A True Life Narrative; Written in 2011
By Kayode Taiwo Olla
I sat in the class while the lecturer taught from the textbook. I raised my head and for some seconds gazed rather subconsciously round the class, gazed over bowed heads buried in text materials.
It was a Wednesday afternoon and it had been a week since I lost my course material. The material had cost each of us students of the class a pretty substantial amount to get the photocopy done. Lectures were strictly from the text material and that meant I was lagging behind in my grasping pace at the lessons taught since I couldn’t so much have a revision on the lessons after classes. I had been patient and optimistic about finding the text material, but only until that afternoon. That afternoon I planned to make another photocopy of the material.
While my gaze went round the seated class in a moment, it just got stuck by some instinct along the line. It was at the sight of a particular beautiful figure—tall, plump and modestly fashionable. I took a liking to her on the spot, especially for her beautiful, elegant frame and her simplicity.
I hadn’t noticed my new crush earlier before and now I just liked to meet her—or no, I badly wanted to!
The class was soon ended and I was faced with my reality—my shy self had never been quite well bold to initiate meeting people a lot of times. And so, the end of the lecture—and like many similar cases before—did see me walk away, resignedly leaving the rest to chance. Although I really wanted us to be friends, at least; I gave up the idea anyway.
Evening came around and I was back to my pressing need—I had to make my photocopy. I was almost completely broke at this time but it didn’t matter anymore; and man had to borrow some money to make the photocopy. It wasn’t easy on me both ways—pocket-wise and stomach-wise! But there was no time to lose to wishing anymore.
Oh my, it’s not easy on me! I said to myself many times, like complaining to who-knows. ‘But what will I do? I’ve got no option!’ I added, aloud, as if someone asked me in the first place! ‘The lecturer has started lectures with us and she’s taking everything from the material—but now I’ve lost mine!’ I said, explaining to nobody—no, to me, at least.
And soon that Wednesday rolled past, like every other yesterdays, to join bygone days of wishes and fancies. Soon that day went and another day of chances and opportunities, as always, followed.
Thursday sundown, then, I’d got a rehearsal of the performance of one of my poems working with Juba, a male friend, and a few other people. And sundown Thursday, I walked to the place of meeting.
Out of some funny coincidence, however, the venue happens to be her department—the young lady I had seen in class the previous day. But I never knew before. And now, my thoughts weren’t saddled with her any longer.
I got to the place and saw Juba, coincidentally again he was with the young lady. I shook hands with Juba and merely waved at the lady. I thought, After all, she doesn’t know I liked her. Too bad that I couldn’t get to meet her so well.
Next was that I noticed a copy of my poem, the one for the performance, in her hand. My eyes sparkled. I took some composure check.
‘Yeah, this is the person I told you wrote the poem.’ Juba announced, suddenly remembering he had promised her to introduce me.
‘Wow!’ was what parted her lips and she offered her hand. I delightedly shook hands with her. ‘Etisalat is my name,’ she said.
‘And I’m Kayode,’ I said with a smile.
‘So you are the Kayode Olla that wrote this poem?’
‘Yes.’ The smile on my face still remained.
‘I’ve read the poem and I really like it; it’s lovely,’ she said.
‘Oh thank you, Etisalat. Thanks.’
‘Kayode, you lost one photocopy text material, didn’t you?’ she interjected.
I started forwards. ‘Yes, since last week—do you…?’
She interrupted me.
‘I have your material with me—I found it at the lecture theatre.’
‘You… found it! Wow!’ It was my turn to be amazed. ‘Oh, thank you, Etisalat,’ I said with a wide smile.
‘It has “Kayode Olla” written at one corner of the front leaf, doesn’t it?’
‘Yeah! Yeah, that’s it! Thank you.’
‘I’ve been looking for who the owner is to give him back, but when I saw this poem with the same, I was more curious to know you. I’ll give you the book the next class.’
‘Thank you, Etisalat,’ I said, shaking her hand, more warmly this time.
‘You’re welcome,’ she smiled.
‘And pleased to meet you,’ I said.
‘The pleasure is actually mine.’ Her reply lingered on like a low echo.
We became real friends.
Later that evening I pondered. Perhaps if I had just been a little more patient, I might not have needed to waste my money on photocopy. And it’s a borrowed money on top it!
But will I blame myself for that? (I queried as though I was the school teacher and the pupil at once.) I’ve waited for a week looking for the material, and lectures weren’t waiting either!’ I blurted. Maybe I just could help it only a little, though—maybe; just maybe.
But what if I’d suppressed shyness and walked up to Etisalat yesterday to meet her—maybe I wouldn’t have had to spend money on another photocopy.
‘Just maybe!’ I sighed. ‘I’ve learnt my lessons though. I guess we don’t always need big things to teach big lessons—trivial things sometimes can, I guess!’