Best Of Friends 2.0 (The Women I Love)
I, Tinu and Hezekiah were best of friends through the first two years of Junior Secondary School. I should say I and Tinu, because her relationship with Hezekiah could best be described as best of “frenemies”.
They were constantly at each other’s throats, yet they would defend each other against “external aggression“. And no, it wasn’t Hezekiah doing the defending. It was mostly Tinu. Let me just say here that Tinu is a firecracker.
Hezekiah, though a couple of years older than myself and Tinu was quite a cool guy. He never threw his age or physical strength in our faces. He reserved that for whoever disrespects him. There is only one problem with this situation.
Tinu was the number one “disrespecter” or disturber of Hezekiah. If anyone else tries to flutter him, she’ll rise to his defense, calming him and ensuring he never gets riled up, talk his adversary to shame, making a major scene out of it, then sit right next to him with an arm around his neck.
A few minutes after everything has cooled down, Tinu would begin to work up Hezekiah. Even me sitting next to her, I’d get really pissed on his behalf but I can’t do anything about it, because he isn’t doing anything about it.
Looking back all these years later, I have tried my best to understand the dynamic of our relationship and this is my best postulation:
Hezekiah being a couple of years older than I and Tinu got into puberty around this period, Tinu being a female also got into puberty around this time, meanwhile, I was still “innocent-faced” and was unaware of the “hormone-driven” tension around me. Tinu just realizing the power she had over guys was testing it out on Hezekiah while he probably had a crush on her and therefore was powerless (or lovesick?) And would never do anything to hurt or upset her.
We were best of friends for the most part of the school day, until Tinu got in the mood to “torment” Hezekiah. Meanwhile, Tinu still recognized my “innocence” and I am grateful for that, because that was my ticket to a lot of freebies at that point.
Other than Hezekiah, there were a couple of other older guys in the class and apparently, Tinu was a pretty girl. (Also apparently, I was blind to this, as I could never make sense of the fuss they made about and around her).
These guys were always trying out their wooing or “toasting” skills on Tinu. Often times, as soon as a teacher stepped out of the class, a guy was taking up position around us to take his shot at wooing Tinu. She often shut them down, but will occasionally engage them in discussions. In such instances, Hezekiah would excuse them to go try his wooing skills on some other girls or to go hang out with his other friends.
I on the other hand kept my seat. I’ll often try to do something else, but couldn’t help listening in on their conversations. It’s not like I was eavesdropping, they were talking, I was on my seat, was I supposed to block my ears?
Boys from other classes including seniors also did come to talk-up Tinu. That was how I knew she was a really fine girl. Very few girls in a lower class had toasters from the higher classes.
Thankfully for me, coming to toast a fine, highly sought after girl like Tinu requires putting your best foot forward, as well as currying the favor of those close to her. Many of the guys coming to “toast” Tinu would often come with snacks and/or drinks. And how can you call yourself a big boy if you did not bring anything for your girlfriend’s seatmate who is like a “baby brother” to her? Is he supposed to watch your mouth as you are eating?
That was what Tinu would tell them if they only brought snacks for themselves and her. She’ll proceed to collect their own piece and hand it to me. (Why did I grow up? Life was really sweet).
Some guys will meet me on the road and even offer me a freebie in exchange for a good word with Tinu. After trying to fulfill one of such promises by talking to Tinu for one of them, the speed with which she shut me up made me realize that I was only supposed to collect such freebies and never, ever refund the favor.
I think me witnessing these many incidents made me a little smarter when it comes to relating to girls as I got older.
The third year of Junior Secondary School meanwhile brought with it something different.