WRITTEN BY: OGECHI ALABI
Ebuka spoke with Funke the next day as per their daily routine. She didn’t mention anything about the night before and he was happy about that. He realised he was being silly calling her last night. He was glad he didn’t mention the blowjob. She would have been very upset.
Rachel wouldn’t let him be. She called him several times that day. She wanted to see him but he declined to meet with her. He didn’t want to raise her hopes. She had claimed to be engaged but it didn’t seem like it the way she chased after him. When the calls became persistent, he blocked her number after a week. He just couldn’t deal with her anymore.
He looked forward to the Easter holidays when he would be with the woman he loved and take the first step to be together forever.
The course rep for her department called Nkem out in class and informed her a particular lecturer wanted to see her. Nkem was surprised. The lecturer was in her department but he didn’t take her level. She wondered what it was all about. She went to see him.
The office was shared by two lecturers. She entered but there was only one lecturer there. He asked, “Who do you want to see?”
“I was told Dr Iwuji wanted to see me.”
“Iwuji isn’t on the seat right now. Come back in an hour.”
As Nkem turned to leave, she met Dr Iwuji by the door. She greeted him. He replied and asked her to come into his office. She did. She sat down opposite him.
“You might be wondering why I called you but I was reliably informed that you are my sister from Mbaise.”
“Yes, I am.”
“I am from Ahiazu too. I wondered how I didn’t know you. Where in Ahiazu are you from?”
They talked for a while realising they were actually from the same place and they knew each other’s families. Dr Iwuji furthered his education immediately after his first degree until he acquired his PhD, he didn’t have a break. He acquired that at the age of 26 and had been lecturing for three years now. They exchanged phone numbers and he assured Nkem that if she needed anything, he was available to help out.
It was nice knowing someone from her place. She knew his family very well. They were very wealthy and established. He went abroad to acquire his degrees and came back to lecture. He was the only member of the family in Nigeria amongst his siblings.
He knew the story. He remembered when her father died and how his brothers stole from them and abandoned them. She didn’t want any pity from him. She and her family had risen above their situation. She told him how well her mother was doing now and he promised to visit her when next he pays a visit to the village.
Read – Truth or Dare episode 1
It didn’t stop there. He sent for her almost every day. He told her he enjoyed her company and also because they were from the same place, he enjoyed talking about home. She felt comfortable around him. Sometimes he bought her lunch or he would bring cooked food for her. When she told him she didn’t lack in any way, he stopped. Instead, he took care of her in other ways. He taught her courses she found difficult and arranged tutorials for his students for her to teach and make money. She liked it.
Gradually, they became close. He told her to call him Paul which she found inappropriate. She had refused to call him that so he said Dr Paul was fine. He invited her to his place for the weekend.
“I can’t come. Your wife won’t be happy about it.”
“Wife? I am not married. What gave you that impression?”
“You are not married and you are inviting to your home? What for?’
“I don’t live alone. I live with my cousins. Three ladies are there. I just wanted you to have a change of environment on the weekends. You will have a room to yourself.”
“I can’t come to your house. People will talk about us. I don’t want that.”
“They are already talking about us, don’t you know?”
“It is not possible. We are not doing anything, why will they talk about us?”
“Because they know I like you. Come and visit me at home so we can talk. You can come with someone if you would like. I promise you, I will be a gentleman. I will not disrespect you.”
“Biko, I don’t want any problem. Let me think about it.”
There was nothing to think about. Nkem avoided Dr Paul completely. She blocked his number on her phone and just kept away from him. She didn’t want to be associated with anything that would tarnish her image.
Funke felt she was being childish because the man was single and he was the one running after her. She wanted Nkem to give the relationship a chance. Nkem refused outrightly. Her only focus at that moment was having a degree and that was it. She didn’t need a friendship that would tarnish her reputation. Although he had a good reputation amongst the students, she still couldn’t say for certain he wasn’t one of those lecturers who sleep with students for marks.
One of the reasons Nkem avoided dressing up to lecture was because she wanted to appear invincible. She didn’t want any of the lecturers to take an interest in her and it worked thus far. Why then did Dr Paul take an interest in her? She wasn’t interested in understanding what he was thinking. All she knew was that she had cut ties with him and it would remain so.
Esther had settled in nicely in her new place. She had changed a lot. She walked to school from her accommodation and walked back. She stopped wearing most of her classy clothes, she stepped down a bit. She no longer chartered cabs, she walked wherever she wanted to go or entered public transport. She wanted to be an ordinary girl.
