Riding the bus to school reminded me of why I never enjoyed boarding the bus to school, uncomfortable seats, people pressing themselves against me, and the bus frequently stopping to pick and alight passengers as we travelled along the route to school. I didn’t enjoy the experience, but what choice did I have? I did enjoy one thing on that particular ride to school, the radio was on.
The morning show that morning really caught my attention, I was so attentive and listening that I paid less attention to how uncomfortable the bus ride was. The radio show host and his co-host were talking about Valentine’s Day which was coming up in a couple of days time. The host asked what Valentine’s Day was and its significance. His co-host replied with an interesting answer which quickly aroused my interest. He said something like, “It’s a day to show our love to our loved ones, those special and very dear to us, we give them gifts and show them we love and care for them. Chocolates and flowers are usually given to these people as a token of our affection and love for them”
This made so much sense to me that I was really glad I took the bus ride to school that day. I eventually got to school, was caned for arriving late and almost missed my math test, but I didn’t care. That radio show made my morning so much so that nothing else mattered to me other than the thoughts of Valentine’s Day.
There was this girl in class six (6), she was regarded as the most beautiful girl in the primary school. I’ve been crushing on this girl for as long as I can remember. The way she smiled, the way her pony tail flared in the sunlight when playing “ampe” with her friends, and how clean and pressed her school uniform was each morning was all I needed to fall in love with this cherry blossom.
I was in class five (5), so I never got the chance to really tell her how I felt about her, all I did was to admire her from a distance. I began thinking, if I really like this girl, then I should make a move on her. I got an idea. I only had a couple of days to the 14th of February to shoot my shot, so I started ‘doing susu’, saving up to make a grand gesture. But I was no fool, I wanted to make sure the feeling was mutual, before I did anything.
I wrote a note on a piece of paper. I was looking for the right time to give it to her, but that proved difficult because she was always with her friends. I saw her during English lessons heading towards the washroom, and I quickly asked my English teacher if I may be excused to use the washroom. I briskly followed closely behind her, but she got to the Ladies’ before I could call out her name, so I waited for her outside.
She was a bit startled to see me, I realized she wasn’t expecting to see anyone right at the entrance of the Ladies’ washroom, especially a boy. I smiled and apologized for scaring her like that, I told her I was waiting to give her something, told her my name, but she said she already knew that, then I gave her the note and told her to give me a reply after class hours. She was dumb founded, she was stunned at what was written on the piece of paper and at the confidence with which I spoke.
I left without turning back to see what she was doing. I left like a boss.
It was soon closing time and she chased me on my way home to give me this.
That was all the morale and motivation I needed. I still had about three days until the 14th, I trekked to school and starved myself so that I could get enough money to buy Ewurabena some nice things. My friends noticed I haven’t been eating in school these couple of days, they asked me why and I simply told them I was fasting.
On the eve of Valentine’s Day, I chased her on her way home from school and told her to meet me at the school cafeteria alone after snack time tomorrow. She winked in agreement and went away.
14th February, 2002.
It was a lovely Thursday morning, I was in a good mood, love was in the air. I washed my school uniform the previous night and pressed it the following morning. I wore my red sneakers and socks and a wine leather belt, I was really dressed to impress. I went to my father’s room and sprayed myself with his perfume. I smelled fantastic!
The previous afternoon after school, I went to town to buy a hamper for Ewurabena. I went to school with a full bag pack. My friends were impressed by my beaming appearance but they couldn’t tell why, my “bestie” (best friend) for one was shocked to see my school uniform so clean and ironed on a Thursday, a rare sight to behold.
Ewurabena was already waiting as agreed at the cafeteria alone, she was excited and curious. I approached her with a hamper in hand, and said “Happy Valentine love” as I handed it to her. She ‘aww’ed’ and thanked me.
The hamper had bars of chocolates, sweets, jelly beans, lollipops, cans of soya bean milk, a whole lot of goodies. It even had a beautiful rose flower with ‘I love you’ written on it. She was really excited, I could tell she wasn’t expecting it. To top it all, I wrote a beautiful love letter to her. I could see genuine happiness in her eyes. In order not to get into trouble, I told her to get back to class, and to meet me here after school since class was still in session.
The much anticipated closing bell finally rang.
I had a few homework to copy, so I did that quickly before heading to the cafeteria to meet Ewurabena. I walked into the hall only to see Ewurabena and some other guy eating my chocolate and drinking my milk. I couldn’t believe my eyes. So I moved closer to find out what was going on.
Ewuarabena saw me and said, “Cledre thanks so much for this morning, come I wanna introduce you to someone”, I foolishly moved along when she dragged me by the hand, “Cledre, this is Fred, Fred this is Cledre”, and I was like, “I know him, I see him around, you’re in JSS (Junior Secondary School) 1 right?”, he nodded, then she said, “Fred is my boyfriend, Fred, Dre here is my friend” the boy smiled at me and said, “sup?” at that moment I knew being arched with ten thousand poisonous arrows aimed at my heart won’t be as painful as this ordeal.
This was my first ever broken heart, it was terrible. I didn’t deserve this. I thought she liked me but I thought wrong. The walk of shame home was unbearable. I couldn’t tune out the voices of laughter in my head. I felt so lifeless. I couldn’t eat when I got home, my Mom wondered why, but I gave this flimsy excuse of not being hungry. I went straight to bed after doing my homework.
Getting up and readying myself up for school was one of the hardest things I had to do. I didn’t want to go to school and at the same time didn’t want to be alone at home so I decided to go to school, I figured the lively atmosphere might lighten up my mood.
I got to school just in time to hear the assembly bell ring. I went to my classroom to leave my bag pack and join my friends at assembly. We said the morning prayers, the anthem and pledge were sung and recited, then the Assistant Headmaster stepped forward to give announcements, I mean that was what I thought.
He started talking and talking and talking plenty till I was lost in thought as to what he was really saying. He had this angry tone to his speech, then I heard him call the school prefect to get him 2 canes.
He said, “Yesterday I found this love letter written by one foolish boy to my daughter Ewurabena, I can’t fathom the audacity and confidence that he had to write this stupidity. If you hear your name come out! Cledre! Cledre! Who is that foolish boy? Come out right now before I fish you out!”
Everyone turned to stare at me, my heart sunk to my “ass”. The Assistant Headmaster gave me my love letter and told me to read it out loud to the hearing of the entire school. I can’t imagine anything as sad, depressing and embarrassing as this. After reading the letter, the way he lashed me “ehh, charle shun”.