O, What a foretaste of glory divine! by Christiana Obeng-Koranteng

Being the brilliant student that I was, it would be an understatement to say that I was devastated when denied admission into my first choice of school.  I had 8 1’s when the exam results were released, so what went wrong? What of the many days and nights I prayed to God, “Lord, give me St. Roses or I die”? Instead I was granted admission to St. Charbel’s Lyceum. Y3p3 school papa aa, wose St. Charbel. Not that it was a grade C school or anything of that sort, but I hated the idea of going to a private school. I hated the idea of meeting spoilt rich kids even more. Try as my mother might, I refused to have anything to do with school. It had been 2 weeks already since the first-year students reported to school. Trust me when I say I would have gladly sold pure water on the streets than attend a school I didn’t like. I spent every single night crying my eyes out. Then one morning, I woke up and realized that my parents had had enough. It was time to move on.

I can’t say much about my first day at St. Charbel’s. I hardly paid attention to anything. Who cared about how the school looked, or the eyes that stared at me, or the registration process I went through to finalize my admission? Certainly not I.

“I know this is very hard for you. But things don’t always work out as planned. When life throws lemons at you, make lemonade and enjoy. You’ll be fine, sweetheart, you’ll be fine.” Those were my parents’ last words before bidding me farewell. I wondered when at all my parents turned into motivational speakers. Sigh.

Then it all began. I stayed in my class during assembly on one occasion, and was approached by one boy who asked me what I was doing in class when the rest of the school had assembled. I could tell from his tone, that he was my senior, but little did I know he was the school prefect, Senior Mark. Before I could answer, he dragged me to the assembly hall and made me kneel in front of the whole school. On another occasion, that same boy punished me to arrange all the chairs in the assembly hall after the school’s annual exhibition.  His reason was that I didn’t sign up to have anything exhibited like my mates did. The next day, while rushing for dining, my knife fell into the gutter right in front of the dining hall when I bumped into him. Need I say he took advantage of that to punish me because I used just a fork while eating? A week later, my ankle got twisted when I slipped and fell in the bath house. The corollary, I was five minutes late for church service. My ‘sweetheart’ was at his best when he punished me to sweep his class after evening studies.

That evening, it took me a whole 15 minutes to get a dust pan, and off I was to his class. I didn’t expect what I saw, or should I say who I saw. Senior Mark was sitting motionless. I moved closer. He still looked on without a word. Then I saw tears run down his cheeks. Not knowing what else to do, I helped myself to a chair right next to him.

“One year. One whole year”, he muttered. “It was my birthday. She missed my party. I was hurt, annoyed and mad. How could she have forgotten my birthday? The day had died away and still, not a word from her. When she finally called, I ignored. All six calls. I was too angry to listen to whatever excuse she had to give. About 30 minutes later, my mum informed me Anjali was at Rev. Cooker Memorial Hospital. We rushed there but she was already gone. Anjali had just died. My best friend died without speaking to me”. He said amidst tears. “She was on her way to my party when she had a severe asthma attack and was rushed to the hospital. Knowing that death was already laying its icy hands on her, she tried to speak to me. She wanted to see me one last time, but I let my stupid pride get in the way”.

I looked over at him and could tell he was genuinely hurting.

“We had been friends since we could talk. I let my best friend die without seeing me. I wasn’t there when she needed me the most. I failed her. I can never…”, he broke down completely.

I couldn’t stand to see him this broken. I reached out and held him close to me. At that moment, I felt like planting three solid dirty knocks on his head, for all he had put me through, but the Christian in me asked, “What would Jesus do to a soul in distress?” Sigh. He was so vulnerable. I wrapped him in my arms; his head on my chest, feeling my every heartbeat. That night, Senior Mark wept uncontrollably. The more he wept, the tighter I hugged him. With every tear that run down his cheeks, I felt his agony. Grabbing some tissue, I wiped his tears. We sat speechless for some more time, as he put himself together. He walked me to my house, and wished me a goodnight. It was 3 am when I finally retired to bed. What a day!

I loved Saturdays because after general cleaning, I had the whole day to myself, doing practically nothing other than waiting for entertainment. Not that I participated in anyway, I just loved to watch others while they had fun; some while the lights were out in the assembly hall, others in poorly-lighted areas after entertainment was over. Teenagers satisfying their lustful desires, thinking they were in love. Ha! Today in particular was Rex night. I couldn’t wait to feast my eyes on what others would be doing. Not that boys didn’t find me attractive enough to do same with me, but I was like the promised land; you could see it, but never step a foot there. Not to brag, but me ho y3 f3 aa, 3mma me nka? I was ready for some real action, when I felt something warm on the back of my right palm. I turned and found Senior Mark, sitting by my side. I stood and attempted walking away as fast as my legs would allow, but he held my arm and pulled me back.

“Please don’t leave”, he blurted. I looked up and our eyes met. I sat like an obedient child. “I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to you. I know I’ve been a pain in the neck. The truth is, the moment I set my eyes on you, I knew you had a pure heart, a passionate soul. Something about you reminded me so much of Anjali. I couldn’t come to terms with her death, let alone forgive myself. I wouldn’t let any girl come near me. But when I saw you, I knew those walls I built were bound to come tumbling down sooner or later. I had to act fast to stop that from happening, and that’s why I did what I did. After last night, I knew you had already broken through my defense. I’m so sorry for everything I did”, he said looking into my eyes.

