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MY HEART DESIRES: A Short Story by Kadiku Barakat

I sat on a bench in front of my gate and watched a girl named Tina walk past me. Tina is tall, slim and beautiful; she’s fair and has long, black and curly hair. She is what Nigerians refer to as half – caste but the proper term is bi – racial.

Her father was a rich Yoruba businessman while her mother was a beautiful Indian business woman; they probably met on one of those ‘special’ business trips. Her mother was just as rich as her husband if not richer. Tina was the heartthrob of every boy in school.
I felt pangs of envy as I watched her walk down the street. Sometimes I wish I was like her, the perfect, rich spoilt girl with so much freedom. I, on the other hand, was a poor, short, heavy set and ugly girl. I had no freedom at all.

Throughout junior secondary school, I wore oversized and loose fitting uniforms to school, no thanks to my mum, who bought oversized uniforms for me and won’t allow me get them fitted to my shape. This greatly affected my self esteem. Now my school uniforms fit well because I’m grown. But I still have self esteem issues. I always avoid people, I never want to draw any attention to myself, my fat self.

Most people think I am fat because I eat too much or because I am lazy. True enough, I eat a lot, but I really eat no more than the next person does, and my lifestyle is not sedentary. Hence I have come to the conclusion that fatness or obesity, at least in my case, is hereditary. I’m not certain, but it looks like it. Exercise, they say is the poor man’s plastic surgery, but I’m yet to see results in my own case.

I do know that one day, someday soon, maybe when am through with my secondary school education, I will be slim, beautiful, and elegantly poised like Tina. It will take a lot of hard work, devotion and dedication but I will get there, I believe I will.

So, there I was, thinking of how pathetic my life was, when Sammy walked by. I quickly sat up straight when I noticed he was coming my way, sucked in my breadth to pull in my tummy (improvised tummy tuck), and pretended to read a pamphlet that a Jehovah’s Witness preacher had handed to me earlier on.
‘Bisi’, he called, smiling at me and waved briefly. He was probably going to Tina’s place, ‘Perfect Tina’. What should I do? How should I respond? Smile and wave back? Just smile? Nod? Say Hello? But timid me just sat there and stared at him tongue tied until he walked past.

What would ‘Perfect Tina’ have done? A stupid rhetoric question. I guess she would’ve said “hello” with a charming smile, a coy look and waved back. Gosh, I felt so embarrassed, why can’t I be normal for once?
Sammy was and still is my crush; he was a back bencher right from JSS1 till now (SS3). The back seat was for the cool, non–nerdy students. Sammy is tall and very handsome, whereas I, the shortest girl in the class, always sat at the front with the rest of the nerdy weirdos.

Sammy would always say hello to me and I couldn’t figure out the reason, since I’m the most basic, uninteresting girl in the class anyone would be seen with.
He probably does that ‘out of pity’ to me. I heard a sound that cut through my sober reflections and looked up to see Sammy smiling down at me, his back to the orange setting sun which had a beautiful glow; it was a very picture perfect moment and felt just like a fantasy.

‘Am I disturbing?’ he asked, breaking the spell.
‘Do you mind if I sit beside you?’.
Wait, what? It isn’t a dream? He is really here and wants to sit beside me? What do I do now? What does he want? These thoughts raced through my brain as I shifted and made space for him to sit down beside me on the bench.
‘So how are you doing?’ he asked rather nervously
‘Fine’ I whispered, feeling the sweat all over my face, thick tongued that made it hard for me to speak properly.

His mouth opened and closed several times, indicating he wanted to say something but didn’t know what to say or how to say it. So we just sat beside each other, an awkward silence between us, desperate to say something but not quite sure what to say.

After a few awkward attempts at conversation, he gave up. We watched the sunset in front of my house in silence. Both seated on a bench on the quiet lonely street.
We didn’t touch each other physically, but our hearts were entangled.

Barakat is an undergraduate student of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta studying Business Administration. She spends most of her free time reading interesting Novels and writing short stories of her own.. She can be reached on facebook with the user name Kadiku Barakat.


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