It was in the weekdays on the 🌴sland of Nauru, both of us, my sister and I wearing our secondary school uniforms with buttoned white blouses, plain dark green skirts and short pants of black skin tights.
We were both happily cycling, riding and racing our bicycles alongside the footpath on the island road. On the 🌴sland there is a junction with the ‘run-about’ airstrip and my younger sister Mercedes and I took that odd road leading to the church. As we rode our bikes we could feel the heat of the sun soaring up high in the open blue sky on a midday, slightly burning and stinging on our arms and fleshly skins.
We couldn’t stop and hide under the coconut 🌴ree shades as we are already late for the Church Youth Choir practices. Mercedes suggested by saying & calling out loud to me, ‘sis we could park our bikes and give it a rest under the big tree ahead’, but I insisted that we should move on.
So we kept on riding and cycling our bicycles and it took us a few or couple of minutes to reach the church. When we got there in the church hall feels cool and nice so we began cycle around each other in our bikes to ease some of the heat trapped in our bodies and clothes while riding under the 🌴sland’s hot sun.
There were couple of youths cleaning the inside windows of the church’s van near the church hall and I happened to notice one of them, it was Fred and the others with him were Winson & Dolly. They were all there to attend the Church Youth Fellowship Choir practices as well as my sister and myself. I smiled at Fred as he turned to see who were in the church hall, when he realise that it was me he smiled and looked kind of bashful.
We, Fred and I, are kind of interested in each other and got a good love relationship with nothing sexual involved which I really liked compared to other relationships in the Church Youth Fellowship such as Dolly & Mitchell had kissing outside the church and an Elder of the Church witnessed on another previous Church Youth Choir practices that resulted in a shameful announcement to all christian attending that same day held on Sunday Service.
It took a month of gossiping around the church & alot of accusations which also lead to decrease in number of attendance within the Church Youth Fellowship but most sadly that shameful incident became a ‘stumbling block’, in other word that is commonly used by Christians and loss of faith in the church. When Fred and I see each other we get pretty shy & flirtatious too and having no sexual activity with each other kind of makes the relationship special & respectfully as Christian member of the Youth Fellowship.
Soon after Fred and I talked a bit about other youths who came to practice and who did not come and we kind of suspected that it was due to the shameful incident that caused others who did not come loose faith & accused the fellowship as false and committing fornication. The choir singing started sooner and late but lasted for an hour and a half as always. We, the remaining faithful youths said our routine ‘goodbyes’ and ‘see you tomorrows’ with encouragements of ‘God bless you’.
About past 4:00 pm my sister and I took our bikes which were parked outside in the hall and headed back home while the others got on the church van that was cleaned earlier on near the hall and were dropped off at home.
My relationship with Fred started out on me and seeing him for the first time in the back row of the wooden church seats. He sat there listening to Pastor Levi preaching about becoming a better person in Christ by doing or obeying the word of God and His 10 Commandments readings in the KJV Bible.
While I being late entered & saw Fred seated with his styled hair called rat-tail that is in elbow length and even worse chewing it in his mouth while his left hand holding the end of it. I became judgemental in the House of God, in the our church that is by doctrine ‘Be Born Again’. My thoughts began to even wonder, ‘how can someone attend church with disrespect of hairstyle and chewing it during a service?’
I sat myself down with along side my sister and mother in our usual spot at the front seat listening to the pastors’ preaching and all the while I still wonder about the person at the backseat. Shortly, the church service was over. After this unexpected & judgemental experience from a distance, I, most likely to say that my intellectual or my curiosity has killed the cat.
I began to asking his name and move about in befriending and hanging out with his female cousins in the church. I could doubtlessly say now that he got the best and in later life the beat out of me.
Eventually I did found out his English name and that it was Fred but his native name was terribly hard for me at first to pronounce even though I am a native too as it sounded like a name of a Chinese duck. I had practices on the pronounciation to no improvement and decided to just call him Fred for everythings’ sake.
I did try again to call him by his native name but it was pretty upsetting to him as it sounded worse than before and ended up sounding like some sort of a mix breed of German or Chinese duck. He on the other hand find my both names to be an ease as my English name is Cheryl and my native name Equed which means in Nauruan native language hospitable or give.
We got on well getting together in youth fellowships or church services just like two doves happy seen in motion flapping both wings in adoration. And so we were told by most family member’s opinion on us and also in a comparison to a saying ‘all in all’. In our adoration for one each other he would give me expensive gifts from overseas the likes of two crystal earrings that crystallizes under the island’s sun shining like diamonds and some monies but mostly he would rather take me in his mom’s car and driving around the island stopping at a chinese restaurant to eat.
