EPISODE 5

 

 

        SOME YEARS EARLIER…

 

 

 

 

Maxwell met Alberta in High School after he had moved from his previous school. Their paths crossed in somewhat bizarre circumstances. Maxwell was one class ahead of Alberta but from the first day they set sights on each other, they behaved like sworn enemies. “I just don’t know why but I just hate you”, Alberta will say whenever she met Maxwell on the stairs or in the corridor. Maxwell used to brush off her insolence whenever their paths crossed but one day, he pulled her back when she greeted him with her usual salutation when they met at lunch. Maxwell held Alberta’s wrist tightly and asked, “What have I done to you to merit so much disrespect?”. “I am a senior but you undermine that and call me all sorts of names whenever you see me”, Maxwell complained. “Are you in love with me or something?”, Maxwell asked. “In love with who?”, Alberta asked, after a hard and long hysterical laughter which drew some curious eyes to the spot in which the two of them stood. “Not even in a million years will I ever develop an iota of emotional attachment to you”, Alberta said with a disgusted look on her face. Maxwell looked at her in anger and clinched his fists but just as he was about to launch his jab, he was restrained by Raphael, “This girl is not worth your anger which could lead to you being suspended”, Raphael whispered into Maxwell’s ears as he dragged him away from the scene. “Can’t you just ignore her like everyone else does?”, Raphael queried. “I just don’t know why her words get to me so badly which makes me feel like hitting her in the face”, Maxwell added. “Shake it off and let’s go, I am already hungry”, Raphael said as they quickly rushed out to meet up with the other boys to have their lunch together. Alberta was in the same class as Maxwell’s sister so Maxwell thought it wise to report her to his sister. Alberta always claimed that Maxwell’s sister was her best friend but Maxwell’s sister always maintained that the feeling was not mutual. The next day, Maxwell’s sister confronted Alberta on her brother’s behalf, “Why are you always putting my brother on blast?”, Maxwell’s sister asked Alberta while both of them were running an errand for one of the school teachers. “Do you like him or something?”, Maxwell’s sister asked, looking at Alberta suspiciously. “I think he is stupid and it makes me dislike him”, Alberta replied, looking away from Maxwell’s sister. “If you think he is stupid, why don’t you just ignore his stupidity instead of insulting him?”, Maxwell’s sister pressed. “Come to think of it, whoever hates someone for being stupid?” Maxwell’s sister asked. “I think you like my brother”, Maxwell’s sister said, hitting Alberta on the head. “No, I don’t!”,Alberta exclaimed. “Okay, then that ends it”, Maxwell’s sister started. “So far as we have established your basis for hating him, I guess you have no point after all so just stop insulting him because the next time you do, you would not have just him to contend with but me as well”, Maxwell’s sister warned, looking at Alberta sternly. After a few steps forward, Alberta conceded defeat, “Okay, I think I like him”, Alberta said, looking quite embarrassed. “I knew it!”, Maxwell’s sister exclaimed. “But don’t tell him about it because he would never like me after all the insults I have hurled at him all this while”, Alberta begged. “There is this girl in his class that I think he likes and it puts me off whenever I see them so much as talking to each other”, Alberta revealed, looking seriously at Maxwell’s sister who was really having the time of her life while listening to Alberta shoot herself in the foot. “So why don’t you tell him that you think you are in love with him?”, Maxwell’s sister asked, eagerly waiting to hear Alberta’s answer. “He is going to kill me if I ever told him!”, Alberta replied. “Moreover, it is not in my place to tell him that I like him, it should be the other way round”, Alberta said. “Ha-ha, it serves you right”, Maxwell’s sister teased. “I like you as a friend, Alberta but honestly, I can’t imagine you as my future sister-in-law because the two of you are worlds apart and come to think of it, he hates you with so much passion”, Maxwell’s sister added. Maxwell’s sister never revealed to Maxwell the details of the conversation that ensued between Alberta and herself. Maxwell was however content with the meeting because after his sister talked to Alberta, all the insults seized so he cared less about the details. Alberta also never made her real intentions known to Maxwell till he left the school after graduating. Maxwell did not see or hear from Alberta again till after four years. Maxwell had graduated from Secondary School waiting to enter the university. He had gone to watch a football