Room 42, Block ‘F’, Obafemi Awolowo Hall
“…alright Mummy, take care of yourself.” I replied before ending the call and I walked back into the room.
“Must you always go out before you receive a call?” Susan asked me, immediately I entered the room.
“Don’t mind her.” Rebecca’s voice came up as I walked silently to my bed, “Only God knows what she’s always hiding.”
“She’s so used to it.” Eunice added from the balcony.
Sighing, I shook my head as I packed the books I had scattered on my bed before I went out. As I rearranged them on the table beside my bed, I thought of my roommates. They were the sweetest set of ladies I had ever met since I got admitted into UI. As nice and sweet as they can be, they can also be annoying sometimes. They also have an attribute similar to mine, but none of them is as good as I am. When awarding rooms with the most disturbing set of inhabitants, my room would get a gold medal.
I smiled as I glanced at Susan. She has the most serious personality among us all. She crack jokes and laugh with us when we do, but when it comes to books, she does not joke with it, especially during tests. She is what we all acknowledge as the Reading Room Major of the room.
Eunice, my bunkmate on the other hand is a very good orator. She can talk for Africa. In fact, if she is allowed to continue to talk non-stop, she can add another continent to the list. Whenever she is quiet, she is either sick or asleep. The only things that can make and keep her silent are Korean Movies. We both love any movie with a Korean origin. In fact, our roommates tagged us both “Korean Bunkies”.
Rebecca was the closest of them to me. We do most things together. One of the reasons for our closeness was the fact that I got to know her before we were even assigned the same room.
I was about lying down on my bed when Rebecca walked up to me. She sat on my bed, giving me a knowing look. Being the closest to me in the room, I knew she was going to approach me anytime soon for not saying anything immediately I entered the room.
“What’s wrong with you?” She asked.
Lightening up my mood, I sat up.
“Nothing jare.” I replied as Eunice stepped in from the balcony.
“Please help me check what I’m cooking. I want to quickly buy water downstairs. I’ll be right back.” She said checking her bed for her purse.
“Eunice.” I called, folding my hands and giving her a sneering look. “You’ve started cooking there again, abi?”
“I don’t know why you cannot go to the kitchen when it’s right beside us.” Rebecca supported.
“Don’t you cook there too?” Eunice directed at me.
“All of you are the same!” Susan voiced from her bed. “Susan cooks in the kitchen. Be like Susan.”
“Just help me check what I’m cooking. I won’t stay long.” Eunice said.
“Hmmm…I’m saying my own now. If the porters catch you ehn, I don’t know you o. No ‘as per Bunkies’ here o.”
“Get one for me too.” Rebecca shouted behind her as she went out with a scarf and her purse. “Now back to you.” She added almost immediately, staring at me.
“What? I said nothing is wrong with me nah. I’m just tired. That’s all.”
“Are you sure?” She persisted, “What about the call you just received?”
“Trust me. I’m okay. It’s just my Mum. She wants me to come home”
“Nothing serious. She misses me. That’s all.”
“Okay then.” She said, standing up. “Ah! Jesus! Tomorrow is Sunday and I don’t even know what to wear.”
“You and your Sunday Wear wahala. You better don’t disturb me this time around.”
“As if that is possible.” She replied walking to her wardrobe, “Ehn…ehn, lest I forget, what about Tony’s friend, Mac?”
“Yes? What about him?”
“Errrr…have you heard from him since then?” She asked, giving me a questioning look.
“Nada!” I replied, shaking my head. “There’s something about the guy…”
“Sorry.” She interrupted. “Is my pink scarf with you?”
“Ani.” I replied before clasping my hands on my mouth quickly. I had relapsed into Korean again. “I mean ‘no’.” I corrected. “I think Eunice took a scarf with her before she left.”
“I know right…” She said, knowingly before bursting out suddenly after an afterthought. “Arghhh! That scarf is not for the masses!” She exclaimed.
Susan laughed and I joined her. We both knew who she was mimicking.
“Eunice’s punch line.” Susan laughed. “Let her catch you.”
