Chiboy was visiting me again; after 10 long years! Just wow! I could barely contain myself. It was almost the same kind of feeling you get when you hear that your promotion letter at the office, was coming in anytime soon. Tingling raw excitement! Delight; and maybe even sheer whimsies! You keep asking everybody if they have heard any words yet and stuff. Something like that. It was just plain crazy. Crazier even, when you consider that the enthusiasm was just because of a 17 year old boy! Yes, Chigozie; or Chiboy as we prefer calling him, is just a few months older than 17. In fact, if my calculations are right, he only turned 17 about 3 months ago! But that was the exact same reason his coming kept thrilling me. He was young. Innocent. Full of life. Inquisitive and endlessly fun to be with! He was always going to be wonderful company – something I was desperately needing more and more these past months; more than ever before. I was admittedly animated and was pleasantly looking forward to the visit. Early details already suggest he was going to spend a considerable time in my home. Anything from three months was looking the best possible time frame. He was on holiday, so that looked inch perfect.
Chiboy is Chinelo’s only son. And Chinelo is my girlfriend. We have been best friends for as long as I could remember. In fact, our mothers were ‘besties’ too and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that their friendship simply transcended straight down to us. We had gone on to do a lot of things in common. We attended the same secondary school even though we didn’t do so at the Primary level as well. We also gained admission into the same higher institution – Michael Okpara University (before it was upgraded). I went on to study Marketing, while Chinelo pursued a Law degree. It meant she would spend a year more in school than myself so we didn’t leave at the same time. National Service was next and luckily, I landed a job just as soon as it was over. Chinelo’s stars didn’t really shine as urgently. She would still spend about another year or two before getting her hands on a decent job after service. But everything would change suddenly as soon as she got hooked to this amazing guy and they began preparations for marriage! I remember being taken by surprise most of the time as events after events kept sweeping past her in blurry succession! She instantly got married; then picked up a better job somewhere else and I quickly learnt she was pregnant with a baby boy! It was just a rapid series of very heart-gladdening events!
The boy would become Chiboy. A very handsome light-skinned baby boy. I was still working with the private firm I had secured a job with at the time and I usually had to make the fairly lengthy distance to Chinelo’s house to spend some time with her and the baby, every day after work. It was quite the sacrifice and it always pleased me to know both herself and the husband appreciated the effort. The husband in particular was just adorable and I still feel even until today, that it is his personality that his son had mostly picked up. He was right about the perfect man and I sometimes envied Chinelo’s luck with marriage. I was older than her by a few months and I was still very single. I wasn’t even dating anybody at the time and the handful that had tried getting on with me turned out to be either assholes or just outright mismatches! It was clearly becoming an unwanted burden as the months wore on and I wasn’t feeling comfortable discussing such matters with Chinelo anymore. So over time, loneliness began to creep in and I had to increasingly look for ways I could totally immerse myself into activities that would help distract me from such concerns. It still happened to be with Chinelo! While it looked as though her seemingly perfect marriage was such a trigger for self-pity and sympathy, visiting her home every now and then turned out to be just the soothing relief each time.
It was after about 7 years of constant visit and rapport with her family that I got to understand what the true attraction was – Chigozie. I had become immensely fond of him. He was now 7 years old and in Primary School. Given how often I did spend time with him, I was certain he was already taking me for one of his aunts. He would call me Auntie Daniela and would weirdly prefer my company to that of his mom! This meant I also equally longed to see him each day; bringing him little gifts and in some cases, dashing him a few coins. We would go on to play for some time before I eventually get to leave. I couldn’t even exactly explain why I was doing all those and since his parents always felt happy about it all, I understandably continued. The lad seemed very happy equally, and the same could be said of myself. I hardly now had time to worry about relationships; instead, I always occupied my mind with thoughts of my little friend and ways I could make him even happier.
There was this little cool but weird habit he had, which I began thinking I could make a fascinating trick out of. He was always touching and fondling any considerably cold part on someone’s body. And it was something I had seen him do to everyone at home. Chinelo even once explained that he said he loved the cold feel, and he would continue fondling the area until it went warm before switching to another part. While he preferred fondling his mom’s soft cold calf and his dad’s near-chilly earlobes, he kind of favored my upper arms in my case! Probably because of the considerable amount of ever-cold flesh I had on them! They were a tad flabby but unarguably soft! It was always quite amusing seeing him curling up and down the cushioning arm. And as soon as I conceived the said trick, it worked like a charm! Basically, it was a simple one. Since he enjoyed clinging onto my soft upper arm like some glue, I always used it as a bait to getting him to do things he wouldn’t ordinarily want to do. Just like most kids, a simple promise of buying them biscuits and sweets in future would get them to do things like, chores, take-homes, etc. So in Chiboy’s case, all I had to do was tell him he was going to be allowed to fondle my upper arm if he did so-so-so and so. Like I said earlier, it worked like charm! He barely spent another minute before doing as requested and it mostly worked whenever I was seeking truths on facts, from him!
This and many more, made it near-impossible for any day to pass without wanting to visit Chinelo’s house. And I almost jumped in joy the day she suddenly asked if I was fine with Chiboy spending some part of his approaching holidays with me at my house! I was never expecting such news and to be honest, I wasn’t ever thinking it was even possible given I was only just a family friend and not a relation. But then, who said I wasn’t over the moon?! I totally loved the opportunity and I wasted no time in agreeing to the idea! I was further delighted when I was told Chiboy was even the one who demanded he be allowed to spend some of his holidays with me. He had always wanted it from his parents and they eventually had to give in when they realized he wasn’t backing down any soon. He was certainly seeing me as part of the family now and that made me feel very honoured in essence. I quickly began making preparations for his coming. I fixed my Tv which had been faulty for quite some time. And then the tap on the kitchen sink. I also gave my bedroom and living room a face-lift, bringing in new flowers and in some cases, new wallpaper. Not to talk of a cool collection of toys and storybooks I had to sign up for! If Chiboy was going to feel comfortable in my place, then I had to have a home closely similar to his. Chinelo and her husband had managed to build up a decent amount of resources and wealth and that had reflected in the kind of things one finds in their house. While I may not be able to replicate all of it, I still had to do the couple that required little fund. Chiboy joined me a few weeks later. I picked him up myself.