match between the boys in his neighbourhood against the boys from another neighbourhood. Those matches had everything in it and the neutrals enjoyed it to the final whistle because it was more than just twenty-two young boys trying to get the ball into the net of their opponent. Those matches were filled with passion and a quest for glory and the chance to get the full bragging rights as the best inter-neighbourhood team. It was on one of such days that Maxwell had gone to support the footballers from his neighbourhood. The referee had stopped the game in the middle of the match to separate the captains of both teams who were already engaged in a fist fight over what the boys from the other neighbourhood claimed to be a ‘dubious’ free kick  which had been awarded to the boys from Maxwell’s neighbourhood. It was in the midst of the confusion that Maxwell saw Alberta in a distance. She had changed completely. Her breasts had grown bigger and had been well positioned in her school uniform. She had grown long hair and it made her look very beautiful. Her curves had developed and she had turned into a beautiful young lady. Maxwell could not believe his eyes. “It is not as if she was not pretty at first but I think this time, her beauty has multiplied”, Maxwell thought to himself. Rudolph and Raphael had also completed Secondary School. Immediately, Raphael saw Alberta, he rushed to Maxwell’s side and said, “Dude, there goes your wife”, pointing to Alberta who was walking home from school on the other side of the pitch. “She has changed totally”, Maxwell said. “I would go and talk to her if I were you”, Raphael said. “Hell no!”, Maxwell yelled. “I don’t want to be insulted or disrespected by her anymore”. “I had enough of her while we were in High school”, Maxwell added. “Just go and say hello and if she insults you, you will just come back”, Raphael insisted. “I don’t want to”, Maxwell fought back. Before Maxwell could say anything else, Raphael signalled to Alberta to come over and pointed at Maxwell. “What are you doing?”, Maxwell asked angrily. “I am getting you a girlfriend”, Raphael responded sarcastically. “Just sit back, relax and watch me do my thing”. “Maxwell had already started shaking when he saw Alberta making her way over to where they were seated. “When she gets her and asks, I will tell her that you are the one who wants to talk to her and not me”, Maxwell said in a shaky tone of voice. Alberta walked graciously across the pitch and as she inched closer to the place that Maxwell was seated, time almost stood still in Maxwell’s head. Alberta’s body movement was in sync with Maxwell’s vision and for the first time in a long while, he saw the features of a young and beautiful woman in the making. “Good Afternoon”, Alberta greeted as she finally reached her destination. “Good Afternoon”, both Maxwell and Raphael. “Hi Maxwell”, Alberta said to get Maxwell’s attention because he was looking away from her. “Hi”, Maxwell responded and turned to look at her. Immediately Maxwell responded, Raphael excused the two of them. The two of them used the time to talk about what each of them had been up to since they last saw each other. It was the first time that the two of them had had a conversation that was devoid of any form of hostility. Maxwell enjoyed the conversation and the fact that he was getting to know Alberta beyond her bitter state. Alberta enjoyed the meeting even more because she had finally engaged in a meaningful conversation with her High School crush. All that while that the two of them conversed, butterflies were causing her stomach to feel a sense of belonging. They exchanged phone numbers and parted company after the football match had long ended. In a few months’ time, Maxwell had gained admission into the university and was about leaving for school in another town. He was excited about the opportunity to finally be free from his father’s eagle-eye watch and have time for himself. Maxwell finally left for school and vowed to come back with distinction so as to set an example for his siblings. When Maxwell arrived on his university’s campus for the first time, he knew that he was about to enter a whole new different world altogether. He saw many beautiful young people who were eager to have a feel of the university’s life. Maxwell was shocked to the bone when he saw many visually-impaired people all packed in a bus heading to one of the halls of the university. He curiously asked one of the boys who was standing in the queue with him, “Are these blind people going to be our classmates?” The young man turned and looked at him from head to toe before he responded. “That is a derogatory response, young man”. “The word is ‘visually-impaired’ not ‘blind’ and yes, they are going to be our classmates”, the young