I saw sincerity in his eyes. He suggested we take a walk, and I agreed. We spoke of random things. He was actually a cool person. The devil I thought I knew was actually human.

As the weeks went by, Senior Mark and I were fast becoming friends. He took a keen interest in my academics, and invited me over to his class from time to time to help me with subjects I found challenging. It was on one such occasion I realized he was an Adonis. He had the perfect haircut, smooth and cute lips, his eyebrows and lashes were perfectly arranged. Almost too perfectly if you ask me. I was still admiring his chocolate skin when I caught him staring at me. Oh sorry. He caught me starring at him. He only smiled. I felt embarrassed. Who wouldn’t, after being caught in flagrante delicto admiring someone teaching you polynomials? The siren saved me when it went off. Thank God!

Senior Mark passed his final exam with flying colours and gained admission into the university. I was glad. We used to meet up during vacations, where I updated him on happenings in St. Charbel’s. He equally spoke of the sexual craze in the university, and life in general. We were that close. Two years later, I gained admission to the same university as Mark. I was so happy that this time round, I had the school I wanted. I couldn’t contain my happiness. I grabbed my result slip together with my admission letter and off I went to Mark’s. On arrival I quickly greeted his mum, and sped off to find Mark. Without knocking, I barged into his room and bumped into him. The towel around his waist fell. He was Adam-naked. I attempted picking his towel but mistakenly stepped on it such that it slipped from my palm and fell again. And that was where I made the mistake of looking up ahead of me. I was petrified by what I saw. Mark was extra ordinarily huge down there. Ei! His movable property was as fortified as the walls of Jericho. Chai! I can’t even attempt describing the two supporting tennis balls. There and then, I remembered the song my Sunday school teacher taught me.

All things bright and beautiful, ALL CREATURES GREAT and small

                               All things bright and wonderful, The Lord God made them all.

I wanted to say something, but w)n shouti. “Mar…but…but…Mark…your…your…is…”, I earnestly tried to speak, but w)n produci sound. I asked myself how on earth someone could carry such a weapon of mass destruction, and then I passed out. I know you legally minded ones won’t agree with me on this, but I suffered nervous shock.

It had been over two weeks since I heard from Mark. I didn’t know what to think or how to feel, or what Mark thought of me after that incident. In the evening I got a text from Mark inviting me to his sister’s party over the weekend. I was somewhat relieved. The party had just begun when I arrived on Saturday evening. I saw Mark speaking to some cousins of his. Late at night, Mark sneaked me to his balcony.

“I have something to tell you but I can’t speak up if you continue to play shy”. All of a sudden, he had my undivided attention.

“I’ve found someone special who’d make all my dark days bright. I feel happy anytime I look into her eyes. I feel like a puzzle, and she’s the final piece to make me complete”. Then he popped the question, “Will you be my girlfriend?”

I went blank. When I finally regained composure, I asked, “We won’t have to get intimate, would we?” We both burst into uncontrollable laughter. I’m sure you know why. And then of course, we hugged passionately.

Ten years down the line, Mark and I tied the knot one fine Saturday morning. My feet were sore from all the dancing when we finally retired to our room at midnight. As for my back ache, the least said about it the better. I didn’t have any strength for the imminent action that lay ahead. I felt bad when I saw the red-hot negligee Mark had given me for our wedding night. By the time I got out of the bathroom, Mark was fully clothed in his pajamas. I was thrilled since that meant one thing: no show. The only thing that kept me awake when Mark went to bath was that I wanted to say goodnight at least. Then it hit me. My hubby was bare-chested when he stepped out of the bathroom. And was of course in very tight boxers. Then the lights turned blue. He turned the air-condition on, as Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s get it on’ started to play. I was confused. What was happening? Mark started his way up with a soft kiss and gentle tickles up and down my body. He was blowing air on my neck. He looked deep into my eyes. I felt the tension between us. He slid his hands around my neck as he got closer. My heart started pounding. He drew closer and tilted my head slightly to the right. We were so close our breaths met. I shut my eyes as his strawberry-flavored breath caressed my skin.

Wait a minute! Wasn’t I the one who could hardly stay awake; ready to snore the night away? My body totally bailed on me. I wanted him badly. I was expecting a passionate kiss. But what did he do? Opana walked back, grabbed a chair, sat down and crossed his legs.  Aaaaa! How could he have done that? Well, maybe I put him off. I wasn’t totally to blame, I married him a virgin. I had no experience. Sigh. I made for the bed when Mark pulled me back and continued where he had left off with a soft kiss. I tried to speak but he placed his index finger on my lips. He slowly unbuttoned my dishabille as he kissed my neck down to my belly, taking intermittent breaks. My hormones were on fire; my body was ragging. I wrapped my hands round his head. Then yanked him and placed my palms flat on his chest, and slid down to his rocked-hard anointed abs. I felt every single one of them with my fingers. I doubt you need an angel to tell you how our night went.

If my marriage was going to be full of such magical moments as this, then I was in for a really good time. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!



Acknowledgement: Rudolf Nutor and Jojo Konki Sapara Bentsi-Enchill.