It was a fine November sunday morning. One of those days the sun chooses to rise earlier, promising a sunny day ahead. We were in the harmattan (dry season) and this was no news because Ghana has just two seasons; the wet and muddy rainy season and the harmattan. What made today rather special was clear. Sorry I meant Claire rather and I’d be seeing her after church.
Claire was a first year Political studies student and she was a dime. She had this round face set with an aquiline nose and not so full pink lips but when she smiled, she displayed a perfect set of white teeth and her eyes seemed to sparkle. She had this young, wild and free attitude with a slim rounded figure with meat in all the right places which made me like her the more.Just as I preferred. Claire had clear light skin and her surname was Blaire. (Lol. I’m just kidding. She wasn’t Fanti either. ) Well, I have to say as a matter of fact the Fantis in the central region of Ghana are well known for their peculiar westernized names and she stood little chance of being Claire Blaire since she wasn’t one of them.
Service began at 6.30 am every sunday morning but I had cultivated the habit of waking up at that time. I was always late for service by an hour or sometimes even more but never sooner than the former. Today being a special sunday, I was in church even before 6.30 am and I was really enjoying service. I was too reserved (shy) to dance in the aisle but I utilized my little space well well (as a Nigerian man would say). I kept stealing glances in her direction throughout service hoping for the long “aaaaaamennnnn” which meant benediction was next and then hip-hip-hip…
I forgot to mention the departmental meetings at the end of service. There was music, ushering, theatre, organising, prayer, evangelism, bible study, technical, transport and the publicity departments. I was a staunch member of the music department; which meant prolonged meetings after service. I never grasped why we had to pray after service while we have been praying the entire service. As for today, I purposed in my heart to swerve and … (abi you know)
Immediately after the last amen, I sat down to get my bearings well and approach my target. Sitting down I found her at my one o’clock and Oh bless my soul the King of heaven-she was alone.
I put on my most charming smile and went over.
- Hey Claire
- Hi Quame. Hw u doing today? You look real good oo
- Mmm(really surprised)… Thank you and I’m alright. I hope you’re good?
- Yh I am
- But as a matter of fact, you look really dashing today. Have you changed your hair style… Oh this is nice… (She was blushing all over and I knew what I was doing). When did you get your hair done?
- Oh just last week. I think Thursday. Yh Thursday.
- I think the hairstylist did a really good job on you. Haven’t you realized all the guys happen to be stealing glances at you? (Still smiling, she looked around her) Who wants to be caught red-handed? ? They’re all pretending not to be watching yet they are.
- Owww Quame stop that
- Stop what?
- You are making me blush too much. Please stop (Knowing Ladies, I knew that was my cue to continue. She was really enjoying her 2 minutes of fame with me)
- Haha (a bi-syllabic laugh was all I could afford but inside, I was laughing like I had won the lottery-Hehehehehehehe-ajeiiii) Are you leaving right now?
- Oh no. I have been selected to go for mother church visitation so I’m waiting for the bus.
(I had an excuse each time for mother church visitation so my department head no longer called on me when it came to that. But how I wished I had been picked today and I stood no chance of being selected because I didn’t even turn up for the meeting after service)
- Oh OK. So which assembly are you visiting? (I didn’t expect her to know- she was in 1st year remember? )
- I don’t even know oo (Bingo m‘anka??) Are you coming along?
- No. I have an assignment to submit tomorrow so I have to work on it this afternoon. (Oh Lord forgive me. How can I be lying in church? I had no assignment this weekend and I knew I wouldn’t miss this opportunity for anything but just one problem – I wasn’t selected and I couldn’t join the bus for the fear of it being full to capacity already. On top of that, my department head will be seriously shocked to see me)
- I’ll give you a call when I return to campus then. (Did she have number?)
- OK but do you have my number? ?
- Which one?
- Let me check. (Goes through her phone’s contacts) Vodafone. Last 2 digits 43.
- OK. (But I was wondering how she had my number but I didn’t have hers. So how do I ask for hers??) Claire can you call me so I get to save your number again? I lost my old sim card. This is a new one and I’m now retrieving my contacts.
- Have you ever taken my number?? (She queried frowning a little)
- Oh yh. Have you forgotten? ? (I lied)
- Eii Quame. We’re still in church oo. So how come you’ve never called me??
- As I was saying earlier, I lost that sim. (How can I keep on lying like this right after service?)
Just then I heard “Claire! Claire!! The bus is in.” Anyway, that was one of the serious christian sisters in church and I think she’s called Bertha or so. I was about asking Claire to flash my number again so I’d have her number too but Bertha was closer than I had thought. “Quame you’re looking good today oo” was all Bertha said to me and I became invisible to her. I was even surprised she had complimented me; these holier–than–thou–sisters. She came to get Claire and she had made her point so clear.
