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CHAPTER 3: THE STING OF REJECTION

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It was the same ritual the next day, and I found myself on the parade group with other Corps Members by 4 am, thinking about my life and wondering who I might have offended to find myself awake by this time. On the parade ground, we lined up according to platoon, just like we used to line up by class during assembly in secondary school. I was such a restless soul, I would shift the weight of my body from one leg to the other, and if I was at the back, if I got too restless I would go to the middle of the line and perch there, either to listen to gist or banter with someone I’d only just met. If it got too quiet or my legs were itching, I’d move to the front of the line to see what was happening there. I’d made my rounds from the back of the line to the middle, and was about to move to the front when someone tapped me lightly on the shoulder. I turned and my heart leaped for joy. It was Nife!

Like Michael Jackon, I did the moonwalk and slid behind her, her big ukwu (translation: ass) brushing my groin softly. Suddenly, the morning drills were not so monotonous and torturous anymore, as I was on top of my game, the jokes spilling non-stop. I had her laughing and tapping my shoulders as I unleashed the funny side of me. When it was time to do the exercises, in which we mimic the moves of the soldier addressing the assembly, I participated with rapt attention, like I was preparing for the Olympics. Then the soldier started to jump. I wanted to start jumping too, but then I saw Nife jumping in front of me, and my brain short-circuited. Everything was jiggling in various directions (boobs, ass & various condiments) and it took the sheer force of will to concentrate. Then we started what could pass as an endurance walk. We gisted as we walked, and one thing I liked about Nife was that she was so fit. She was also representing our platoon in the volleyball competition. She asked how I was enjoying camp and I opened the book of lamentations for her. I told her how I almost died on the first day of resumption, how my legs almost gave out, and how I wished I could fast-forward till the end of camp. I asked how her first day was for her and she said it was fine, that she enjoyed it. I looked at her with shock in my eyes.

“So you didn’t feel any pain? Your legs weren’t shaking or anything?”

“No, it was pretty normal to me.”

“Wow, you’re really strong. Are you sure you don’t pound yam for a living?”

She laughed and tapped me playfully on my shoulder and I felt like I was in heaven. I wished she would never stop touching me.

In my mind, I was like, ‘Touch me, baby… Finish me! Destroy my destiny!’

Our trek soon broke into a jog, and the soldiers began to sing a couple of really funny songs which we all grabbed pretty quickly.

“SHOE. GET. SIZE! OKRIKA GET QUALITY!!!”

“IF CORPER MARRY CORPER DEM GO BORN
MUMU!”

And this call-and-response song which is actually my favorite:

“OYA HOL’ SOMETHING!! HOL’ SOMETHING!! HOL’ SOMETHING!! HOL’ SOMETHING!!”

As shouts of “Hold Something!” rented the air, some unruly Corps Members actually grabbed the buttocks of the females in front of them. After all, the instruction was to hold something, and obedience they say is better than sacrifice. Surprisingly, the female Corps Members didn’t complain. They also seemed to be having fun. I looked at Nife’s ripe, succulent ass in front of me but I couldn’t bring myself to grab it. Not just yet.

In the afternoon of that day, I found myself at the place where they charge phones. I’d come to pick up mine. I usually felt sick whenever I was not with my phone. The phone was about 98% charged but I was determined to wait there until the battery was full to get my money’s worth. As I sat there, my mind drifted off as it usually does. I was thinking about everything and nothing, I was there but I wasn’t there. All of a sudden the sound of fingers snapping in front of my face dragged me back to reality. I looked up, and it was Nife looking at me with an amused expression on her face.

“Why is it that anytime I see you, you are always looking lost and confused?” She asked me.

Um… Maybe it was because I had zero friends, was bored most of the time and had been hating my stay in camp so far?

“It’s because of you, I’m always wondering where you are. You’re like a ghost. It’s like you hardly come out of your hostel?”

“Maybe. If it’s not about morning drills or afternoon drills I usually just stay in the hostel.”

“What of in the evenings? Would you like to hang out? Maybe at Mami market or wherever. That could be fun,” I asked. My heart was beating terribly on the inside while I maintained a cool expression on the outside. For some reason, I really really really really really really really really really really really really really really liked her.

“Sure, no problem.”

“Great!” I said excitedly as I unplugged my phone, mindless of whether or not it was full enough. Who cared about such trivial things in the presence of this regal queen?

“Can I have your number before I forget? Because I seem to always forget,” I asked with humility that would shock my closest friends. The power of a woman.

She gave me her number and I got the heck out of dodge, walking away as coolly and as casually as I could in case she was staring after me, but in my mind, I was shrieking like a secondary school girl! Tonight was gonna be the bomb, and I wasn’t talking about Osama.

I finally had her number!

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