I slapped him hard. I wasn’t even aware of how or what prompted me to; but I knew I really did slap him hard.
He held his cheek in shock as the whole cafeteria went mute. Everyone’s stare was now on us to probably see his reaction, but he did nothing. Rather, he just dipped his hands into his pockets and smiled.
I left the cafeteria without saying another word and boarded a bike home. Mimi kept calling from second to second, over and over, but I didn’t pick up.
Shortly after, she arrived home in the company of Oluchi and some other girl whom I wasn’t familiar with.
“So this is how you use to do true true!” Oluchi taunted me in a mocking voice with her hands folded together. I paid no attention to her.
She came closer and pulled my phone from me violently.
“I’m talking to you!” She snarled.
I kept calm and pretended not to notice anyone beside me. This act made them all the more angrier.
“Fifi, what exactly is your problem?” Mimi asked as she sat close to me on the foam. I ignored the question and made to stand up but, with a swift unexpected push from nowhere, I fell back.
“Answer the question first,” Oluchi raved. I ignored her and made to stand up again, but she pushed me harder.
“Oluchi, mind yourself.” I warned.
“Or else what? You’d slap me like you did to Boma, right?”
“Just mind yourself,” I cautioned.
“Girls, take it easy,” the third girl finally talked. “We can settle this amicably. Let’s behave like the adults that we are.”
The room became quiet once more.
“I believe we are all mature minded people with manners and courtesy here,” she continued, “and I know no one approves of what Fifi did either. But two wrongs don’t make a right. Let us behave, please.”
After this, the room came to order. She pleaded with Oluchi to have a sit, which she refused. After much plea from both Mimi and she alike, she finally obliged.
“I am Jovita by name, Kingsley’s girlfriend,” she introduced formally as she sat, and then continued, “Oluchi knows me already. We scheduled this meeting today at the cafeteria to discuss something important, only for me to meet you guys in the middle of all this. How did it happen?”
“She started it!” Oluchi chipped in.
“Let her talk,” Jovita reprimanded.
I let out a sigh and blurted out my candid reasons to them. I told them how it seemed like I was the topic of discussion over at the cafeteria, which also led to Boma’s vulgar words that initially made me hit him.
They told me what I did was wrong and I genuinely accepted.
To say the least, we later came to a conclusion to return back to school and plead on my behalf. When we got there, the guys were nowhere to be found. They had left.
Oluchi and Jovita kept dialing their numbers repeatedly but they didn’t pick up. So we also left with the agreement to meet the next day.
After papers the following day, Mimi, Oluchi and I met at the cafeteria. We had hoped to meet the guys there, but they weren’t. Jovita also called to tell us she couldn’t make it, but that she knew where the guys always hanged out under a mango tree.
We followed her directions and, just as expected, we found them there.
They were up to ten guys in total, all seated in different awkward positions on the bench, some on the tree’s branch and some on the ground. They all had bottles with them, while some of them smoked.
“Good afternoon,” Mimi gestured as we approached them.
“If it’s Boma you’re looking for, check upstairs at the library. They should be there,” a guy among them answered. It became obvious that we were being expected already.
We thanked them and left. When we got to the library, Simon, Kingsley and Boma were coincidentally also coming out. Simon hissed and passed us without saying anything, while Kingsley and Boma remained.
“Boma, can we have a moment with you, please?” Oluchi asked.
“If she has anything to say, let her say it here,” he answered.
The girls all looked at me and urged me to go on.
“I’m sorry,” I managed to say.
“Is that all?”
I was taken aback by his question.
“What else were you expecting me to say?”
“Where I come from, you don’t just apologize to someone you wronged while standing. It’s either you kneel or give them a hug,” he said, stretching his arms wide for a hug.
I felt reluctant and a bit shy about it at first until the girls pushed me towards him.
“I forgive you,” he said softly as we withdrew.
To say the least, I ended up reconciling with everyone that fateful day. I couldn’t take my eyes off Boma throughout the time we spent at the cafeteria, neither could he also.
We both caught each other’s stare many times but would just smile at each other. Nobody seemed to be willing to make the first move.
TO BE CONTINUED…