Ife Won Gbona by Kayode Faniyi (@il__Duce)

ife gbona

 

It should be impossible. Finding personal space within the turmoil, the tumult, that was the hostel area of the university campus at night should be impossible but the gravity of their engagement wove a cocoon around them. So feet sloshed noisily through mud, some clacked over tar and mouths yapped excitedly or solemnly and cars honked and revved recklessly and big speakers flung music far and wide and later flung voices selling products far and wide. But they were in their special cocoon deliberating on issues of the gravest importance. Thus the chaos slipped by them noiselessly on that night the sky banished the stars from its face.

She was the more comfortable of the two. This was her territory: it was the front of her hall of residence; he was trying to make incursions into her life. Every girl knew how to dance that dance by instinct. For three weeks, she had led him in that dance, inviting without inviting, dismissing without dismissing. She had boxed herself into a corner however when she had unwittingly put a deadline to a concrete response. It had to have fallen out of its own volition because as soon as she had uttered “three weeks,” she had wished she hadn’t. It really was an open-and-shut thing, but the thrills of the delay were the fun. And like any CEO worth his salt cuts costs, he had tried to cut the time, because it really was open-and-shut. But you never know till you take the plunge.

She would interject briefly, and watch the perplexity jump into his eyes, like: wasn’t this already obvious? She’d pull a poker face and he’d be forced to ramble, she half-listening, he jittery, tentative, on unfamiliar, treacherous terrain. The jitters were a sight for her twinkling eyes, the ramble music to her ears. And as the clouds shifted to reveal the crescent remains of a giraffe-chomped moon, in the open seclusion of their special cocoon, she finally brought the dance to a halt, fearing that the monotony might scare him away. That perplexity again. He sought clarification, dreams no strangers to uttering illusions. She proclaimed the monosyllable clearer and it flared like New Year’s Day fireworks through his night. Crack! Crackcrackcrack! Crackcrack!

“Yes! She said yes!”

Response, in coming, was swift.

“Who said yes? That girl abi?” replied a Facebook friend whose name he had been too thrilled to register.

“What girl?” he teased, “My mum finally agreed to send me some money.”

“You’re an idiot.”

He had even forgotten to at least hug her, or how do they react to these sorts of events anyway? Wheeling away, in glee or not, certainly wasn’t one of the more acceptable reactions. But he had heard her laughter fly after him as he wheeled away. She had put him through hell!

To love was one heckuva thing. They had been friends, good friends for the past couple of months, after having bumped into each other volunteering for work during NASS week – an annual avenue for the union of science students to jamboree and as an afterthought, learn. She had been in Refreshments and he, in smartly tucked-in black white over black, had been manning the aisles as one of Protocol at Conference Centre, venue of the annual NASS Week Lecture. Professor Lamikanra, the pharmacist-poet had been delivering his keynote speech as the Special Guest of Honour – the title and content of which scant attention had been paid to – when he stopped, declared that the hall was a congress of chatter and proceeded to walk out – unprecedented in any annals of Ife history.

He had been busy stealing glances at the smiling girl close to the entrance, where the refreshments stall had been set. Her fringe bounced on her forehead and her bangle-like earrings danced beneath her ears as she dashed from cupping punch to allotting assorted pastry to serving trays. Her lithe frame, itself framed by a snug powder blue T-shirt and black form-fitting jeans, was unburdened by any of those extravagances of protrusions men were wont to lust after. He hung back to clear the mess the professor’s untimely departure had caused and later on managed to find himself in her general direction by happenstance. Total happenstance.

She was in the same department as he, he learnt, only a year lower. And since the students in the department were mammoth, it was plausible that neither had ever set eyes on the other in at least two years.

That stuffy academic – who the devil does he think he is, leaving a public lecture midway? What if they were making noise? Were they primary school pupils? Those are the ones required to keep mum. Nonsense. Better things to talk about anyway. Cooking was her favourite hobby, no? The way she was flying up and down back there… Nah, she just loves organizing stuff. She’s quite the cook though. Just the wafting past of the aroma of her cuisine and Lazarus would come forth… no, kick the tomb down at about the second day, no Jesus needed. No kidding. Hysteria! She got jokes. Take it easy, bro. Actually, her hobby was singing and she had once considered a career in music but a grimly determined lecherous producer had swung her off that course. Sad. His own hobby was reading. Oh? She loved to read too. And to write? Well, past her diary, not really. Well, he pretends to write poems and stuff like that. Poems,huh? Funny how he said pretend to write but had he ever read Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka? Oh yes, he had read it and God, the cheek of Kongi. West African sepia, peroxide blonde palms, plain or milk chocolate complexion… God, hilarious and yes, served that racist so-and-so right. No, he was only twenty-six, the hair would have been raven black then, just like his friction-blackened bottom, not the flamboyant sporangiophores of these days. She’s quite the delight; she wouldn’t mind if he asked for her number, no? Sure. Zero-eight-zero-three-eight-zero-six-five-zero-nine-zero. She didn’t care much for people saying “o” for zero – it’s a digit, c’mon. It’s crazy what the telecoms companies around here put them through, he’s calling her line right beside her and he’s getting “not available at the moment.” It’s crazy, maybe he should just reel out his number. Okay. With what name should he save the number? NASS Week girl. Laughter. Lade, actually. Oh, fine, his cousin, twice removed, pretty beautiful, just like her, answers Lade too. Oh, what a coincidence. Lades are typically fine. Are they now? What’s his name, by the way? Bisola. Shucks. Androgynous. Well, his mother and all… but forget all that, she has a wonderful. You flatterer. Thanks anyway. Phone call. She has to run now, but it’s been nice meeting him. Later. Headlamps.

What had followed was a great friendship, nine months of it, nine months of which they could not have been separate for more than four months, adjusting for inconsequential stuff like sleep, personal time and separate classes. They were a poster couple in denial, the department concluded, when upon enquiry they would deny dating.

Two weeks into the tenth month, he had stuttered through “I think it’s time we take our friendship to the next level.” Fucking chore. And the conniving nanny-goat had pretended that he was speaking Obahiagbon. “What do you mean the next level?” What did she think? Instead, he had struggled over the great detail of presenting their history to their present and the prospects of their future together, plus, he really, really loved her. And next to breakfast… and maybe lunch… maybe dinner too, she was the best thing he had known for the past nine months, Honest to God. She hadn’t bought the sales pitch; she bought time instead. Internal bedlam; external discomfiture.

But she had finally said yes. There had been times his faith had flagged but the wait hadn’t petered out to dashed dreams. The wait paid off. Good things, he had read somewhere, come to those who wait. Like tips.

