After thirteen rounds of frog-jump round the cut-yard, and thirty straight minutes of ‘squatting-and-flying’, I want to just die.
End it. Forget Kelechi. Forget Chinelo. Forget my single mother and Uncle Nonso in South Africa.
And. Just. Die.
My eyes are rolling back in my head, my limbs are screaming for mercy, and the famous bags of rice in my head are jumping all over the place. My tummy makes its own unique snicker, and then I remember I haven’t had anything all day.
What kind of life is this? Is it my fault that they stole all my buckets of water before I returned from prep?
I have tried to explain to her, but she just wouldn’t listen. She says I shouldn’t talk because that would get her even more pissed. She says she has nothing to wear tomorrow and she’s going to make sure I too cannot do anything productive tomorrow.
I check the time. It’s 12:15am.
People walking around are getting fewer and fewer by the minute. I’m here on the courtyard, kneeling, with my arms flung carelessly above my head. They have grown limp and cannot stay raised anymore.
I swear, I want to die.
Bilikis drags her feet along the corridor, managing to throw me a pitiable glance in the process. I don’t miss it. In my state, I do not miss anything; just in case it’s the one that’ll mean my freedom.
I’m tempted to call her and ask her to help me check that Sinemile is still awake and hasn’t forgotten me here. But she heads straight on to the bathroom and doesn’t wait a second. No, she doesn’t even seem like she would help me if we were the last two people on earth.
But how did we become like this?
Bilikis and I used to be best buddies. We were the tightest clique on JS1 block at the time. I remember meeting her on the day I went to the Senior Boarding House mistress to collect my house checks that Mumsy gave her money to help me buy. Bilikis was seated loftily on the dining table in her house, I suspected she just finished a meal, judging by the satisfied grin plastered on her face.
After unnecessary small talk about how I was fairing with hostel life and all, SBHM, as we call her, handed me my checks. I was making to leave when she asked that Bilikis walk with me since she was already done and was going my way. And that was it.
Because Bilikis is a natural talker, the shape of her mouth making it even more trouble-free to jabber, creating conversation with her was pretty easy. We were in the same house, though not in the same arm, and she easily became my go-to person for anything; advice, encouragement, gossip et al.
I think the trouble started with the Sinemile situation. Kneeling here in the dead of the night, these thoughts get me even more furious about what my relationship with Sinemile has caused me.
We saw this petite Ghanaian JS3 girl, Efya, at the entrance of Dikibo House. The weight on her head seemed like it’d smash her skull in tiny crumbs.
‘Hey Senor Efya. You need help?’ Bilikis asked in her usual bubbly enthusiasm.
I still found it awkward calling Efya ‘Senior’. I mean, that girl was really small.
‘No thanks.’ She said, without turning to look. I wondered whose box it was that was putting her in such misery.
‘Ok. Please we are looking for Senor Emily’s room.’
‘Check Room 6. I think.’
‘Thank you.’ We chorused.
We marched towards the room like armed men on a deadly mission. In my mind, however, I had turned to Jell-O, all the while fearing what might happen if our lie didn’t work as planned. Bilikis on the other hand didn’t seem to have the slightest care in the world.
Few minutes later, we were standing before Sinemile on the corridor of Room 6, looking up to her as she had this unreadable expression on her face. Her third eye kept winking horrifically at me.
‘Yes, they said you wanted to see me?’
‘Yes ma..’ both of us responded together. We stopped abruptly and looked at each other, then Bilikis nodded for me to go on.
‘My name is Ebube.’
‘Okayyy…?’ she looked puzzled.
‘Emm…I’m the one you said will be your bunkmate.’
‘Oh.’ She said rather drily.
‘Yes. Please ma…’
‘Please Senior Emil, I cannot be your bunkmate.’ My legs were shivering at this point, and it seemed like I needed to pee.
‘What do you mean?’ I saw her muscles tighten. For a moment, I thought she was going to land me a slap or something.
‘Emm…ma…Senior Emil..I am travelling to the UK in my JS3. Me and my family.’
She looked on, expecting that I’d continue. I had nothing else to say.
‘So she will not be able to serve as your bunkmate.’ Bilikis cut in, sounding a little too confident. Sinemile shot her a cold stare and returned her gaze back to me.
‘Hmm..I see.’ She said finally. ‘Is this why you brought your friend to replace you?’
‘No oh. She’s not here to replace me?’
Biliks mouth was already ajar, but no words came. Thankfully.
‘So what’s she here for?’
‘Well, okay. I see you’re also in Dikibo.’ She said, turning to Bilikis. ‘You would be my bunkie then.’
‘Ahh…but..no..’ our incoherence was met with another bloodshot stare. We felt stupid. Bilikis was already breaking a sweat on her forehead.
‘Excuse me senior, I can’t be your bunkmate.’
‘Because I already have a bunkmate.’
‘Stop wasting my time, fools. You are my new bunkmate. What’s your name?’
Before she could attempt to protest, Sinemile was gone.
It’s after 2am according to my watch. Now I’m starting to lose it. Everyone’s asleep, I think. I don’t know if Tanya is up –she always stays up late- but I can never really tell since she doesn’t come out. Luckily for me, there’s power today, so the courtyard isn’t entirely in darkness.
I hear crickets chirping from the swamp behind the hostel walls. I hear faint sounds of snores from different angles. I hear some howling and screeching here and there. Every single sound seems amplified, it’s scary.
My knees have literally packed up, so I’m just sitting on the floor now, waiting for the worst to happen. Sinemile, the weirdo that she is, could be peeping through the window watching me for all I care. Honestly, at this point I do not care.
People have advised me to report to the House mistress. I never saw the point. The worst they could do is punish her, or suspend her like they’ve already done before at other people’s complaints. Endurance has been my only medicine. She’s sick, and we all know it.
But no, I see the point now. If I keep enduring, I’d just die here. Endurance isn’t strong enough medicine any longer. Action is.
I will report her tomorrow, and hope they kick the beast away finally from Royal Girls’ High.
Yes, I will report.