Read the previous episode here
My room didn’t have a chair. And no, this wasn’t strategic in the way young men meant it to be. But it was strategic in that a chair would have made me get a table and then do a lot of work at home. I still did work at home, write lesson plans, made notes, and mark tests and work, but only when I had to. I wanted my room to be a resting place, somewhere I retired to and breathe fresh air, far from the madness of working at Mount Sinai International School, Nnewi.
Today, I regretted not having a chair because I loathed to have Adaora sit on my mattress. Her sitting on my bed would be the right step in the wrong direction. So as she entered the restroom, I began to walk small circles in the centre of the room. My plan was simple, I wanted to use my body and standing position to block her from reaching my mattress. If she wanted to talk, we would talk standing; too much standing would tire her and she would go away sooner.
I heard flushing and braced myself. She would come out now. I took out my phone and began to press it with feigned concentration. The door opened and my student came out of the bathroom/toilet. She had tiny beads of sweat on her forehead. On another person’s face, it somehow irritated me. On Adaora’s face, it was kind of appealing. I don’t like this.
“You don’t have fan,” she said.
I made for one of the two windows in the room and drew the curtain this way and the glass the other way. By the time I was done, Adaora was seated on my bed. Adaora 1, me 0. She had won the opening gambit but the game was on.
“You did a good job with the flowers,” I said. I refused to sit down.
“Where did you learn to water flowers?”
“In my uncle’s house in Lagos.”
“I see.” From where I stood, I could see the small cleavage of her young breasts. I didn’t like this at all, at all. But if I refused to meet her eyes, it would give the impression that I was coy and open a big room for her to explore, exploit even, if this was her intention, even only subconsciously. But by being bold and looking at her, I would see lower then her face and I didn’t like this.
“What may I offer you?” I asked.
“Not now,” she said. “Maybe when we go out. I just want to rest a little.”
I shrugged. I sat down. Adaora 2, me 0.
Adaora removed her monkey-jacket revealing the blue vestshe wore and handed the jacket to me. I collected it, stood up, and hung it on the window. I turned around, she was fanning herself with her hand. I picked up an old newspaper from the top of the stabilizer that powered the water sumo and gave it to her.
“Maybe, we should go outside.”
She didn’t reply. She vigorously fanned herself. Then she lay down on the bed with her legs still on the floor. She shut her eyes. She looked really tired and I felt sorry for her and felt the need to make her situation better. Poor girl, she only wanted to help her teacher.
I reached for the only pillow on the bed and dragged it towards her head.
She opened her eyes as she raised her head to the pillow. But she only succeeded in putting her head on the tail of the pillow. I bent lower to push the pillow deeper and she rose higher and for half a second, her face and mine were tiny fractions of an inch away. Her lips parted slightly, or so I thought but I didn’t stay to find out. I was at the door that very moment. I opened the door.
“More fresh air for you,” I said and stepped out.
The expression that came out of my mouth as I headed to the verandah of the big house was in Ibibio: “Tang akpan ikoh.”
To be continued…
I know you are mad at me for this short piece but the prospect of leaving for my trip without writing anything this week was something I hated so much, hence dropping this shorty. I promise to make up for this in the next episode. I promise to write a far longer piece in the next episode and I promise never to do this short gun again. Ever.
At all-at all, sha, na ’im bad pass.