Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Rule of Love 2

Othuya and Chinelo got along as they spent more time together, nevertheless they had their several hitches as it was common of new relationships, although Chinelo did her very best to overlook Othuya’s overly strictness but it seemed very difficult for her to get by. And finally it was their passing out parade ceremony, POP as it was called for short. Othuya had left the lodge earlier because he was one of the flag bearers, he was part of the squad on camp too, and has always desired to be part on their POP day.
Chinelo did not leave the lodge on time and by the time she arrived at the stadium the parade was over and everyone sort their Local Government Inspectors and other designated officials for their National Youth Service Corps Certificate.
Othuya dialed Chinelo’s phone a number of times but she was not picking, to know her where about. Just as he reached the entrance to the stadium as he was set to leave, there he saw Chinelo stepping out of the taxi that had conveyed her to the venue. Othuya fumed with anger, ‘was she just arriving at the venue or she had gone back to retrieve something?’ He thought. He stopped on his track and waited for her, Chinelo walked to the entrance of the stadium in her complete uniform, fully kitted as it was referred to, she noticed Othuya, who gave a clueless face where he stood.
“Hey dear,” she said as she stood before him, “Did you forget something you had to go back to retrieve? He asked.                                                                  
“Not at all I am just coming,” Othuya darted a surprised look, still grilling.      
“I didn’t want to come and sit here all day while we wait for the Governor’s representative, moreover I did not know they would finish as early as this, anyway that’s by the way, how did it go?” Chinelo added trying to make light of the issue.
“Late coming is not a virtue, I hope you know that?” He said tersely and sternly too.            
“Oh I just did not want to waste time around, the main thing is my certificate,” Chinelo chuckled. “Moreover you did not watch me march,” he replied still frowning. At this statement Chinelo laughed aloud, “now you are talking, you should have said you were upset because I missed the sight of you marching, don’t worry you will march for me alone when we return to the lodge,” Othuya forced a grin.
“Alright, will you wait for me, while I get my own certificate?” she winked; Othuya did not know what to say, Chinelo was very good at relaxing his nerve each time he took a matter too seriously.
“Why should I wait for you when you decided to come behind schedule,” he tried to be firm.
“C’mon, even the military men always waited for us to leave our hostels back in camp, let alone you a bloody civilian” Chinelo giggled as she pulled him along. Othuya swallowed the laughter he wanted to unleash. “Funny girl,” he murmured as he walked along.
That night the lodge was filled with entertainment, the blast of music filled the compound, although some of the batch passing out travelled the same day, a good number of them were still around, as they said their goodbyes, many of them had travelled from far to live in that state for almost a year, as that was one of the visions of The National Youth Service Corps, to bring and unite youth from different part of the country together; the south-southerners, the south-westerners, the northerners, the easterners and everywhere across the nation were a youth can be found.
This was the very reason why English language was made the lingua franca in the lodge to maintain peace, nevertheless some of them had picked up slangs that was found in their host community. These youth had mingled with each other for the past one year, during the one year different set of people came into the scheme and some other passed out until it was their turn, as the scheme was notable for working in batches, A, B, and C.
For the past one year, for most people emotions had crisscrossed emotions, some had become emotionally attached to another, some of them had become fond of each other, especially those who were roommates, they could not come to terms with the fact that they had to part and may not set their eyes on each other again. Some other people had fought tooth and nail and afterwards still became fond of each other. People and luggage filled the lodge that particular evening, some stayed back in their rooms reminiscing on their times together, some other raised their voices in their rooms as they settled their discord.
While some people lobbied around the lodge saying words of prayers together for their future, the auditorium was filled with a number of people, in small groups. Some people held each other tightly, affirming to themselves that they would still see each other; these were people who had come from extremes of the country, also some other people hugged tightly and would not loosen their grips, others sat in small groups and discussed into the night as most of them were going to travel the next morning, especially people who had to travel long distance.
Chinelo sat in the auditorium with her friends, a good number of them were not passing out, but because Chinelo was a loveable person, people were endeared to her, she was a very patient person, as cool as a cucumber, and could accommodate any kind of person, her friends would tease her that she could live with the devil conveniently, and she would answer back, with a smile “God forbid!” there was an incident back in the middle of her service year, in the lodge when it was Chinelo’s turn to prepare dinner, on that day, she slept off in the afternoon and woke up a little later than she should have, she prepared yam and stew and the yam had come out salty.
Meanwhile, there was a particular Brother in the fellowship who was known to be very notorious, but since the family house was a home for all, moreover people were not accepted into the lodge based on the fact that they were born-again or not, hence they had a mix of various kinds of Christians.
Nnamdi was known to cause trouble each time he was not satisfied with the meal prepared, he had been counseled often times that life is filled with the good and the bad, and he should be ready to swallow the bad ones too.
On that fateful day, his football club had lost to their opponent, and as a result he was cheesed off by the time he returned to the lodge, and would not calm the inferno that raged within him. He struggled to pick up his dinner as it was common of those who were emotionally attached to sports. He entered his room to eat the food after picking his food flask from the kitchen, and found the food salty; he dashed out of his room to the mini-parlour where most people stayed to take their meals if they did not want to use their rooms. He knew it was Chinelo that prepared the meal, as he found her in the kitchen with the Sister’s coordinator who always assisted whosoever was on duty in the kitchen.
Nnamdi found Chinelo walking along in the mini-parlour; he held his food flask in his hand, and gritted his teeth as he stopped behind her.          