And like all lovers who had newly sought each other out, they had begun a fevered voyage of discovery. Of the next five months, perhaps four they spent together or something that unbelievable. Linked by fingers, they attended theatrical productions and concerts and whatever was on at the fabled Amphi. Soon they sought privacy and reduced their retinue of friends to a retinue of two. Soon, they started to kiss, she dogging his hands’ just so they did not roam to restricted areas. Soon, the restrictions were lifted and with that, the need arose to seek out crevices, nooks, crannies, to exacerbate each other’s raging passions, always stopping short of one last film of barrier.

Then she had proceeded on Industrial Attachment while he prepared to graduate. The brewery gig had been facilitated by Tola, a best friend before that boy came along to knock her down a few pegs. Tola’s mother had a friend who had another friend who owed the initial friend a favour; and IT placement? Blob of cream.

And there, she had been besieged by men and boys: sophisticated old men who knew well how to railroad a girl into seeing things their way, and passionate boys besotted by beauty who wheedled assiduously till she gave them some audience, any audience at all. At Ijebu-Ode, on the premises of GrapeHop Breweries, she had come to realize the enormous power accorded her by erm… which one administers beauty – was it Aphrodite or Venus now? There had even been a boy who didn’t mind playing second fiddle to the boyfriend she told him about – he just wanted to be called hers too! She had given a few things a long hard thought… and no, she loved him – the poor him back at school – head over heels… or so, but… could one love two… should one love two? She perished the thought.

Back in school, he had transformed into a painstaking burrower and grub-worm going through the pages of the internet and fat books, ferreting out any information relevant to penicillin resistance in bacteria. Penicillin had essentially become a useless anti-bacterial agent – you learnt that in Year Two. Bacteria, pluckier than every folk tale tortoise put together, had found the means to thwart Fleming’s noble efforts – like manufacturing the enzyme Penicillinase – by digesting Penicillin. He and a group of twelve others had isolated Staphylococcus species from all manner of sources, most cringe-worthy of which were roaches immersed in test tubes of nutrient broth and swabs of pig poo. Scientists must however soldier on without relent or disgust and so they had completed isolation and characterization, and finally subjected the scrutiny-survivors to antibiotic sensitivity tests to determine what antibiotic and which does of that antibiotic might work or not. “Your lot,” drawled Dr Ahmed, bespectacled and perennially worn out, “falls on Penicillin.”

Penicillin did not have his full attention however. There was Mary – the buck-toothed beauty, ebony but for her teeth, a classmate over at Dr Asiwaju’s lab. There was Itunu in Year Two Microbiology whose eyes smoked volumes and volumes of naked lust. There was Abiodun in Professor Imole’s lab, whose innocence and Christian piety was so alluring he wanted to rid her of them. But he loved her – the her on IT – and why the hell was he harbouring crushes for three different girls when it was as obvious as the sun where his heart lay? He perished the thought. His heart went to Lade, wherever she was, and he thought that boys might be feeling towards her the way he was feeling towards these other girls, and thought that older men might presently be executing schemes to lay their grubby mitts on her, and became overcome by an animal rage he had to stand still for minutes on Motion Ground to repress. Mongrel snarl.

Heck, he had to suppress raging jealousy when she as much as talked to any other boy whilst they were together. Jealousy was that concept the extent of which he’d only been exposed to soon as the right combination and amount of chemicals signalled he was in love with Lade. It was fashionable to claim one didn’t get jealous, and that jealousy was for the emotionally craven. But, could love be and jealousy be absent? Perhaps, if there were no proprietary instincts… Light bulb. That could be the subject of a poem Ayn Rand would find absolutely abhorrent, reject and denounce stronger than she did Kant.

One Small Step for a Man
by Bisola Sotade.

If there were no proprietary instincts:

Breakups wouldn’t be messy;
  hearts wouldn’t break – for
I wouldn’t own you,
  or try,
  nor would you me.
Our children will be our children;
  one for all
  and all for one.
One small step for every man
  would truly be giant leaps
  for all of mankind.
You wouldn’t scythe me down from lofty height
  because you’d tower,
  you’d soar high as I.
Leaders wouldn’t be corrupt;
  the saner isms, who knows,
  might even work!
There would be no selves to serve;
   dining would be collective.
There would finally be rationale
   for the existence
   of words like “perfect”, “utopia”, “ideal”, “love”.
Skin colour would be just that –
   different shades of one
   not criterion –
   to accept or to deny…

…If there were no proprietary instincts.

And then she came back to school, two-month attachment over, and all was well, no word, not one, about the icebergs marginally missed.

That night, they had found a crevice, this time a building in construction, well off the civilization of possible intruders – past the Sports Centre, past the banks and set back some fifty metres off the long stretch of Road One. Rumour had it that the building was to house a research centre or so, but its completion, as usual, had been put on hold for very long. They set at each other with a vengeance. They kissed and groped and sucked and shed excessive skin like defoliating snakes and fell to love, she grasping the frame of a window, he grasping her waist, thrusting gently from behind and sometimes working his hands up to ply her small breasts topped by nipples that stood out like twin minarets over a domed mosque. He had been in heaven, his face a picture of vagina-wrought ecstasy. In her case, “God, I’m getting fucked and I love it!” she blurted, amidst moans and moans and moans. God sighed: one more set of prematurely humping human in the habit of invoking His Holy Name in the middle of this sweet – He made it; He knows – but untimely therefore unholy act. He – Bisola – had chuckled at her new-found candour, whispering (and kissing) the fact into her ears. And when the deed had been done, she cried. For innocence forever bid bye, she cried. For new waters that demanded navigation, she cried. For a vow of celibacy she in a flight of Christian fancy had taken, she cried. She cried, for now she wouldn’t come to marriage unsoiled. He patted her back and she cried on his chest and he thought: Damn! that was good!

And wearing a moulding blue gown over an impeccably snug black suit over a pink-and-white chequered shirt and a sleek slim black tie, he was convoked, and it was time to leave her once again and hope against hope, in their deep of deeps, that distance would hold, rather than break. Back at his hotel room residence, the goodbye had taken all night. There was sweat, and tears, and seminal fluid; and sweat and tears and seminal fluid, and sweat and tears and seminal fluid. Till they were spent. Utterly.

And while he was gone, she’d missed their bodies locked, writhing in that enduring struggle. She’d missed the aimless strolls into the night, the pretentious star-gazing like scenes leaping from pages of formula romance. She’d missed his idiotic prancing, or what he must have felt was dancing. She’d missed his jokes. She’d missed the seduction – trailing kisses over her face, teasing her lips till she at last fell in step with his lust. She’d missed the conferences about the portents of the future, those enormous eyes of his poring over every inch of her face, the beauty of the twin brown probes unnerving and comforting at once. You didn’t want to be staring into those eyes up close. And she’d thought: Oh, if only he were here, he’d know what to say and his eyes and lips, well, they’d settle the business. But he wasn’t and she’d thought… and there were boys, tons of boys, from the downright despicable to the downright desirable… and they weren’t going away… and she thought. What love was this that permitted the prospect of others? And so on the battle raged in her lithe frame, weighing on her mind, and unsettling her heart like that day a year or so ago she’d fallen in love with him.

