They made their way through the crowd to the backstage where children were perched around in colorful carol attires, some waiting their turn to perform and some just jumping about happily
Somebody tapped her lightly.
She turned, and there was Mrs Bimbo, Charis’s mother, with Charis holding her hand tightly. Her eyes were crimson red
“Charis..I’ve been looking all over for you”
Matilda said, bending so their heights meet. Charis pouted her lips and turned her face away
“Hey..hey..Mrs Matilda or whatever you call yourself..leave my daughter alone. This was all your fault. What did i paid you for? You did nothing and now my daughter is devastated..useless girl..oniraru..shiiior. Charis let’s leave. She won’t train you next year..never”
Matilda stood transfixed, mouth agape, watching as Mrs Bimbo sashayed away in her white buba and rumpled green head gear that looked as if it would fall off her head soon. Charis was trying to meet up with her quick strides
“Wait..what was that about?” She turned to Matthew
He burst into laughter then, clutching his middle and almost landed on the floor.
Matilda watched him, amused. She looked around to see a handful of children staring.
They had been staring since Mrs Bimbo hauled those insults at her.
“Matt? Are you okay right now?”
With one palm touching the marbled floor, he held out the other to her so she could pull him up, but she turned and started to walk out of the backstage.
He shouted after her, still trying to pull himself up.
A little skinny boy of about five came up to him, offering him his hand.
“Hey..chap” Matthew said, squatting, so his face came up to the little boy’s.
He was a tall man, with broad shoulders and biceped arms.
“Wanna help uncle?” He asked, circling his arms around the boy who shook his head in response.
“Then let’s go look for my wife”
he jerked to his feet, sweeping the young boy up with him.
He carried the child with him to the door, then dropped him and said
“Now run along boy..or you’ll be late for your performance”
He watched the boy run happily away, then he left.
Outside, it was cold, with the harmattan breeze swaying the branches of the giant trees that lined the not too large premises of Royale Academy.
The trees were decorated with green and red Christmas garlands and sartines, while blinking Christmas lights sang.
Matthew dialed Matilda’s number again. It rang out. He sighed.
He had come out of the school hall where the Christmas carol was holding to call her, after searching for her with his eyes inside, but his phone had rang out now three times.
He started to stroll aimelessy towards the back of the hall, then, as if being led, he changed direction towards the school’s playground and found someone swaying slowly on a swing, head lolled sideways.
This area was dimly lited. Just the reflection of the Christmas lights from a nearby tree. He couldn’t have been sure that it was her because he came from behind, but he called out anyways, standing few feets away.
They had been here before
“Look i’m sorry for..for”
“For being a clown Matt..a big fat clown”
He released his breath then and muttered
Then he hopped onto the next swing beside her
“I’ve been looking all over for you.. damn it.. you could have given me a heart attack”
“Is that how an apology should sound?”
“Do i owe you one? It is Mrs Abimbola who should apologize to you, not me”
“Yea..for being an ungrateful person, for thinking she can treat my baby like trash”
“But why did you laugh? It was like adding salt to injury”
“Because…i wanted the moment to pass..Your face was so hot with embarrassment that i could feel it myself”
He curled his fingers around her jaw, turning her face to his
“Remember this place? Last year..”
“Wow..it’s a year already” she giggled
“This was where we started. This was where you stole my heart completely” he cooed into her ears
She beamed. Allowing the memories of a year ago to fill her head. She brought her hand to close on his, now cupping her face.
“How had it even started..amazing right? One day i was smarting from the pain of losing everything, and the next, an angel walked into my life. Tell me what it was like for you before we had met Matilda..and I’ll tell you mine”
“Just because..the moon is shinning, and the stars are listening..waiting to hear our love story”
“O common now silly”
“Okay..so here is how it all started…”
By Mary AdoleFOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA