Chapter 2 - STRIKE 1
The first few weeks at Lariba were quite enjoyable. For the first time in my life I felt normal, accepted, maybe even liked. I settled into the secondary school life pretty quickly and took to it like a fish to water. I made friends quickly, my grades were as good as ever, and my teachers absolutely loved me. Apart from doing chores for seniors which I never understood, the secondary school life was fun.
You have to understand something about me; I am a jack of all trade, and I am a master of them all. Few weeks after starting at Lariba I joined the debate club with plans of running for office the next semester; I joined the school junior choir and was fast climbing the ladder to become lead singer; I was learning to play the violin, and had my sights on the flute and cello; I was appointed by my class teacher to be the prefect of course, which meant I got certain privileges over my class mates. I think listing things out like that I would understand why some people saw me as a threat, but I just couldn’t help it. I could deal with all the negativity as long as I could keep my mind as occupied as I could.
Before I could say “Jack Robinson” it was elementary school all over again. There were girls talking behind my back and boys making up rumors that were clearly not true; they saw me as a “kiss ass” just because teachers absolutely loved me. How could I help who liked me or not? Call me an overachiever but I think teachers like to feel that sense of fulfillment when they have a student that excels exceptionally. After a while I accepted my fate and settled to be the mean person people made me out to be. I had only a few true friends, the others were “frienemies,” that is people who don’t like you but pretend in front of you. I guess you can’t hide a lamp under a blanket.
All this while I had been careful to avoid the little terror called Obioma Okorocha. His reputation as a vicious little fellow was fully blown by this time and everyone knew better than to get into a war of words with him. Obioma and I had very different social circles so there was very minimal reason for interaction. Once in a while our eyes will meet in class or at assembly but I’d quickly look away. I never spoke to him from our first day of school until one beautiful day during an English class I felt a bump on my head. Being the rational, level headed girl that I am, I simply turned to look at the perpetrator of the act and picked up the pencil that was thrown on my head. It turned out that Obioma was indeed the culprit even though it was just an accident. The silence that followed in anticipation of what would happen next between mean girl and bad boy in the class was so thick it could be cut with a knife. I wasn’t about to interrupt the class so I simply put the pencil in my desk, locked it up, and faced the teacher who was still prattling on totally oblivious to what was going on behind her.
Since my seat was in the front of the class, I did not see him approaching me until when suddenly I fell a sharp jab on my shoulder. Obioma was standing next to me rudely asking for his pencil.
“Hey Nkem, or whatever your name is give me my pencil right now.”
At first I ignored him and pretended to keep listening to whatever it was Mrs. Edem was talking about.
“Are you deaf? I said give me back my pencil now or else…”
I was already getting irritated and I snapped back at him, “or else what?”
“Or else I would slap your dirty mouth,” he replied disdainfully.
Now I had found myself in different situations with guys but no matter what they threatened, none of them ever actually went through with it. So I called his bluff.
“Go ahead and do what you want.”
It could have been about 5 seconds after the words left my mouth that I felt a sharp sting on my left cheek; yes, I remember what cheek it was because I sometimes feel that sting when I think back on that day. I felt that sting right now just thinking back on that day. Ouch.
My blood turned hot instantly but again as the rational, level headed girl that I am, I knew that it would be senseless getting into a physical fight with a boy. No matter how skinny or little they look, they usually turn out to be stronger. Sonia and Olamide could testify to this after they tried to fight with boys who looked seemingly smaller.
I had to do something to save face since I knew I wasn’t going to react the way everyone else expected so I simply took the pencil out of my locker and threw it out of the window.
“Fine, there you go.”
“Obioma take your seat immediately. Next we will look at verb-tense agreement. Can someone define a verb…?”
Mrs. Edem barely noticed the fracas that played out right behind her. I wondered if she actually didn’t hear it or if she just didn’t want to be the one to separate a fight involving Obioma.
That incident however marked a turning point my life and Obioma’s as well. Even though Obioma enjoyed the limelight for about a week following his slapping me, I knew that my lack of action came to him as a surprise and set the ball rolling for what was to come.
Don’t get me wrong though. I was silent that day but that was just to give me time to think, time to plan how I would get him back in a way that would hurt him most. I was going to be patient and wait for the perfect time when I would finally get my revenge. In the mean time I was going to ignore what had happened as embarrassing as it was. My time would come, and Obioma would not even know what hit him when it did. I too would have my moment, or would I?
(To be continued)
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Property of Pretty of Pot Of Africa.