He’d come back. She’d been glad, ecstatic even. He’d been gone for six months, pre-NYSC call-up work. For one week, they’d stuck to each other like a dog stuck in a bitch, rolling back the months, catching up on lost company… the coitus too. The phone calls, the messages weren’t it, never could be. There was nothing like the medium of presence. There was nothing like seeing the reckless laughter as it spilled forth from both their mouths, or the smiles the voices over the telephone hinted at. There was nothing like kissing the kisses they crudely mimicked over the phone.

He always understood. God, she loved that expression: “I get, Lade. I understand.” Then they’d forget whatever it was that was the problem. She’d finally opened up to him about her IT travails. “Communication is key among couples,” he’d say. So she told him how sorely tempted she had been and he had understood. “It’s human nature. The important thing is you passed the test.” And they had forgotten about it. He hadn’t bothered to tell of his own temptations – what was the point?

The cosmos had to have thrown a party. Several stars struggled to outwinkle themselves and the full moon beamed the full force of its dull ambience over the world, and the lovers silently contemplated their love. He sat swinging his legs absently, his hands tangled in her hair, looking down at her, a smile plastered on his face, and she lay on his laps twiddling her thumbs, staring up at the partying cosmos, her hair a mass of brown, synthetic untidiness. Desires had been sated earlier; now, satiation pushed silence to beg contemplation.

He’d understand. He always does. All she needed to do was just broach it and broach the topic she would. He would understand.

“Bisola,” she murmured, “I,” tentative, “I want to break up.”

Silence. Astonishment. Sombre procession of memories before his eyes. Memories lived: The promises of forever. The poems and longass love letters. The passion of loving, the rapture of sex. The public dinners. The furtive fiestas. Memories unlived: He tuxedo-clad, she in virginal-white, the unruly silence, the eternal wait for the time allotted to reservations to pass without event. Kids – two boys and two girls meandering over the lawn. The holidays. The getaways. The joint accounts, the jointly owned businesses… the jointly earned acclaim.

Animal rage snarled at the betrayal of love, at the audacity to embark upon the betrayal of love. The jarring bareness of the building suddenly became forbidding. The surrounding darkness of the semi-forest suddenly became forbidding. She looked lovingly into his eyes waiting to hear the soothing “I understand”, waiting for the inevitable inquiry which she’d satisfy satisfactorily. Out of her sight, the fingers of his right hand curled round a stone and grasped it tightly.

You’ve probably heard the sentiment expressed before, that there exists only a thin, semi-permeable membrane separating love and hate. You’ve probably heard of how quickly that membrane can be dissolved, given the right conditions. Love, like blood, a homogenous muddle ultimately separable into love and hate, like blood and serum. Love and hate: two extremes of one spectrum united in cyclic oneness. Love and hate: one the ying, the other the yang. Love and hate: the seeds of one contained in the other’s height. The British writer, Will Self, once wrote: “Love and hate are intimately comingled.” In order to hate, one will surely have loved first.

His left hand tightened around her chest like a clamp around a slab of wood. He struck. Surprise muted her for several seconds.

The frogs and crickets that previously lay quiet in the enveloping darkness kicked off in horror at the ferocity of the blows and the frightening yelps of pain. Her screams mingled with their cacophonous chorus of horrific chirps and croaks to create music suited to blackness. She struggled and bit and thrashed. His resolve, however, had become iron.

 The writer is on twitter as @il_duce . Check out some of his other works on his blog.  http://kayodefaniyi.wordpress.com/

COIN……there are two sides to every story by @obasatemitope (Episode X)

0799-KD_1L

 

 

 

 

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Kogberegbe suddenly realized he was sweating. He looked around the eatery and noticed there weren’t so many people there anymore. Naija! He mused for he knew what had happened. The air conditioners were switched off to reduce cost; they tend to leave it on only when there were many customers around. Business minds in Nigeria could be irritating, he thought, gulping the last of his coke and making his way out of the eatery in annoyance.

Kogberegbe mentally checked his to-do list and fired his car, heading toward Unilag (University of Lagos) where Ronke used to be a student. Kogberegbe already got a list of Ronke’s ‘few friends’ from her dad and a more comprehensive one from Dapo, as well as the address of the club they used to visit. According to Dapo, Ronke’s closest friend wasn’t even known by her parents.

Though Kogberegbe was skeptical about finding anyone of them in school, Dapo assured him that some of them would, especially because many of the students come from far and wide.

Ronke stayed in Moremi hall while she was alive, and that was where Kogberegbe headed. He saw a woman who identified herself as the hostel warden; she said men were not allowed in the hostel. Her face however fell as Kogberegbe told her the nature of his visit, she knew Ronke quite well. According to her, the girl was vibrant and full of life, but also very kind. Kogberegbe knew what it meant when older people said someone was ‘vibrant’. She pointed abruptly mid-sentence “Look, that is Kemi walking towards the car. Both of them were pretty close.”

“Thank you ma’am” Kogberegbe said, running to catch up with the girl before she got in the car which was obviously waiting for her, packed full with students.

“Kemi” Kogberegbe called out. She looked back and gave him an assessing look followed by an expression that showed that she didn’t know him and wasn’t too keen on doing so. She was obviously one of the high class babes on campus who didn’t have time to spare anyone who wasn’t rich or popular in school. She turned and continued graciously towards the car.

“This concerns Ronke. I assume you knew her?” This made her stop in her tracks, she turned back and smirked, throwing her head back, a gesture that made her fake long hair fly backwards. Her right hand was glued mid-air, hanging her handbag perfectly in place, her face half covered by a huge pair of sunglasses.

“Knew?” she said, giving him a look that so annoyed him.

“She’s dead” Kogberegbe said and was instantly rewarded with an immediate change in her total expression. Her seemingly starched hand impressively went limp and her face went pale.

Frowning, she asked “What are you talking about?”

Kogberegbe brought out his identification card and took a step towards her “I am detective Kogberegbe, investigating the homicide”

“Homicide?” her face contorted “what on earth are you talking about?” she screamed

“Please calm down, I will not like to take you in for questioning” which he was sure would have been what the Nigerian police would do “but at the same time, I do not want you to cause a scene” Kemi nodded her comprehension and leaned against the bonnet of the car, a tear rolled down her cheek. Kogberegbe saw her friends scurrying out of the car, they were obviously worried.

“I would like to ask you a few questions. Can you kindly ask your friends to excuse us for a few minutes?”

“It’s ok” she said blankly “we are all a clique. Some of them were even closer to Ronke than I was”

“Alright then” Kogberegbe said as the first girl approached.

“Hey” she greeted him casually and turned her attention on her friend “are you alright?” at this point, everyone else was by her side.

