In weeks, obvious sparks began to fly between Marvin and I. It was as if I had been waiting for him to take away the pain Jamal’s death had left deep inside me. Our friendship turned into a relationship and soon people started seeing us everywhere together.
Cindy and Bimbo came to visit again and were surprised when they found out that we had started a relationship. Cindy said she was happy for me but I just didn’t believe her, so I made sure I kept Marvin away from her.
Marvin had every quality Jamal had; his charm, compassion, and niceties. Mister show-off was just trying to impress me after all and he wasnt an arrogant tool. I received my NYSC call up letter and was posted to Abuja. Marvin was not happy about this. He said he knew someone who could help with my redeployment to Lagos but I refused. I tried reassuring him that my going there was meant to be and it did not mean I would do anything stupid in his absence.
“Sweetheart, in a week you’ll be on your way to Abuja and I will not see you for three weeks,” Marvin complained.
“Well, you can visit,” I said.
“Dont’ even tease me right now. I am vulnerable,” Marvin replied with a pained look on his face.
“Come on, you have to try and understand,” I pleaded, “Please, darling.”
“As much as I want you to stay, it’s done and I have to live with it,” Marvin finally said.
“Stop talking like I’ll be there forever,” I cautioned.
“I really would love to be seeing you everyday for a long while,” he said looking glum.
He held me close and kissed me. We couldn’t hold back until we were both naked on his bed.
“Wait,” I said trying to push him away.
“Don’t try to stop me. Have I not held back since we started?” he asked, breathing heavily. I sighed heavily and enjoyed the moment.
It started with a long passionate kiss that I thought would take forever. It was as if Marvin was trying to send a firm message across on how good a kisser he was. Marvin was very sexy, I must say. His skin was tight and smooth and I couldn’t help running my palms over his butt and squeezing. I smacked him at some point and he teased me about being a little “dominatrix.”
It was a passionate one, we laid tangled on the bed one hour later. I would miss him, I knew it would be so hard to be without him, but I also knew I had to learn how not to be too clingy. I had become too fond of Marvin that I always wanted to know everything; from his whereabouts to his friends. It was so unlike me so when I got my letter, I knew I had to be away and allow him a little space.
I parked my things and left for Abuja few days later. I got to the orientation camp a day after because I had to inspect my accommodation first. Marvin had settled everything; from my place of primary assignment to accommodation so there was no cause for worry. It was a nice mini-flat and I dropped my bags there after taking some t-shirts and other necessities with me to the camp.
The orientation camp was an interesting place where all sorts of things happened. It was a big piece of land with buildings scantily spaced but with enough space for exercise. I was at first very uncomfortable about the place after a mean looking NYSC official had sworn to send me away. I finally found favor with a kind Hausa woman who said I looked like her niece that lived in Germany.
I was put in platoon seven and in hostel block C. My late coming had made me loose the chance of getting a good place, but I made myself as comfortable as possible in my corner bunk at the far end of the hall. The person below me was a Yoruba girl with tribal mark from Oyo state.
Toyin was a very petite beautiful girl. I almost cussed her parents for defacing such a beautiful face, when I first saw her. She was kind and even offered me her torchlight when she noticed me struggling with my luggage. I had no bucket so she offered me a spare one she had brought, and her water to take my bath. We became attached from that day and I found out later that she was a very tough lady that one couldn’t push around, well, she became my personal spokesperson on camp.
Anyway, camp was very fun; relationships were broken and established. People threw caution to the wind and enjoyed themselves as much as they could. Guys chased after girls, girls chased after guys. The not-too-palatable food at the canteen, the funny-smelling water we had to bath with, the mosquitoes, the fights and thefts all made the camp unpleasantly interesting. And the sex? People had sex everywhere: in cars, under the trees, and even behind bushes. We always had to be mindful of our steps in the morning so as not to step on used condoms.
The most exciting for me however was the ever lively mammy market, the military drill. I was surprise at my own strenght and stamina. Even Marvin was surprised I could do the drills. I joined the volleyball team for my platoon and made a few friends in there too. The first time our platoon leader saw me, he said I would be the one to represent the platoon for the Miss NYSC pageant. I thought it was a joke until two weeks later when he handed me the form. I told Sandra about it and she thought I could win too. I knew Marvin would disagree so I did not tell him, it almost turned into a disaster however. Well, it was how I met my first real friendnemie in a fulani girl called Nattie.
Nattie was above five feet tall and had this fair skin that would make Sandra green with envy. Her eyes always had this glitter in them and when she smiled, she had a cute little dimpe in her left cheek. Her eyebrow were naturally curved and her natural corn-rows were long and curly at the tip. Her triangle shape was fit for models and her cute little fingers had such perfect nails.
Even though we were not in the same platoon or hostel, we were acquintances. We were mammy-market buddies and our cliques always met at a certain point. So, it was safe to say that before the pageant participation came up, we could pass as friends. We would go to the mammy market together and I would tease as she flirted with the soldiers.
She had eyes on one of them in paticular and she was even talking about marrying him. I told her about my desire to enter for the pageant and Nattie almost took my head off. She said I had eavesdropped and had only decided to participate because she was going to. I was angry at such a silly thought coming from someone I thought was my friend.
“Why on earth would you think so? I am not in your plantoon so what’s your problem if my platoon mates thought I could represent them,” I had flared up at her. Toyin had also gave Nattie a piece of her mind too and Miss Dimple had tried to attack her with her look. It was a big mistake because by the time my sharp-mouthed Toyin was done with her, Nattie had left in anger and near tears. Not without leaving a threat behind though, that she would make our stay at the camp unbearable.
She almost succeeded but I was a little smarter than her anyway, I had an ace up my sleeve, it wasn’t pretty but when has an ace ever been pretty? Well, my ace had three lines on her face.