You were on your way home when you met her. Emerging from the hostel, you embarked on the familiar path leading to the school park. A voice, delicate and resonant like a melody, pierced the air. It was unlike anything that had ever graced your ears. Drawn by the ethereal sound, you turned toward its source to discover an angelic figure. Her radiant smile outshone any brightness you’d witnessed before. “Excuse me,” she inquired, her voice a celestial symphony, “could you direct me to the school park?” So captivated were you by her voice that you momentarily faltered, lost in its enchantment. She repeated her query, gently urging a response from your spellbound state. As if in a trance, you closed the distance between you two. With an effort, you finally managed to break free from the allure of her voice. “It’s just over there,” you replied, your own smile mirroring hers.
“Thank you,” she replied, her smile deepening, and in that moment, you realized that you hadn’t known a smile could radiate such brilliance until that very instant.
“I’m headed to the park as well,” you managed to utter, an unfamiliar accent unexpectedly taking residence in your speech.
“Perfect, let’s walk there together,” she proposed, and the idea instantly captured your heart. You wondered why you hadn’t thought of it yourself, berating yourself for the missed opportunity.
In the ensuing moments, a profound quiet enveloped both of you as you walked side by side towards the school park. The world around you seemed to blur, leaving only her presence and the echo of her angelic voice that you yearned to hear once more. Your mind raced with imagined conversations, a dialogue already taking shape. Yet, in reality, neither of you exchanged a word for a full two minutes – yes, you counted, a tactic to divert yourself from openly gazing at her. You couldn’t help but steal glances at her, your eyes occasionally meeting.
“Do you also attend this church?” she inquired, the rhythm of her speech the most melodious you’d ever encountered.
“Yes,” came your response.
“That clarifies it,” she replied, her smile still in place. How could someone possess such impeccably defined cheekbones, you mused internally, lost in your own thoughts.
“What?” you ventured, words feeling a bit more elusive with her. You longed to impress her, yet the words refused to cooperate, leaving you somewhat tongue-tied.
“It explains how you knew the right direction. This place is a maze of footpaths and roads, and no matter how many times I’ve been here, I get easily disoriented,” she explained.
Her observation was spot on. In your five years at the hostel, you’d never really pondered it, but now, seeing through her eyes, you realized the excess of roads that meandered aimlessly. The pattern of the roads resembled a complex zigzag puzzle, a realization dawned upon you that her confusion was entirely justified.
“I can’t help but wonder where you would have found yourself if you hadn’t approached me,” the words left your mouth without conscious intent. A chuckle from her followed, a sound you secretly longed to hear again.
“Thank goodness we crossed paths,” she said, to which you responded with a nod. Another silence fell, during which it struck you that, for the first time in months, you were irrevocably captivated by a girl. This angelic presence served as a reminder that you were not impervious to the allure of the opposite sex. Despite your best efforts, you found yourself surrendering to love, vulnerable and helpless.
Desiring another conversation to spark, you yearned to initiate one but remained unsure of how to proceed. What could one say to an angel? What truth or words could possibly encompass her splendor?
“So, where are you headed?” she inquired.
“Home,” you replied.
“Back to indulge in Mom’s cooking?” she teased playfully, causing a blush to rise to your cheeks. Your roommates often ribbed you, claiming your blush was reminiscent of a girl’s, and perhaps in this moment, they were proven right. Yet, you couldn’t care less—something about her essence ignited feelings you’d never before experienced. In her presence, you felt an unparalleled sense of security, as though nothing could harm you as long as you were near her. With her, you were free to be unapologetically yourself, without the looming specter of judgment.
“No shame in that. I confess, I sometimes envy those of you based in Ilorin,” she admitted, and you nodded instinctively, for what response could be expected when an angel spoke? It was a moment deserving of reverence and adoration. “You get to return home whenever you wish, all for the love of a home-cooked meal.”
“That’s one of the few perks of residing close to your parents,” you acknowledged, an unspoken desire to share both the upsides and downsides with her lingering just beneath the surface.
As you engaged in casual chatter, discussing the relentless surge in prices of everyday items, you realized you were nearing the school park. A thought suddenly struck you—you hadn’t yet learned her name or her field of study. As though she could read your thoughts, she inquired, “By the way, what’s your name?”
“Anuoluwa,” you replied, your smile brightening your face.
“Anuoluwapo?” she queried further.
“No, just Anuoluwa.”
“What’s the meaning of your name?” Her question prompted a slight deceleration in your steps, as if both of you were trying to extend your shared time.
“It means ‘Mercy of God,’” you responded, your gaze fixed on her, awaiting her reaction. When no immediate response came, you elaborated, “My full name is Odunanuoluwa, which translates to ‘The year of the mercy of God.’”
“Wow! That’s a beautiful name. Your parents gave you a special one,” she remarked.
You knew that you ought to ask for her name, but your courage seemed to falter in that moment.
“What department are you in?” she inquired, extending the conversation.
“History and International Studies,” you responded, a persistent urge compelling you to inquire about her name.