“Ronke is dead” Kemi blurted out and ran off into the hostel, sobbing uncontrollably as she went.

Kogberegbe rolled his eyes wondering how dramatic these girls can be. He was quite surprised though that none of these supposed friends had heard about the death or of Dapo’s arrest. Their faces registered shock, surprise and grief. One of the girls went after Kemi.

“None of you knew she’s dead?” Kogberegbe asked and they all slowly shook their heads “Did anyone of you notice anything out of the ordinary? Any odd behavior or associations that could suggest anything?” again they shook their heads in silence “was she part of a cult group?”

“Why are you asking all these questions, Mr. …?” One of the boys stepped closer, questioning Kogberegbe’s authority.

“Oh, sorry. Since you didn’t know about her death, you wouldn’t have known how she died. She was killed, more precisely her neck was snapped” Kogberegbe added for effect. He knew that these kids would need a little fright if they were going to be of any help to the case.

“Killed? That doesn’t make any sense. Who would want to kill her?” the boy questioned further.

“I was hoping you’d tell me that” Kogberegbe responded, wiping dust off his sunglasses with a white handkerchief.

“Me?” the boy asked

“Not you in particular, any of you whole lot. From what I gathered, you were her friends and you apparently knew her better than even her parents did. I am certain you are aware that she lived a double life?”

“What are you talking about?” He looked at Kogberegbe, at his friends and back at Kogberegbe “we all flock together, we know ourselves quite well. Ronke was a high spirited girl, she liked to enjoy life and get a little wild sometimes. But that’s nothing bad, we party quite hard but we also made a pact to study twice as hard. It’s not a bad way to live” he added defiantly.

“Yet one of you lost their life” Kogberegbe thre back “What’s your name buddie?”

“David”

“David, that’s one part of Ronke’s life that you know of. I believe…”

“How dare you insult our friend?” David darted back

“Ronke is- was different at home” one of the girls supplied quietly, her head bowed “Her parents don’t support clubbing or any of our lifestyles” tears rolled down her cheeks as she spoke.

David looked back at Kogberegbe, a deep frown on his face “Who are you anyway?”

“I am Kogberegbe. Detective Kogberegbe, and I’m officially investigating your friend’s death”

“I wish you luck detective. We’ll be glad when you apprehend the murderer, but nothing in our lifestyle suggests why she may have met with such fate. None of us is in any kind of cult. We are regular students, we only like to enjoy life and live it to the fullest. I still maintain that that is not a crime”

“Indeed” Kogberegbe smiled, noticing that the girl who spoke up earlier looked slightly uncomfortable. “Well, just in case you remember anything that can help with this investigation- anything at all, please give me a call” Kogberegbe said, handing out a stack of his business cards.

“I’ve told you all we know sir, we don’t have anything more to say” David said, refusing to take the cards.

“Humour me nevertheless” Kogberegbe insisted. He turned to the girl “What’s your name, lady?”

“Fadeke” she responded, looking up and collecting the cards that Kogberegbe offered.

“Thank you” Kogberegbe said, still smiling. He wore his sunglasses and excused himself. As he drove away, Kogberegbe wondered if this was another dead end…though something about David struck him as odd. He was defensive for no reason- perhaps too defensive.

Back in his office, he thumbed absent-mindedly at his desk, thinking about the case. No one saw anything out of the ordinary, according to all he’d talked to; and no one knew anything either. It’s either the murderer was a third part of Ronke’s life that he was yet to be privy to, or those who knew about him or her were extremely frightened to talk.

There had been a weird feeling that Kogberegbe carried around all day, and he just recognized it now as loneliness. It was a feeling he didn’t understand, almost entirely strange to him as he didn’t feel lonely often…and he couldn’t figure out where this is stemming from. His mind went back to all the encounters he’d had during the day, deliberately blotting out Lucyji. What she did was too much of a betrayal and even though he would admit that he wasn’t serious with the relationship, he knew he didn’t deserve to be treated the way she did. Kogberegbe decided to focus on Dana; now that’s a weird one, he mused. Dana and Kogberegbe were good friends and though he knew her to be straightforward with her opinions, those opinions had never before been directed at him; and it was for this reason that Kogberegbe wondered if she could be right. He knew he always had challenges in his relationships but what if the problem lay within; what if he truly needed to work on himself? For one, he knew he didn’t know the first thing about women but he also knew that it was hopeless for him to attempt to start learning at this stage. Women seem to have a way of making a man’s life complex and truth be told, he still hurt from his broken marriage. Kogberegbe hated to fail at anything and to him that was a major failure. It also hurt that he let his wife down and another man was able to fill the void she felt with him for so long; do for her what he was too busy to do- care. Kogberegbe should have moved on by now, and many times he thought he had…but once again as he’d done many times in the past, he found himself staring at the picture of himself and his ex-wife which he always kept at the bottom of his drawer. He felt the urge to talk to her again if only to feel a bit of the comfort, love and assurance he always did with her. He often resulted to checking up her facebook page whenever he had such urge but it always ended the same way. He would see her contended smile in lovely pictures where she was always swarmed with her family, she never seemed to have a dull moment in her life. And Kogberegbe always ended up weighing his life against what probably was hers and he ends up feeling sad. Knowing this, he deliberately veered away from his ex-wife’s facebook profile that was loading, and instead went on Lucyji’s page. As his heart began to feel a warm glow, he suddenly realized the origin of the lonely feeling he had- he missed this woman! But how can, he wondered. He’d always loved his life independent of anyone; he only put this on the line once and since that didn’t work out for him, he concluded it was best to live his life the way he liked it- independently. So why was his feelings drawing him back when he’d just been given a perfect escape route out of the strong strings that women ensure they wield round their men?

His phone ringing tone jerked him out of his reverie, he frowned as he checked the number, it was an unregistered one. He sighed and pressed the green button.

“Detective Kogberegbe on the line” he said

“Hi” The person on the other end of the line said, it was a female voice which sounded vaguely familiar but he couldn’t place it just yet “My name is Fadeke” she continued.

“Hi Fadeke, how may I help you?”

“I’m one of Ronke’s friends you spoke with earlier today” she said

“Oh, pardon me I didn’t get your name earlier on. Thanks for calling” Kogberegbe heart started racing. Probably something good was coming out of the day afterall…

“I couldn’t say anything in the presence of others earlier on.”

“Is there a reason to fear your own friends?” Kogberegbe enquired

“You mentioned cultism detective. If this is true, no one can be trusted.”

“Ok, please go on”

“I can’t discuss this with you over the phone. I am not supposed to know anything, if you know what I mean. And even if I do, I am not supposed to share.”

“Ok, can you come to my office Fadeke?”

“Your office ke? That’s risky, I can’t afford to be seen with you. Who’s to say the murderer isn’t watching us all?”

“You’re right. How about we meet casually?”

“Casually bi ti bawo? Are you listening to me detective?”

