PREPARATION FOR DINNER
Patricia had anticipated the week of the dinner so much that she tried her dress almost every night before going to bed, she would where her shoes and look in the mirror. She got herself so worked up that she thought the only thing that could prevent her from attending the dinner was if the world were to end, she couldn’t wait to show off her dress and her makeover. She had written a note and dropped it at Jimi’s seat as usual. The note had read “See you at the school’s dinner, love…”, Patricia was enjoying every single anonymous behavior towards Jimi. He had read the note in class and his dimples immediately gave him away. Jimi of course was clueless.
The weekdays passed by slowly, every student anticipating and getting restless, acting very careful not to get into any trouble in school or anywhere. Nobody was planning on getting grounded that week, at home they all did their chores on time and threaded careful around their parents. Patricia went to bed every time and only thought about her dress. Every night the chill came, she woke up at the same time interval wondering who else was in her room, she had dragged herself up few times to turn on the light and look around, look out her room should incase someone was up but everything was always still and well. She would walk sleepily back to bed and fall asleep again.
Thursday came and the excitement at homes and in schools kept increasing, late shoppers were rushing around trying to cheat time to buy the things needed. Salons were being booked by girls and their parents to get their hair done. Apart from the dinner anxiety, all school activities were still the same. Patricia sat in class that Thursday morning listening to her French teacher, she took down her usual clueless notes and paid attention. She jerked with shock when she felt something cold touch her face. She had flung the pen she was holding and pushed her chair backwards trying to escape something. Everyone turned to look at her wondering what went wrong with her, she was only speechless when her teacher asked her in French if she was okay, she nodded and gave a weak smile. Everyone soon lost interest in her and went back to learning except Jimi who kept on staring at her until she caught him. After class Patricia sat in her class wondering what had happened earlier. She was sure that she hadn’t imagined it, it was like someone threw a bucket of ice on her face. She had been startled but had tried to calm herself, she thought how she might had screamed right there in class with everyone thinking she needed some medical attention. She thought about the concerned look Jimi had given her, how she caught him staring at her, “Now he would think I’m not so cool, some chicken too” she had scolded herself. She knew her classmates would talk about her jumpy behavior through out that day, the gist might even get to other classes. She hoped no one would tease her over it anyway. She decided to clear her desk and head to the cafeteria. Packing her books a familiar looking note fell on the floor. She cocked her head to the sides wandering what it was and decided to ignore it. On her way out of the class she decided to check the note, she walked back to her seat and picked up the note from the floor. She opened it and it read “See you at schools dinner, love…”. Maybe she might had smiled or laughed at herself on normal days when she hadn’t had any weird encounter she could understand but at that instance she put the note in her pocket, she knew she hadn’t left her seat since the class ended, she was very sure of that and no one must had had the time to put a note among the pile of book she had on her desk, she started getting nervous. “Maybe Jimi now knew about me, oh gosh!” she thought to herself, she began to develop a funny shyness as she got closer to the cafeteria. “What if I’m not his type or he has a girlfriend already” she thought about all the what ‘ifs’ she could grasp her mind on. She finally stepped into the cafeteria feeling more nervous and strongly watched even though she couldn’t find anyone looking her way too long as she walked by. She pretended not to want to know where Jimi must had been seated.
