Days later, Nana Yaa apologized to Jude about her mother’s behaviour. Her mother could be protective and unwelcoming at times. Especially when it involved boys. Since Jude really liked Nana Yaa, he assured her he could understand. They decided to continue at his house instead. He lived with his mom and she always was at her office job or at her book store. Nana Yaa agreed and with the help of her sister, she would go to Jude’s house to spend her afternoons with him.
Jude was an observant person. Sometimes midway through solving a question together, she would catch him staring at her. He would pretend to be staring at the wall clock opposite them and she’d bow her head and smile. What she found odd were his incessant questions. He would ask her about her favorite color, the one food she couldn’t live without and what were her favorite things that she couldn’t live without.
One afternoon, after pausing to eat, Nana Yaa caught Jude staring at her again. She smiled and looked him in the eye. “Jude, why do you always stare at me, I think it’s rude”
Jude looked at her for a second, looked away then looked back at her.
“I think you’re beautiful. Inside and out. I’m glad we’re friends”
“Wow, you think so?” Nana Yaa blushed.
“Yes. What do you also think?”
She passed her hands through her braids and looked at her feet, “I really enjoy spending time with you. You’re a cool guy and a good friend”
For over a minute they were locked in a gazing competition. It was as though they were spell bound. Jude moved forward to kiss Nana Yaa and she tilted her head sideways.
Jude’s mother appeared from nowhere and dropped a box loudly on the floor. The two of them pretended as though they were picking something off the floor.
“Oh did you find the pencil?”
“Yes, yes it’s behind your chair” they raised their heads simultaneously to look at Jude’s mother. She looked from one face to another and put on a fake smile.
“Nana dear, is everything alright?”
“Yes please” she replied. She looked at her phone screen and announced. “I have to get going. My sister may call me any minute” Jude and his mother both looked at her as she grabbed her backpack, placed her books and stationery inside and gave Jude’s arm a squeeze.
“See you later Jude”
“See you” Jude’s mother opened the gate for her and locked the gate behind her. She walked angrily into the hall where Jude was seated.
“You and I are going to have a talk right now!”
Jude knew he was in trouble. He couldn’t tell whether she had seen the kiss or she had only seen their awkward grasp for the supposed pencil.
“What is going on between you and that girl?”
Jude sat there for a while, trying to avoid his mother’s gaze and scratched his head.
“I asked you a question, and you better not lie to me” Jude’s mother spoke through clenched teeth. Her tone was harsh and no one needed to tell the young man his mother was furious.
“Ma, you know everything. She’s a friend. She’s preparing for a resit so she can go to the university. I am only helping her prepare”
“Now, I don’t know what exactly is going on with you two but you better not do anything silly. If I should catch you people doing anything else apart from studying, I’m calling your father”
“Ma!” Jude shouted. He knew if she involved his father he would be in serious trouble.
“Don’t you Ma me!” his mother retorted. “I said what I said. Don’t be silly young man”
With that she walked to her room and banged the door behind her.
Jude couldn’t sleep that night. He tossed and turned in bed until the next morning. When Nana Yaa arrived that afternoon, he wasn’t looking good. She sat down beside him and placed her hands on his shoulder.
“Hey, is everything okay?”
“Yeahh but my mom is also proving difficult”
They laughed quietly. “Mothers” Nana Yaa said as she shook her head.
Jude turned to look at her and held her hands. “Nana, I’ve grown used to having you around but my mother can be a pain and cause problems. I’m sorry but moving forward, I think we should communicate on phone, I’ll be there if you need help but we can’t be seen together for now”
Nana Yaa went silent for a while and smiled, “That’s okay, I can understand” She got up, said good bye to him and left.