“Later then Quame” Claire said and waved goodbye. I didn’t even bother seeing her off to the bus not to talk of reminding her to call me. I didn’t want Bertha getting any ideas and messing up the entire move for me after all my preparation and hardwork.I left for my hostel having mixed feelings. Claire having my number was quite assuring that I had a chance but these ladies were so unpredictable especially when it came to the first years. All the guys knew about their susceptibility and wouldn’t miss a shot if given as slight a chance as Hi. I went for service that morning, hoping I’d get the opportunity of walking her back to her hall. Get to know her more in the process and then the next thing would follow. Mother church visitation had spoilt da move and as for Bertha, I didn’t want to even think about her. Mtcheww .When I got to my room, my roomie no.3 was asking where I had been. He hadn’t seen me dressed up like this before and when I told him I just closed from service? He was like “which service??” Seriously, I didn’t know what he was driving at because my mind was somewhere else. Then he was like ” we have
- Outdooring service
- Wedding service
- Engagement service
- Farewell service
- Funeral service and even Room service”
Then it dawned on me what the jerk was driving at. So I told him ” I’m returning from the service you forgot to include in your list, you unreligious cow “. At that we all burst out laughing like we had no care in the world. Then I gave him the entire run down. He was the roomie I talked to more often because the others were not much of talkers. He was positive she would call and it kind of gladdened my heart that somebody believed she would call. Personally, I wasn’t so sure she would call but I was hungry and needed to rest.
I was roused from my slumber by Bryan, my friend cum coursemate. It around 5pm by my phone and heartbreakingly – No missed calls. We talked and watched two new movies Bryan had on his pendrive. Around 8pm, my phone rang and you can imagine the swiftness with which I grabbed it only to find out it was my mom. We talked for a while. The normal family issues. Bryan asked why I was so on edge when the phone rang and I lied I was expecting my uncle’s call because he had pronised me some money. Roomie No.3 who was looking on couldn’t help grinning when I looked in his direction. Bryan didn’t see that because he was glued to the movie. He loved his movies but put a girl in front of him and he will see nothing else. Due to this nature, he was crushing on every lady he met from the female Librarians to the female Security wardens. He kept wondering and asking who I was also crushing on but I told him I was beyond that. Big Boy Levels….
Hence, telling Bryan about my crush on Claire would mean giving him something to prove his point that it was normal to be crushing on all ladies. I knew better. Bryan left my hostel around 9pm and still no sign of an incoming call. At this point, I was cursing Bertha in my heart. Had it not being for her, I’d have had Claire’s number and I’d have done the calling myself. If Mohammed doesn’t go to the mountain…
Well, just about then roomie no.1 returned from his weekend trip home. He brought a lot of foodstuffs and we had to help him carry them to the balcony. I went to bed not so happy and sleep was hard coming but as an Akan proverb goes “Aniwa nnim awer3ho)“-which means the eye knows no sorrow; sleep eventually came.
Everybody hates monday. I had a French lecture early every Monday morning and God!! it was so boring. I didn’t wake up that early and I was almost running late. I took a quick shower and because I didn’t have time to iron a new shirt from my bag, I decided to shop from my hanged clothes in the wardrobe. I opened the wardrobe and my God, what was that smell? The wardrobe stunk like rotten meat and I knew then I was doomed. All my clothes had inherited the smell. Even the fresh African print shirt I had only worn yesterday had also caught the smell. Bryan was waiting for me to get dressed so I begged him to take my clothes to the drying lines so I use the time to iron new clothes for lectures. I thought it might be a dead rat or mouse but this wasn’t the time. As much as I didn’t like the french lecture, missing it was not an option. I didn’t like the idea of dodging lectures.
Throughout that day, I kept wondering about the morning’s happening. Immediately after lectures, I rushed to my room and combed the wardrobe for whatever might be the cause of the stench. I was about giving up when I saw a blue rubber bag which looked so unfamiliar on the ground floor of the wardrobe. I touched it and received a prick in return. I opened it cautiously, only to find a school of “Koobi” – dried salted tilapia; only that this salted tilapia needed drying and the heat and moisture was causing it to decompose emanating such a foul smell. But it wasn’t here yesterday so how come it’s here today wreaking such havoc.
Then it dawned on me. Who brought foodstuffs yesternight?
Being afraid of the stubborn rats at the balcony finishing his ” school of koobi” before daybreak, he had put them at the only place he knew the rats couldn’t enter – the wardrobe. And there was only one wardrobe, so we had to share it. So if he wasn’t keeping his clothes in the wardrobe, he had an equal right to put his food items in it. But who does that?? FOOD to talk of “koobi” in a wardrobe?
Was he thinking it was a kitchen Cupboard or what? Or they dont have a wardrobe at home.
Meanwhile, all thoughts of Claire had completely evaporated considering the fact that I had to wash all those clothes before they could re-enter my bag. Washing was a headache for me and it still is… Unfortunately, what hurt me the most was that shirt I had worn to church on Sunday just because of Claire and she didn’t even call. That was a brand new shirt and I had to wash the koobi perfume out of it.I couldn’t use detergent too for the fear of it fading. Well I combined Sunlight and Irish spring and in the end my clothes really smelled good.
How I wish I could tell the guy to wash my stuff for me but it wouldn’t be nice to do that. On top of that, he was deeply ashamed after he realised the mess he had caused. The issue became a joke only 3 people enjoyed in the room and it’s still a laughing matter when we get together.
Koobi in the wardrobe. LOL
If you haven’t forgotten about Claire’s issue as at now, then please try and forget because it’s as clear as her name Claire. She never called until I saw her in church the next Sunday and she and Bertha were acting up like the best of friends so I reckoned Bertha might have infected her with her virus.
I didn’t even bother clocking her after service. I knew Bertha would be lurking in the background…
These holier-than-thou sisters… (Mtcheewww)
It wasn’t a lost course tho. I was just laying low for a while. Possibly, I’ll update you on the Claire saga later on.
By: Kwame Adjei Nuako
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