(Story) Farida – Part 25

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Farida was the undisputed best graduating student of the department and even faculty. Monica was graduating with a first class. Farida and Monica were inseparable during their final year. They went to class together, came back together, and went back for night class from the day they resumed lectures; they never missed it. The period was tough on Monica so she lost a lot of weight. Farida actually helped her with it by making sure they walked to and from class. They fasted together during the Ramadan and afterwards, Monica fell in love with her new figure. Farida hoped Monica will maintain the figure and she did. She started swimming during the first semester holidays which helped tone her body.Farida waited for Monica outside her examination hall while she was writing her final papers. Monica had waited for her when she wrote hers the day before so she was reciprocating. After the exams, she stood by the door while students filed out. She saw a face which looked very familiar. The person was talking to someone and didn’t see her. She walked over to him and tapped him on the shoulder to be sure. He turned around and saw her. He smiled at her. “Wale? This can’t be you. What are you doing here?” Farida asked obviously baffled.“Hi Farida. It has been a long time. Congratulations on your graduation”“I asked a question. I saw you come out of that lecture room. What are you doing here?”“I am or rather was a student here” he replied laughing.“You attended unilag and I never knew?”“You asked me to disappear and I did”“This is unbelievable!”Monica sighted Farida talking to a guy. She looked confused. She went to meet her. As she tapped Farida, she turned and gave her a hug. She introduced Monica.“Do you remember a guy I told you about; his name is Wale? The one Wura and Aisha created a scene over?”“Yes, I remember. Is he the one?” Monica asked.“In the flesh” Farida replied.“I know him. He is my coursemate. He was the one wh……”“No, Monica” he stopped her. “It was nice seeing you again Farida. How are maami and the boys”“They are fine. The boys are in university now”“That’s great. Please give them my regards. I have to run now” he left them.Farida could not believe she just saw Wale after how many years. How could he have been right under her nose and she never saw him? He was even Monica’s course mate. He couldn’t be in a place and not be known. He had to have friends who tagged around him. He had to live big. So, how come he wasn’t popular on campus?“So that’s the Wale Aisha was killing herself for. Hmm, such a small world”“Do you know him?”“He is my course mate. He is quiet and mature. I think he is older than us”“Yes, by a year or so”“He acts way older. He doesn’t talk to anyone in class, he stays by himself. It was in 200l I became friends with him because of his SUV, he drives a Toyota four runner. We were in the same group for an assignment, we fixed a time at night to meet but he said he couldn’t make it as he comes from home. We had to meet by 5pm so he could go home. That was when I noticed the SUV. He told me he lodges in the guest house during exams when I ran into him during night tutorials. He is a very brilliant guy. Doesn’t talk too much”“I don’t think we are talking about the same person. The Wale I know is not calm. He loves to have friends around. He likes the world to know he is a big boy”“Not this guy. Probably he has changed. You know we get mature as we age. I think he did. He is a cute guy. He looked genuinely happy to see you. Are you sure he is not still into you?”“Into who? We were just friends and nothing more. He never asked me out. We didn’t have a relationship rather friendship”‘You sound bitter. What did he do?”“It was because of him Aisha disgraced me and I couldn’t stand up for myself. I learnt to defend myself from that experience. I can never forget what Aisha did to me. Today, I am a graduate of Economics and Statistics. Nobody can take that away from me”“And he is a graduate of Accounting. Both of you make a good match although he is shorter than you but you are tall”“Match for what? Please, I am going to dust my WAEC certificate to apply for Law immediately”‘I thought we were travelling for our Masters’ degree together”“Let us set up the boutique then we will go in turns for the Masters’ degree”‘We are going to school of business even before we serve. I told dad we are starting a business together and I would like us to attend a Business School and he accepted. Although he said he felt you had better potential in Economic reforms and policy making. He believes you shouldn’t deviate from your core competence. When I told him how we became friends, he was shocked. He was also impressed that you are multi-talented. We will start the business and also pursue careers”‘That is not bad at all. We will do it but we will serve before we go anywhere. My mother won’t allow me travel for further studies without going for youth service”‘No problem then. Where do you want to serve?”“I don’t know. Where do you suggest? I want a place with opportunities”“Abuja?”