The Faculty of Arts building was a beehive of activity. I found myself having to shoulder my way through the crowd of people in the building as I made my way to the Faculty ICT staff office to register my courses.

I was in a queue when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and as we said hello to each other, I recognised him as someone my brother and I had given a lift to from Umuahia when he was driving me to school for the semester. When I commented on that, he chuckled and said something about me having a good memory. He also introduced himself as Mark.

The queue didn’t seem to be moving, but I was determined to get my registration done. So, the time passed as Mark and I chitchatted.

And then, I noticed an ICT staff member walking through the hall, speaking furious Spanish into his phone. My instinct immediately ministered to me that this man would be my saving grace from this tedious task of registration. Besides, I knew the language he was speaking. (Growing up, my late father had wanted his children to learn at least one foreign language. He spoke two. Spanish was the language I was tutored as a child)

I left the line and walked fast to catch up with the staff, followed by Mark.

“Discúlpeme, señor,” I said as I drew close to him. (Excuse me, sir)

He turned around, startled by the intrusion in a language he didn’t think he’d hear anyone confront him with in Nigeria. His brows lifted as he said, “Como puedo ayudarte?” (How can I help you?)

“Estoy aqui para me inscripción el curso.” (I’m here to enroll for my course.)

He paused and considered me for a beat. I am positive that his next words came as a result of the uncommon bond we shared in the knowledge of a foreign language.

He said, “Ven conmigo por favor.” (Come with me please.)

Mark and I followed after him, with me being aware of the resentful stares of the other students in the queue. We were attended to speedily, and about fifteen minutes later, we were done with our registrations.

“Muchas gracias, señor,” I greeted the man who saved us with a handshake, before Mark and I made our way back into the hall and out.

Mark was beside himself with gratitude. “Thank God I met you here, GT,” he was saying. “If not, na here I for take die today. And you speak Spanish? Wow! That is quite amazing.”

He offered to take me to Chuckies for lunch as a show of appreciation, but I had things to do in the department. So, I declined, explaining my reason to him, and he understood. We exchanged contacts and parted ways.

I got to my department and did all the necessary paperwork, also managing to locate some of my fellow freshmen. The next few days were filled with different academic activities.

One of which was my dance rehearsal.

I’d just arrived at the rehearsal ground. There was a small crowd there. I was a little late, and greeted the dance instructor, who was already briefing the students on the Rudiments of Dance Craft.

The drums had been rolled out and the rehearsal started. I couldn’t help but notice one amebo dancer; he was just everywhere, though he was good.

Everyone seemed to know how to dance the traditional Igbo dance except me, and when the instructor noticed, she wanted to take it up with me, but I explained that my forte was Afrobeat and Contemporary. As though she wanted to test me, she asked for the stage to be cleared so I could show her what I had. I knew I couldn’t afford to disappoint my ancestors; I took to the stage and danced to Adele’s Love In The Dark. I took my time to marry my stage space and interpreted the song with my body to the best of my ability.

From the crowd watching me was the second instructor. At the end of my performance, he was the first to start applauding, joined by the others. He later declared me his stage manager for the semester. This position would give me the opportunity to know everyone in the class by name and face.

I returned home that evening with aches all over my body, seeing as I hadn’t pushed myself this much in over three months. Uchechi wanted to know all about my day, and every time I got to the interesting parts about the mishaps of other dance mates, she would laugh. I didn’t have dinner because I didn’t have an appetite. I simply washed and went to bed.

The first semester appeared to speed by so fast. There was so much to do, and soon, the utmost thing on the minds of everyone in my department was the dance performance that was just two weeks away. Everyone was working so hard at their routines and choreography. Jay – the amebo dancer – had dropped the Traditional Dance to join us in Contemporary. Our routine comprised of the songs Zayn’s Pillow Talk, Beyoncé’s Single Ladies, and Sia’s Move Your Body.

The single Ladies choreography was going to be done with us wearing stilettoes, and it was the first of its kind in the department. The pressure was on us to deliver.

The day was finally upon us, and I’d never felt more nervous over anything in my life. All the people I knew personally were going to be in attendance to watch me dance. Duncan and Uchechi were in the front row of the auditorium. Mark came along with his two brothers, and they sat at the far end with a clear view of the stage.

The Contemporary group’s performance came last. Jay and I came on stage with our dazzling costumes and the audience went wild with cheers. I felt as though I’d just won a big performance award, so warmed was I by the reception. Little did I know that my village witches had also been working overtime on top of my matter.

