After a quarter of an hour reading, she raised up her head slightly smiling.
“I like it, quite interesting”
She paused for a while,and remarked, “Really, I didn’t know that you are so good with a poetry work as much as this”
“Thanks. nothing comes without an inspiration, you inspired every thought I put down there”. She looked down the table hiding her smiling face.
With Adaeze, I could feel the comfort of a warm familiarity I never found with anyone. Happiness filled my heart after having an affectionate conversation with her.
“This kind of opportunity never comes every day. I have to relax and let her know what I really feel about her”, I pondered.
Although she could have read my feelings on the lines of the poem, still it wasn’t enough getting the answer I desperately desire. Thoughts that I need to speak out my heart rages inside me, but the rising fingers in my head muted the mouth.
“Does it mean that I am weakly or it is not the right time yet to speak”?, I questioned myself.
After spending an hour talking, we decided to leave without discussing any class or personal reading. We departed with a wave of a hand to each other.
Two weeks later, we were given a class assignment by Mr. Raymond, the crafting of a hockey stick which will be used to learn how to play a hockey game after the submission. Mr. Raymond was our physical education teacher. He delights so much in punishing students. His flogging skill was so overwhelming that we nicknamed him “Mr. Flogger”, no student will like to be his flogging specimen. And we were given eight days to make the hockey stick available on his desk.
On the fifth of the eight days, I was on my way to school in the morning holding and flipping my hockey stick around when a motorbike pulled over my walkway. The rider was an elderly man in his late 60’s.
“Hey, my son”, he called my attention.
I drew closer and greeted him, “Good morning sir”.
“Good Morning son, how are you”
“Am good, thanks”
“My daughter has been disturbing me of getting a hockey stick for her class assignment, probably she is in the same class with you as I can see you with one”.
He paused for a while and asked, “Which class are you”
“SS1 Class sir”
“You are classmates then, she is also in the SS1 class. Her name is Adaeze, do you know her”?
I chuckled, “Yes sir, she is my classmate”
“Please my son, help me to get a hockey stick for her just like yours, I cannot be able to craft it as much as a young boy like you could do”.
“Ok sir, I will”
“What is your name please”
“Ok. Princewill thanks”, he said driving off.
I started thinking about the encounter with Adaeze’s father. When I looked down the road, I saw some of my classmates walking down the lane with a hockey stick on their hands. Why did he choose talking to me instead any of them? Is it all about natural occurrence of things? I reasoned that everything works together for good. Since I still have the long bamboo wood from which I cut and crafted out my hockey stick remaining at home, getting another one for Adaeze should not be a problem. When I got to the class, almost 60 percent of the class population had their hockey stick for submission. I spotted Adaeze at the right far side of the class sitting on her chair slightly sad. I decided not to mention my encounter with her father to her. It will be better of surprising her first thing tomorrow morning.
When I got back home after the school hour, crafting the hockey stick was the first thing I did before taking my lunch which got my mother asking with an astonished face:
“Prince, after the school you must be tired, why not have your lunch first”.
“No mum,this is urgent. I will be through soon”, I replied.
I wasn’t surprised by her reaction because taking lunch has been my first activity whenever I got back from school every day. And if it happened that there was no food, I will be angry with everyone in the house, refusing to do anything until something got prepared for me.
The night was longer than the day, thicker than the previous nights as I waited endlessly to hear the sound of the first cock crow at dawn waking me up from the bed to get ready for the school. The dawn finally came, I hurriedly got ready for school. I was early to school than usual. Expectedly, Adaeze’s father told her my encounter with him yesterday. She arrived earlier to school, walking around the corridor of our class block hoping of spotting me with a hockey stick on my hand. When I walked into the school premises and looked toward our class block direction, I could see someone standing with a folded arms around her chest. As I got closer, it became clearer to be Adaeze standing at the class corridor. I could see her lips holding back a boisterous laughter as her rounded eyes beam with a smile after sighting the hockey stick on my hand. I got closer and handed her the hockey stick saying, “This is for your class assignment”.
With exciting tone, “Thanks Prince, my father told me last night that he met you. I wasn’t expecting that you could get this for me as fast as you have done”, she said
“That is ok, I had some remaining bamboo at home, so it wasn’t much difficult making another new one from it”.
I observed that her day’s activity changed so much than the previous day. She was filled with a cheerful exuberance as the school hours lasted. I spent enormous time flicking glances on her and enjoying every smile on her face.