“Fadeke, you’re a smart girl. I believe you can act like everything is normal; use a camouflage is need be. Can we meet at Shoprite car park? It’s usually pretty crowded, if anyone’s following you, it should be easy to lose them around the parking lot.”

“Ok cool. How soon can you get there?”

“I can be there by 8pm, you?”

“Eight is fine. Call to know my exact location at the car park when you get there”

“Ok, see you then”

“Eerm, Detective?”

“Yep?”

“Please don’t come in that car of yours”

“Why?” he asked confused.

“Just please don’t. Thanks” with that, she went off the line.

 

Boarding Tales ~ Episode XV (Bosola’s Confessions)

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‘‘This whole drama needs to stop young lady.’’ Mr Adisa said giving me a stern look

‘‘Sir, I think we need to review the punishment in light of Bosola’s confession.’’ He added addressing the principal.

‘‘Adisa, wait a minute. That won’t be necessary, besides I think she was about to tell us something.’’

‘‘Young lady, you said you have something to say.’’

‘‘Yes sir, I do.’’

‘‘Sir, I don’t think you should still listen to this girl anymore. Don’t forget you still have to be in Ibadan today. I really don’t know what game she is playing but we don’t have time for this theatrics.’’

‘‘Mr Adisa, why don’t you let her talk? I am very interested in whatever she has to say.’’ Mom said

‘‘Nneoma, leave it alone. Whatever it is she can tell us on the way home.’’ Dad replied

The principal cleared his throat noisily.

‘‘Bosola Adesegun, I have to be in Ibadan like Adisa said. We will talk about whatever you want to say when you get back from suspension.’’

‘‘I won’t be coming back to this school sir.’’

‘‘Oh yes you will my dear daughter. You are definitely coming back.’’ Dad replied.

Yewande and her Mom had remained silent all through. The principal stood up to leave and my parents and Yewande’s mom shook his hands.

******

I had vowed never to talk to Yewande again but for some reason I felt like there were words to be exchanged.

I walked to her Mom’s car and as though she sensed I was coming came out of the car and leaned against it.

‘‘So what were you planning to say?’’ She asked

‘‘I was ready to talk about what this school really is. I wanted to tell the principal about how Mr Adisa sleeps with girls and how he encourages students dating.’’

‘‘And what did you think that would achieve?’’

‘‘I don’t know but I just get annoyed anytime he mentions how decent his school is.’’

Yewande laughed holding her sides.

‘‘And then what happens when he knows? He would close the school? He would sack Mr Adisa? You are so funny.’’

‘‘You think he won’t do that?’’

‘‘Bosola stop fighting battles you are bound to lose, just go on your suspension and come back to do Iye’s work.’’

‘‘Yewande, I am sorry I came to talk to you.’’ I said walking away. I blinked back the tears that blurred my vision telling myself over and over again how stupid I was to have changed my mind about talking to Yewande.

*****

We travelled in silence for about an hour before I summoned the courage to speak.

‘‘Dad, Mom, won’t you ask me what happened, won’t you ask me what I wanted to say in the principal’s office?’’

‘‘Bosola, what do you have to say. I said what do you have to say? You can still talk because I have not sunk my teeth into your flesh, biting until I can taste blood. The reason you are talking is because I haven’t picked a toilet broom to whip you until the evil spirits in …..’’

‘‘Mom, he had sex with me when I was nine years old.’’ I shouted interrupting her.

I watched her mouth open and blocked my ears at her shrilling screams of “who” who is the animal”, the car swerved dangerously as dad stopped the car.

‘‘What did you just say?’’ Dad said, his face a painful mask

I still don’t know what possessed me to talk the way I did, perhaps it was Mom’s self righteousness or the need to spill everything out that kept plaguing me.

‘‘Uncle Demola slept with me when I was nine.’’

‘‘Oh Jesus. Why did Demola do this to me ehn? How did I offend him?’’ Mom wailed placing her head in her laps.

‘‘Bosola, you said Demola raped you at nine. The same Demola, my brother’s son?’’ I nodded although it was more of a statement than a question.

He placed his head on the wheel. I watched them both. Mom sobbing into her laps, Dad with his head on the wheel. I didn’t feel any pity for them. There was more.

‘‘He didn’t just stop after that. It continued until the time Dad brought me here to boarding school.’’ With each word that I said Mom’s sobs became louder.

‘‘Bosola,’’ Dad said raising his head from the wheel. ‘‘I want you to tell me everything Demola ever did to you and I want you to also tell us what you wanted to tell the principal in there.’’

***

I was one of those little girls that everyone loved to carry and call the wife of their son, brother and sometimes themselves.

Uncle Demo loved me specially; He would always give me a huge portion of the meat Mom gave him for dinner.  Everyone called me his baby. He would help with my assignments, and even help with my household chores. I would stay in his room whenever Mom and Dad were out of the house.

I was Eight years old when he would play Shina Peters’ records and teach me some of the songs. He would read out stories from Hints and Better Lover magazines. He would ask if I understood what was happening in the stories and pinch my budding breasts. I would laugh at this. It was both painful and enjoyable being pinched like that. Other times he would tell me to put my hands in his trousers and help him rub his “kokoro”. That was what he called it then.

The first time I rubbed it for him, I got afraid when it began to swell and asked if it pained him or if it would burst like a boil. He had thrown back his head and laughed for a few minutes. When he was done laughing, he nodded his eyes brimming with tears brought on by the laughter.

‘‘Bosola, it could burst and that’s why you have to help me. Just allow me to lie on you.’’ I was afraid and allowed him to lie on me. He made me promise not to tell anyone as it would make them panic. ‘‘They would think I am about to die.’’ He said.

We continued like that for a while. I would remove my clothes and he would lie on me, he would breathe heavily and I would mumble sorry afraid he was suffering from an illness and could die.

I never told anyone what Uncle Demo and I were doing, not when we finally had sex and not even when I was old enough to know the meaning of what we did. I had come to enjoy it and  looked forward to it.

*****

Mom continued to sob as I spoke but Dad kept looking at me, his face expressionless. His face betrayed nothing not even when I told him how Demo had given me birth control pills the day I told him I have started seeing my monthly flow.

I switched to talking about the school. I told them about Toluse, Mr Adisa and Iye. I described a little of the things that went on in the school. I used the expression Sodom and Gomorrah. It was only at that word that Dad’s eye twitched and his face fell as if he wanted to cry. The car became quiet once again as soon as I finished speaking. The silence was broken by Mom after several minutes.

‘‘Bosola, you would be going to church with me as soon as we get back to Lagos. You have to be delivered.’’

‘‘She won’t be going for any deliverance.’’

‘‘Fola why would you say that? This girl is being attacked by the evil one, she needs to be delivered.’’

‘‘Shut up Nneoma’’. Dad screamed. ‘‘Shut up this minute.’’

