I did not die, literally but I died in a way from the excitement of sitting close to Tega. I directed him to Ryan’s school. We could not talk much because he said he couldn’t talk and drive at the same time. It was very silly, the silence and staring at each other. Tega offered to follow me to Ryan’s class to pick him up. When he got out, I noticed he wasn’t as tall as he seemed from afar.
But that’s fine.
I saw Ryan playing with his pencil when we got to his class. I went to him, with Tega following me.
“Ryan, get your school bag so we can go.”
He didn’t move, he just sat down and looked at me.
“I don’t know you.”
“What is that supposed to mean? Come here so we can go home.”
His teacher came then. It was confusing to me since I picked him up yesterday and the day before.
“Ryan, why don’t want you to follow your Aunt Kamsi home?”
“Pearl said if I refuse to let her take me home, she will get ice cream for me.” I didn’t know Pearl but I was prepared to break Pearl’s head.
“Ryan, that is wrong and you need to apologise to your aunt.”
He reluctantly stood up and walked to me.”I’m sorry Auntie Kamsi.”
“It’s okay dear, you are a good boy for apologising. Thanks.”
“You are welcome, he was just being a child.”
I turned and realised Tega watched our little drama. I was so embarrassed. What a perfect way to start giving wrong impressions. He took us home and we exchanged numbers. Even after what happened, he said he wanted to see the next day. We could not talk much but I was able to know his musical taste because of the songs he played in his car. He loves jazz and soul music.
Cheta and Nnamdi were in the sitting room when Ryan and I walked in. Ryan ran to Cheta, it was obvious he liked her. I was not expecting to see her, her presence dampened my mood. It was an unexpected eclipse of the Sun.
“Nno.” Of course, I didn’t mean it but had to say it for formality sake.
“Kamsi! Thanks for welcoming me. How is your new job?”
Ryan cut in and rushed his words with so much excitement. “Auntie Kamsi brought a man to pick me up and he used his car to drop us here. He asked me my name.”
Cheta looked at me coldly.
“A man? Kamsi, a man. Why are you stupid?”
“I’m sure it’s a colleague.” Nnamdi nervously replied her on my behalf.
“No, he is not a colleague.” I was tired of being afraid of Cheta. “But a new guy I just met and I like.”
She slapped me. “You put Ryan in a stranger’s car!”
I walked out and went to pack my things. By the time I got back to the sitting room, I saw just Nnamdi.
“Adora would be upset when she gets back from work and not see you. She really wanted to work things out between all of you.”
“I will call her.” I didn’t want to discuss it further or allow Cheta to see me leaving.
When I got home, I met my father very sick. My mother didn’t want to inform anyone and was shocked to see me home, so I told her what happened. She was not particularly happy that Tega is not Igbo and she was upset I entered his car without knowing him but she was very angry with Cheta. Adora called me and apologised profusely
. That made me feel guilty for rendering her efforts to unite us useless.
After work the next day, Tega came to pick me. We sat in his car for over one hour talking. He was easy to talk to. From his work to days growing up. And that became our routine, he picking me after work and dropping me close to my house. Although I had dated before, I was not this affected by it. I smiled more often, my laugh became more spirited, I was falling in love. Maybe for the first time.