|this is a story of skipped heartbeats|
Chinyereugo was a beauty. She was intelligent too. That rare combination people call beauty and brain. She was my classmate at Ozara-Akukwa Technical School (OTS), Umuchu – a village secondary school that liked to compete with schools in town. OTS never missed any state secondary school competition; even though it hardly won any. But this story isn’t about OTS, it is about Chinyereugo, the village belle, who won my heart and all the awards in OTS.
I started junior secondary in this school, OTS located in a neighbouring village, Umuchu. Mine was a border community in Imo State sharing boundaries with Uga and Umuchu, towns that were in a different state in Nigeria called Anambra state. I chose OTS for two reasons.
First, it was the government secondary school closest to me. Second, it had higher reputation than the school I was posted to, following my common entrance exams.
Chinyereugo was also from my village, a fact that always gave those of us from Akokwa bragging rights in OTS when other students from Umuchu came after us! I do not know why she chose OTS, I’m sure she must have been offered a good school in Imo state. But again, this story is about Chinyereugo, not about schools.
When we started JS 1 in OTS; I was in class E, Chinyereugo was in class A. However, it didn’t take long for her reputation to spread all the way to class E and beyond. The teachers loved her, the seniors adored her and even the community took note of her. She was a celebrity, one couldn’t but notice her. She was always neat, and walked purposefully and elegantly.
During recess at school, one would often notice a band of girls who follow her like maids, attending to her. She was the leader of the largest and tightest girls’ click in OTS. I wouldn’t be surprised if those girls wrote applications, and got interviewed before joining her click. In a sense, Chinyereugo was a goddess! I didn’t quite notice this then, I’m just realizing it as I pen down this story – this click of friends were always like a frame around the beauty that was Chinyereugo!
I don’t know about when she’s going to school, but while she’s returning home from school, almost always, you would find a group of boys walking behind her click, admiring her from behind, making jeers at one another in hope that she might overhear them and giggle. They never overtook her in that tortuous narrow path that led from our school in Umuchu to our hometown, Akokwa. Let me guess the reasons because, I admit, I was often among this group of boys.
....to be continued