I love the Christmas season.
I counted down to 25th of December from the 1st of January of the year. I looked forward to Christmas more than I looked forward to my own birthday. I would sing “jingle bells “in October when the rain would be taking its final bow for the year. ’silent night” in November when the moon was at its fullest and the nights were calm just like when the wise men went in search of Jesus,”Santa Claus is coming to town” to remind me of Christmas and how fun it was going to be and finally “O holy night” in December.
Once it was 20th my dad would drive the whole family which comprised of him, mum,I and our dog “Mr. jingles “’ down to the village to meet granny. I would go with my cousins to parade the village looking for churches that held their carols during the day and on days that wasn’t on Sunday just so we could hear their choir sing as many Christmas songs as they could. It didn’t matter to us that our mates were somewhere in the community playing or watching the normal village league, all that mattered was the Christmas songs filling us up. And this year wasn’t going to be different or so I thought.
“Adaku” my grandma called hugging me immediately I stepped out of the car. She held me tight as her perfume choked me, she smelt of her rose powder and duo and it got me smiling because I knew that my grand mum made the best chin chin. I didn’t have time to inquire about the chin chin because immediately my cousins came out of the house shouting with joy which got me laughing.
We weren’t such a big family since grand mum and Pa had lost most of their children during the war, now they only had uncle Eze who married aunty Ifeoma and had Kamsi the tall dark guy that looked like pa so much and Success the ever beautiful girl whose smile could light up the room, she is few months older than me but always rounded it up to a year but I didn’t mind because I had Chetachi and Nkechi the twins from uncle Obinna and aunty Ella they were my mates and my companions when we went on our church missions ,there was ‘Nnanna and Ifeanyi’’ the older boys from uncle Udoka and aunty Nneoma but they hardly had time away from their game box to notice us. Then Dad and Mum who only had me.
I unpacked listening to Nkechi and Chetachi rant about how bored they have been since they returned yesterday which was Saturday and how the others have been acting all big and how they couldn’t really fit in which summed up to the fact that they missed me.
‘’there is a new church and today is their carol’’ Nkechi said drawing my attention.
‘’where?’’ I asked dropping the clothe I was folding.
“ just after that shop we buy cold drinks’’ Chetachi answered smiling
‘’do you want to join us?’’ she asked which got me laughing.
‘’yes,definitely” I agree and together we sneak out laughing and smiling.
In the village we had no responsibility only making sure our rooms were neat. There was enough work force and grandma wouldn’t hear that we did chores when her daughter in laws and daughter were around.
‘’cover your head ‘’ Nkechi told me and immediately. I noticed the church in front of us. ‘’St Peter’s Anglican church’’, Anglican? I asked my cousins with my eyes. They should have known better. The only churches we ever went to were protestant churches. After a priest had duped pa my family had left the Anglican church and no one ever talked about them and we never wanted to have anything to do with them even when Pa died no one invited them to come for the burial
‘’its just songs’’ Chetachi said begging me.
‘’just the hallelujah chorus and we will be done’’ Nkechi assisted her sister and I at that moment ‘’what harm could it cause?” I asked myself as I took the first step into the church. It wasn’t a new church as they had told me, the compound felt safe and as the air hit my face I felt calm. Sitting down on a pew with my cousins I admired the features,it felt like heaven. Everywhere was neatly arranged. The choir stood up to sing and that was when I saw him. Everything stopped,the air froze,time stilled.His smile was all I could see. I watched as his lips moved and parted as words of the song flew out of his mouth, he was the soloist.
‘’lets go now” Chetachi said tapping me
‘’a little longer’’ I replied and those were the same words I said all 6 times she asked until at last the service was over and we found ourselves moving out with the other members.
Outside of the church I found myself searching for him but either It wasn’t meant to be or he was too busy I didn’t see him until someone tapped me as we made our way back home.
“hey’’ he said leaving me speechless and from that moment I knew that we weren’t going to be just friends, we were going to be more than that and as if he knew what I was thinking he smiled.
‘’hello good…’’ I lingered as I checked the time, ‘’evening’’ I completed which got him laughing and once again I was lost in his eyes.
‘’hello’’ Nkechi said drawing me back to earth.
‘’ I saw you girls in church and when I saw you guys walking my way I decided to join in’’ he said all the time with his eyes on me and not on Nkechi he was talking to.
‘’ooh where do you stay?’’ chetachi asked as we resumed our walk back home.
‘’ behind the field at that new house, we just moved back’’ he said which got my cousins talking as our house was close to his.
‘’I am chetachi, this is my sister Nkechi and my cousin Adaku’’ she introduced us and I could swear I saw his lips repeat my name with a smile.
‘’ nice to meet you all, I’m Nmeso’’ he said and immediately my cousins started talking.
‘’let’s buy blub from here’’ Nkechi said dragging her sister leaving Nmeso with me.
‘’can I have your number?’ he asked startling me.
‘’huh?’’ I asked
“I just want to add you to the church youth forum’’ he stammered out and I smiled at the thought that I could still make a guy stammer. I pulled out my phone which had me on my matriculation gown as a wallpaper and unlocked it giving it to him as he gave me his.
‘’thank you’’ he said as my cousins walked to us arguing over something.
‘’he loves me so, he loves me not’’ I said to myself throwing each chin chin inside my mouth. I repeated the process silently praying that the last ends in ‘’he loves me’ ’but once again fate decided to play a trick at me and the last ended in ‘’ he loves me not’’ I picked up the very last piece and broke it into two ‘’ he loves me not’’ I ate half smiling ‘’he loves me so’’ I ate the last one smiling and immediately my phone vibrates indicating I had a text.
‘’what’s your favourite Christmas song?’’ it read from Nmeso.
PS::: check out Rah’s Chinchin if this story got you hungry.
This story is a fiction inspired by Rah’s Chinchin