Leila, the sugar in my tea.

Let me tell you about my crush from way way back.

So back then I was attending extra lessons after school hours. It was organised by my English teacher Mr Kolawale a Deeper life member. I had some classmates from school attending too. So it was predominantly a boys lesson. And only one girl from the school that had the most beautiful girls in the world. St Louis Secondary School Kano.

Leila was a student there. She was fair. I have a soft spot for fair ladies. Also Intelligent, tall and beautiful. From a rich home too. I looked forward to lessons because of her. Why? I was her designated escort. I would ‘escort’ her to her own house before embarking on the journey through the wilderness home. We would walk and talk about lots of things. I was working up the courage to talk to her about my feelings.

Mehn was I inundated by every bit of her. I lived on her every word. One time we were talking about drawings and she told me how boys drew nonsense while girls loved to draw flowers. I made the mistake of conveying those feelings to my classmates. They eyed me like “boy you stewpid.” I could feel it in their eyes. They even spoke it. One asked, “wetin be flower.” Another hissed and said “we go jus siddon like this begin draw flower. You dey okay so? Tell her make she keep kwayet.”

Anyway one day I felt brave enough to broach the subject of my feelings. That day I had saved my ‘break money’ from school. I was going to use it after lesson hours to buy her something. Nna that’s how lesson closed and we were walking. I bought her cotton candy. Inside my head I rehearsed.

“Leila I like you very much. When we talk I feel like you’re my soul mate. You’re the song I want to sing. The picture I want to paint. Let’s walk the ends of the earth just you and I.”

Are you people clapping? Anokwam Jss3 that time (I was in Jss 3 then o).

‘Leila I want to tell you something.” She looked up from her cotton candy and said she had something to say too. As a gentleman and because fear grip me I asked her to go first. The floodgates opened. “One guy stopped me today. Because we live in the same street and I used to laugh with him. He was just telling me rubbish. I insulted him eh. With his two left leg and head like trailer.”

My Chest! I was speechless. Nkea wekwa ajor anu( this one get bad mouth o). Even me too had big head. I started wondering what she thought about my head. I asked her what the guy said to warrant this annihilation. “Can you imagine Patrick, he said he likes me. Me i dont have time for boys. Even if i say yes, will i show my friends that one with head that can fall fence?”

Otu ocha! Heeeiiii this one loud gan. With alacrity i pressed Ctrl Alt Delete and erased my toasting lines. Better safe than sorry.

Then I wrote her a letter cos I felt she would not get the poetry behind my toasting if I spoke it.

Dear Leila,

By the time you read this I’ll be home and so would you.

I hope this makes you smile. I know a lot of people tell you you’re beautiful so I won’t. For me you’re that sunflower with the sweetest nectar. Whenever I listen to Tevin Campbell’s ‘I’m ready’ I feel like you’re the girl he is talking about.
I’m ready to love you forever more. Your dimples leave me weak kneed. Your smile dazzles me. How I love your perfect white teeth.

Say you’ll be mine ma chérie.
With all my love

Just tell me if you were Leila you won’t fall? This one would off her I was sure. We closed and as I was about to give her the letter she said to me, “Pat do you know I have received like 5 letters this week. “Ah wetin be this again?”, I sighed.

Leila continued, “I tore four of them to pieces. I read the last one with my friends and it was bad. Really awful. Oh my. He spelt eccentric as essentlic.” Shit I almost laughed. See all these children with rich parents can act like mad people atimes and too blunt for comfort like Jose Mourinho.

I was beginning to see traces of Jezebel in this girl. I folded my letter back into my bag, saw her off and went home only to discover I’d forgotten my maths textbook with her. I’d never gone to her house just like that or entered the compound before. There’s always a first time sha. When I got to her gate I knocked but got no answer so I got in and took a few steps.

That’s when I saw scatterings of dry poo.

I ‘marched’ break and surveyed carefully this time. I saw it. Watching me intently was a Doberman. I smiled and took a step back. It growled and stood up. I was far from the gate and gateman’s residence.

I looked around saw a tree near gateman’s house. I turned and ran. My heart in my mouth. See the doberman coming with full speed. I climbed the tree like a monkey. Fiaaam I jumped from the tree to the top of maiguards(Gateman’s) zinc and ‘vuaaaah I jumped outside the compound. Landed awkwardly. Immediately tears filled my eyes as I felt the impact. “Ije love ejege gbum (love matter wan kill me).” I limped home. My mum even had to press me hot water.

The next day our maths teacher flogged nonsense out of my brain cos of the book. I bore it for love. That’s what Romeo would do. He-diot that I am. After lessons I finally told her that I was in love with her. She paused and smiled. Then said, “Patrick I like you but I can’t date you. You’re my friend and…..

She looked at my head. Modasucka! My eyes became red. This geh was also putting me under big head category? It was just pride that stopped me from crying. Instead my inner rage surfaced. All the trekking, all the songs, all the jokes. All for nothing. I remembered the narrow escape with the dog. That one really really pained me.

I just shouted, “Really? Do you know my Maths teacher flogged me because of my textbook that you took? Do you know your dog chased me and I almost lost my legs? “Oh my. Sorry about all that. I dont think I like you like that . She looked at my head again.

The scale had fallen from my eyes. I just opened my two hands. Pointed them at her face and said, “waka shege, oh my gbawa kwa gI isi there(oh my scatter your head there).” “Patrick dear don’t be like that. Hope you’re not mad?”, she asked.

Deer ko Antelope ni. Ezz you that is mad gan. Madness finish you there. May multi colored thunder locate you. Afor magi na ani(may your tummy hit the floor) Otolo gba gbuo gI there(watery shit finish you). Thin like broom. See neck. Tolotolo. Taaaah gbafuoo there.

All this I said in my head of course. Boy was I mad. The gall. The effrontery. All my vein was just showing.

That was the end for us or so I thought. We never spoke again until SS3 when I became a popular mimer. She sent me the most glorious letter but that’s another story.


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