“What year?” she asked.
“Fourth year, 400 level.”
“Wow, I have friends in your department, I’m sure you know M and C.”
“Yes,” you affirmed, though you didn’t consider yourself particularly close to either of them.
Arriving at the school park, it was time to bid each other farewell. However, an inexplicable reluctance to part ways gripped you.
“Are you headed to UITH?” you questioned, assuming she might be a medical student given the influx of them on campus that day.
“No, I’m headed outside school to church,” she disclosed.
“Really? Which church?”
“Amazing, I know some of your church members. You must be acquainted with Sister Favour Fatoye,” you shared.
“Yes, and her sister too. They’re even having a special session on Sunday about maintaining a godly relationship, so they won’t serve us breakfast,” she chuckled infectiously. Any self-consciousness about being in public vanished as all your focus remained on her.
In that instant, you knew you’d deeply regret not asking for her name. Summoning your courage, you finally inquired, “So, what’s your name?”
“Kika,” she responded, “Kikachukwu.” The name resonated with an otherworldly beauty, evoking a sense of deservingness. It sounded like a name meant for an angel. While you couldn’t recall its meaning as you write this, it hardly matters. Swiftly, you grabbed your phone, opening the notepad app to type out her name. You were determined to name one of your future characters after her.
“And the meaning of your name?” you inquired.
“What is greater than God.”
“Wow, you complimented the uniqueness of my name, yet yours is even more distinctive. It’s the first time I’ve encountered a name like that. The meaning holds immense power,” you admitted.
“Thanks,” she responded, blushing, her radiant smile captivating you. You wished to preserve that moment indefinitely. “You’re going outside the school, right?”
“Yes,” you affirmed, “but I need to withdraw money from the ATM.”
“Alright,” she said. Finally arriving at the bustling school park, you faced the moment of parting. Though you were meant to exchange goodbyes, you found yourself reluctant to let her slip away. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Anuoluwa,” she said, her enunciation of your name carrying a unique tenderness that made you feel exceptional.
“Likewise, Kika,” you replied, cherishing the melody her name brought.
Eventually, you went your separate ways – she, walking down the park towards a line of cabs headed off-campus, and you, heading to the nearest ATM. As you stood there at the ATM, you felt a pang of regret. You should have asked for her contact information, yet you hadn’t. A sinking thought murmured in your mind, I’ll probably forget about her soon. However, as you pondered this, you saw her approaching. She was walking toward where you stood. She paused a few meters away to greet two acquaintances. Meanwhile, you waited for the ATM transaction to complete. As it finished, you approached her. During her conversation with the acquaintances, you overheard that she was a direct entry student.
“Everything in life is interconnected,” she mused as you both headed toward the minibus garage behind the school park. Together, you entered the shuttle and sat in the back row.
“I no get change o!” the driver announced as you waited for the minibus to fill up.
“Na ₦1000 I get o,” you informed the driver. There was no immediate response from the driver, but you assumed he had heard you and so you waited patiently. As the minibus gradually filled with passengers, you both remained seated in silence, occasionally stealing glances at each other.
Finally, the bus started to move, and you journeyed in shared quietness. The realization that you had yet to ask for her department began to nag at you.
“What’s your department?” you finally inquired.
“Law, 400 level,” she replied.
“It’s probably because you’re a direct entry student. That’s why you don’t know me.”
“Why do you say that?” she questioned, her curiosity piqued.
“I was once in the faculty of law,” you revealed, initiating a connection through shared academic experience.
Engaging in various other small talks, the minibus carried you beyond the school’s confines. A persistent thought nudged at you, urging you to request her number, yet hesitation held you back. As the vehicle neared the school gate, she offered to break your ₦1000 note into smaller denominations. You assented, and she handed you two ₦500 notes in exchange for your ₦1000. Her stop was approaching, and just as you contemplated offering to pay for her fare, she beat you to it. “I’ve paid for you,” she informed you. Stepping off the bus, she walked away, leaving you momentarily speechless. You turned to the back window and saw her waiting by the roadside, preparing to cross. Her gaze met yours one final time.
“Thank you,” you called out to her, receiving a warm smile in response. As the bus resumed its journey, you found yourself muttering a quiet “Shit!” under your breath.
Regret welled up within you. You should have asked for her number, a fact that became painfully clear. You vowed to speak to M from your department, hoping to obtain her contact information.
But deep down, you suspected that you might never reach out. Not because she had ceased to be an angel, but because you believed she deserved someone better than you. Every angel, in your mind, warranted a saint, and you didn’t consider yourself one. A broken boy, undeserving of the kindness she exuded.
Then again, you mused, maybe you were simply weaving a fantastical narrative, driven by your overactive imagination. Perhaps she was merely a kind-hearted human being, and nothing particularly special existed between the two of you.
You attributed moments like these to your neurodiversity at times, while at other moments, you ascribed them to your Capricorn tendencies—an inclination to overthink things.
As you now write this narrative, you find yourself wondering whether the universe might reunite you with her or if you’ll be the one to seek her out.