“Abi nah.” She replied. “Sorry jare. What were you saying?” She asked me.
“About Mac, there is something elusively tantalizing about the guy that I can’t grasp. Besides, I’m not sure if he wants to see me. I tried asking him if we could meet, then when I called him, but he kept on bringing excuses about being busy.”
“How are you so sure they’re excuses?” She queried.
“I can tell. He kind of boots before speaking…”
“Warm or cold booting?” She teased.
“I’m serious jor. It’s obvious he does not want to meet with me and I’m still trying to think of a way to catch him unaware. I mean…you know…I didn’t get to see him the day he saved me.”
“I know right. But, if not because of that salient fact, I would have thought your interest in him is suspicious…”
“But you’re funny sha…”
“How did you get his phone number?”
“Through Tony of course.”
“Fish! What then are you thinking about? Hijack Tony, make him agree to set a meeting between you and Mac, release him and meet with Mac. It’s as simple as that!” She concluded.
It was as if a light bulb came on in my head.
“So, you have brain like this…” I teased her, smiling mischievously.
“Amadioha fire that your running mouth!” She exclaimed as she threw one of the dresses she was holding at me. I dodged the textile missile.
“Ooleeri!” I shouted, throwing the dress back her. “What’s smelling?” I asked, picking up an odour.
“You and your dog nose.” She replied, eyeing me.
“See these two fish o!” Susan exclaimed. “Eunice’s food is burning!”
“Ah!” Rebecca and I exclaimed in unison.
Rebecca hurried to the balcony to check the food while I laughed.
“Precious, I swear, Eunice will kill you today!” Rebecca voiced from the balcony.
Rotaract Bus Stop, Barth Road
I sat under the shed, staring at every passerby as I waited earnestly for Tony. I had called him immediately after Fellowship that I wanted to meet him for something important. I did not tell him it was about Mac because I was sure he would not show up if he knew. He showed up after ten minutes, scanning the area from afar. I waved my right hand at him. He found me and walked up to me.
“Happy Sunday.” I greeted, making sure to give him one of my sweetest smiles.
“Thanks.” He replied. “I wish you the same. So, what’s up? Why did you call me here?”
“Uhm…..thanks for giving me Mac’s phone number.” I started carefully, trying to test the ground.
“Oh! Yes!” He exclaimed. “About that! Why did you tell him I gave it to you?” He asked, crossing his arms angrily.
My fears were confirmed.
“Errrr…Sorry about that. I didn’t tell him at first.” I defended. “He guessed right and I only confirmed it.”
“Oh! Really?” He asked incredulously.
“Believe me.” I pleaded.
“I got a hard knock on my head for that.” He continued.
“Seriously?” I asked, surprised and amused at the same time. But he had a serious look on his face. I could not help it; I burst into laughter.
“What’s funny?” He queried.
“Stop looking so serious. Sorry about that…really.”
“It’s gone anyway.” He replied. “So why did you call me here?”
“Where can I meet with Mac?” I asked abruptly, sensing that I could not continue to drag the conversation any longer.
“You said?” He asked, pretending not to hear my question.
“Where can I meet with Mac?” I asked again, trying to be steady.
“You want me to tell you that?” He asked with a disbelieving look on his face.
“And you think I’ll tell you that?”
I nodded again.
“You’re just impossible…” He said, laughing.
“As how?” I queried, feigning ignorance.
“As how?” He repeated. “Sorry…but I don’t think that is possible.”
“Why nah?” I asked, trying to push it.
“Of course, you know!” He retorted. “Mac is going to kill me if I tell you.”
“You said that the last time we met, but here you are, still alive.” I sing-sang.
“Really…trust me; he’s practically going to kill me this time around.”
“I don’t think so. It’s just probably going to be a slap this time around.” I could not help it.
“Seriously!” He exclaimed. “Now, I know how deeply you hate me. But let’s be serious, Precious, I can’t tell you that.”
“You’re seriously not going to tell me, right?” I bluffed, changing the tone of my voice.
“I’m really sorry.” He said calmly.
