Chioma is restless. She has just returned from school and can hardly breathe because the house is stuffy. She peels off her uniform top, leaving the loose spaghetti top she had worn underneath. She reaches into her wardrobe to get a skirt and her eyes lock on a skirt she hasn’t worn in ages. But this would be too short and way too tight for me.
She is on that spot a few seconds, contemplating her options. She eventually reaches out for it and wears it. Looking at herself, she smiles. Chioma, you are hot! She could imagine the stares she would get if she was to walk around the neighborhood the way she was dressed.
Closing her wardrobe, and lifting the curtains of her room, she reaches for her bed, hoping to get some rest when she hears a knock on the door. Oh, not now! She lies on the bed and chooses to ignore the persistent knocks, hoping the intruder would leave. It couldn’t be her parents as they usually returned late.
Unable to take it anymore, she screams from her room. “Who’s that?” The only response to her question is a longer barrage of knocks. She drags herself out of bed and walks out of her room, towards the sitting room. She shouts louder, “Who’s that?”
Now there was silence. No knocking, Had the fellow turned away or had he or she heard her and was waiting for her to open? She couldn’t tell. Getting to the door, with all the irritation of being disturbed, she barges again, “Who’s there!”
Not waiting for her answer, she opens the door. It is Mr. Iwalewa. Chioma all at once feels silly and embarrassed. He is the most respected man in her estate; a God-fearing man, with a lovely family; known for both his wealth and impeccable character.
As her culture demands, she bends her knees in greeting but she knows that cannot undo her disregard for his person already as she shouted, demanding his identity, few minutes back. If she had known it was him, she would have been polite. She hates herself for how he must think of her now.
She notices again that he is talking to her rather formally; not his usual jovial self. He doesn’t pat her on the shoulder as he normally does. Chioma wonders why until she remembers what she is wearing. Mr. Iwalewa is either looking into her eyes or looking at the parcel he came to drop for her parents.
Chioma feels so sad. She had disrespected this gentle and noble man by her dressing. Two blows in one. Why did I wear this silly outfit?
After delivering his message, he leaves, rather in a hurry but Chioma sees beyond that. He is disappointed in her. Her words had been harsh; her dressing had been just as bad. She fears that all the courtesy she had exhibited on all occasions they had met prior had been rubbished in just a few minutes.
Chioma had always respected and admired Mr. Iwalewa and had longed for his approval. He had gotten that a few months back and had been glad that he respected her too, as she had heard him on several recent occasions tell his 3-year old son to greet ‘Aunty Chioma’. Still standing where he left her, she wonders if she hasn’t thrown all that away!
What do you think about Chioma’s manners? Comments appreciated. Thanks!