My eyes are wide open. Again, I have found no sleep. No, I’m sleepy as hell, but to succumb to sleep’s appeal might be deadly at this point as I do not know her intentions,neither do I trust them. She has put me on her bed, and is making tea for me. It’s 5:24am. She’s smiling and trying to make small talk in hushed tones. I do not hear a thing she says. All I can think of is how weird this Senior is.
About an hour and a half ago, she came rushing to the courtyard to find me lying flat on my belly, totally knocked out by fatigue. She tapped me gently and said I should come to sleep. It was then I noticed that I was shivering and my teeth were chattering. I just might be coming down with pneumonia.
She lifted me off the floor, and held my tiny frame tight in a hug.
‘Ebube, I’m so sorry. I’m so so sorry. I didn’t remember you were out here.’
I snorted faintly, absolutely unmoved by her sudden sanity. She’s an impulsive liar, and nothing can fool me again. But because I needed her to let go of me, I told her it was fine. Then she released me, and then I saw her eyes.
At the sight, all the hair on my body stood!
Saturday is visiting day. Everyone is starting to talk about it with glee.
-Ah. My mummy is coming for me, Chuka says to Tinu in class.
-Me it’s my grandparents that are coming, Tinu replies with not so much enthusiasm.
Dotun is singing and drumming ‘Saturday is coming…Saturday is coming’. Some good voices join in to create a perfect harmony. I just sit in my chair and watch them, lost in thought. I’m thinking of those who may come for me, and whether or not I should tell them about my dilemma. Last time I spoke with Chinelo, she told me they were bringing Tracy, my cousin along. Tracy is also Chinelo’s classmate at their day school in Port Harcourt. It’s always fun having her around, and sometimes I wish I could just be transferred to their school and be set free from my sorry life at Royals. But they don’t know what I know, so they envy me too.
Last time they came, Tracy went on about this dude that was sending her love letters. It was a hilarious story. She said the guy’s expressions were very cheesy, and that if he didn’t back off soon enough, she might just go and report. Thinking about those words crack me up. Ours is a girls’ school, no crazy love letters are exchanged, except among lesbians. I was green with envy.
If, just for getting love, she wants to go and report, what have I been thinking all this while? All I’ve got from Sinemile has been trouble, trouble and more trouble, yet I’ve been so lenient. This thought strengthens my resolve: Yes, I will report.
This morning though, she was the kindest person. Strangely. I almost thought she was faking it until I saw the tears in her eyes. Those tears, that pained look, that raw sympathy; even Omotola Jalade cannot pull them off that well. But wait a minute, I can’t put it past her to be pretending. After all, she had claimed that her father had died when he really hadn’t. She had even lied about where she lived. The Emile she claims is her name was some name she heard on TV in a Mexican soap, I heard her say it to Senior Bobade, another one of her fake friends. Oh the things my ears have heard!
I think for a moment about how the closest friendship I had in this school was ruined on her account. After our little visit to her on the corridor infront of Room 6, myself and Bilikis began to talk less day after day. Bilikis, I believe, was terribly upset at the thought of becoming Sinemile’s bunkmate. I wanted to discuss it with her, review the possibilities of going back to confess that the UK story was all faux, and see if I could redeem my friend from the nightmare I had put her in, but Bilikis won’t talk to me. At some point she even started to avoid me. Worse was that everyone noticed. Everyone!
The guilt that kept eating me up was palpable. When people asked what was up with Bilikis and me, I’d always say I had offended her because indeed I was to blame. At least I thought I was.
Until that day I ran into Sinemile on my way to the Sports field.
‘Heyss!’ she said.
I pretended as if I didn’t hear. After all, my name wasn’t ‘Heyss’.
‘You! Hey you!’ she called again. I could pretend no longer, so I turned and feigned one dumb look of surprise.
She beckoned on me to come.
‘Ehen, what’s that your name again?’
‘Yes. Whatever. So you’re a liar ehn, you stupid bitch!’
‘Sharrap! Idiot. You thought you could fool me ehn?’
I was thrown into hysteria. Everything was happening so fast I didn’t have time to think.
‘Your friend, she has told me everything. You bastaaaarrd!’ she said, emphasizing the last word like it tasted really good on her tongue.
‘You are going to be my bunkmate. If you like, invent another dumb lie. Trust me, I’ll catch you again. I always do. You know why?’
I wasn’t sure it wasn’t rhetoric, so I didn’t respond.
‘You know why?!’ she barked, startling me.
‘Because, I am the master of the art!’
Then she gave me the creepiest smile, and for one split second, my heart stopped!