Sinemile rushed into the room the other day, tears gushing out of her eyes like Erin-Ijesa falls. She hit the bed, her bed, and covered her head with her pillow. Everyone was quiet, everywhere was silent. No one had ever seen her like this before.
No, don’t get me wrong. Sinemile can bag a degree in the art of crying. She would also easily do well in shouting atop her voice. Trust me, she’s a bundle of talents. But, to run inside like that, to cry without screaming, without reporting someone to someone, without cussing at someone’s lineage; these were the many different things that made the day strange.
I was sweeping the dormitory that afternoon, as opposed to what was on the roster. Tanya was supposed to sweep, but her glasses had gotten missing again, and she could barely see a thing, and I had offered to help her in spite of my Sinemile-inspired busyness.
The broom fell from my hands on its own accord as soon as I saw her. I ran to my corner to know what the problem was. Now, looking backwards, I wonder if it was genuine concern that drove me, or just an excuse to watch her suffer. Whichever one it was, it pretty soon didn’t matter as she held onto my check as fast as she could and started crying into it. I was confused.
Tongue in cheek, I touched the edge of her bed with one side of my butt when bending over was becoming uncomfortable, hoping that at least if I was not welcome to sit, only a small part of me would feel the excruciating pain her slap might inflict. To my surprise, she shifted, giving more room for me to sit.
Oh gorilla! Today is my lucky day!
Her entire body was shaking vigorously as she let out soft sobs, and then my heart went out to her. Well, almost. She was still crying into my check and it was already looking wet. Ah! I gently placed my hand on her hair, and on cue, she shifted her head to my laps.
Something must be really wrong, I thought.
‘What is the matter, Sinemile?’
No response. Just sobs.
Maybe I have started annoying her, I told myself. The inner me was barking at me to shut my stinking mouth. I summoned courage, after all, her head was on my laps.
‘Sinemile, what is the matter? Why are you crying?’
Ok. I should go now. But how do I carry her head off my legs…
She was talking. To me?
Oh! To me! Could life get any better?
‘What happened to him?’
Even I was convinced by the amount of concern laden in my voice. God, forgive me if it was fake o.
She began another bout of grief into my check cum lap. I gently patted her hair too; one must learn to grab opportunities by the horns, you see.
I started to preach a sermon before I could stop myself. I told her to take heart, that everything would be alright. I told her not to cry so much, so as not to fall ill and die like her father. I told her there are many worse things in this life, and that she should just be thankful she still has a family.
Ofcourse, I knew I was talking trash, but I was just beside myself with excitement that my relationship with Sinemile was tending towards cordial. A girl has a right to dream.
Some twenty minutes later, or thereabout, she told me she was fine, and lifted her head from my laps. How would I have known she wasn’t fine?
After evening prep, I got to the room, only to hear her gisting with one ugly senior about her dad: how he was based in Australia and was very rich, an how she was soon going to join him. Senior Maggie wasn’t even her friend or anything, I don’t know who asked my Bunkie for unsolicited information.
I greeted both of them, and went ahead to ask Sinemile if she was feeling better, against my better judgement. Then the tornado came!
‘Ebube come and lie down flat inside the corner. You’re the stupidest person in this world, shey you know? Fool! Idiot! You were hitting my head today, I was just looking at you. You think I’m dumb right? I will show you how dumb I am today!’
I didn’t understand. Everything became a blur: what in the world was she talking about? I wanted to say something but my lips remained immobile in protest. I went and lay down there. I listened as she continued to yell, continually repeating the words: I will show you how dumb I am today!
She was indeed doing a good job at it.
Several days later, I came to realize that her father was neither dead nor in Australia. He lived somewhere in Ilorin. Why she would lie and pretend like that to different people still beats me to this day.
Rumors say it’s pathological. Who knows?
It’s already evening, and I’m just returning from the borehole with the water to wash with. SS1 girls ‘chanced’ us, SS2 girls literally sent us away from the borehole to fetch. So I had to wait. And now it’s late.
I sigh as I drop the seventh bucket by the hall gate. I find that it’s locked.
Uhh..It’s already time for prep.
Our overzealous House Captain will never stay one second after 7pm before she locks the gate for compulsory prep. I wonder if that’s how much she loves book sef.
With no other choice than to leave my buckets of water by the gate, I cut leaves from a nearby thicket and cover the surface of my buckets of water with them.
Don’t ask me why, it’s just common practice here at Royal Girls’ High. With the rate at which people ‘fap’ other people’s buckets of water, whatever safety precautions in existence will come in handy, mbok!
Trust me to continue my sleep during prep. For two straight hours of prep, I don’t even stir. Dotun is my saving grace, I may have slept overnight in class.
‘Ebube! Wake up jor. It’s 9:15! Prep is over.’
‘Ebube!’ she shakes me vigorously.
‘Stand up now! Everyone is leaving o!’
I suddenly jerk awake when I realize what she’s saying. 9:15 ke! Prep ended 9:00.
Yeh! My washing water…
P.S. ‘fap’ is a slang that means ‘steal’.