“Should I call back? It seems you are busy”, she said, obviously frustrated with the guy’s inattentiveness.
You didn’t mean to eavesdrop but when you are in a noisy 40-man room, you tend to overhear a lot of conversations. This one was on the bunk beside you and she had been on a video call for about 30 minutes. From some of the things you heard, it seemed she met the guy on camp and they had something going on.
Camp romance. Love to see it. By that, you meant love to know what becomes of it. Personally, you don’t think anyone could build a relationship in three weeks, in a temporary place like the NYSC orientation camp when you might not see each other after. You can get to know each other but being in love? No.
However, a part of you hopes it is possible. A certain someone with a beautiful smile and smooth, unblemished skin made you hope. How many times do you meet someone you are physically attracted to, who gets you and can hold a conversation for as long as necessary?
You know when people say “You’re so fine, take all my money”? It became feasible when you saw him. He wasn’t devastatingly handsome but his smile is striking, like when the cloud splits to reveal the sun.
That was the guy who fixed a smile you would previously call silly on your face. Remember the time you were so close to flouting lights out just so his smile would be the last thing you see before you go to bed and how you settled for his picture instead, one of the several you took?
You were repulsed by people’s touch, even females but you suddenly couldn’t keep your hands to yourself around him. No inappropriate touches of course, your home training would not allow that. It was more subtle – finding yourself beside him during parade, sometimes unintentionally, where you get to rub shoulders with him during slow march; him keeping a seat for you in programmes where you don’t sit by platoon. You were drawn to him and it was the first time you would admit such feelings to yourself.
But you were scared. You were scared that the rush of emotions might be because you see him everyday, that he is just that nice to everyone and it’s you taking things out of context; that things might fizzle out after camp with your track record of losing interest or barely keeping in touch; that you might find yourself in a relationship where you do things you don’t want to just because he asks.
So, you kept quiet and enjoyed his company till camp ended and then, subscribed to the hashtag #NoRomance2022. You blocked him everywhere, serving yourself breakfast before he could.