At seventeen, I’d had my share of crushes, especially in Aba. Boys from school would not let me rest. Of course, you know the kind of boys I had come across. All our lives, we attended public schools because it was all the church could afford for us.
Men in church too made passes at me. They were blatant, and open. They professed love, and didn’t care much I was the pastor’s daughter. Also, if Pastor Kentoroabasi cared about this, he didn’t let it show. Mum spoke in general terms all the time, and from her I built my resolve.
However, with Juwon in the plush office of the Senior Pastor of Revive the World, it was different. This wasn’t some local boy in a government school where students had to bring their own chairs and tables if they wanted to sit in class. His teachers marked his scripts, unlike we whose teachers gave other students to mark, while they went marketing some stuff.
In Aba, all my teachers were into business, and could you blame them? Sometimes months passed without salary, and even the amount paid couldn’t support most of their families.
Well, we had done a few hours of strict computer lessons, until during the lunch break. A lady had come in to take our orders and asked if we wanted to be served in the office. We chose to stay and be served in the office.
We worked till our food appeared. Both of us had ordered fried rice and chicken. The food tasted better than any I’d ever eaten, and Juwon proceeded to talk about his school, and we made small talk.
When lunch was over, he asked if I’d like him to show me some of his favourite sites on the internet, and I obliged. He loved music and action movies. Before we both knew it, we were catching so much fun together.
I discovered YouTube, which I’d never heard of before, and all the other social media sites.
We started searching out movies, and finally found one we both could watch. We laughed and chatted about the movie, agreed and disagreed. My head felt light, and I was excited.
It all drained when Juwon touched a finger to my cheek. I flinched. He withdrew as nervously too.
“I’m sorry,” he mumbled. “You’re just so beautiful.”
Heat covered my face to my neck, and in all sincerity, I felt flattered. You could take a girl out of the village, but you couldn’t take the village out of the girl. I couldn’t see me with this young, handsome man. Couldn’t imagine he would think I was anything near pretty.
Never crossed my mind my status as Senior Pastor’s daughter factored in at the time.
I blinked. “Thank you.”
He heaved a heavy sigh. “I only wished things were a bit different.” He chuckled. “I will just take you from here and marry you.”
Did he know his words flattered me more than anything in the world? He was the most handsome guy I’d ever seen, and he was young too, and a graduate of an expensive university.
I could see my friends back in Aba pushing me forward to go and see him, while they giggled foolishly at a corner.
“Marry? My father will kill me.”
“I know. That’s why I said I wish things are different.” He bit his lower lip. “Have you turned sixteen?”
“I’m seventeen,” I said eagerly.
He moaned. “Still too young.”
Later when I reminisced, it wasn’t about whether I would remotely accept his advances, we were both bothered about my age!
He cupped my face. “I really really like you. And you’re all I’ve been thinking about since that first day I saw you with the family.”
I gasped. “Since that day? It was too dark to see well.”
He smiled. “I saw well and I saw you.” He lowered his voice. “I want you to be my girlfriend.”
It made me uncomfortable the way he touched my face. I stood. “Dad will never allow me to have a boyfriend. You know that.”
“He doesn’t have to know.”
I glanced at him, my mouth dropped open. Of course though, it was a great idea.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/ready-vicar-church-religion-faith-1153149/