The school was on holiday. Pally had travelled to Ghana while Sissy went to spend the holiday with her family at home. True to his word, Pally kept in touch with her frequently. They had a daily routine of morning and night phone calls while their days and late nights were characterized by chats online. To say the least, she enjoyed every bit of it. He did not let her miss a bit of his activities and experiences. She could nearly say that she was with him on the tour.
One week passed and Pally came back to Nigeria. Her house was his first point of call. He gave her a recap of how the trip went and they had a really good time together, so much that she forgot to offer him the food she had prepared against his visit. However, she did not forget to ask about the promised souvenir.
“Where is my souvenir?” she asked amidst their laughter.
“Err- my sisters took them from me.”
“What? You gave my gifts to your sisters? I’m not taking this! You are going back to Ghana to get me my souvenirs. No stories!”
Pally could not hold his laughter anymore. She sat there watching him, partly amused, partly disappointed. Seeing her confused expression, he spoke in between giggles.
“You don’t say! You love gifts this much?”
“I’m serious! If you don’t have my gifts, you are going back to Ghana.” She looked away to hide the smile betraying her face, with her hands folded against her chest.
“Okay, okay. I did not give your gifts out to anyone although my sisters wanted them.” He opened his satchel bag and brought out the souvenirs. She screamed with excitement.
“You like them?”
“‘Like’ is an understatement. I love them!”
She wore the slip on he bought for her and spread out the fabric. “Thank you,” she said beaming with smiles.
“It’s my pleasure.”
“Mum should see this.”
She introduced him to her mum and showed her the souvenirs he got for her to the envy of her mother’s assistant, unbeknown to her.
“I want to see him off, mother. I will be back shortly.”
“Okay, don’t be long.”
While they walked to the bus stop, she told him few events that happened while he was away, that included a new friend she had just met.
“I made a new friend.”
“Yes. His name is Dan. Funnily, he asked me to tell my mum about him.”
He cast a glance at her over his shoulder. “Did you?”
“Yes, I did, although I don’t know why he said that.” She shrugged.
“What?” She asked picking the discontent in his voice.
“Nothing really. I am just wondering why he asked you to tell your mum about him.” He said, picking his words. “Are you sure he is not up to something?”
She turned her face to him and back to the road. “I don’t know.”
Pally changed the topic and she bade him goodbye when they got to the bus stop where they boarded a taxi.
School resumed a week later and she could not wait to be back in school. She had missed her roommate, Tommie, and could not wait to see her again. She was tired of the emotional distance she felt at home. She longed for the acceptance she got from her roommate and her friend, Pally.
As usual, the first week was not demanding at all. So, Sissy and her roommate had all the time to catch up on events that happened while they were away. Tommie told her how she made some more money for her boss and got a pay raise in return.
“You are lucky.”
“Why?” Tommie asked.
“My parents won’t let me learn a skill, talk more of working on a part-time job - paid or not.” She sounded unhappy.
“Okay, don’t feel bad now. You know, sometimes, I wish I could be like you – have parents who see to my every need, and not have to worry about juggling academics with work.”
“No, I envy you. You are indirectly building your career profile. Being on a job is helping you improve your skills, and what more? You won’t have to worry about the ‘five years’ experience’ requirement when job hunting.”
They both burst out laughing.
“You have a point there.”
“Seriously,” she recoiled back to her former mood, “I would love to learn a skill, even if they don’t let me work. I understand they want me to focus on my studies but I don’t mind learning during the holidays, you know.”
“I understand. Okay, you know what? I will teach you something you can try.”
Her face lit with enthusiasm.
“Start looking out for an institute that trains in the field you would like to be skilled at and get all the necessary information. Once you have that, start informing your parents early on – the earlier, the better.”
“Hmm…that sounds like a good idea. I haven’t tried that before. I just get home during the holiday and whine about it.” She paused and then continued. “But, my parents, they may not listen to me. I don’t think it’s the money. My father says he cannot stand me going to learn a trade. He wants me to be educated.” She threw her hands in the air. Tommie smiled.
“Then, save against our next holiday. If at the end of the semester, they do not give you a positive reply, enrol yourself. Fund the training yourself. If you have to stay back at school to achieve that, then do it. Sometimes, parents need to see what you can do, not just hear you talk about it, just as it is with anyone else. They want to see proofs – results - not just talks.”
“Wow! You are a genius, Tommie. This is the code!” She jumped around the room with excitement. Then she stopped to do a catwalk. “Catering school, here I come!”
They both burst out laughing.
“Now, your turn; tell me how you spent your holiday.”
Sissy gave her a full download of how she spent the holiday with her friend, Pally. She narrated how he called her night and day and how they chatted late into the night every night. She also told her about the souvenirs and the envious look on her mother’s assistant’s face.
“You know, I have been thinking to ask you about this your friend. Is that all he is?”
“What do you mean ‘is that all he is’? Of course, that is all he is to me.”
Tommie cleared her throat. “Okay, just make sure you tread carefully with him. And it wouldn’t hurt to ask him what his intentions are too.”
Sissy just looked on at her roommate, blank. She did not understand what direction her roommate was pointing. Whatever, she thought. To her, Pally was just her friend.
They talked about other topics and enjoyed the rest of the evening relaxing.
As Sissy lay in bed later that night, she ruminated on what her roommate had said earlier in the day during their chats. She knew Tommie to be intelligent and mature. She had proven it countless times but there was an instance that stood out to her.
She had told her about a young guy who asked her out at the time and what her response to him was – to inform their pastor about it. She gave him that response partly because she was short on response and also because she wanted to prove his claim to love her, but more importantly, to test if he was submissive to authority. However, he had manipulated his way around her response and she was now confused.
Tommie did not look surprised. She simply told her what to do.
“Give him six months. If he comes back for you after six months, then you can consider him. If he does not, then you have the answer you need. But, he is not likely to come back.” Her voice was firm.
Right on her prediction, the young guy did not come back, not even after a year. This time, she knew she had to think through on the advice she gave her concerning Pally. But how was she going to do that? She was in a dilemma.
She knew how unsafe it was to play on the brink of assumption in a relationship or putting the person on the other end in a state of hope – call it lead-on. She knew she had no assumptions about their relationship. She regarded Pally as her friend and the older brother she did not have. But she feared to think that she might be leading him on. Help me, Holy Spirit, she said through her breath as she slushed under her duvet.
Hi there, My name is Faith Ijeoma Ezenwere. I am a Broadcast Journalist/OAP and a teen coach. I am passionate about building a community of impact driven Teens and young adults in all spheres of life. In simple terms, I help Teens/Young adults live their dreams. Welcome to my World!
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