‘‘The issue here has nothing to do with evil spirits or good ones. The person who needs deliverance here is Demola and I am going to ensure he gets delivered to prison.’’

‘‘I remember I was against him living with us, but if I had said no then, your people would have said your Igbo wife is hostile.’’

‘‘Woman, that’s irrelevant right now. We have to find a way to get out of this situation. First we need to get to the town, spend the night there and leave for Lagos tomorrow morning. I will deal with Demola when we get home.’’

‘‘As for that school and Mr Adisa, They would hear from me. I mean what kind of a school puts a young man in charge of the female hostel?’’

Boarding Tales ~ Episode XIV (Bosola’s Confessions)

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****

“Madness! That’s what this whole business had to be.” I said a bit loud to myself after leaving Yewande’s bunk. I listened to the peal of the breakfast bell as it rang for the last time. I wasn’t hungry at all or better still I had no appetite for food. I wondered if that was part of the effects of becoming a witch.

I was beyond angry, I felt betrayed and manipulated. I had thought Yewande had made friends with me because she really wanted to. I really wanted to make her pay but I couldn’t think of anything that could be done, I was too worried about the implications of being a witch.

There were a lot of things I still didn’t understand about the dream I had and the woman I saw. I was sure Yewande could shed more light but I was determined not to talk to her. Not in this life or the after I hissed holding back tears.

*****

It should have been just a dream, that’s what I had expected it to be.  Why else would I have been washing the back of a strange woman at a stream?   It was supposed to be a mere dream, fearful but meaningless. The first unusual thing about the dream was that it had started and ended with the woman saying “Don’t be deceived, this is not a dream.”

There had been two Hyenas lying down on the grass behind the stream. She had talked about Wheat and how I was supposed to spread the grains once a week.She had smelled of musk and sandalwood; a smell that even in the dream had reminded me of the incense that Mom sometimes burns. My horror started when after I woke up, the smell of musk and sandalwood pervaded the whole room.

How could what should be a dream not be a dream? The question that kept ringing in my head up until the time Yewande called me to her bunk and broke the news to me. I had felt shock at first but understanding had followed. It was certain. My worst fear was confirmed. Bosola was now a witch.

I spent half of that Sunday thinking about the woman, wheat grains and Hyenas. A part of me thought about how it could be a blessing in part. I would be able to punish Slappy. Perhaps turn her into a mouse. I laughed at that loving the idea. I discarded the thought after reminding myself that I had no wish to be a witch. So what’s the way out? I asked myself. Later that day, an idea formed in my mind; something that could only be executed after the masquerade festival.

****

The day our parents and our accusers were to come, I dressed up as early as 5.00 am in readiness. Yewande woke up later than usual, perhaps because she knew she wasn’t going to be attending the class. I watched as she packed her bags and emptied her wardrobe. She gave her provisions away and I watched in disbelief as everyone scrambled to get some even the ones who had accused her of being a witch also collected. Aren’t they scared? I thought

I attended the morning assembly while Yewande stayed in the room. I would have advised her to attend if we were still talking. But since I was still very angry with her, I hadn’t been talking to her. It seemed she had noticed and had also stopped all forms of interactions with me.

I wasn’t afraid any longer. I was ready to face the guys. Their books and the money were even in my backpack, I intended to return to them and apologise. I knew this might spell trouble for me but for my plan to work out, I had to make my own conscience clear

****

I couldn’t concentrate in the class; I had never been able to. Even without the burden in my heart I wouldn’t have understood a word.

It was further mathematics; a subject I believed was for the heavenly beings. The best score I ever got in mathematics was 56 so I wondered how anyone would expect me to grasp further mathematics. What’s my business with dy dx for heaven’s sake? That was the question I had almost asked the teacher once when he told me to find the dy dx of a particular mathematical problem. I had thought better and to avoid problems simply told him I don’t know. It had never bothered me to be called a dullard, not then, not ever.

I tried to drown out the teacher’s voice with my thoughts but somehow it kept creeping in. I checked my watch amazed at how much time was gone already.

Where were my parents and the guys? I wondered. I was still thinking of this when someone walked into the class. I looked up immediately and met Toluse’s eyes as soon as I did. I wondered why he could turn cold so suddenly. A thought crossed my mind making me smile wryly. I looked intently at him as he spoke to the teacher and I noticed he was trying to change his posture every second. It seemed as though he could tell my eyes were on him. I knew getting Toluse back wouldn’t be an issue if I was interested. The teacher motioned for me to follow Toluse and heaving a sigh of relief I did.

We didn’t say a word to each other throughout our walk to the principal’s office. He entered his office with me and I wondered why he felt the need to do so.

*****

Yewande was seated with a woman who I presumed must be her mother. She reeked of wealth and class. She seemed angry but for some reason it looked like her anger wasn’t really meant for her daughter. I spotted mum and dad next; there was no emotion in their eyes. It wasn’t as if I was expecting them to be overjoyed at seeing me but I expected to see anger or disgust. The two guys we had met in the university were also seated on the left. It could have been a courtroom of some sorts with the pissed looking principal as the judge and Mr Adisa with the no nonsense look plastered on his face as the prosecuting lawyer. The only thing that would have been wrong with that court was that there were no defence lawyers.

The principal cleared his throat.

“Ahem….it’s good that the second odaran is here now. You girls have both had one week since this incident happened and none of you still deemed it fit to confess. I am very ashamed of you girls and more importantly of the disrepute that you have both brought this school into. You have shamed me and the decent teachers and students of this school. For this reason we have decided to punish you both. Yewande is a serial offender and although I hate to disappoint her Mom I am going to have to send her out of my school his time around.”

I glanced at Yewande and saw that she could as well have been a thousand miles away.

“As for Bosola,” the principal continued. “She would have to go on three weeks suspension.”

I heard my mum gasp mumbling Jesus.

“It’s painful to me that you girls have not confessed to stealing the properties of these gentle men. Since you have refused to own up to it, I would have no choice than to pay for their loss.”

“Sir, there will be no need for that.” I said

“I took those items and I’m ready to return them.”

“Bosola you did what?” My Mom screamed. “Lord have mercy, are you also a thief now?”

“Calm down woman”, my dad said. She looked at him and nodding her head she sat down.

“Sir,” I continued. “Before I return those items to them I would like to say here now before everyone and my parents that I do not wish to remain in this school.”

“What!!! Yewande screamed startling everyone. Bosola how dare you say that, have you forgotten Iye’s mandate?”

“I don’t care.”

“You have to!”

“You ladies should wait a minute, who and what is Iye?” The principal said

“Sir, that’s where I intend to go next, there is a lot to talk about sir and I’m glad we have our parents here and these two outsiders too. You have been living in a fool’s paradise sir. Today I’m ready to tell all.”

photo credit: google images

Boarding Tales ~ Episode XIII (Yewande’s Story)

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FOR ALL PREVIOUS EPISODES, PLEASE CLICK HERE

It was an assignment that had been given to me by the woman of the stream; Iya Stream as the students calls her. A woman all the students talked about but that few people had ever seen. I had met her early one morning while I walked back to the school through the usual foot path. It was a meeting I would never forget.

