When we woke up this morning, some of my room girls were jesting, obviously discussing someone, in hushed tones. The juniors who would be dead if they spoke out just went about their business with amused countenances. Tanya later told me on our way for breakfast that people had heard what Sinemile said in her sleep last night. My relief was palpable; I honestly thought it was because I slept by her. I was happy there was enough distraction for them not to have observed us.
‘I used to think Sinemile was butty o’ Tanya said. I just laughed and shook my head. If only she knew.
‘Well, with last night’s revelation, it gets more confusing.’
‘I’m telling you.’ She said. By now, we were on the stairs leading to the JSS3 food section of the hall.
‘By the way, where did you go to last night, Ebube?’
I was immediately startled. I so don’t like to lie, but my infamous bunky was giving me very little choice these days.
‘Emm…why do you ask?’
‘Because I didn’t see you now. You know me I don’t sleep at night. At some point I looked towards your bed and you weren’t on it.’
‘Sinemile gave me work to do.’ At least, I wasn’t lying. Sleeping with…by Sinemile was so much work.
‘Ahn-ahn. What kind of work will keep you up late like that? That your Bunkie is wicked o.’ I prayed silently for that to be a statement rather than a question. What was her own sef? Unfortunately, we share the same table, there was no getting rid of her anytime soon.
I grabbed my loaf of bread and set down the mayonnaise jar I was holding beneath my armpit. I was only beginning to spread the thick slurry when Tanya showed up beside me. I reluctantly shifted for her to sit.
‘So you didn’t hear what she said?’ Oh no, not again.
‘What who said?’
‘Sinemile na. You didn’t hear her Yoruba exclamation?’
‘Emmm…’ Think fast. ‘No. Someone said it this morning.’
She chewed noisily on her bread. Table head was talking across the table, so her attention was divided, but not for long.
‘So what work did she give you to do?’
‘Oh no!’ I exclaimed a little too loud as I dropped my untouched breakfast to the ground. If this was the sacrifice I had to make to get her off my back, then so be it.
I walked out of the dining hall with a crooked smile on my face, an annoying mix of satisfaction and regret. I was going to be really hungry today, I imagined. And it turned out to be true, if the rumbling in my tummy is anything to go by.
So far, my day hasn’t been as bad as I thought. Teachers came and taught; some missed. Home Economics teacher always misses her period. Errr…I don’t mean like period period, I mean lesson period. She always has a ready excuse in her back pocket every time she manages to show up. I wonder why she makes it seem like she’s the only teacher with a husband and kids. Yes, I know she has seven kids, but that notwithstanding, this is her job. Today wasn’t one of her show-up days, and oddly I am grateful she didn’t come. I got to sleep throughout her period, and I dozed in a couple of others. Mr Aniefiok asked me to stand throughout his lesson when he kept catching me doze. Oh who cares? Other girls may be ashamed to be portrayed in that light, but not me. I have no shame, at least not in class.
As classes come to a close, I’m dreading going back to the hostel for so many reasons. First is the fact that today is errands day with Sinemile. Yes, she tagged Wednesdays errands day, but we both know every day with her is errands day. There’s also the fact that I can’t face her after what happened last night, which is even a more serious reason. I ran away from the hostel early enough this morning and I managed to avoid her.
Ok, maybe I didn’t tell you the full story about last night.
After that one outburst in her mother tongue, she talked a few more times in her sleep. I was infuriated but there was nothing I could do, so I just lay there in darkness and had the weirdest imaginations. But this one time, I needed to go to the bathroom. I could hardly move because she would get up if I did. I tried to hold it, but who puts nature’s call on mute? Eventually, I started to wriggle out of her grip, carefully, lifting her limbs off me, one at a time. As I triumphantly came free of her hold, I was sneaking out of the bed when I felt a firm grip at the hem of my night shirt, and a hoarse voice I couldn’t even recognize.
‘If you move, Ebube!’
The warning had a lot of promise. I felt cold chills run down my spine in torrents. The hot pee escaped my bladder…
‘Sinor Ebube, Sinor Emily is calling you.’ ,a tiny voice cuts through my thoughts, forcing me back to reality.
‘I’m dead!’ is all I can say to the poor girl before me.