By Patson Dzamara
Who said Angels are lofty beings with whom we can not interact? I am convinced I had an encounter with at least one angel.
Growing up in the high density surburb of Highfield, I never had a clue of what the world out there had for me. My world revolved around the little space within which I was raised. It was within that space that I got acquainted to the systems of life and to other people. In that space, i also got oriented to how other people- especially my siblings, friends and classmates-viewed me.
They all seemed to concur on the notion that I was really ‘blessed’ with a big head.
As such I had to endure nicknames such as Humpty Dumpty.
Aggressive and arrogant as I was and probably still am, those who were close to me knew how to deflate my steam and roll whenever I became a nuisance. They would just remind me who I was; Humpty Dumpty. Calling me that or anything denigrating linked to ‘my big head’ was a sure way to frustrating and reeling me in.
We used to play street soccer with my friends and elder brothers in the dusty streets of Old Highfield. They all knew the best way to frustrate me. They would just say something about my head and that would pack me into my own corner of self doubt and feeling of inadequacy. Without them knowing or paying particular attention, they were actually infusing self doubt and inferiority complex in me. I remember I was a class monitor several times in primary school but that still never eliminated the self doubt.
Every time when my grade six teacher would ask me to go carry books from her car, I would literally feel my head weighing down on me while walking out of the classroom. I used to think that’s all the girls see when they look at me, so I never did many adventures in that regard during my primary school going days.
I am a bit athletic and I used to compete at inter house competitions. I won’t forget the day I pulled out of a 400 meters race which I was actually leading. Left with less than 100 meters and leading the race, I heard one of my classmates cheering from the sideline saying, “go Humpty, go Humpty”. That killed my spirit and all of a sudden I indeed began to feel that my head was heavy.
I then tumbled and pulled out of a race I stood a chance of winning. In the middle of all that confusion and impoverished self esteem, something happened and it marked a complete turnaround of my life. It was the first day of the second term of my grade six. As the Headmaster gave the opening speech none of his words got to my heart as I found myself raptured in the world of uncensored fantacy while gazing at a new comer to our school.
Even though my poor self concept then did not allow me to carry out many expeditions in the world of relationships, I still had a good enough inclination towards beauty. I appreciated and still appreciate beauty. I am sure I was not the only one salivating and novicely fantacising over this new comer while the Headmaster was speaking. She was beautiful. An immaculate stunner. Whilist my eyes still feasted on her superimposing beauty, her eyes coincidentally greeted and for about 5 seconds locked with mine. I almost jumped out of my skin. Time froze for me.
My heart began to pound harder. My joints became weak and I was simultaneously teleported into the world of hallucination. Unfortunately, just having our eyes greeting was the furthest I could go because after all I was Humpty Dumpty. I would never even dare open my mouth to greet her. Other boys were the most eligible candidates, I told myself.
For that entire term that incident was my most treasured, palatable and appreciated mental picture. I would several times find myself replaying how our eyes greeted and that would make me feel great. Just the memory of the greeting of our eyes would make me feel good even though I never dared to greet her in reality, neither did I have the guts to have a repetition of that greeting of our eyes. I would still gaze at her but from a distance and I always made sure I was not caught.
One afternoon, in the third term of my grade six, the most unexpected happened. That same girl walked up to me while on my way from school. For some reason on that particular day, I had left behind my friends with whom I would walk to and from school. I could bot believe it when she greeted me.
It felt like a dream and I really felt the call of nature in both dimensions pressing on me. I stummered and replied her greeting. The words she said after the greeting totally changed my life for good.
“I always see you everyday and I like how you are a cool and smart guy,” she said.
Upon hearing those words, the call of nature pressed even the more and I honestly registered a little something there. I did not know what to do and what to say. I just looked at her and I said thank you. Meanwhile, she was already walking away from me.
From that moment my step even changed. I now had a spring in my step. I began to feel myself. I told myself that after all I was not as bad if the most pretty girl at school could come and tell me she liked me. I began to feel like I was the man. I began to feel important and handsome.
That incident transformed my life for good. My self concept got healed from that moment. I began to spend more time in front of the mirror. Even my perfomance in school improved. I just began to feel good about myself. I began to like and love myself.
Of cause, I was inexperienced and clueless, so I did not fully utilise her liking of me. We would greet and at times chat briefly here and there.
Whenever I would look at her, even from a distance, that would give me a good confidence boost. It made me feel special to think that the girl every boy at school wanted, actually liked me, ‘Humpty Dumpty’.
Amazing how the right words at the right time can change a person for good. The power of words.
My plan was to tell her that I love her soon after writting our final grade seven exams but that was never to be. Soon after my last exam I was sent to our rural home so I could help my mother with her farming while waiting for the results. The improvised plan then was I would tell her that I love her when we go pick our results.
So I returned to the city the week our results were to be released but I never saw her during that week. I didn’t know where she was. I would spend hours walking around her neighbourhood hoping I would bump into her but that was never to be.
…And I never saw her again. Her name was Valerie.