She waved at some schoolmates who waved at her and also wanting her to join their table too, she declined apologetically and lied that she needed to get something done quietly. She didn’t want Jimi to finally want to talk to her about feelings in front of others. She joined a table seated by a quiet geek and took out her lunch set from her bag. She was about to start eating when a shadow stood over her table, her heart skipped once and she could feel that choking feeling you get when your nervousness gets to a different level, she looked up prepared to expect whatever and there he was standing and smiling at her. She sighed and relaxed when she saw that it was Alex instead, “How’s my date doing today? You look pretty today” he said to her, she gave him a weak smile and added a little giggle without saying a word, “I heard you had some kind of a scare earlier today, I hope you okay?” he asked her. “I’m alright, I only saw a spider, that’s all” she told him, this was her so called date whom hadn’t spoken to her since the last time he did at the cafeteria, the first and last greeting card he had left on her desk was the last time he communicated with her, she watched him as he checked his shoes as usual and was already moving to leave, she wished she could exchange dates with Jimi, the two couples would had been too perfect for each other. “Okay then, guess I’d be seeing you later, got to go eat my lunch” he said as he was making to leave. Something told her to ask him about the note she had seen earlier and she did. “Alex, did you by ay chance drop any note on my desk earlier?” she asked him. “Nope, not at all” she heard him say as he headed elsewhere. “Pathetic boy, so rude” she said more to herself and rolled her eyes as he walked away. She thought about the note and got tempted to bring it out and read it again, to try to see if there was any difference to the one she had written in the morning but she dared not, she didn’t want to get caught with it or looking at it. She stared at her food as she tried to remember the cold feeling she had felt on her face earlier and still couldn’t figure out anything. The shadow over a table came back again, she sighed and thought ‘Alex actually wrote the note?’ and she looked up. Jimi stood staring at her thoughtfully and she must had blushed because her face became really hot, she could only smile. “Hi, I’ve been wondering if you came to cafeteria at all” he said to her. ‘This must be it’ she thought to herself. “Yes, uhm! I’m here now” she answered him unintelligently, “What’s going on?” she added quickly. He shrugged as he spoke “Nothing, was just wondering what happened to you today, you almost jumped out of your skin, if there was no one behind you you might had fallen over” he said. “Oh no, I’m fine, it was just a stupid spider and I hate those things” she said nervously trying to sound convincing. He asked her if she was sure of that and if everything was okay with her before he became speechless and only stared at her. She told him she was fine and looked at him wondering and waiting for him to tell her about the note. He stopped staring and looked away, he gave her his sweet dimpled smile and got ready to leave. She had expected him to take a seat by or opposite her and talk to her about the note, whether to tell her he was crushing on her too or to let her down easy but he only turned to leave. “Uhm Jim, did you…” she said as her voice trailed off. He had stopped and returned his attention to her waiting to be asked what was on her mind. She contemplated on asking him and decided to at last. “I found a note among my books, did you drop anyone on my desk?” she finally asked him and almost kicked herself. “No I didn’t, never did, but I want to talk to you…” he replied her “one of these days” he quickly added. She nodded slowly and was disappointed when he added his last words “one of these days”. She watched him smile his sweet smile again and made to shake her hand before he left. ‘Interesting’ she thought and raised her hand to shake his. His hands were sweaty and cold, extremely cold like he had been washing his hands in icy cold water. She tried to withdraw her hand quickly but he had already left hers. His handsome face smiled and he walked away. She looked at her hand and lost her appetite. ‘So weird’ she thought, she knew it was common for boys to have sweaty hands around girls especially around the girls they liked but the icy cold feel was really weird, she packed up her food and decided to head back to class. On her way back to class she had a very strong urge to turn back as she felt being watched, she jerked around in the hall but saw no one and kept walking even thought the weird eyed one stood by a wall staring intensely at her… unseen.
