Shocked eyes all around the auditorium stared wildly at her; eyes that knew her and eyes that didn’t. Some students burst into laughter; others just looked in surprise at the chick that had just mesmerized the atmosphere.
Then its stench hit the air.
Nadia watched in hotly amplified embarrassment as people gasped at the nasty stink; some ran out of the auditorium, some hurled insults at her while others just laughed at her keeping their distance from ‘ground zero’ where she sat.
Nadia buried her faced in her palms. The lioness in her had died; the fierce thugness that lived in her was instantly choked to death. She had become vulnerable.
She buried her shameful face into her arms on the desk, stewing in the stench of her own fart.
A year later
The graduation ceremony was a colorful one. There was festivity and celebration in the air.
Wilson straightened his suit and graduation gown as he walked to the stage to shake the hand of the Vice Chancellor and collect his degree.
Outside the huge theatre hall where the event took place, families, friends and loved ones gathered around graduands to celebrate and take photographs.
Moments later, Wilson handed his academic gown to his younger brother, excused himself from his jubilant family and took a stroll to the gents.
On his way he had to pass by one of the lecture halls of the Administrative Faculty.
He had hardly strolled by when he saw her sitting at an extreme end inside the hall, buried deep in books.
He went in and walked over to where she sat.
She was dressed in a pair of ankle-length jeans, a flowery blouse and canoe shaped flat heeled loafers. Her face had no make-up, and she wore a pair of silver rimmed spectacles. Her hair had been neatly tied back in a bun.
He stood firm behind her desk. If he hadn’t taken a close look, he wouldn’t have recognized her.
She jumped, held her chest and looked up.
‘Wilson! You startled me!’
He drew up a chair and sat next to her.
‘Nadia, I can’t believe it’s you. You’ve changed!’
‘Hmm…thanks’. Her eyes were back in her book.
‘What happened? You just disappeared and we never saw you around the faculty again.’
‘That’s because I changed my course, department and faculty.’
‘I needed to.’ She turned a page. Wilson noticed her fingers bore no nail paint and her nails had been trimmed short.
‘I was surprised that you weren’t graduating. What…’
He didn’t finish. She slammed the book shut, interrupting him and turned to face him.
‘Wilson, lets just say I’ve gotten wiser and finally found myself.’
‘Oh…Okay. I get you. Hey, how about joining me and the boys, we’ll be having an after grad party at the…’
‘Sorry. I don’t do parties anymore’.
She began packing her books into a rucksack.
Wilson watched her, speechless and confused.
This was not the Nadia he knew. Something had happened to her. She had become a bookish freak. Her sensual and seductive look had given way to a conservative one. She no longer cut the picture of the sassy, sexy, uninhibited and naughty vixen who had ruled the campus queens. She was now a different Nadia – a reserved, less fashionable and introverted nerd; all her loud and exaggerated beauty had been buried; as if it had been choked to death; it’s like she had undergone a personality plastic surgery.
All Wilson knew was that she had disappeared from the scene in the Social Sciences Faculty after some unclear and rumored incident a year ago, only to resurface in the Administration Faculty.
He helped her with the rest of her books. She took them, smiled, murmured her thanks and walked away in quikened strides that lacked the grace of a seductress' catwalk as she was usually accustomed to.
Wilson stood by the desk and watched her walk away. He suddenly felt uneasy, hot and stuffy inside his suit. He wanted to go after her and talk to her more but a strong instinct told him to let go. He watched Nadia turn a corner round the building and disappear from sight, questioning thoughts bombarding his mind over her strange metamorphosis.
© Lolu Kush (Afronuts) - Story
© Kimson Masters - Illustrations