After the ballet performance came the stiletto-wearing choreography. Just when the dance was getting to a crescendo, the heel of one of my shoes snapped and I lost my balance, falling so hard on the stage that for a heart-rending moment, I thought I’d fractured some bones. I could hear a loud collective gasp break out in the auditorium as I dropped to the ground.

For several moments, as everyone froze, I lay there, wreaked by devastation. This performance was an actual course, and many thoughts about how I’d positively secured an F in a six-credit-unit course ran through my mind.

Then I got shakily to my feet, fighting to keep up a bold front that was masking my disintegrating insides. Seeing the expressions of horror and sympathy on the faces of Duncan and Uchechi alone nearly became my undoing; I wanted to cover my face in shame and cry.

I wanted to just run off the stage, and had actually turned to start leaving when my dance instructor called out, “Do you have another pair of shoes?”

I turned to look at him in a separate corner of the stage. I’d lost my voice, so I merely shook my head. From my peripheral vision, I saw Uchechi get up from her seat and dart forward to where we were. She was pulling off her stilettoes and handed them to me. I’d once tried on her shoes and we knew we were the same size. She smiled encouragingly at me as I took the shoes from her.

“Do it again,” the instructor said.

I almost couldn’t hold back my tears. I tested my ankle to be sure it was okay, and then nodded at the DJ. I looked at Duncan and his smile brought some of my confidence back. I tried to find Mark in the crowd, and imagined him also smiling and giving me the thumbs-up sign. This was enough support to fire me up into giving my second chance a fierce go.

And we delivered. At the end of the performance, it felt like a great comeback as the crowd gave us a standing ovation. Cheers came from every angle of the auditorium as Jay and I made our way out of the stage.

After the entire show, two guys who were obviously not from my department approached Jay and I and asked for our contacts. Just then, Uchechi and Duncan came screaming my name, and we fell into each other’s arms. Uchechi planted a kiss on my lips while Duncan kissed my neck.

Mark and his brothers came along, and when I extended my hand for a handshake, Mark brushed it away and instead embraced me. snug in his arms, he brought his mouth close to my ear and whispered, “I love you.”

I had no idea if that was part of his appreciation of my performance, or an actual declaration of his intentions. I would just have to wait to find out.

Written by GT

Next The Proposal: Is There A Cis-Woman Who Wishes To Have A Child?

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  1. KryxxX
    June 23, 08:20 Reply

    **sigh dreamily **

    To Wear stilettos ? and dance to Beyoncé Single ladies in dazzling costumes while everyone watches…….

    Am I still sure that Vet school is my calling? ? ? ?. Théâtre ? art ? be looking like that dream right now oh.

    ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    • Pink Panther
      June 23, 08:41 Reply

      You are in vet school??? YOU?!!! In VET SCHOOL?!!! As you craze reach, you are actually studying something as boring as veterinary medicine?!!! Adonbelivdis!

  2. trystham
    June 23, 08:44 Reply

    I don’t get really. If we get this many whoops and stuff from catwalking and dancing in stilettoes, where the fuck can the homophobia be coming from?

    • Delle
      June 23, 09:58 Reply

      The thought of gay sex!

      Wear stilettoes, put on cheap wigs, apply horrible make-up but DO NOT HAVE SEX.

      Dazzal ?

  3. Posh
    June 23, 09:33 Reply

    I’m a proud thespian. Theatre arts is the best course ever. I still miss school and my amebo plus notice me activities on stage. I sha rocked my department. And everyone loved me. Nobody judge me abit

  4. Delle
    June 23, 09:56 Reply

    I was there with you, GT. All the way! As I read the story, of course! ??

    You needed to have heard me gasp when I got to the part of your heels snapping…I’m still shaking from it all (I guess that’s cos I’m putting myself in your shoes and by God, I DO NOT WANT TO THINK ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF IT HAD BEEN ME!)

    Please keep going, this series has me on lock.

  5. Mitch
    June 23, 10:03 Reply

    The one department in school you’re free to be yourself.

    I’m totally loving this series of yours, GT.
    Keep it coming.

  6. Nobility
    June 23, 16:41 Reply

    Enjoyed the second episode. Great writing. This is real right? Weird I actually wanted to take a creative cause but ended up going for chemistry. Little did I know that’s the course that’s full of drama from the faculty stuff to the students.

  7. demi
    June 24, 12:22 Reply

    Looking forward to more episodes GT, this was quite interesting..

  8. anny
    June 24, 14:46 Reply

    please do not stop..this is lovely

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