My name is James, and I was not the type that fancied most games. Water may be tempting, but who was I to jump in? You see, I was somewhat chubby and so my friends called me African Humpty. They said if I ever dared a splash, no matter where it takes place, they feared I may never come out to tell the tale of how it went. And so they put an unyielding fear behind my thumping heart.
But Mustapha was a close friend; so close, he was my confidant. He told me not to mind them. He said a piece of yam will do the trick and promised to show me how it works.
So on a happy sunny day we went to give our plan a try, to show the world and those around that a chubby lad could take a dive and resurface with a grin for all.
Now I wished I had done my home work well and spoken to the life guard, to watch and pray and stay around in case I made a mistake.
“Are you sure this plan will work?” I asked Mustapha for the umpteenth time, because my heart was racing fast and I feared my days may be numbered.
“Don’t say you are afraid to take a dive? Even my little niece can stay afloat while reciting ten nursery rhymes for me,” he smirked and made me flushed with shame, “I thought I’ve told you how it works? All you have to do is chew the yam – walahi, the more you chew the more you float.”
You see, the yam in question was half cooked. Mustapha said that way it turns you into a life buoy, and keeps you floating here and there.
Well, I ate a piece and more again – God help me if it didn’t work. I took a breath and closed my eyes for sure it is ‘now or never again’.
I jumped into the air and felt myself plunging down like a sack of cashew nuts.
I heard the noise I heard the scream from people around and wondered why I was sinking down to the depth below. I tried to swim for the life I was worth but all in vain because I’ve never swam before.
Just when I thought the end had come, I felt a grip around my chest and that was how I found myself being pulled out of the swimming pool.
Of Mustapha I could not tell, but sure he was nowhere to be found. When the hullabaloo had spent itself, the life guard held me by the ear and asked why I wanted to kill myself.
I clasped my hands and pleaded with him, “I swear it is my first ever dive.”
He shouted at me to go away and never come back until I’ve learnt to swim and stay afloat.