Read Chapter 1&2 HERE
Hadizat sat in her room and slowly binged on a chocolate bar as she ruminated on recent events.
She resumed school over a month ago. She smiled ruefully as she recalled boarding the flight from Yola airport, Adamawa State to Abuja airport, FCT. Her father had travelled to Ghana the previous day on a business meeting so her mother and sisters had planned a girl’s night as a farewell party for Hadizat.
Still strung over from their late night, Rukayat and Munirat had accompanied her mother and the driver to the airport to bid Hadizat farewell.
Hadizat was feeling quite dandy as she waited at the departure hall till she saw Abdulmahmud headed her way. She had been munching on a chocolate bar but immediately she saw him, she lost her appetite. It seemed the chocolate bar had turned to a bunch of bitter leaves.
“Zo mana Hadizat. Yaya kike?” He smiled as he took a seat beside her.
“He’s not so bad”, Hadizat thought. “I should be nicer to him.”
“I’m fine Mahmud. Thank you”, she spoke out as she placed the unfinished chocolate bar inside her handbag.
He placed a hand on her shoulder. Hadizat looked at him sharply and he removed it. He shifted uncomfortably.
“I got admitted to ABUAD to study Architecture. Did you hear?”
“Yes Mahmud. I heard. Hajiya called to tell my mother about it.” Hadizat replied cooly.
“Yes”, he breathed. “My mother is so happy. I think one of the reasons she’s so happy about it is because you are going there too.”
“What?” Hadizat was surprised. Mahmud had always been interested in her. He had asked her severally to be his girlfriend in secondary school but she had refused. There was just something about him that irritated her to no end. She reasoned that if his mother was happy he was going to the same school with her, he must have told his mother about her. Hadizat sighed. She knew how parents from her region behaved. The next thing would be to approach her parents for a betrothal. She would not want that. Thank God her mother already knew how she felt about him but she needed to set him straight.
“Mahmud?” She called softly.
“Yes?” He replied eagerly. “Too eager”, Hadizat thought.
“I’m not interested in you. You know that, right?”
“But…but Hadizat, with time, you could…”
“No Mahmud, no”, she cut in, “I’m not…”
“Boarding announcement for Air Peace Flight 089 to Abuja.”
Hadizat looked at him, shook her head and stood up with her handbag clutched tightly.
Aboard the plane, Hadizat was happy she was nowhere close to Mahmud. She realized though that he would still be on the connecting flight to Akure. She steeled herself for the awkward feelings she got from his attentions and prayed they would get to Ekiti soon enough so she could hide herself in her room and be safe from his infatuatious looks.
Hadizat sat a corner of the lecture hall and looked at him. Stared was a better word. She could have stood all day if she had nothing else to do. She was just enthralled.
“How can someone be so perfect?” She thought.
He looked her way and smiled. She quickly averted her gaze. She figured that it would be weird if he looked her way again and found her staring at him.
Hadizat made a mental note to herself. “Do not stare at him again!”
She opened her bag with a bit more zest, brought out her Legal Methods textbook and pretended to read. She had actually read through the Legal Methods textbook twice but since she didn’t want to fall into the temptation of looking his way again, she decided to read through a third time or, at least, pretend to.
The class was quite nosy. The Legal Methods lecture was slated for 10am. It was barely 09:45am so the students were still trickling in, laughing and gisting. Hadizat was just in a world of her own. She hadn’t made any friends in class yet so she didn’t have a clique.
Occasionally, she muttered a ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ to someone who passed by but they never lingered to talk. It seemed her demeanor said it all, “You are not needed here so, run away.”
Hadizat was not doing it intentionally. She just couldn’t help herself. She had been an introvert for as long as she could remember. Growing up, she never had a chance to express herself. Not in the house with her domineering father and definitely not in school where the boys were favoured above the girls, even in cases like hers, where a girl was smarter.
From an early age, Hadizat learnt to keep to herself. That way, she wouldn’t do anything wrong. At least, nothing that would warrant a lashing.
“I wish the lecturer can just come now”, she muttered as she turned the leaves of the textbook. She looked up accidentally and saw him. He was talking to a group of three girls. The girls giggled as he said something funny and gesticulated. Hadizat forgot her book once again and stared.
“What is it about him?” She thought.
Just then, as though a voice had whispered to her, she knew the answer to the question.
He was the only one who had ever stopped by her desk to talk. He had made her smile and speak more words than she would normally say to a man.