“It won’t be bad”‘Abuja it is”———————————————————————————–During the convocation, Farida received awards from her department and faculty. Maami, her brothers, brother Chris, and Madam Joyce were present. She graduated with a first class. She won several other awards. She was so proud of her achievements.Monica’s parents were present along with Sam and Papi who flew in on the special invitation of Monica. Monica refused to see her mother until that day. They were all shocked when she was called out amongst those with first class honours. They were all surprised when she was the seventh person on the list. She flunked her first year hanging with Wura and co but found her bearing with Farida. Her mother watched a new Monica walk up the podium to receive her certificate. She was slender and taller. She looked different. She was a beautiful swan.Two positions ahead of Monica was Wale. Farida could not believe how well he had done. So truly Wale had changed? Wale gave her the first experience she had with wealth but Monica topped it all. She was quite impressed with Wale’s transformation. She saw his mother with her friends wearing aso ebi. Who sells aso ebi for their son’s convocation? She must be a proud mother. Farida’s two good friends had made it and she felt proud. Her mother had told her that morning before the convocation that she attracted the kind of people she desired around her. She hoped to keep it that way.After the ceremony, the families found spots for them to stay to eat and have some fun. Iya Farida officially met Monica’s family. Monica was on another planet. She was so proud of herself. She refused to give her mother attention. Her stepmother hired a caterer who set up for them. Farida on her own part woke up very early and worked with the women hired to cook. She organized those that would serve the food. She had enough take away plates. Everyone was settled, eating and happy.Monica dragged Wale to where Farida was.“See who the cat dragged in” “Congratulations Farida. I always knew you would make us proud” Wale said.“Thank you. And congratulations to you too. To be honest, I am so impressed with your transformation. I am proud of the man you have become”“You made me this man. Have you forgotten all you taught me? I owe you all I have achieved. Would you mind meeting my father? He knows all about you. He is here today”“I wouldn’t have minded meeting him but I don’t want to receive credit for what I didn’t do. I only advised you just like I did Monica and you rolled with it. Why give me the credit?”“I will still like you to meet him”Monica added quickly, “Go with him. He wants you to meet his father”Farida went with him. His father was in the company of another man. Wale signaled to him and came over.“Who is this damsel? Is this our wife?” Wale’s father asked.“Dad, this is Farida” Wale replied.“Farida? Farida who?”“The Farida I told you about”“Oh, oh, oh. Our Farida. How are you my dear?”Farida had a smile on her face as the man made to embrace her but she gave him her side. Wale had smiled at his father rush of emotions. He understood. He understood his heartbreak when Farida ended it. It took courage not to come back and beg her. She helped him get on the right track. His father took over from her. He encouraged him every day. When he changed to unilag, it was mainly to be close to Farida and also because of work. His father trusted his opinion. He was a new being. He refused to stay on campus so he wouldn’t stray. His father gifted him the Toyota four runner when he concluded the Abuja mega filling station. In school, he knew he was a big boy but he didn’t need to show it. He knew Monica and also knew she was best friends with Farida. He missed Farida. He wished they could be friends again but this time, he wanted it to come from her. The only thing he heard his father say was,“You have to bring her to the house so I can meet her properly”Farida took Wale to greet maami. Maami was shocked but excited seeing him. They exchanged pleasantriesand he promised to come around if Farida wouldn’t mind. As they walked away from maami, Sam walked up to them. He took off his sunglasses and said, “There you are. I’ve been looking all over for you”“Hi Sam. Meet my friend Wale, Wale meet Monica’s brother Sam” “Hello” Wale said as he stretched out his hand. Sam took it reluctantly. He was pissed Farida introduced him as Monica’s brother and not her friend. Who was this guy? She seemed very comfortable with him. Sam didn’t like it.“Farida, can I see you for a minute” Sam asked.Wale, sensing he had just been dismissed, excused himself and left.“What were you looking for me for?” Farida asked.“Who is that guy?”“He’s an old friend. Why were you looking for me?”“I just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you. I got you a gift”“A gift? What for?”“A graduation gift”“Ok. It wasn’t necessary to be honest and I can only accept or reject it after I have seen it”He brought out a small rectangular wrapped box. Farida opened it. It was a case. She opened the case and saw the most beautiful bracelet she had ever seen. It was a charm bracelet made in gold. She loved it at sight. Sam could see the love in her eyes for it. He brought it out and wore it on her wrist. She stared at it. Then she said, “I shouldn’t accept this but I must confess, it’s the best gift I have ever received”Sam felt like the world had come to a standstill for him. She knew how to make a man feel good. He was no longer worried about the other guy he saw her with. She appreciated his gift and it was the best.She asked him to unclip it for her so she doesn’t lose it.Wale watched them from a distance. Obviously, the guy was good at wooing women. Farida was not a materialistic girl but the guy seemed to know how to get her. From where he stood, he could see the bracelet was beautiful. He felt someone pat his shoulders. His father whispered to him, “She will be yours some day soon. Trust me”

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