A good Friend of mine Solomon Adenuga wrote this and I totally fell in love with it, Enjoy…
Until the first day of my NYSC orientation camp, I had never believed in love at first sight. To be honest, I had never truly believed in the concept of love before that fateful morning.
After praying, fasting and basically begging God and my parents to help me get posted to Lagos, I had been shocked and disappointed when I found out i’d be serving in Abuja, a city where I had no family, no friends, no car and no accommodation. All the plans I had made to spend my service year in Lagos with my friends had fallen apart and there was nothing I could do about it, It was very upsetting.
I was still in a foul mood when i got to the NYSC camp in Kubwa that morning and a soldier asked me to carry my luggage on my head. He looked like he was joking but the horsewhip in his hand and the stern faces of his colleagues pointed otherwise. I decided to look around for clues and that was when I first caught a glimpse of her, the proverbial damsel in distress, struggling to balance a heavy bag on her head with one hand and carry her stuffed bucket with the other. It was a funny sight to behold, but there was something innocent and appealing about it, I had to see more.
I quickly placed my bag on my head, hurried to catch up with her and asked,
“Do you need any help with that?”
She smiled and replied, “don’t you have your own stuff to worry about”
Before I could utter my next words, another soldier had interrupted and asked us to “double up”our pace to join our respective queues. And so began what I expected to be the worst three weeks of my entire life. The early morning parades, exercises, mosquito bites and the massive queues at every point were unbearable and if wishes were horses, i’d definitely have rode one out of Camp Kubwa by the second day.
On the fifth day of camp, Cupid and the other gods-in a bid to get me to stay at Kubwa, let me see my beautiful damsel in distress again. I had just entered the “Lady A” eatery to eat its famous fried rice when I noticed her seated with her friends, having dinner. Even though I ached to speak to her, I wasn’t ready to do so in the presence of her noisy friends so I begged the gods for another sign and luckily, they granted my request.
After she left with her friends, I noticed she had left her nysc cap behind. I was only halfway done with my meal and still had a big piece of goat-meat left on my plate but suddenly, nothing else mattered, I had to talk to her again. I paid for my food, left a generous tip-I couldn’t wait for my change, picked up the cap and started walking in the direction I saw her go with her friends.
To my amazement, I saw her walking alone towards me-well, towards “Lady A”- she had ditched her friends to go in search of her cap.
“Looking for this?” I asked holding up her cap and smiling sweetly.
“Yes, Oh my God, thanks,” she replied, taking the cap from my hand.
“You’re welcome, uhhmmm…can I walk you to your hostel”
“Yeah sure, why not”.
The next few minutes stretched into hours, our conversation was fascinating, intense and riveting. We sat in front of her hostel and talked like old friends who had lost contact and were trying to make up for lost years.
I was genuinely surprised when we were approached by soldiers who wanted to know why I was still at a female hostel after lights out-I honestly do not remember hearing the siren or anything else. I jogged to my hostel as the soldiers instructed, smiling half of the way-thinking about her, and frowning the other half when It hit me, I had not collected her number or even her name.
The next morning, immediately the morning parade and exercises were over, I went from platoon to platoon, hoping to spot her amongst the dispersing crowd, alas i couldn’t find her. Next I went to the OBS radio station and placed adverts to run every hour, asking “a beautiful stranger to meet the person who had rescued her cap the previous night, for a 3pm lunch at the place where they both had dinner”. It was a long shot, but it was all I could think of.
I waited at “Lady A” from 2pm till 4pm when it was time for the afternoon parade but she never showed up. As I walked dejectedly away from the “maami market“,considering my next move, I heard a familiar voice behind me say
I turned around and saw her, smiling at me, and immediately all my feelings of despair vanished. She looked like a beautiful mess with her tired eyes, her hair roughly tied in a bun and her white uniform and shoes plastered with stains.
“I wanted to meet you by 3 but I’ve been stuck in the kitchen as you can see. My platoon is on duty today” she said, still smiling.
I smiled back as I walked up to her, knowing deep inside that from that moment, my camp experience and my life in general was about to change.
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