After a week, I and Frank returned home from school to a silent but furious argument between Eric and Ken. As we made for the door, I heard Eric questioning Ken’s behaviors during his ordeal with Joy. So I blocked Frank from entering the house and we both stalled at the door eavesdropping as both of them prosecute and defend themselves.
“You should have listened to me.” Ken’s voice came; it was mild and apologetic. “But wait, is this small predicament of yours why you changed your name from Paul you Eric? I hear Thony call you that these days.”
“No! But you will get to know sooner.” Eric said.
Frank glanced at me. With the look on his face, I could tell he was as confused as Ken over the name change. Eric didn’t make it official, a fine doctor said his name was Eric at the hospital and he just told me that would be his name henceforth. I thought he was joking, but when he didn’t answer to Paul for days, I knew he was serious. I shrugged at Frank, he scoffed, we rushed in only to see them smiling, Eric holding the back of his head. I and Frank exchanged a suspicious glance and settled down. The problem was over and we were back to our normal relationship again.
At dinner that night we took time to talk about thinking that we have not talked about the past few days. Eric revealed to us that Joy has gone to her village to take the native medicines she had rejected and that he had broken up with all his girls. He affirmed he wanted to celibate for sometime in order to find his way back.
“Are you kidding?” I yelled. I couldn’t hold my shock. Eric must have struggled hard to take that decision if at all he was actually going to live by it. “You mean you don’t want to…”
“What?” He interjected. “You have been doing it. If you can, why can’t i?”
“So you want to claim back your virginity?” Frank teased.
“If that is what it means.” Eric replied. “Common guys! Look at Thony. At his age he is still a virgin. Forget we tease and mock him at time, I really envy him.”
I melted like a sugar cube dropped into a hot cup of tea. Someone was looking up to me, someone was making me his role model when all I could think about was how messed up my life was. I remember telling them I was still a virgin and by my actions they didn’t find it hard to believe. But deep inside me, I know it was a lie, a lie that I will live and die with. How do I even start if at all I wanted to tell them the truth? There was just no way I am telling them about my past with Ahmed.
“Seems virginity is the trending thing now.” Ken said “Maybe we all should join the…”
“Who is the virgin here please?” Frank shouted. “Thony is in a relationship with the hottest chick on campus and you say he is a virgin? Okay, maybe he was but not anymore. I am sure he must have lost it these few weeks.”
“Not that fast!” Eric countered. “Something he had kept for that long? He couldn’t have just thrown it all away so easily.”
“Virgins boys are virgin because they don’t have the moral of finding girls. Thony has found one so what else?” He objected.
I sat there like in a trance listening to them argue about my life and all I could do was smirk like a foolish man whose wife kissed her lover in front of him. They have gotten the wrong message but I was enjoying the respect my virginity was bringing to me; the virginity that had earned me an early morning and late night insults since I got to know them. Slowly my smirk broadened into a smile.
“I am still a virgin.” I said and halted the locomotive state of their mouth. “I and Amanda have not been in the best state since our last date. It has just been calls which she is always in a hurry to terminate. In fact I have not even told her how I feel. So guess I am still single.” I paused.
They all looked at me like I am so kind of alien who missed its ship back to its planet.
“What?” I shouted, jolting them out of their shock spree. “Are you guys saying is not even possible to date without sex?”
“Wait Thony!” Frank finally opened up. “You mean you let that girl slip? Just like that? God! You are so impossible!”
“I don’t think he is.” Eric came to my defense. “I think Amanda is not the right person for him. Look at her, the hottest chick on campus, rich and wild. Thony is way out of her league. Maybe she was initially drawn by his cuteness.”
“Cute?” Ken retorted. “I humbly disagree.”
We all burst into laughter. Truth be told, I was good looking, tall with beards and the kind of skin you could swear was switched with a day old baby, aside the hairs which curled up my legs, hands and chest to show how old I am.
“He is very cute really. At time I wish he was a girl.” Eric said again.
While that got them into another laughing section, it got me thinking. Why did he all of a sudden start admiring my handsomeness? We have been in the same house for years and never for once has he looked at me twice, why then was he praising my cuteness? So many questions flooded my mind. I got scared thinking Ahmed might have talked to him about my past and he is trying to find out if it was true. But I mopped my mind of all doubt and questions with the hope that it not what I thought. The dinner ended and we all retired to our different rooms. Before I and Frank finally slept off, he took all his energy in insulting me and telling me how bad and sluggish I was to have let Amada slip. He even asked for her number but I declined and immediately changed her name on my phone.
The next morning I had rushed off to school because of my morning lectures. The lecture unfortunately was cancelled so instead of going home I decide to hang around and wait for the next one which will not be starting until four hours. I thought of checking on Ahmed but my mind solidly kicked against it. So I headed towards the canteen. I sat at a table in the corner and quickly brought out my phone and started chatting with Frank who asked that I come home and eat. Our chat was awesomely interrupted when a female voice asked me if she could sit with me.
“Sure.” I replied with my head buried in my phone. I was about sending a message to Frank when my senses came to a sudden realization that the voice was familiar. I squinted at the figure and it was Amanda. She stood there staring at me with much confusion and wonderment. I was shocked, embarrassed and confused on what next to do. I quickly jumped up and stretched out my hand for a shake. She looked at my hand and then at my face emotionlessly. I got really confused as her lack of emotion made it hard for me to know what was on her mind. I withdrew my hand slowly in shame and scaled the canteen to see eyes watching.
“Sit. What would you like to eat?” I stuttered.
“I don’t eat here.” She proudly said. Her nose rose like she just perceived a dead rat. She looked around in disgust.
“Oh!” I humbly exclaimed. My eyes went behind her shoulders and I saw her friends scowling at me like I have done something bad. They never liked me but what they didn’t know was that the feeling was mutual.
“Okay. So how are you?” I asked, looking into her eyes. Immediately I saw Ahmed enter the canteen and before I could hide my face from him he had seen me and head straight to our table.
“I am fine Thony. I saw you coming in here and I thought I should…”
“Wow!” Ahmed annoyingly interrupted. “Is she the girl of your heart? They one you told me that holds the key to your being? She is gorgeous Thony. She is a beauty to behold.” I gaped as I glanced between him and Amanda and the people in the canteen.
….the story continues…
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