By Osa Amadi
In last week’s episode, Emeka, the University bass guitarist, was invited by his friend Gbenga to come and play for his fellowship at Oduduwa Hall. This week, as Emeka goes to play there, Evelyn, the virgin on campus, sees him for the first time…read on.
On the Saturday morning, Evelyn sang as she got dressed in her room, ‘E’39, Moremi hall. She had just finished washing her clothes and was feeling happy that morning. Although she is naturally a peaceful girl, Evelyn did not always feel blissful as she was feeling today.
She took a neatly tailored navy blue skirt made of teasel and shrugged her curved slender hips into it. Evelyn was 26, a little above average in height with the complexion of a polished mahogany. She was slender, graceful, and one who made everyone who saw her agree that black was indeed beautiful.
She began to dress the massive strand of hair protruding from her forehead. Later, she put on a white, loose short-sleeved shirt rather meant for men. She liked to wear men’s short-sleeved shirt and they fitted her perfectly. Evelyn had the taste of an artiste, and of course she was a student of English and literary studies. She was brilliant, and in her final year.
Finally she took a pair of well shined Italian brown sandals and eased her feet into them.
The small transistor radio on her bed began to play Tears Are Not Enough. Evelyn paused. She listened to the song for some time, then walked down to the bed and switched off the radio.
“Hee! Why now?” her roommate who had been enjoying the music protested.
Evelyn ignored her. That song always brings sad memories to her. The first time she heard it was five years ago when her father had died trying to save the life of another person.
She remembered now, that night when her father, a surgeon, had been called on the telephone in their house for an emergency case at the hospital. Few minutes after he had driven out, another doctor had come and told them that their father was dead. A trailer that lost control had crushed his car.
That was how her father died, leaving her, her elder brother, Phil, an engineer, and her mother, a Guidance and Counselling lecturer at the University of Benin. Her family came from Delta state, but they lived in Lagos.
Evelyn recalled how her tall father used to carry her high on the Bar Beach, while Phil trotted alongside them. She loved her father more than she loved any other person in the world. The blow of his tragic death had devastated her more than any other person in the family. Evelyn too was her father’s favourite when he was alive.
She was already feeling sad. That song always did that to her each time he listened to it. Phil had played it continuously during and after his father’s burial. Determined now not to allow anything to spoil the beautiful day for her, she began to sing Jesus Is Here Right Now.
“You look more beautiful in that dress, Sister Evelyn. I haven’t seen you wearing that skirt before. Where are you going?” her roommate who had been lying on the bed asked her.
“Oh, a friend has invited me to a celebration in her fellowship at the Oduduwa hall and I’d like to invite you to come with me. I assure you, you are going to be blessed, Dupe.”
“I would have loved to, Sister Evelyn, but my boyfriend will be visiting me this morning.”
“Well, enjoy yourself, Dupe, Evelyn said without any trace of envy as she stepped out of the room. She knows the type of men her roommate befriends. They do not meet Evelyn’s taste. Although she secretly yearns for a man, she knows the type of man she is going to submit herself to. A lot of men, both in and outside the Lord, had approached her concerning things like friendship and marriage, but they did not meet her requirements.
Not that she has a laid down qualities of the man she is going to marry, but she knows for certain that the man must be tall, handsome and of course, intelligent. He must be neat also. Nothing disgusts Evelyn more than a person, especially a man, who is slovenly.
She remembered how often her mother had told her: “My dear Evelyn, let me tell you. It’s alright for you to make up your mind about the things you want in life. But when the time comes, you will discover that you can hardly get everything you had wished for.
“Your problem, my daughter,” her mother would continue, “is that you have so rigidly made up your mind about the type of man you are going to marry – handsome, intelligent, strong, and a giant like your father. Well, there may be nothing wrong with that, but let me tell you something. You might never meet someone with all those attributes. A man with all your father’s attributes might never even exist any longer.”
The first time her mother had said those words, she had realized she had unconsciously been setting standards for men based on her late father’s attributes. Thinking about it now she became certain that nothing less than those qualities in a man would satisfy her taste.
That part of her mother’s speech about there not existing any longer, the type of man she would like to marry, frightens her sometimes, especially when she remembers that even Phil her brother, although handsome, is not as tall and brilliant as her father. But she has faith that God understands her problem, and will attend to it, and in due time. She is in her mid-twenties, and a woman ought to get settled around that age.
She passed through the white house and came to the road that runs across to the African Studies Building. She crossed over to the other side of the road, walking down to the Odudwa Hall.
The entrance by that side of the hall is fenced off with barbed wires, so she walked down to the other entrance facing the Students’ Union Building (SUB).
When she was about ten meters to the entrance, a man in blue jeans jacket and trousers swaggered across the road between the SUB and Oduduwa Hall, going into the hall premises.
Evelyn entered, following closely behind the man. The SUB and Oduduwa Hall junction is always busy especially that Saturday morning. People darted across the SUB into the Oduduwa Hall and from the Oduduwa into the SUB, amidst motorists and motorcyclists.
Suddenly the man turned and began to walk towards Evelyn. Someone in a passing car had called out to him and pulled up by the roadside. As he swept past Evelyn she drew to one side of driveway, slightly shuddering.
The man is so tall. Evelyn turned round her eyes trying to take a second look and almost collided with an elderly woman. The woman caught her arms.
“Oh, sorry,” Evelyn whispered nervously to the woman and hurried into the Oduduwa Hall.
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