Here is how it happened……

 

I was walking down the length of the rock that fenced the hostel blocks when a rustling in the surrounding bush startled me. Someone walked out making my heart skip a beat. I looked at the person and was relieved to see it was a woman. A beautiful dark skinned woman who seemed to be about my mother’s age. She was dressed in a brown aso oke wrapper tied above the waist with a matching gele on her head. She carried a broken pot in her hands. I thought that was odd but proceeded to greet her genuflecting as I said e kaaro ma.

“Follow me” she said without acknowledging my greetings.

She turned towards the road that led to the stream and I followed her. I wanted to tell her I couldn’t follow her but somehow I found myself obeying her.

When we got to the stream she placed the broken pot in her arms on the floor and proceeded to remove her head tie.

She removed the wrapper, gele and her coral beads and was left with her underwear, a spaghetti strapped undergarment with pockets- the type worn by old grandmothers; the one they called agbeko.

 I thought it strange that a woman as young as her would wear such and watched on as she dipped her hands into the pockets and brought out all sorts of things – money, cowry shells, a straw sponge and black soap, pieces of dried grass and a black nylon which had a piece of white cloth tied to the mouth. My heart was beating very fast in fear as I watched her and I started praying earnestly that some students would come to the stream.

“Nobody will come to the stream until I’m done.” she said. Her voice made me jump in fright. How did she know what I was thinking? I thought immediately sweating profusely.

“Could this be Iya stream?” I wondered.

“No it can’t be.” I answered myself.

 Iya Stream was supposed to be old. That was the stories that went around the school.

“I’m the one you all call Iya Stream.” she said breaking into my thoughts. She was still busy arranging the items she brought out of her agbeko on the grass beside the stream.

“How do you know what I’m thinking?” I asked my dread showing in my voice.

“How do you know when you are hungry?” She asked looking directly at me.

I didn’t answer and something about the way she looked at me told me I wasn’t supposed to answer just as she wasn’t supposed to answer the question I asked her.

“Come close” she said picking a calabash floating over the surface of the stream.

I was surprised to see the calabash especially as I hadn’t noticed it when we got there. Could that have appeared out of nowhere? I wondered. I immediately told myself that it must have been that I simply didn’t notice the calabash and that it wasn’t possible for something to appear all on its own.

“It wasn’t here when we got here.”

“Ma, what did you say?”

“Child, what did you hear?”

“You said something wasn’t here when we got here ma.”

“Yes, you were wondering if the calabash was here before we got here and I replied you that it wasn’t.”

I wanted to ask how it got there if it wasn’t there when we got to the stream but before I could speak she said;

“Don’t ask questions whose answers you wouldn’t understand.”

“Come here, take that sponge and soap” she said pointing to an out cropping beside her feet

“Take it and wash my back with it.”

“Ma?” I asked

“Child, do what you heard.” She snapped.

My heart still thumping wildly I picked the sponge and began to wash her back.

“You know I’ve been watching you for a while now, you are a very disobedient child. You are young yet very wayward.”

My heart beat went out of control at her words,

“Is she going to eat me?”

“Was she going to punish me for my waywardness?”

“Am I going to be sacrificed to some god?”  The thoughts ran wild in my head.

“No, I won’t harm you.” “Iye doesn’t harm anyone unless she has to.” She said once again reminding me she could read or hear my thoughts.

“I won’t harm you; the reason you are here is because I have a job for you. You are the perfect one for the job, there was someone doing it before now but she was part of the students that graduated to the senior school a few weeks back. Since she refused to pass on the job to someone else, I had to choose the person myself. I chose you.”

Ma, what assignment?

“Patience.” “You will know that soon.”

I continued to wash her back in silence and after a few minutes she collected the sponge and rinsed her body. I thought it odd that the only part of her body that was washed was her back and wondered if that was the assignment I would have to do.

“Oh my God”, I gasped inwardly. “Will I have to do this every morning?” I thought to myself

She burst into laughter and this time I knew her laughter was as a result of my thoughts.

“Of course washing my back isn’t the assignment I intend to give you.”

She tied her aso oke on the wet underwear, wore her beads and tied her gele. She picked the black nylon bag that had a white cloth tied around it. “Take this and keep very well. There are wheat grains inside it, once a week, spread those grains around the back of the female hostel.”

“Ma, what if they see me spreading the grains and what are the grains for?”

“No one will see you spreading them.” “As to what they are for, you would know that the first day you do it. You would understand in the still of the night. Take now and go back to your hostel.” she said pressing it into my hands.

She stepped into the water and disappeared into the mangrove trees that ran alongside the stream.

*****

As she said I would the  first day I spread the grains was the day I knew what spreading it meant and also the day I understood why we hear wailing and howling of a strange animal from time to time. The noise had woken me from sleep like everyone else. It was a sound that had always terrified me up until that night. It had been a while since we heard the sounds and at that moment I realised she had been right when she said one of the seniors that passed out used to do it for her.

The whole dormitory came awake in minutes. Chants of “Jesus” and “blood of Jesus” renting the air. Before that day, I had always joined in the chant even though I never believed that Jesus would listen to me, I believed my sins were too much for that to happen.

The noise was worse than ever that night; the wailing went on for close to two hours and after a while students huddled close to one another. The Muslims chanted in Arabic while the Christians too screamed Jesus. I lay on my bed unmoving wondering if I had spread more than I should and made a mental note to spread less the next time.

This was the assignment I was now to hand over to Bosola. Every month; I would go to the stream and collect fresh supplies of the grain. I would always think of asking her what it was that made the howling and if it was meant to scare us since it never seemed to harm anyone. But every time I opened my mouth to ask, she would place a finger on her lips and tell me not to ask the question on my mind. The assignment was another reason I was glad to be expelled.

*****

She was the one who told me I would be expelled before we even heard the news from Mr Adisa, she had appeared in my dreams during our siesta and told me to take any sweet thing from my cupboard, clasp it in my hands for a few minutes and give it to Bosola. I hadn’t been surprised that she mentioned Bosola’s name. I would have chosen her too as my successor if Iye had asked me. I had done like she said. Bosola didn’t know what she had on her hands yet I thought watching her sleep.

*****

The morning after Bosola’s first experience of the howling Wolf/Dog, I called her to my bunk to tell her about the mandate I had passed to her. It was a Sunday and I hadn’t gone to the school fellowship, Bosola didn’t go too and I realised that was one other thing that made her perfect for Iye’s Job. Although it wasn’t like the school’s fellowship would have gotten rid of whatever spirits it was that possessed her. The orthodox priest that presided was a member of the village’s Egungun festival planning committee. Iye had told me that.