Patricia didn’t think she had had a good day at all, the incident of that day still bothered her, the note was part of it too. Jimi might had been lying about returning the note but that seemed unlikely of him to play such tricks, he had this matured thing going on with him, maybe he suspected she was the one crushing on him and decided to give it back to see her reaction, maybe someone else borrowed it to communicate with her but who? Certainly not Alex, Alex was very much straight forward. The writing on the note was definitely hers, she walked home slowly in her thoughts. She adjusted her backpack as she entered her street and shivered, she felt a chilly feeling to her left arm and rubbed quickly, she sighed wondering where the cold breeze must had come from and increased her pace to get home quickly. The weird eyed one walked by her side-by-side looking at her occasionally, increasing paces as she did. He was left outside as she unlocked the front door of her house, stepped into her home and shut the door shortly. She stepped into the empty house wondering where her brothers had gone, “I thought they had holidays for the week” she thought to herself and dropped her bag on her way to the kitchen. She was famished enough not to even wait to take off her uniform before eating, she found some food in the fridge and transferred it into the microwave to warm up. Before her food could heat up the house-phone began to ring. She grunted impatiently and went for it, “Hello, hello? Who?” she said to the receiver “Its Deji, has mummy called?” her brother asked her over the phone. She rolled her eyes and answered, “No, she hasn’t, I just got home, where are you guys?”. “I and Wale just went out to get something, don’t tell mum we went out, just tell her we just took a walk as you got home, okay? Deji said to her restlessly. “We’d be back very soon, we’d get something for you, chocolates?” he added quickly. Patricia smiled as soon as she heard about the chocolates, “Sure, I’d try, but you have to get home on time before mum does, don’t want any trouble” she said. Deji okayed her and hung-up. She rushed back to the microwave and got her meal out, took a spoon out and rushed at it, she hadn’t eaten anything other than breakfast all day and was sure the lunch she had in her bag would had gone bad. After she was done eating she drank some water and relaxed on the dining chair looking at her stomach, she touched it and giggled at herself. “Hungry something” she said to herself. She got up and headed to where she had dropped her schoolbag. A knock came on the door. She stopped surprised that people still knocked first instead of using the doorbell. She thought she might ignore should incase she didn’t hear right and walked towards picking up her bag, she picked it up and the knock came again, she yawned and took the bag up from the floor and went to get the door, “Who is it, she said as she began opening the door then changed her mind to use the peephole, she saw nothing. She strained her eyes into the corners of the peephole to see farther enough but nothing showed. She gave up and decided to head upstairs. A knock came again and she stopped in her tracks and checked the peephole again but still she saw nothing, if one of her brothers was pranking her then she might just snitch to their mum about them leaving the house even though she hadn’t been home yet, “Who is it?” she said aloud with irritation. She got no answer, she stepped back to look at the door in annoyance then the knock came again, she used the peephole one more time and when she saw no one she yanked the door open in aggression. “Who…” she said and the remaining words hung in the air as she saw the boy standing in front of her, handsome and almost beautiful. He was slim and five inches taller than her, his skin looked pale and his eyes were very blue, “Weird, a Nigerian with pale dark skin, and the eyes?” she thought within herself. He also bore a good resemblance to Jimi in her class like he was his twin brother except that he was more handsome, “Is Jimi a twin?” she thought to herself. He moved closer to her and the air around him went cold. He smiled and his teeth sparkled white, “Who are you, how did you find me?” Patricia thought and was in shock. She couldn’t say nor do anything. “Hi” he said without moving his mouth, he raised his brows waiting for a response. She still stared and couldn’t move, she didn’t like how she felt and wanted to get away from his presence, “What…” she tried to speak but couldn’t finish the sentence, “I would like to talk to you, please let me in” he said to her mind and stared into her eyes, he moved closer to her trying to hold their eye contact as she cringed away, he made to touch her but something seemed to hold him back as he withdrew his hand, she still felt an icy touch on her shoulder and still couldn’t speak and was trying to snatch her eyes away, “Would you please let me in?” he asked her again, “Talk to me please, May I come in?” he added sounding more stern. He watched her as she shook her head slowly and still said nothing, her lips were numb but her mind said so much, fighting the urge to allow him into her home. He still stood there facing her with a warning look, “You wrote our names on my tree” he said to her again. “Our tree” he corrected himself and still held her eyes in his. “We are one, you said forever, you said you loved me, I am Jimi and I’m yours as you’re mine too, I have to come in and stay with you or you have to accept me and come with me” he said into her mind as his smile faded into a straight face. She still shook her head slowly trying to refuse him and was getting more confused as each seconds passed. She felt really cold but couldn’t shiver or even rub her hands, she couldn’t move more than a statute could. She just stared back at him struggling with the battle that was going on in her mind. He stared back at her with tears and anger starting to come to his eyes as he started to fade away until she saw him no more, right in front of her Deji stood with a puzzled look. He waved his hands in front of her to be sure she could see him. Patricia blinked and sighed, she started shaking and threw up on Deji’s shoes before he could hold her as Wale got out of their car and hurried to them. The house phone had begun to ring within the house.