“Chinelo!!!” he alarmed as it was not compulsory to refer to any one as a Sister or Brother, Chinelo turned back to see who called her name with such alacrity. She knew the food was not too ok that night but she felt anyone should still be able to manage it.
“Yes Nnamdi,” She answered back. “I did not know Poison is now on our food time-table in this lodge,” Nnamdi retorted. “I beg your pardon?” Chinelo answered confused, her gaze meeting his.                “You should have simply told us we are on punishment tonight,” he continued by now they were already making a scene.
“Nnamdi what exactly is the matter, make your point pop and plain,” Chinelo did not have an idea of what exactly he was indicating, she never thought anybody could have put up a terrific confrontation simply because of a meal, moreover she was not the first to prepare a salty meal, when such happened everyone managed to put up with it, and hoped to eat a better one the next time.
“I mean what was that you prepared for us as dinner?” he scowled, Chinelo was not aware he only transferred the aggression from the football match to her, nevertheless she ate the dirt. “Oh! That you mean? You would have simply made it clear, much more I am sorry, it will not repeat itself. I am so so sorry.” Chinelo answered politely eating the crow and was almost walking away as she dismissed the case.
She felt that was enough to get over the situation, but it was the opposite for Nnamdi who acted as if he had just gained energy from the devil to start a warfare. People who stood close by also felt the matter should be put behind since Chinelo had acted respectfully too. Nnamdi pulled Chinelo by the arm such that she was facing him.
“Excuse me young lady, is that all you have to say?”  
Flustered, Chinelo turned to him flashing a surprised look, “leave my arm Nnamdi, are you going to resurrect the dead because of a single meal,” she expressed uneasiness with the way he gripped her arm. Those words hit him hard, and he reacted even more fiercely.
“Exactly what I am going to do tonight, if you don’t get something else for me to eat.” Chinelo chuckled, she was shocked at the display of shame he put up, nevertheless, she ate the humble pie.
People started to calm Nnamdi, and told him to forget about the whole matter and let it rest. Nnamdi just ignored them all and faced Chinelo, Chinelo spoke calmly, “okay your Lordship Nnamdi, what would you have me do, now that you know it is late to leave the gate or even prepare another meal?” as it was one of the rules in the lodge.
“Ermmm ermmm… I don’t know, “he began to stutter, he did not know what to make of her politeness, he expected that she would answer back, the same way he approached her, but he had forgotten he takes two to fight. “Just help me find a way around it,” still tight lipped he shot his hand forward lifting his food flask to her.
Chinelo gently received the flask and walked away, “I will be back.” Everybody was amazed at the level of maturity and comportment she displayed especially with such finesse with which she handled the matter, she was not moved at all when he ranted, it was unlike some other people who would give it to him fire for fire until the fellowship executives intervened.
Chinelo returned into the kitchen, setup the fire place, placed the yam pieces into a pot and added excess water, boiled for few minutes and poured the water away, she did this twice and bit a piece of the yam and found that it was okay, she cleared the fire place, returned the food into his flask and headed for where he left him, he found him there still standing with a frown still painted all over his face.
“Here is it,” she said as she handed him his food flask and added “once again, I am very very sorry,” and walked away in a slight daze. Nnamdi felt very embarrassed and stupid that day, as everyone looked on him with a look of disregard, he walked away to his room feeling very bitter for causing a fine kettle of fish.
Some people who were at the scene muttered, “You finally met your match today,” Chinelo’s roommate who had come out of their room to watch the whole scene followed her hastily back into the room. One of them clapped as they entered the room, “Chinelo you are indeed a woman of virtue,” Chinelo giggled.
“I can't just stomach that entire rubbish, I mean  I can’t imagine what I would have done to that big-headed Nnamdi if I were the one, he feels he can run down anybody the way he likes, mtchewww” she gave a long hiss. Chinelo smiled again, “my dear, nobody can make you feel stupid, except you permit them,” “but believe me that guy has really got fat in the fire," another person added.
“Chinelo I have always seen that nugget, but my dear, I just saw it in reality today,” the lady that clapped added. “I can't take that, not for all the tea in china," the lady that hissed added again, Chinelo answered still chuckling, “I have addressed the issue of offences a long time ago, I used to react very badly to situations before, until I told myself, nobody was worth that energy. I’ll rather save it to pray and seek the face of the Lord, so I have learnt to forgive people in advance. I tell you I have forgiven him for the next time he will put up another stupid act.” They all stared at her with intense amazement, “what is it??? Why do you stare at me like someone who fell from heaven, it’s simply a training I gave myself to subdue my flesh.”
The ladies left their gaze on her with their mouth wide open, “I guess you want me to call Nnamdi to help you put those jaws of yours together?” Chinelo giggled that evening. At the mention of Nnamdi, the ladies adjusted and said “no thank you, we are perfectly fine.”
“I see the fear of Nnamdi is the beginning of wisdom for you girls,” Chinelo laughed loud, “Not for me,” another vivacious lady in the room said. “Until then,” Chinelo said laughingly.
……………………………………………………………
The next day after the passing out parade, everyone finally picked their luggage, as the other corps members helped them to the junction where they would find a taxi.
Chinelo walked along with her roommates and other friends, Othuya also walked beside her with his luggage. When they eventually reached the junction, the ladies said their goodbyes, Chinelo held them all close to her chest, and hugged them tightly, emotions surged through them as tears flowed down their cheeks, while Othuya stood there wondering why they got so emotional after all.
Chinelo kissed them all on their fore heads, and said in their ears one after another, “I love you,” after a while they loosened their grips as a taxi pulled to a halt right in front of them.   
…………..To be Continued………..