The Wine Gift (Short Story)
Chibundu was very angry as he left the headmaster’s office.
“I’m the one that looked for trouble,” he blamed himself. “If I had just visited my parents and left as I planned, this embarrassment would not have happened.”
As he was about to start the engine of his ageing Toyota Cressida, some female teachers seemed to have recognised him and hailed, asking him to meet them.
He got out and banged the car door to join the ladies, who had all been his teachers at one time or the other during his days as a pupil at that community primary school. In his hurry, he forgot to remove his car key from the ignition.
He walked over to the ladies where they stood outside Primary 5A classroom, Mrs. Ugwuowo’s class. They exchanged pleasantries and the ladies were delighted to learn that he was a staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance, having obtained a bachelor’s degree in Economics from their state university.
The women took in Chibundu’s handsome face, strong physique and two-piece suit. They began to tease him about his love life.
“Has any girl seized you yet? I’m asking because my Vero is still available o,” Mrs. Ugwuowo interposed. Vero was her second daughter and two years younger than Chibundu.
He assured them that he was still single and told them of his car key. They called a “versatile” young male teacher to help him.
Once the car door was open, Chibundu looked at the bottle of non-alcoholic wine on the passenger seat and made a quick decision. He picked up the wine in its green supermarket bag and went back to Mrs. Ugwuowo.
It was still break time and she had gone into her classroom. The two ladies with her were on their way to their classrooms but came right back as they saw Chibundu approach.
It’s just as well, he thought.
He presented the wine to the women as a token of his appreciation for their dedication in teaching him and their kindness while he was a pupil at the school.
The ladies were so pleased. They prayed for him, popped the wine and drank a toast to his health and prosperity with plastic cups from Mrs. Ugwuowo’s desk drawer.
No one subjected him to an “inquisition” about when and where he bought the drink, unlike the headmaster, he noted.
Chibundu drove away with mixed feelings. The headmaster, Mr. Ibe, had been instrumental in pulling him out of a gang of bad boys he had joined in Primary 6 and advised his mum to send him to a secondary school in a faraway state to avoid “reinfestation” as he called it.
Chibundu had always told himself that one day he would come to thank Mr. Ibe but the occasion was ruined because rather than express his gratitude first, he presented the wine and Mr. Ibe was engrossed in finding the expiry date.
After they both searched for about a minute, Chibundu saw it at the bottom of the label. But that portion was so squeezed as to make the figures unclear and Mr. Ibe rejected the drink on that account.
Questions were swirling in Chibundu’s mind. Should he have gone to substitute the drink at the supermarket? Was he wrong to consider Mr. Ibe’s response harsh?
He consoled hinself that he had visited the school and that his good gesture was appreciated, even though it was not by the person he intended it for.
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja
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Do you think Mr. Ibe was right in rejecting the drink?
Would you have reacted as Chibundu did if you were in his shoes?
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I don’t see anything wrong in Mr Ibe rejecting the drink, cos he checked out for the expiry date of the drink to be sure that the drink was still good. If I were to be in Chibundu’s shoes, I would have return to change the drink, or get a brand new one with the expiry date legible enough.
It’s better Mr Ibe rejected the drink, rather than pretend and collect it, then after, he dispose it.
Nice, but some think he was rude. Happy Sunday!
I guess Mr Ibe still has issues of trust with Chibundu, so I don’t blame him but in Chibundu’s shoes, I’ll be upset because I know I brought the gift with gladness and appreciation in mind. If I were Mr Ibe, I’d take the drink.
Hi Chingere! I hope you’re fine.
This type of misunderstanding can really annoy someone. But it shouldn’t be allowed to ruin whatever relationship they may have.
I think Mr. Ibe is wrong in rejecting the drink. When one gifts another, it shows that you are highly valued by that person. Accepting the gift at superficial level, at least, should be a very good way of reciprocating Chibundu’s kind gesture.
Of course, I will feel hurt but will try as much as possible to wipe it off my mind.
Mr Ibe was wrong rejecting the wine. He should have maturely appreciated Chibundu despite the expiry date of the wine.
His good gesture could have eventually triggered Chibundu to make changes at the supermarket.
I will feel bad like Chibundu but will immediately get it off my mind.
The headmaster should have first appreciated the effort of Chibundu before anything else.
And Chibundu shouldn’t have equally taken it to heart. The headmaster is just being cautious of his health.
Balanced advice. Bless you!
I was thought by an elder in my community that when you are offered a gift, especially from a family member, a friend, or an acquaintance, you should accept it even though you have no intention of keeping it. Mr. Ibe should have just accepted the gift and that would have made Chibundu feel good.
That’s one way of looking at it. But then Chibundu wouldn’t have learnt the importance of checking the expiry dates on the things he buys.
Chibundu should have changed the wine to one with more legible expiry date, Mr Ibe was just being cautious and curious just like any one would be. Chibundu shouldn’t have taken Mr Obi’s action to heart.
I think Mr. Ibe was wrong by rejecting the gift because it was a gift not an entitlement. We should always try to appreciate anything called gift from people .
Mr Ibe shouldn’t have rejected the gift, a gift is usually a form of appreciation
My mum will always say if you don’t feel comfortable about taking a gift from someone don’t do it than taking it and throwing it away.
Mr Ibe was not comfortable with the gift so I think it’s okay he didn’t collect it plus the expiry date was not clear.
In life you can be accepted or rejected by people everybody most not accept you or your efforts.
The head master would have appreciated chibundu first for the gift he brought and chibundu on the other hand was not supposed to feel sad because the headmaster was just being careful of what he takes into his body.
The headmaster wasn’t all wrong for rejecting the drink simply because he put his health first. However, he should have appreciated Chibundu’s kind gesture for remembering him after all the past years.
When someone loves you, your wellbeing becomes their concern even if it hurts you.
Chibundu shouldn’t take it personal because the headmaster only reacted that was cause he cares for his heath and probably he may have had past experience with expired beverage before
I would have reacted like Chibundu or rather I will abandon the drink at the man’s office .The headmaster is very wrong .
Human feelings are complex.
Sometimes we are blind to that of someone else’s.