Her mates mocked her. Other girls made fun of her. They claimed Jake abandoned her and now she was back to the square root of one. She didn’t care. She was saving what was left of the money she had so she could start up her life on her own when she finished university. She didn’t want to be a burden to her father since he had his son to take care of.
She missed Efe and their initial friendship. She missed Jake but she knew she will never be happy with him. He had given up running after her. He was also the reason why she dressed down and wore no make-up on her face. Her age showed.
She had stopped going to the hostel. Her roommates were worried about her but she told them she was fine. She assured them she needed the space to get her act together. She ran into them sometimes but she was very cordial with them. They respected her decision. They also loved her transformation.
She had lost weight. She focused her energy on exercise. She went to the stadium every weekend, Saturday and Sunday to work out. She enjoyed doing it. Men were on her case there. She had toasters, but she rejected them all. She refused a lift back to school and focused on what she was there for. Her toasters and others felt she was arrogant. They talked about her all the time. But she was not moved. She had found somewhere to burn her energy and she was enjoying the new person she had become.
She walked daily. Everywhere she went within university premises, she walked. Her thighs no longer rubbed together as they had been trimmed. She had a much smaller waistline, her arms were trimmed too, and she squatted often so her disappearing backside won’t be completely gone. She loved her new body. She didn’t eat anyhow and didn’t drink alcohol since her break-up with Jake. She loved herself.
Examinations started in preparation for the Easter Holiday. Esther worked harder than she had ever done before, she wanted to prove herself. She went to night class and returned early hours of the morning. She joined study groups in preparation. Her coursemates began to relate with her better. They talked nicely to her. She could answer questions and she was part of a clique that sat together for the examination. She didn’t need their help. She realised she had a retentive memory; she was able to remember all she read.
After the examinations, she came back to the hostel to see her roommates. They were surprised to see her. She looked very different. They had to let her know how beautiful she looked. She thanked them for all their help and officially informed them she had broken up with both men and had embraced celibacy.
They teased Esther. They couldn’t believe she would stay without either man. She laughed at them and assured them she had seen the light. She said she realised she was enough, she didn’t need anyone to make her feel better about herself and she wanted to only have sex when she was ready.
Read – Action In Calabar episode 1
“Esther, I like this new you. You no longer expose your body. Was it church that changed your life?” Nkem asked.
“Church, no way. I decided to change my life.”
“Something triggered it. What happened? Share with us.” Zainab asked
“Efe didn’t feel for me what I felt for him. I was going to break up with Jake to be with him but he treated me badly that day. I think it was because I made the move on him that’s why he didn’t see it as love. I don’t know. I wanted the friendship we had back but we couldn’t recover that.”
“Well, his loss. What happened with Jake? I know he wasn’t ready to end things with you or did you end things with him too?” Funke asked.
“I went to Jake with my broken heart and that fool had two ladies in his house. He was with one in the bedroom, hiding her in the bathroom when he heard my voice. What I did that day, he won’t forget in a hurry. He was playing on my intelligence. I have ended it completely with him, no more. I am now single and happy. I don’t need a man. Any man that can’t wait until I finish school to come for me should forget it. I want someone who will marry me immediately. No courtship, straight to marriage. I don’t want to have sex with any man that isn’t my husband.”
They all laughed when they heard the story. They never liked Jake because they felt he was a distraction. They were happy to have Esther back. She stayed with them for three days before she travelled back home to Sapele.
The day before Esther’s trip back home, Nkem cornered her to have a private conversation with her. She said, “I met Efe the day he came here. He was genuinely worried about you. He felt hurt when you turned him down. I feel the guy likes you but your situation with Jake is what is causing him to drag his feet. He wants to be your man, just him. That’s what I think.”
“It is possible but I have moved on. I have never hidden from you I enjoyed sex with him but it is something I want to enjoy within the confines of marriage and without shame. Being with Efe will keep reminding him I made the first move on him. I know he was worried about me but there is no future between us. Let me discover myself better. I can’t believe my capabilities. Let me enjoy my small wins.”
“What about Jake?”
“What about him?”
“Are you sure it is over?”
“Like it never began. Thanks, dear.”
Nkem was amazed at the drastic change in Esther. She was a new person and she could see when knew where she was headed and how to get there. She still couldn’t believe how she achieved it in such a short period. She sounded so determined.