It had been days since I last spoke to Fareedah. She had neither called nor texted. I had made several excuses for her, knowing she could be busy. Test session was coming to an end, so she was probably busy with one test or the other, and I was obviously not important than her academics. But I couldn't help the worry I felt, while also not being able to call her. It was like I feared scaring her off, before I could even fully hold her in my grasp.
My mind had drifted far, while my hands were deep inside my hoody pouch as I found myself walking to FSS (Faculty of Social Science). I had told myself I wasn't going to go there, so I don't put some sort of pressure on her, but somehow I had found myself on my way to the same place I said I wasn't going to go to. I had worn all black, hoping I could hide in plain sight. But it didn't work out as Jason approached me with a wide smile, leaving his 'guys' behind. I feigned a smile as I watched him approach, slowing down a bit so we could meet in the middle, sort of. "How far?" he had said the moment he got to me.
I nodded with a smile as I replied, "I am cool oh, You?"
He nodded too. "Surviving," he said. "Looking for Fareedah?"
I smiled a bit, then nodded. "Yes."
He nodded, then pointed in the direction Fareedah's usual spot as he said, "She is at her spot."
I nodded, but didn't bother looking as I knew I wasn't going to be able to see her from where I was. I was closer to the Social Science building, which was a tad far from the creative art building.
"Can I walk you?" Jason had asked, stretching his hands toward the direction of the creative arts arena, as a black SUV passed up and causing me to stare at it at the speed it drove off.
I nodded as I began to walk, staring ahead at the interlocked floor. I honestly wasn't really down for his talk, but still didn't want to be rude. I didn't have the strength to verbally put anyone in their place on that day. I had spent all day in the hostel, because the class I had for that day had been cancelled. Even though I had an entirely free day, I still felt somewhat tired.
I tried not to physically sigh as Jason began to talk as we calmly walked towards the creative arts arena. "So, the guy I had seen you with that night, is the person, right?" he had said, a smile evident in his voice.
I was so close to ask him, 'Huh?'. But then quickly remembered the night he was speaking of, luckily for me. I nodded gently as I replied, "Yes, that is the guy."
"Wow, you guys are in the same school," he commented, adding, "That must be nice."
I nodded, not answering and hoping silence would reign. Luckily for me, we had gotten to our destination and like he had said, Fareedah was her usual spot, painting. I smiled gently when I saw her, watching her as she crotched. She had a free sage high waisted cotton trousers, which was firmly held by a belt around her waist; it was topped with a sleeveless black turtle neck bodycon top, while her heels held high in the heels she was wearing. She looked really focused as she was doing some detailing with the tip of the smallest of her round painting brush. She rinsed it in the water that was placed close to her canvas, as she touched another colour and touched something again.
"You must really like this Fareedah girl," Jason had suddenly said, shivers to run down my spine, it was like I had been caught doing something wrong, but I kept my composure as I frowned a bit. He nodded in response to a question I never asked. "You have a different smile, whenever it comes to her. It is cool though. She doesn't have friends, and always stay by herself. She talks to no one, and if you talk to her she often keeps it to one-word replies. So, people simply avoided her and left her alone, rumors spreading of how she is proud because her dad is possibly Pakka – the popular Pakka you know." He nodded again, before continuing. "So, people simply left her alone. And the way she dresses and drives that expensive Benz, it makes it so believable. But then, I think she likes you too. Because I think I've seen her talk to you, and it didn't look like a one-word replied conversations." He placed his right hand on my right shoulder, patting it a bit as he said, "I wish you people luck. See you around."
I nodded in reply while he walked away, and I walked towards Fareedah, passing by the canopy area – where the cement chairs are. It kind of bothered me that people sort of knew she was Pakka's daughter. But somehow, I knew she knew. It was kind of impossible for people not to catch on.
I stood behind her has I watched her rinse her brush again, while I stared at the orange flower she had drawn. It was so bright and beautiful, I felt some kind of calm as I stared at it.
It was like she soon felt my presence, turning to check who was standing behind her. When she saw it was me, her lips spread into a wide smile as she turned back to her drawing, packing her stuff. "I was about to call you," she had said, smile obvious in her voice. "I hadn't really been busy with test, but I assumed you were and that was why I tried to give you the space you might need."
Hearing those words fall of her tongue, it was like there was a storm inside of me that immediately calmed. "Really?" I had asked, out of not being able to come up with words and being overwhelmed, sort of.
She nodded as she stood up, stepping back a bit to look her drawing. "It is beautiful, right?" she had asked, causing me to nod in reply. "It is called Calendula," she began to explain. "It is also commonly known as Marigold, although there are other species named Marigold as well. It symbolizes happiness, joy and grace. Beautiful right?" she asked again.
I nodded with a smile. "Yes, beautiful." And I was not lying. It was truly beautiful, the color attracting me. I began to wonder what it was going to look like if she had used acrylic paint, instead of watercolor. I began to feel the urge to ask her why she used watercolor instead. But my mind shifted back to her outfit and how serious she was dressed. "Had a presentation today?"
She shook her head, then asked, "Why?"
"You look serious. Why the serious look?"
She smiled. "Felt like."
I nodded not knowing how to reply.
"So, how has your test been?" she had asked.
She seemed chatty than when last, I had spoken to her. It was like we had swapped that say. "They have been okay, yours?"
