Sunday, 4 February 2018

Moment With Chilaka: Today felt different. It was unusually sweet.


Today, I was late to lectures but walked into the class and to the front seat without minding the already filled up(save for the front seat) hall. This was unlike me. While in Federal Polytechnic Nekede, I would rather miss the lecture than walk into the lecture hall full with students.

Today, I met a young girl of 18 who was so bold in her skin that I couldn't resist the urge to walk up to her. We shared the front seat with two other students and that was where our friendship began. She would ask and answer questions regardless of how much her spoken English was laughed at and when the girl behind tapped her to say, in a tone that aroused anger, that she should learn to weigh her words and 'match' her tenses before she said them, she simply smiled and thanked her.
While at the Spelling Bee hall today, we sat together again and when no one would volunteer to stand to pray before the program commenced, she sprang up and in a voice that filled the hall, she said a prayer.

Today, I met a bespectacled southpaw.

My love for southpaws are priceless and a few years ago, I would begin to learn to turn into one until I grew tired because it wouldn't stay.
We met for the first time three days ago and today, our souls met. Her smile is heavenly. She is beautiful and draws as though she only has to hold the pencil while the pencil does the work itself and when I asked if that is what she has a passion for, she said,

"No. It has been something I have been doing since I was little but it's not something I can give a lot of my time."

She is a critique, a poet and a reader who has read more than a thousand books.

Today, because I feel I have written more than I have ever spoken and the vacuum my voice used to fill is rusting and the universe is gradually forgetting the sound of my voice, I let myself go. I walked up to people to just talk and for a moment, I thought I was going mad. I only realized I wasn't when I walked up to the popular guy in my class who was one of the participants in the Spelling Bee to give my congratulations and I sensed my confidence overshadow his.
I walked up to the girl who had won a 'map' on Thursday and her reaction told that no one else ever told her that because they felt winning a map meant nothing.

"What was the question that won you the map?" I had asked.

"What is the oldest language in the world. I answered Swahili even though a few argued it to be Arabic but I won. It is Swahili."

Today, I laughed without minding how loud it was and how much of an open place I was in. I exuded the kind of confidence I never felt was in me. I am free!!!


Story by Mbagwu Amarachi Chilaka

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