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Life is all a stage of events; and when we get lost in the moment, the past becomes a mirror.

My journey of love began some years ago, when marriage seemed to be a fairy tale to me. It all started few years before I weaned myself from teenhood to adulthood. And it was a moment when curiosity and ambition clouded my thoughts.

Traders were hastening out of the nearby market. The stereo of the nearby barber was blaring in the air, as loaded vehicles were humming out of the popular local market. Dog-tired, I sneaked out of the abandoned classroom where I was hiding. My skirt had been stained by the dust and cobwebs in the poor classroom. Bam! I hit the skirt. The stain could hardly withstand my palms although I could see a little effect. Nothing could stop me from my adventure. Even, falling into a barrel of oil could not hinder me from forging ahead.

The last three hours had seen me in a brainstorm about my endeavour until I found myself at the back of the school block. At that bizarre spot, Mike was awaiting me. The brick wall behind us, with various sizes of holes and inscriptions, was a hideaway from the two security guards who often loitered around the school premises. The rusted corrugated roof and the surrounding weed were unwelcoming. Besides, the wall looked more like the leftover of the historic World War II. At a sight, the bizarre scene could hint a stranger about the struggle of both the brains and outcasts who were caged or expelled by the school authority.

Now, I could feel the moisture on my palms. It was not a rainy day, though. But, it was the earliest moment of my relationship with Mike – as the relationship was just two weeks old. Also, it was our first interaction since Mike expressed his interest in me.

During the long break, Mike had signalled me with gestures indicating he would like to meet me behind the wall. Then I lingered back in an abandoned classroom after we were dismissed for the day. In my hideout, I had been peeping like a lizard until the school was quiet. Now, our classmates had all left for their respective homes – except for Mike’s closest friend, Collins.

How would relationship be like for a first-timer like me? My anticipation was less because I was so anxious about how to express and comport myself before Mike. In fact, my knowledge about a popular film featuring two lovebirds, Yemi and his lover – who were fond of each other, kept replaying in my mind. Still, the reality in view left no hint of what the film portrayed about outspokenness, fondness and self-confidence.

However, I could not underrate my pretty round face and good look, which I could flaunt. My shiny white teeth and good breath were also admirable.

Behind me, the wide area of land enveloping Community High School boasted a number of hectares comprising classrooms, offices, farms and a large sports field. This was a school where many girls often boasted their growth and beauty, and there, I had to struggle for relevance. In fact, every girl in my school loved to personify femininity, but my chest was as flat as a pancake.

It was clear to me that Mike and I were of different making; unlike me, he was so courageous and seemed to exhibit a natural ability to command authority. He was the extrovert – the boy of all girls, so I was not the only girl in his web. For this reason, his interest in me had inflated my self-worth. Not only was Mike a people person, his stature and handsomeness also contributed to why every girl raced for him.

Now I stood before him like a mouse in the presence of a lion. My eyes flickering, I could not muster the courage to lock eyes with him. My self-esteem was flawed because standing before Mike could only allow me dwell on yes and no. Perhaps, if we were in the same department, my trembling heart would have eased me of fear and fuelled our interaction to making it more conversational. He was obsessed with talking while I was a mere rapt listener. Even making eye contact with him throughout the conversation was too much a burden to bear. In the heat of the moment – alas – he made an unprecedented move that changed the distance between us. His hands stretched forth and landed on my shoulders. It was my freezing point as an indescribable, internal cold surged over me. With so much fondness and warmth, his eyes almost letting out tears of affection, he looked into my eyes and whispered softly, “I love you.”

Short of words and struggling with my two heavy lips, I let out a smile as I lowered my head. My heart was about to explode, as if it was an atomic bomb. Then, Mike’s left hand clasp to my shoulder. His stare was unwavering. Without qualm, his right hand took a firm grip of my waist. He was holding me tight as his intense stare jailed me without a waiver. The stare lasted into eternity like a scientist examining a microscopic organism. My confidence flawed as his stare penetrated my heart. Although I could not deny falling in love with him, his stare was beyond what I could handle.

“Shall we?” he whispered in a faint tone.

I was not even certain of what to say. All I wanted was magic so I could land in thin air.

All of a sudden, his hands raised my mouth and his soft lips overwhelmed mine. The emotional rhythm lasted until I found my dull eyes open and travelling away from his face. Stretching out his hand, he prevented me from turning back as he leaned forward for a second round. I was overpowered and my heart began to palpitate. There was a grin of satisfaction on his face while my heart was racing beyond normal. More self-conscious, I turned around to find out if Collins was in sight, but all I could see was the blue sky, the colour of love.

The physical contact was a strange event in my life because it was conceivable that such only happened to me when I was an innocent baby. Just in time, an untamed smile unfolded from my face. My eyeballs flickered as they were mastering how to relate with Mike’s.

At that moment, Mike offered me his arms and patted the small of my back. Whew! That was how he broke the barrier between us, and from that time, I summoned the courage to be with him.

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