“It’s nothing. I’ll find out myself.” I replied, picking up my bag.
“How about your friend?” He asked.
“Rebecca? She’s fine.”
“You guys don’t attend the same fellowship?”
“We do. She went back to the hostel ahead of me.”
“Oh. I see. So, are you going now?”
“Sure.” I replied, trying to think of another way to get him to succumb to my wish.
“May I have her number?” He miraculously asked.
Her number! He was asking for Rebecca’s number, I thought. Jackpot! That should work!
“So, you want Rebecca’s number?” I asked, smiling mischievously.
“Cool! Why not let us make a deal then?” I proposed.
“Deal?” He asked, with his forehead creased.
“Why do I feel like the deal won’t favour me?”
I shrugged, spreading my palms.
“Rebecca’s number for Mac’s location.” I said simply, still smiling.
His eyes bulged as a frown appeared on his face.
“Seriously, are you this mean?” He asked.
“Nope.” I replied, laughing, “It’s just a tactic I use. It’s called White Blackmail.”
He was silent for some seconds.
“Deal or no deal?” I asked, raising my voice.
“Fine!” He exclaimed, giving up. “If he’s not at the faculty, he’s in his room and if he’s not in his room, he’s at the botanical garden. That’s his triangle life.” He said, gloomily.
“Botanical garden?” I asked, surprisingly. “What’s he always doing there?”
“Well…he’s a poet and he likes his serenity. He goes there to write and to be alone.” He explained. “So?”
Sighing, I called out Rebecca’s phone number to him. He saved it on his phone and thanked me. He was about leaving when I called him back.
“Will I meet him there if I go there now?” I asked,
“He’s not in his room, so obviously, he should be there since he had arrived from church.” He replied.
“You’re sure I’m going to meet him there?”
“Ok. Thanks a lot. I have to get going now.”
I was about leaving when he finally put the pieces together.
“Hey! Don’t tell me you’re going all the way down there to meet him.” He asked, with an incredulous look on his face.
Smiling, I remained silent as I adjusted the position of my bag.
“You’re going to meet him now, aren’t you?” He persisted.
“I’m going to my hall.” I replied, still smiling.
“Awo. I should really get going now. Thanks a ton, Tony.”
Obafemi Awolowo Hall
Hastening my steps, I got to Awo in about seven minutes. Rebecca was already sleeping when I entered the room. Susan was not back from her Fellowship Meeting. Eunice’s bag was lying on the edge of her bed; I knew she was back from fellowship already. She is probably in the room next to ours. I changed out of my outfit and I took my purse out of my bag. I rushed down to the hall’s entrance where I took a motorcycle to Botanical Garden.
While on the motorcycle, I wondered what else to Mac I was yet to discover. The little I knew of him already portrayed him to be full of tantalizing mysteries. He is a poet! That fact alone had me hooked to his personality. Heavens know I love poets. I cannot write poems but I respect those who do.
I got down from the motorcycle and paid the driver. I walked to the gate to pay the entrance fee.
I took time to scan the area as I walked in. I was not sure where in that wide expanse of greenery he could be. I was not even sure if I would recognize him when or if I see him; all I knew of his physical qualities was that he had a fair complexion and he keeps something that looks like an Afro. However, I knew deep inside of me that I would know him when I see him.
I had not walked too far into the garden when I noticed a guy sitting alone under the shade of a cluster of trees, on a cement seat. From afar, the guy looked elusively familiar. I walked closer to examine him. He had an Afro – That’s one, I thought. He was wearing a long sleeve shirt, so I could not really ascertain if he was fair or not. Besides, his back was turned towards my direction. Still, I continued to move closer to him.
His head was bent. He would look up; stare into space for a few seconds before bending his head again. His right arm shook slightly anytime he bent his head. I watched him do that three more times before my curiosity overcame me. I took a step forward. I was about to take another when he suddenly looked up, but instead of staring into space this time, he looked back and his eyes met mine. I stopped in my tracks immediately, unable to move.
Author’s Note: We apologize for publushing this episode late. The delay was due to some technical issues we had with the blog.