Before I start my story, let me give some context. I was a tomboy in secondary school. Boys were not queuing to toast me but at least we were all cool. I was their guy!!! Infact once when a boy attempted to ask me out, I was so shocked. Like. Come o. Are we not guys? I made him feel very stupid. What nonsense.
Then in contrast, There used to be this very hot girl in my class, lets call her Z. This babe was a northern belle (the babe fine die). Guys used to be all over her and Valentine’s day was the day we knew the guy wey him pepper rest wella… the one that was serious about dating her because she went with nothing but the best. She was also my roommate.
And so on this particular Valentine’s day, the way Vals day worked back then was that students will either bribe, beg or bully the caterer or home economics teachers to make cakes or snacks. Then do the same to the tuck shop attendants to help get fruit wine. The desperate ones will send security guards out of school and the ones with connections will beg a Corper teacher or a really cool teacher. Total chaos. And so most times, its not the guys with the most money that we consider as the bawses. It’s the guy that takes the most risk, goes the extra mile or buys stuff that’s outta this world (to us then… ) those were the ones we liked.
Now a rich good guy can beg the school caterer to bake a huge cake for you and buy you plenty stuff from the tuck shop. But that wasn’t very impressive – that’s a regular deregular valentine. I mean… tuck shop wasn’t running away and you got cakes if you were friendly with Food and Nutrition students. Now imagine the other guy that gets you maybe Mr Biggs rice and chicken all the way from Lagos (my school was 10 hours from Lagos). Maryland cookies from only God knows where, maybe a dress, then flowers and chocolate (Mars and Snickers, the extra big boys bought Malteasers) then maybe wine that is not Eva. Into a school that was at least 1 hour away from proper civilization. This was the guy you wanted to date. Bragging rights for a whole term (because our attention span was short.)
Back to this beautiful Valentine’s day again…
The fated day when I knew that the only gift I was getting was the gift of life from our Lord Jesus.. I had kuku gbakamued… (accepted my fate)
Some hostels had this cute and very very annoying tradition where when someone gets a surprise gift, they turn off the hostels light temporarily, then the lucky lady enters her room and they turn on the light!!!! Surprise!!!! Cute for the lucky lady and her friends, annoying to everyone else… especially the baeless girls trying to read or cry in peace.
After a successful day of watching people collect balloons or their school-made cakes, my friends and I made our way back to the hostel. Oh there was no light. By the way, which meant a surprise gift was lurking around. I rolled my eyes. These people won’t let someone see road on top valentine.
My friends and I got to my room, I opened my locker and guess what fell out? Boxes upon boxes upon boxes of gifts and a cake at the top compartment (my locker had 3 compartments). As soon as my friends heard, they turned on a torch light and started screaming!!!!
She got Valled.. She got valled!!!! We go chop today o!!!!!!
Everybody started running to my room to find out what I got. Luckily for me, they hadn’t turned on the light and I ran to lock the door to my room before anyone could get in.
Oh another break in transmission. When you get a Valentine’s gift, every single person wants to know what you got so they can gauge the kind of boyfriend you have. Some girls will come in and say awwwww, and actually be happy for you, haters will snicker, some just want to know how they can get their share, others are the lie detectors for those lie lie girls that are always bragging, some are just there for the gist – the real Tatafos and if you get a gift from another persons boyfriend… SCANDAL!!!!!! Premium entertainment for the rest of the term. So the babes who did not like wahala, babes with broke boyfriends and side chicks will collect their gifts in secret and sneak them into the hostel.
Back to my gift.. As soon as I saw the gifts, something didn’t feel right. I knew in my heart of hearts of hearts that something was horribly wrong.
“Babe.. Wetin you get? Who valled you? How many gifts?”
Plenty questions started from my friends and other roomies.
No no no no. The devil is a liar I said to myself. My enemies want to disgrace me in public abi. The girls at the window were demanding to come in “who got valled in room 20 they asked?” I had to be sharp. I had to get to the bottom of this asap. Apparently it was one of two things. I was either getting pranked or the mumu boy sent an absentminded junior to deliver the gifts. Whatever it was, the outcome wasn’t going to be good.
I dived into my locker and began to look for a card. What kind of mess-up will it be if another girl enters my room and claims I stole her val gifts or na mistake. After I had basked in the glory of collecting gifts? Premium gifts to be precise. I wasn’t gonna survive the gossips. I checked for a card with my friends torchlight. No card o. I was finished.
Mo ku Mo gbe Mo daran…
I knew these were not mine. But I had to find the owner asap!!! These are split second decisions here. I started panicking. My friends were getting confused. Those ones just wanted to chop free rice.
“This must be a mistake…. these are not mine… ” I told my friends… “Maybe they are for you Sally”
“Me that my hostel is the next block” Sally (not real name) replied.. “Ode, open the gift jor”
I started passing the gift ownership around until something clicked. Why is the finest girl in my class who is also my roommate, sleeping under her blanket with one miserly flower on her table? Z hasn’t gotten valled yet so let me just pass it to her. They are probably for her sef.
“Oooohhhhh.. The gifts are for Z”
It almost made sense but weather it made sense or not, I didn’t care. I just wanted someone else to claim ownership of the gifts and then if they are rightfully mine, the messenger will come back and tell me. Then I can bask in more glory and the shame will be passed to someone else. That was the plan. My friends finally understood too and we passed the gifts to Z’s locker and then started shouting… “Z got valled Z got valled”
The girls outside got even more rowdy and they brought light, so we opened the door and like 30 girls ran in to see the gift. I don’t remember what it was but it was premium!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anyways. Long story short. The gifts were actually for Z, the Ode messenger that wanted to ruin my life came and confirmed it. I thanked the gods of my grandfather who were protecting me from shame and disgrace.
I was not about to have that kind of thing written about me in our local Big brother… (this was pre-Big brother Africa and the original school ofofos started this club called big brother where they aired people’s dirty laundry and posted it on notice boards around school. Your gist getting to them was the worst thing that could happen to you). Imagine this was my biggest problem at the time. I miss those days because adulting is truly a scam…
In conclusion, I went to bed that night with too many feelings. Adrenaline, disappointment, surprise and relief.. Oh and no food cos Z didn’t share her rice with me. I don’t know why till today.
Got similar stories to share? Let’s talk in the comment section. Happy Valentine’s day!!