Friday came as usual, I got dressed for church practice. David and I strolled along to the church. This was the first time I’d be going to church practice without my father looking over my shoulder, I felt like I have been in a cage all my life and was just set free.
Although David attends practice always, he has never gone with my dad before. He always came up with one excuse to leave earlier or later than us, or to drag behind long after dad picks me up. At 20 dad trusted him a little more than me. He was a student in UNILAG, so there was little dad could do to monitor him. We got to church about 20 minutes before practice time, and we parted ways. David went with his fellow-man servants, while I left with my friends Sarah and Hannah.
Sarah and Hannah were the only close friends I have, we attend the same secondary school, and attend practice together. They were about my age too. Mum knows them very well, and had banned me from associating with them. Both of them were very popular in church and school, for a particular reason I can’t fathom. Sarah in particular always filled my ear with stories of various guys he has been engaged with and how they took care of her, most of whom had either just returned from US or Dubai. She had a lot of expensive stuff to showcase every week. She spends her weekends in highbrow hotels in the remote part of Lagos. Sarah knows how to have fun, she had an exciting life going for her.
My reason for choosing this two fun-loving class of friend is a question I can’t answer. I just love it when they gist me about how great and smooth their life has been cause of the freedom they enjoy (So I thought). I’m often left to bemoan my own lonely little life, in the cell my parents had created. Hannah did not have the same freedom as Sarah, her parents were just like mine. But unlike me, Sarah knows how to get around her parents. I knew she had a boyfriend, so I guess I was the one always left out. I kept thinking about how boring my life was all through the practice.
The day’s practice went by pretty fast, we were done and ready to leave. It was about 4:30 pm, so I was heading towards the gate hoping to meet my brother David somewhere along the way. I was quite confused when I discovered that only a handful of us were heading home. Others, including my friends were hanging around. Even David was nowhere in sight. So I turned around, and went back to the church compound to search for him. I know dad would be furious if I returned late.
On my way back, I sighted Sarah from afar, deeply involved in a conversation with a guy who is a member of the church also. His name is Matthew, he is a little older than us. He was a tall, dark-skinned handsome guy. I have seen him around a lot of times, he was a popular face. I stood far from them for a while, hoping that the conversation will end soon, and Matthew will leave. I don’t like being around guys for whatsoever reason, maybe because of the environment I grew up in or maybe it’s because of the strict warning mum and dad gave me about guys, “Guys are Wolves” so they said!..
There’s a strange way I feel towards Matthew which is widely different from the irritation I feel towards other guys around, I get nervous whenever he came around or when we sit closer to each other during practice. He had this humble, soft, gentle and sweet nature, whenever I spoke to him. I must admit that most times, after practice I spend my entire night thinking about him.
I was so deep in my thoughts that I did not notice Matthew walking towards me. “Hey” his cool baritone voice jerked me back to reality. “Wow! You are still around, how come? I immediately looked down, trying to gather words to reply. I knew what to say in my head, but the problem is that my head had been disconnected from my mouth. I only stuttered a few words, only God knew if he understood me. I had barely finished a sentence when I heard my name from nowhere. David and Sarah ran towards me, exchanged greetings with Matthew and informed me that we would be leaving much later. He said he had other things to attend to. I was almost furious, cos I knew dad would be so mad at me.
Sarah noticed my indignation, and quickly intercepted, “Can’t you see everyone is still around? Come on let’s have fun”. Before Sarah finished her sentence, David was already on his way out of sight. I resigned to wait. Sarah, Matthew and I walked towards the church hall. Matthew tried to grab hold of my hand, I quickly moved my hand away. All my thought was on how dad will get mad at me if I arrive home late on my very first day of gaining freedom from him.