man responded. Soon, Maxwell was through with his registration and was assigned a room. He quickly gathered his luggage with the assistance of the many porters that were made available on reopening day and headed straight to his room. When he got to the door, he met two other boys with their family members in front of the door. He looked at the key holder and instantly, he knew those two boys were going to be his roommates for the first year in the university. “Hello, my name is Maxwell”, Maxwell greeted the first guy with his family. “Hi”, the other guy responded. “My name is Benjamin but you can call me Ben”, the young man said. “Come and meet my parents”, Benjamin ordered. Maxwell met Ben’s parents and they entrusted Ben in his care because his father said he was a weakling due to the fact that they had to follow him all the way to his room to ensure his safety unlike Maxwell who had come to school unaccompanied. Maxwell moved on to meet his other roommate’s family. “Hello, I am Maxwell”, Maxwell said with a smile on his face when he got to the place where his roommates’ family was standing. “Hello, I am Richmond”, Maxwell’s second roommate said as he extended his hand to give Maxwell a handshake. All the people gathered exchanged pleasantries and warm wishes and soon, all the family members had to leave. Maxwell, Richmond and Ben escorted the people who had come with them to the gate and bade them farewell and headed straight for their room to unpack and know each other more. As they got to the door, Maxwell inserted his copy of the key to open the door to their room but as he turned the key, it caught something. He forced to turn the key all the way and unfortunately, the key snapped. “What have you done, Maxwell?”, Richmond exclaimed. “I don’t know what happened”, Maxwell said. Benjamin left the two of them and went to get the chief porter to address the issue. When the porter got to the scene he exclaimed, “You people have not even made it past the first day and you are already destroying school property?” “It was not intentional, sir”, Maxwell responded fearing any form of punishment. “This is what we are going to do”, the porter started. “The three of you are going to pay for the lock to be replaced for you”. Maxwell quickly agreed and begged his roommates to agree too even if he was going to be the only one footing the bill. They all agreed and within minutes, a carpenter was called in to save the day. The three boys packed their luggage into the room and selected the beds they each wanted. As they finally settled in, Richmond suggested that the three of them go out to have fun at the freshman party being held at the forecourt of their hall to welcome all the fresh students. “I think I will pass”, Maxwell said as he took off his shirt to go for a shower. “Suit yourself but I won’t stay here with you guys whilst there are beautiful girls out there waiting to be taken”, Richmond said. Richmond managed to talk Ben into going out with him so both of them freshened up and left for the party. Maxwell lay on his bed recounting the journey from home all the way to the campus. Suddenly, he began to miss his family members and friends he had left behind. He quickly picked up his phone and called his father. He informed him that he had arrived safely and had settled in pretty well. He did not mention the ‘key’ incident to him for fear of being scolded over the phone. When he ended the call, he kept scrolling through his contacts and his face lit up when he saw Alberta’s number. He decided to give her a call and have a chat with her. “Hello”, an excited Alberta said as she answered the call from Maxwell. “I thought you were never going to call me”, Alberta complained. “Come on, Alberta, you know I was preparing for school and I also didn’t want to disturb you”. “I haven’t complained, have I?”, Alberta asked. “So how are you settling in?”, Alberta inquired. “I am still trying to get a hang of all of this new life”, Maxwell replied. Maxwell recounted the key issue to Alberta who had a good laugh at his predicament. After chatting for a while, Alberta informed Maxwell that she had to go. Maxwell confessed that he never thought that the two of them could so much as have a decent conversation let alone share a joke. “Such is life, Max”, Alberta said. “You will never know what will come your way till it eventually happens”, she added. “I didn’t know you liked philosophy”, Maxwell teased. “There are a whole lot of things that I like and you will get to know them as time goes on”, Alberta said. “I just can’t wait”, Maxwell said and hang up the phone. He quickly shut the door without locking it for fear of causing another blunder and went to sleep feeling very fulfilled. MORE SOON.

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