When she is gone, you stand at the round-about in the middle of the school compound, waiting for your mother to arrive. You sit on the round-about pavement, plucking out the hibiscus flowers, slowly taking in its scent, and watch as Nkechi strolls off, disappearing into the distance. It’s the last time you will see Nkechi. It had been several weeks since Nkechi had left the school. Maybe to a new school because there are new students from other schools in your class. Other schools in Lagos will also welcome new students.
In school, the girls talk about their boyfriends the same as the boys, always talking about their girlfriends. You don’t care about being alone, in solitude. As days pass, you start to care. You are one of the most handsome boys in the class. The girls get close to you to be friends and talk with you, then you help them with their assignments. And when, Funmi once pats a kiss on your cheek, making you tickle, almost falling off from the chair, the student’s cackle.
“Today, Nchekwube became a man,” a voice says at the back of the classroom, other students chattering, making a mockery of your naivety.
The name of the new boy at school is Kayode. He earned himself ‘snub’ a week after his resumption. He drives into the school in a white Benz, to the admiration of everyone, when the driver drops him. In the classroom, he talks to a selected few girls that he finds attractive, snubbing others. During the session, he gets to answer most of the questions thrown by the teacher, endearing himself to most. Especially those of you that thought him to be dumb.
When the school session ends, you walk through the corridor, strapping your bag and keeping to yourself. You ignore the noises in the corridor, walking down the staircase in a calculated step, occasionally glancing at different students. A voice whistles under the sun. You squint through the blazing sunlight. In the distance, is the new boy in your class. You look away. The boy is standing, his back leans against a car, two of the female students walk out of his embrace. He waves, as they walk down toward the administrative block. You stop watching, staring on the floor before you try walking down the roundabout.
“I am calling you,” the voice says.
The new student. You look up and your gaze stalls. Then, you tap your chest, to confirm. He nods. You walk close and stop. “You called me?…”