THE EXCHANGE : Episode 1 – 10

THE EXCHANGE

Episode 1

I had just graduated from Secondary School; my dream was to be my own boss and start a hairdressing/beauty salon. I was not really the academic type and I knew what I wanted. I wasn’t dull but I just didn’t want post-secondary education. I actually passed my ‘School Cert’ with excellent grades, so in January, my mum enrolled me with a friend of hers to learn the skills required for my ‘dream’.

My dad was not really in support bcos he had higher dreams for his only girl and the last child. My brothers were in various institutions of higher learning and he wanted me to at least get a National Diploma even if I wasn’t going to work with it but my mum stood by me and somehow got my dad on board since he wasn’t going to pay for the training at first, but he later did.

About a year after I started with “Aunty Betty” (My mum’s friend that was training me), I met one of her nephews, Tunji. He was a student of the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos…they were out of school due to the ‘Ali Must Go’ riots & had come to stay with his aunt. I was the only one at the salon when he came in and I wondered what a man was doing at beauty shop, he greeted me with a smile and that was it. I couldn’t get that smile out of my head. He was soft spoken and very intelligent, he asked me some questions about school and when I told him my plans, he said it was a wise one bcos there was nothing as fulfilling as following one’s passion in life. Aunty Betty officially introduced us when she arrived at the salon….I must have made an impression on him as well bcos he kept coming to the salon everyday till it was time to go back to his school.

Whenever he’s around, we talked about the happenings around us but most times, he would crack jokes…he was really hilarious. At a point, Aunty Betty had to ask what we were up to…she would say jokingly that she was totally in support, if we planned to take our friendship to the next level, to which Tunji would smile & I would pretend not to understand what she was talking about.
I was only 18 and not that experienced in relationship stuff…the only boy that ever claimed he was my boyfriend back in high school got a beating of his life when two of my brothers caught up with him (the benefits/woes of being an only girl with 4 big brothers). These were the same guys that would switch girls like they were disposable plates but their sister was off limits to all the boys in the neighborhood.

Tunji left after the schools were reopened and I thought that was it…after all; he never said he wanted to date me, although he was always coming to the salon all through his stay. At first I had expected him to say something but when he left, without words, I assumed he was just a friendly guy that wanted to spend time with me and his aunt. The day he left for school, he sent me a letter through his aunt but I did not want to read it in her presence so I put it in my pocket, when I got home I put it under a pile of clothes in my wardrobe and completely forgot about it.

There was a day I told Aunty Betty I wouldn’t be at the Salon because I had some errands to run for my mum. It must have been about 3 weeks after Tunji left…when I got home, I was surprise to see him in our house. He was in the sitting room with two of my brothers & they seemed to be having a wonderful time. They were talking and laughing…I was shocked at their reaction.

Later when we were together, he told me he came from school to collect some money from his aunt and would be around for a couple of days and when he didn’t see me at the Salon, he asked aunty Betty for my home address. He said he wanted to surprise me but I was more of afraid than surprised; my dad was home, I cann’t imaging what his reaction would be after Tunji left. It was the first time any boy came to look for me…I was almost 20 years old then but my dad still saw me as a kid.

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