Today is the first installment of my ‘Fiction Tuesday’ column. I’m glad I decided to start this column last week. The number of stories I’ve written since then is incredible. There’s so much we can achieve only if we can put our mind to it.
Anyway, I was doing some spring cleaning over the weekend and I found the first story I ever published online. This was in 2012. I printed it out because it was a big moment for me. I’ve decided to use it as my first story on Fiction Tuesday. The story is about my first crush and it was published on Naijastories.com.
Do read and let me know your thoughts:
Many, many years ago…when love was still an innocent concept…I had my first crush on a young man who was way above my reach (at the time that is). There I was, an 11 year old JSS student, having a crush on an SS2 basketball hunk. Really what was I thinking? By the way, let me add that at that particular stage of my life, I was rather huge for my age (to put it lightly) with big cheeks that stood out distinctly on my nicely rounded face. He on the other hand…was perfection.
I can’t really say the exact moment I started having a crush on this guy or what it was about him that made me nurture those feelings towards him. All I know is that whenever I saw him, my heart literally skipped a beat and words utterly failed me as I tried to make an attempt at saying ‘hello’. Mase as he was fondly called by his peers fascinated me. There was just something about him. In today’s slang, I would have called it swag but it was more than that. He just had this presence…the way he walked, the way he talked (Ah! don’t let me get started on his voice!), the way smiled…ok you get the picture. I acted like a lost, sometimes mesmerised, puppy whenever I was around him.
Our first conversation wasn’t much. In fact, I’m sure he walked away thinking ‘something must be wrong with this girl’ because I stood at the top of the staircase with chalk and shredded leaves in my hand and I shoved my hand in front of him as he passed by, with a freakishly wide grin on my face. I can still remember that conversation because years later, that moment ended up on my hall of fame of ‘can’t believe you did that’ list. The conversation went like this:
Mase: What’s that?
Me: *chuckle* then *shrug*
Mase: Umm…is that chalk with leaves?
Mase: Ook (with a confused look on his face)
Me: You want some?
Mase: Err…no thanks (laughs then walks off)
Poor guy! I don’t know what he thought about me at that point but interestingly enough he still stopped to talk to me (with him doing 80% of the talking of course!). What really endeared me to Mase was that he always smiled at me whenever he saw me. Well I don’t know if he was smiling out of pity or concern but his smile melted my heart all the same. I can never forget those days of watching the ‘big’ boys playing basketball. My eyes were glued on Mase! No kidding…it was as if it was just him on that court and no one else mattered. When he scored a point, I shouted louder than anyone else which attracted strange looks from other students. Many times I had to fight the urge to scream ‘Go Mase, I love you!’ because not only would that have been an invitation for some strokes of the cane from certain I-too-know teachers who were hanging around, it would have been downright embarrassing. Oh how can I forget to tell you about when Mase fell or got injured? It was as I should have been injured too! I wanted to sprint to the court and hold him in my arms, while telling him ‘everything will be alright’ (let’s forget the fact that jogging was a huge mountain for me at the time, not to talk of sprinting!).
Needless to say, I adored Mase. In the confines of my room and the haven of my dreams, I pictured Mase declaring his undying love for me. I imagined us being a couple and the senior girls being jealous of me for bagging one of the hottest guys in their set. I imagined what it would be like being in his arms and kissing him…my first kiss ever. This never happened in real life (I didn’t even get close) but it sure was bliss in my dreams…magical! In reality (at school that is), I did everything in my power to see Mase everyday which meant either constituting a nuisance in the corridor leading to his classroom or shamelessly hanging around the path he usually takes to go for lunch, with the hope of ‘accidentally’ bumping into him. Call it an obsession or stalking if you may but I had reached the point of no return in my feelings for Mase.
My most cherished memory of Mase was during one of our end of the year class parties (in the years when class parties were it…sigh, good times). I was invited to the SS1 class where a combined class party was taking place (that meant a few cool juniors got to mingle with the ‘bigz’ boys and girls of the school and I was one of them apparently). For some reason, the class was empty when I got there. I had to stall a bit…you know the VIPs arrive towards the end. When I stepped in, Mase was there with some friends and he did what could have only happened in my dreams. He beckoned towards me and asked me to dance with him. “Meee?” I almost screamed like a bewildered groupie. As I moved in utter amazement towards him, I tried so hard to keep myself from blushing like an idiot. I can’t remember the song we were dancing to or how many people were in the class at that point, all I know is that time stopped. Mase and I were having OUR moment. Unfortunately this moment didn’t last very long as one silly boy in my class just came and ‘chanced’ Mase. How dare he??? I nearly ran after Mase as he moved aside, being the gentle man he was, to give this rather stupid somebody a chance to dance with me. That dance made my day, my month, in fact my whole year!
Months passed by very quickly and it was soon time for Mase to graduate. In the time that passed, my feelings for Mase grew stronger and I had become more confident around him. I still acted stupidly once in a while but it wasn’t as bad as it had been in the early days of our ‘relationship’. I remember the feeling of sadness that overwhelmed me as the date of his graduation drew closer. ‘Is this how it will all end?’ I’d ask myself. I flirted with the thought of going to him and telling him how I felt but I decided against this as I didn’t want to embarrass myself. So I did what I knew how to do best. I poured out my heart in words, in a letter…no holds barred. The letter was about four pages long (please bear in mind this crush was two sessions old at the time). After much deliberation, I decided to give the letter to Mase on his graduation day after which I would never have to face him again should he try to ridicule my attempts at expressing my feelings. The letter was anonymous of course…I wasn’t that brave yet. As I gave Mase the letter, he looked at me curiously in the eyes and asked “Who is it from?” “Guess you just have to open it and find out”, I answered with a little bit of cheekiness.
Many years have passed since that graduation day. I saw Mase twice after that, not being sure on both occasions how to act around him (my crush for him lasted until my second term in SS1). However, as the years went by, my feelings for him reduced (praise God! I hear somebody say). The end of my crush on Mase marked the end of childish love in my life.
I reconnected with Mase recently, with the help of the all-powerful social media, and it sure did bring back memories. He hasn’t changed much actually. In one of our conversations (and this time I talked as much as he did) I told him how bad I had a crush on him in secondary school. He laughed knowingly as if to tell me “That’s stale gist.” We reminisced and did loads of catching up. One thing that never came up in all of our discussions was ‘the letter’. Did he ever read it? What did he think about it? Did he choose not to mention it because he never bothered to read it? To be honest, I really don’t want to know the answer. All I know is that an 11 year old girl adored a ‘senior boy’ many years ago and she was content with just seeing his face every day and loving him in silence. There were no sparks, hugs, kisses or romance…just plain silly puppy love on the part of the naive girl.