After a break, I am continuing Chloe’s journey on her teenage emotional awareness “Teenager! I have emotions.” I must admit, just as I have arranged these creative words together, I hope you enjoy reading as I did writing.
Apart from cooking, Chloe’s other hobbies were gardening and fishing. She also kept a small snail farm. Nathaniel enjoyed spending time with her at the river fishing and roasting them afterwards. On the other hand, he disliked the idea of snails and the slime residue it leaves behind. Chloe enjoyed every opportunity to ‘pull his leg’ and scare Nathaniel with her snails.
Nathaniel, who was competitive, loved to compete on who would catch the first fish – the loser of the contest will usually have to go wet and start the fire for roasting the fish. Although others wouldn’t join them for the hard work, they enjoyed eating the fish with roasted cassava flakes (garri) whilst cracking jokes.
Ryan, Nathaniel’s older brother, on the other hand, was academically focused and seemed to be his mother’s first choice. From Chloe’s viewpoint, he was treated differently from Nathaniel. Usually in the evenings’ friends from the neighbourhood would gather to discuss, play and crack jokes about school. She avoided discussions with Ryan because she felt he was high-minded.
However, Chloe’s liking for Ryan was different from Nathaniel’s. At the same time, Ryan seemed not to notice her. She wondered why she attracted to a the boy who was according to her assessment ‘everything she did not want in a fine young man’. Chloe learnt daily to ignore the pressing temptations to give her feeling away whenever she was around Ryan.
One Saturday evening Nathaniel and Chloe went on their usual fishing expedition. Nathaniel was usually overly dressed in his white polo shirt and black jean. Chloe simply wore one of her old dresses, suitable for fishing and surprises. They enjoyed each other’s company as they were fishing and suddenly the clouds gathered. Faster than imagined, it started raining before Chloe and Nathaniel could pack up. Nathaniel, not experienced in fishing in bad weather, panicked by the edge the water and fell into the river. The sudden splash in the river and the noise made Chloe turn around sharply to see Nathaniel panicking in the water.
“Chloe help! Help!” Nathaniel screamed.
She had never seen him so afraid. Although in panic herself, Chloe jumped into the river as Nathaniel yelled for help. She caught him by the hand and said “I got you, hold on to my arms” as she dragged him to the edge of the water with all the strength she had. Nathaniel, who was glad to be out of the water sitting at the banks of the river, held on tightly to Chloe whispering
“Thank you! Thank you!”. Both were totally soaked as the raining fell gracefully on them.
Apart from her family, this was the first time anyone would thank her for her kindness in such an affectionate way. Chloe responded non-affectionately as she gently let go. She briskly walked over to the bag and packed up to leave forming a sand depth on her legs on the banks. Chloe avoided any facial contact with him. Nathaniel walked over behind her saying in a melancholy tone,
“Chloe did I do something or say something wrong?”. His voice was like a little child seeking from approval from his mother.
Nathaniel reached out to hold her hands in the rain. Chloe replied awkwardly to hide the breeze of affection they both experienced a moment ago. Chloe “No, not at all, we need to head home; cos your mummy would be worried sick that her baby boy is not around.” Chloe said this because she thought if something had happened to Nathaniel, she will be blamed for it. “Even though I am glad he thanked me, I can’t bear it if anything had happened,” she thought. “Wouldn’t want to put us into more trouble than we are already in”. Nathaniel, interrupted Chloe’s thoughts as he continued “can we talk about your sudden change in mood?”
In defense, Chloe feeling embarrassed in her wet clothes pretended and replied, “Mood change? Not at all, Nathaniel don’t we talk? We talk every day about everything, we talk; what else do you possibly want to talk about?”.
She avoided eye contact, turning her gaze away from him. Chloe knew that Nathaniel was getting attracted to her, and it was not the same with her. Instead, she was getting attracted to his brother, Ryan. Chloe shaken by the sudden reality of his attraction was not sure how to handle it, but only to defend herself by the sudden outburst.
‘Poor Nathaniel, how I wish I could be more honest with you, Lord forgive me’ she thought to herself. Nathaniel was surprised by her reply and said “It’s okay when you feel comfortable to talk about it, I am always here. They walked back home in the rain in a world of silence. Is this the beginning of the end of an innocent friendship? Chloe pondered as they walked along.
Aww, where do you think Chloe is heading? I promise to continue in my next blog, I hope you enjoyed reading? If you did, kindly like, comment and share my blog. Remember to follow me