Jeff was saying to himself, then walked away.

she looked on as he walked… something in her wanted to call him back… but she didn’t give in. it won’t change anything she thought, the man’s mind is made.

…you need someone to love you… Michael Buble went on in his deep rich sublime baritone…

Oh Mike! I had someone who loved me, but i just let him slip through my fingers! oh dear! what have I done? I didn’t even give him a chance… I am so sorry Jeff… I truly am…
Christy hadn’t realized she was yelling out those words until the driver tapped her.

“I need to get some petrol ma’am.”
she shamefully reached for her bag to hand him some money, when she sees her phone vibrating on the car seat.
her eyes lit up! “it’s Jeff!” she stutters.
“Hello” she begins
“hi” Jeff responds
he begins to say something and she cuts in…
“before you go on Jeff, I just want you to know that I am truly sorry from my heart… can we start over?”

Jeff is quiet for 2, 5, 6 minutes…

“Jeff, Jeff, are you there?”
Now she sure she can hear sobs… she holds her throat so the tears won’t surrender…

“Yes my love, I’d like that very much.” Jeff says.