Episode 3 - Turning Around

It was resumptioin again. The beginning of a new session was always annoying to John. He considered the new students as nuisance to the school because they were always everywhere. He always thought the crowd of new students were as pieces of tiny paper littering the whole ground. Those new students would always ask silly questions about things in the school. The only kind of question John felt obligated to answer a wandering new student is the question to help the student locate a classroom or a building. Ben always tried his best to correct this notion. But, John was consistently adamant. "When I was a new student, I made good use of the student handbook and the school maps. So, I don't need to ask silly questions from anyone," that has always been John's reply.

This time, John was even angrier because of what happened late last session. Cindy's cynical reply to his relationship proposal and her abrupt dismissal of him had left a huge black scaly scar in his mind. His anger was fueled when he spotted Cindy in front of the departmental office. She had just alighted from a black jeep. A dark big bearded guy with small eyes was driving. He was in black suit with red tie. She had leaned sideways for a kiss before she alighted. "That must be the rich boyfriend," John said to himself. Ben did not recognize the real cause of John's anger expressed in his eyes. He assumed John was angry because of the new students roaming about. So, Ben did not notice anything unusual.

A large crowd had gathered in front of the departmental notice board to check the results to the examinations last semester. John and Ben had managed to struggle through the crowd to the front of the list containing the results for their class. John had all As in 8 courses. Yet he was angry because he did not score 90s but 80s. Additionally, he checked Cindy's grades and realized she had 6 As. He had wished she did not pass that much. At the same time, he knew he taught her well, so, it was almost impossible for her to fail. Ben also had 6 As and 2 Bs. This time Ben knew something must be wrong because John's face was fuming with disgust. It was as if his nostrils was breathing out smoke and fire. Ben could not help but ask, "John, what is wrong with you?" John said, "Let's leave, please. I'll explain when we get back to the room."

Ben was surprised to hear all John had to say. He wondered why John did not mention a word about it to him. It was not time to play the blame game, Ben thought to himself. However, he could not help but talk to John about the hate that was bottled deep inside. "John, you can't hate her because she doesn't want to date you. The hatred and bitterness doesn't affect her. It destroys you; it eats you up till there's nothing left inside you but hate for all women. This is not the path you want to follow. Trust me." Ben sighed. He added, "More so, God says we should love one another with agape love."

John was not absolutely sure if all he heard made any effect on how he felt. This he was sure of, he felt lighter in his heart after he told his best friend all that transpired between Cindy and himself. That evening was the first day of fellowship in the semester. Academic work had not started, so, John had no excuse to miss fellowship meeting. Through out the service, John felt as if all those who spoke on the altar knew his mind - the drama presentation was on forgiveness; the choir's song was titled "Letting Go of the Past"; the welcome banner read "Fresh Start". Finally, the student pastor preached and made a statement that struck John really hard like lightning "God could bring about new beginnings if only you would just allow God."

Throughout the semester, John was not bitter, neither did he carry hatred around like a huge bag of sand and stones around his neck dragging him down. John did not develop any crush for any other lady through out the semester. Even John was surprised at himself. Ben told him that his consistent attendance to fellowship meetings had caused it. John refuted, but, he could not really deny that it was a contributing factor. John was so consistent at fellowship meetings that he joined the ushering group. Ben always teased him that he was the tallest amongst the ushers. John usually smiled and added that he was the also the most handsome. John had a pretty great semester. He had all As in all his courses as usual. He felt good about himself, those around him and his Creator.

In the passage of time, the session ended, which was the end of 300 level. John, Ben and Rachael got together to celebrate the end of the session. They drank Coke and ate some snacks. They were excited that the beginning of the next session would be the last session for them as undergraduates.

Ben's mobile phone beeped. It was the alarm he had set for the fellowship get together that evening. The event was to take place at the school's garden. The get together was a social event organized as thanksgiving to God for the successful completion of the session. John, Ben and Rachael wished they had not eaten before attending the event. This was because there was so much food available to eat. People sang, some danced, some played the puppet, some read poems and so on. It was all fun. After a while, it was not so much fun when John felt isolated as Ben and Rachael took their punch drinks, sat under a tree alone and were engrossed in their love-talks as usual.

John strolled around till his eye caught something interesting. It was a tall dark lady with long dark hair. She was a familiar face. He noticed he had seen her singing amidst the choir; possibly taken a couple of solos in church and led a number of worship sessions. This evening, at the get together, it seemed she had exceptionally long legs. As he checked her out, stylishly and subconsciously, with the side of his eyes, he noticed a spider climbing up her flower-designed dress. If it was a small spider, he would have easily ignored it. But, the spider was considerably large. He hesitated in telling her because he felt it would be somewhat embarrassing to himself, since, he had been staring at her. More so, he noticed the spider when it was at her bust region. After a careful consideration of all the factors involved, he decided to keep shut.

John took a peek at Ben and Rachael where they were seated. Just as he turned his head around, he heard a scream. It was the voice of a lady. He turned around again to see she was screaming with her hands held up in the air. She stood up from the tree root, where she sat, and was jumping and shaking her body in an attempt to shake off the spider, which was by her neck region by now. Her friends around her could not help her as they were all afraid to remove the spider. John did not hesitate. He ran towards her and pulled off the spider with his index finger and his thumb. He flung it towards the bush near by. She had to catch her breath before she could even say thank you. Her friends just kept laughing because of her hysteric reaction.

John turned around, wanting to go back to his seat, she said, "Can I at least know your name?" John turned around and said, "I am John." "I am Esther," she replied. The conversation kept going. In no time, they were alone, seated on the tree root where she was before. John never hiccupped or stammered as they spoke. He was as fluent as ever. John knew he was not under any pressure talking with her. They exchanged phone numbers. After the get together was over, he could not just leave her so he walked her to her room, continuing their discussion. He wished he had known her long ago because he really enjoyed her company.

John travelled home for the sessional break. Throughout the break, John kept in touch with Esther. They called often and texted always. They were enthusiastic for resumption because they wanted to talk physically once more. John knew he had developed emotions for Esther and he suspected she had done the same too.

(To be continued ...)

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