I kind of enjoyed it. I mean I like being spoilt by this person I liked & he returned the same affection back with gifts and all. It felt like there is no beginning of our relationship neither momentarily & or timely but definitely imperishable.
Near the Church just opposite the nation’s National Airport building we were both sitting on one of the many towed up baggage trailers that I just looked at him & kind of asking him ‘the’ question and saying, ‘DO YOU KNOW I L❤VE YOU? He looked at me but wasn’t sure on what I just said as I can tell from the looks on his face. I repeatedly, told him again eyeing him this time, ‘Do You Know I L❤ve You??’ He smiled back at me then looked down at his feet not saying a word or anything, just smiling down.
Then we looked up and saw on the public road a couple of meters away & heading to the national airport a 3 wheeler motorbike passed by but it’s more likely a golf-motorbike from the model of it as it had a golf basket at the back of the driver’s seat. We stared at it as it zoomed by with its huge butted she driver steering its small driver’s wheel her head straight on the road ahead without noticing us nearby.
It happened to be a Saturday and no cars or the vehicles but this one strange bike and huge driver all alone on the road. Fred changing the subject at hand asked me if I wanted a ride on the same bike? He will be the driver & I will be his passenger riding in the golf-bag steel basket at the back of the bike with my legs hanging over & loose.
Suddenly, I looking ahead faced back at him in a blank stare astounded and trying to picture myself in the position he had imagine me in. Then looking back at the distancing bike on the road and its driver. Instantly I looked back at Fred and laughed back at him because I couldn’t imagine myself in the back basket with my legs hanging out and nearly my whole body in a helplessly squashed up posture.
He cheekily laughed back too. I asked him if he was joking with me. His cheekily smile down and I waited for a bit for him to answer back but that is all I got for an answer-his cheeky smile. His reaction that day made me kind of doubt him & put in awe if he had taken my words seriously.
In the following months things got more intense. On my sixteenth birthday I invite him and other youths including Winson & Dolly at the Boat Harbour for a swim & take-outs then eventually we would meet up with my parents. As they both, my dad & mom would like to meet him for the first time after hearing alot about him & me having a ‘boyfriend & girlfriend’ relationship.
Fred was kind of nervous as he knew my father from his previous job as a train driver with the Corporation delivering phosphate dirt to the cantilever belt machine which offloads the tonnes of dirt on ships bound for their destine country. I, on the other hand wouldn’t give a thought of anything but to get my parents to meet up with my boyfriend, pretty much eager to get the relationship known to my parents.
My mom has a lightest doubt on what is going on and I could see it on her face. Fred and I have 6 years gap in age and I would understand mom’s concern for this but ‘age doesn’t matters’ if you really like someone and I kind of believe in that saying. And Fred was a guy who is ‘young at heart’. When we’re together it’s seems that I am more mature than he is in any ways .
We enjoyed the swim at the Boat Harbour and had great take-outs at the chinese restaurant even though something caught my attention with Dolly having a seemingly flirty giggle & talk with Fred further away from the rest of us earlier at the harbour. Later in the evening we arrived at my aunt Baba’s house where my family & I resides and while Fred & I parked outside the house and sat comfortably in his mother’s car which she lend it to him for this occasion.
My parents are in the lounge area where they were watching Australian National Football League, the Eagles versus another favourite team that my dad idols.I got out of the car went over to mom and dad in the house. My dad was a bit startled when I told him that Fred is outside but insisted that my boyfriend should come inside the house and meet up with him and have a chat. Mom didn’t say a word but looked puzzled as before. I called out to Fred, he went out his mom’s car in a energized mood; getting out of his driver’s sit and shutting the door with much strength and causing me to wonder if he is alright.
Fred made his way to the doorway of the house and met my dad. My dad knew him instantly and nodded his head in acknowledgement and mom just went along with no expression of approval or disapproval, mostly observing Fred. It was a quick chat of how are you doing in our native language to, where you’re working now and also some comments on who is winning the football game on TV with an ending off, with ok we will see you again or tomorrow if you like to come back.
I wasn’t sure if it was a good meeting or not but all I know there and after that my mind is at peace with dad and mom and I don’t get to be asked again of who my boyfriend is anymore. Fred on the other hand felt at ease too. He had made himself know to my parents and I could guess that we were just glad about the ‘meet up’.
(To be cont….😊)