Another First Day (The Women I Love)
As I saw Tinu step into the class, I cannot describe the feeling that came over me. It was like a jar of butterflies was opened up in my tummy. I was both cold and hot at the same time, I wanted to rush to the toilet but also felt hungry, my mouth was dry and my tongue was tied. In slow motion, she walked to our chair to join me.
In the almost five minutes (or ten seconds) that it took for her to join me, I was rooted to where I stood. Finally, as she got to the chair, she reached to hug me but in my shocked state, I stuck out a hand to give her a handshake. That is one decision I regretted for the rest of the term.
“Longest time” she finally said.
“Fine” I replied.
The look she gave me next remained seared in my memory even till today. Like I was an idiot who had his brain frozen while his tongue was responding to stimuli from his eyes.
I should not blame her. It was years later I found that when most guys are in the presence of real “Beauties”, their brains tend to go on a little hiatus.
Let’s just say I avoided talking to her for the rest of the day. Before the end of the week though, I and Tinu were back to our bossom besties behavior. We quickly got back to our routine of guys coming to try their luck at wooing her while I got a share of the freebies.
Hezekiah meanwhile told me that if I wanted to be seen as more than a “Bestie”, I needed to “mark my territory” with Tinu. According to him, I was supposed to create a scene with one of the guys that do come seeking her or reject one of the snacks they bring for me. To him, that was the fastest way to get Tinu to stop seeing me as one of her “friends” and more like a potential boyfriend.
I think my desire for free food was too much to make me risk losing all of that by asking her out. It’s safe to say my tummy won the puberty war.
I did try to get Tinu to see me differently. I began to join in on her conversations with her “Toasters”. Pointing out their flawed logic and stupidity. My wit and sarcasm did earn me endearing points with her, but did paint me in a bad light with some of the guys.
Some of them took it out on me by failing to bring me snacks when next they came around. Thankfully, Tinu kept collecting theirs and giving it to me whenever they did this.
I think it was this change in attitude that saw to a reduction in the amount of guys who came visiting Tinu during break time. Plus more girls were getting into puberty too and the boys attention began to move to them too.
Every once in awhile, one of the guys or a new toaster will point to Tinu and I that I had a crush on her or we had chemistry. We’ll quickly downplay it and she’ll often tell them that I was more like a brother to her.
Apparently, I had gone deeper than the friend zone, I was now in the “Brother-Zone”.