She nodded. "Well." She didn't wait for me to reply before she said, "Let me go wrap up, I would be right back."
I nodded why she picked her things and walked away, leaving me alone with my thoughts. Yes, I felt better when I saw her took in her drawings. But I felt kind of moody on that day. I didn't know why, I was simply not in the mood. Before my reason was that she hadn't called me and I felt like I was losing her, but after she had mentioned she had intended to call me and had me mind, my heart did skip and I felt glad. But still, I still couldn't get the dark cloud that hung over my head away.
It was a while before she came out holding her handbag alone. She walked towards me, before she asked, "Are you busy?"
I shook my head. "What's up?" I asked.
She shrugged. "Have you had dinner yet?" she asked with a smile.
I shook my head. "No, I haven't."
"Do you want to go out?"
I frowned a bit, which made her uncomfortable as she shifted from feet to feet. It was like a part of her chatty self slipped away. "You don't have to. You can simply rejec-"
I didn't let her finish her sentence before I cut in and quickly said, "Oh no, please I would love to."
Her sad face, soon brightened as her lips spread to a smile.
"But I would have to tell my bonafide that I will be stepping out of school for a while."
She nodded, watching me pull out my phone as I called Inoma.
I had honestly thought she would have lost some sort of interest in me, considering how we hadn't spoken to each other for a while. She had only spoken to me well for one day, dropped me off the next day. But, it was like she had grown closer to me than I had to her.
I finished up the call and walked to her car. Inoma had tried to whine me, joking and saying flattery stuff. But I wasn't in the mood for her jokes, so I simply chuckled and told her later.
Wasn't long, we had set off and off campus. I had shut my eyes through the ride, listening to the soft afrobeat that was playing from her car radio. It was like the particular station was doing their music period, or it was a music station, because it was from one music to another. It was quite some time before the car came to a stop. I opened my eyes, to realize the day had become dim, it was evening already. She got down from the car, causing me to follow suit. She wasn't saying anything as she walked ahead of me. I didn't bother to check the name, but we where at somewhere different from the last place we went to. The place gave off such a strong expensive energy. I kind of felt bad. Bad that I was going to spend her money again, that made me uncomfortable, but I said nothing but followed her, listening to the rhythm of her heels clicking.
Like it had happened when we went out the last time, she had the workers worshiping the ground she walked on. I didn't know how they managed to know she was the one, since Mr. Pakka hid his kids. Or, maybe they were simply treating her like a VIP because of how consistent she was there and probably how much she spent in their restaurants.
We were taken to a different room from the general restaurant. She had asked me what I wanted to get, I told her I was going to have whatever she was having, letting awkward silence reign between us. But it didn't get to reign for too long before she asked, "Am I the problem? Am I beginning to annoying you sort of? Or are you finally getting tired of me?"
I frowned at her questions. "Huh?"
She smiled warmly, but the smile was distant from her eyes as she said, "You haven't looked happy since we met. Yes, you did cheer up at the painting, but after that, it is like there is a dark cloud hanging over you head. Am I the one? Or, are you okay?"
I smiled a bit, before I replied, "It has nothing to do with you dear, it is all me."
She nodded, staring and fiddling with her hands on the table, before she looked up as she said, "Then what is it?"
I shrugged. "I can't place my hands on it. I just don't feel in the mood and feel tired."
"Nope, I am fine. I'll get myself soon." I didn't want her to give me space, even if I was moody. I loved the attention I was getting from her, it made me happy sort of.
It took a while for our food to arrive. Fareedah didn't say anything anymore, she kept on fiddling with her hands, playing with her car keys. Since she wasn't bringing out her phone to keep herself busy, I found it rude if I did such, so I also sat there and watched her fiddle with her hands. She kept her eyes on the table, while I wondered what she got going on in her mind.
When our food arrived, we ate in silence. By the time we were done, she paid and we sat for a while, sipping from our drinks. After a while of us simply sitting and I was beginning to get bothered of how I was going to enter public transport from where we were back to school, Fareedah asked, "Can you stay at my place? Probably spend the weekend?"
I looked at her for a while, before asking, "Are you okay?"
She nodded. "You don't have to if you don't want to. It is just that the weekend there usually feels longer than they are. So, I was thinking maybe if I had you there it wasn't going to be as bad. But you can say no and I would take you back to school. Or, don't worry, sometimes I just get all in my head, you-"
I could sense that she was beginning to get anxious as she was rushing her words, probably hoping for an end to it, so I cut her off, "I will go."
She paused, looking at me with wide eyes.
"I will go," I repeated myself. "I also enjoy your company and want to spend more time with you. I want to get closer to you."
She smiled warmly.
"I will have to call my bonafide and let her know I wouldn't be returning."
She nodded, while I pulled out my phone and called Inoma. I told her I was staying at Fareedah's place. As expected, she whined be and told me to make sure I don't do what she wouldn't do. I had stepped out of the room Fareedah and I were staying. "You no get sense," I had replied her, causing her to laugh.
"Sha be careful."
I nodded and replied, "Sure."
"See you tomorrow."
"Goodnight." With that, the call came to an end and my spirit was kind of lifted. But, When Fareedah and myself got to her place, we didn't really do much talking just bidding each other a good night and off to bed.