She sat down on my bed and I proceeded to tell her about how I met Iye and the job she would do for her. Her response was surprising and yet unsurprising.

“I know already” she said. Iye and I spoke this morning in my dreams.”

“You did?” I asked incredulously

“Yes we did.” She said giving me a look of disgust before she stood up and left.

Boarding Tales ~ Episode XII (Yewande’s Story)

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Please find all previous episodes here

“What’s he doing here?” I murmured thoughts of rape going through my head.

Yewande, egbe ni e o? Why are you screaming just because you saw a young boy like you?

“I didn’t expect that anyone else will be in and then he was hiding behind you and watching me so I got scared.”

“There is no need to get scared.” He said laughing

“Kole kilose e now?”

“Why are you acting like a small boy? I thought I trained you better.”

“I’m not a small boy uncle.” Kole replied pulling out his shirts from his shorts as if it that would prove he really wasn’t a small boy.

“Yewande relax, I’m leaving you with Kole. You people should talk and get to know yourselves. I won’t be back for the next three hours so feel free eh”. He added winking at us.

We would have such meetings every week in Mr Adisa’s room. We talked and did more than talking. We had enough time and we spent some of it exploring each other’s bodies.

After two months, Mr Adisa called us both for what he called a very important discussion.

******

“Kole Omokomo.” he hailed as soon as we all entered his room.

Kole smiled and took the hand Mr Adisa had raised to him in salute.

“So how far are you a man yet or are you still a boy?”

“Ah, uncle I can’t answer that question oo, I’m ashamed”

“Ode leleyi ooo”, he said slappin Kole on the back.

“Oya answer joor”

“Uncle I have always been a man o.”

“You know what I’m talking about or do you want me to ask her.” He said turning towards me.

My head was bowed in shame, I knew whatever he was talking about must have to do with what Kole and I did every Saturday afternoon.

“Ahhh, uncle don’t ask her ooo”

“Okay, oya answer.”

“We’ve not done it”

“Yeh, see this boy. O fe jo mi oooo.” He exclaimed putting his hands on his head.

“I have been training you but you have refused to learn. Ema wo bobo yi sha.”

“Uncle it’s not like that ooo. She is not ready; we want to wait till we are in S.S.1 or S.S.2”

By that time my head was already in my lap. I was too ashamed to even raise my head up so they went on talking about me like I wasn’t there.

Slacker niwo yi ooo. All your friends are men. Toluse, Kitan, Bafunto. All of them and see the kind of girl I even gave you.”

Eran agba lomo yi now, I just want to be nice that’s why I arranged her for you.”

“I know what to do sha, I will just give her to Toluse”

“Uncle please don’t do that oo, I will find a way around it. I promise.”

“Okay, I’m leaving now so you guys should take care of yourselves.”

Oya baby come and hug me.” he said pulling me by the hand.

I rose up reluctantly and hugged him. He planted a kiss firmly on my lips and left.

I rubbed my lips with my palm like I usually do every time he did it.

Kole and I didn’t talk to each other for over fifteen minutes after uncle Adisa left. When we started talking Kole told me that we had to do it or he would have to break up with me. I told him to give me time to think about it and that I would get back to him before the next weekend.

****

I stood in front of the boy’s hostel waiting. I had sent someone to call Kole out. He came out frowning, acting as if he was annoyed. I had thought about nothing else since we parted at Mr Adisa’s house the previous day.

I was curious about how doing it will feel. I also didn’t want Kole to break up with me. I had thought of how Aunty Shadia and the others used to cry out in pleasure. I reasoned that if doing it with a woman could bring that much pleasure, doing it with a man should even bring more pleasure.

Kole smiled immediately he read the note that I handed him. He hugged me saying ‘‘see you tonight, I will talk to Mr Adisa’’ and ran back to the hostel.

Few minutes after I got to the hostel, someone brought a package for me and said it was from Kole. I opened it and saw six pieces of Indomie and two shortbread biscuits. He had also added a note on which “Thank you my love” was boldly written. I sniffed the note and smiled as I perceived the scent of his body spray. ‘‘Enchanteur’’ I murmured.

*****

I was scared and my heart beat was faster than usual. It was time, a part of me wanted to change my mind but I was afraid of how Kole would feel. Mr Adisa was out of the school and had given Kole the keys to his room.

I wanted us to sleep and do it later during the night but Kole couldn’t sleep. He wanted us to do it and get over with it and so we did it with my hostel wear still on and the lights off. I didn’t want him to see me naked. It was nothing like I expected, I cried myself to sleep afterwards, I felt dirty and soiled but held on to the hope that it would get better with time and it did.

*****

I soon discovered that it could be pleasurable and couldn’t have enough. The day I did it with Mr Adisa was the day I realised that Kole was a small boy and I started treating him as such. It didn’t seem to bother him when it became a gist in the whole school that Mr Adisa was sleeping with me. I later understood why that was so. I discovered later that the boys did the tiresome job of deflowering small girls for Mr Adisa and then he takes over from where they stopped.

My relationship with uncle got so serious that I started believing that perhaps we could have more. I reasoned that since he wasn’t married we might even have a future and he might love me enough to wait for me.

I stopped dreaming in second term J.S.S2 when I realised I had too much competition to stand a chance. I liked him so much that just being one of many wasn’t enough for me. I decided it was best to break up with him and date guys closer to my age. He had warned me earlier that no one breaks up with him but I still went ahead. I wrote him a letter where I poured my heart out to him. I told him how I really wished we could have a future but that I had realised that I was just a girl that he sleeps with.

I told him that we never discuss or talk about meaningful things and that all we did was banging, banging and more banging. I felt like he would smile when he saw the word “banging”. It was a word that he had used severally when talking to me. It always made me think of a door that someone keeps hitting with a pebble.

I made up my mind that day that I wasn’t ever going to date any student. I had seen students sleeping with themselves at night after prep classes. There had been days when coming back from Mr Adisa’s quarters I would hear noises coming out of classrooms that should have been unoccupied at that time of the day. I would stand beside the window of the class, peer into the darkness. I wouldn’t see anyone but the creaking benches and the moans told the story of what was happening. I couldn’t imagine laying my back on a hard bench for anyone after I had been doing it on a soft bed. It only makes sense that I take it out of the school I decided.

Mr Adisa’s revenge came a week after I broke up with him. I had been unfortunate enough to be on the list of noise makers sent to his office. Every other person was told to cut grasses on the school field but I was the one who got twenty four lashes of the cane and still went on to cut grass. I took it stoically and laughed when my school mother advised me to report to my parents. What parents I thought? The mother that was probably in the Netherlands or God knows where else or would I report to the father that was dead or simply never existed?

****

After the beating, he let me be and made sure there was practically no communication between us. Word went round the school and I discovered I needn’t have worried about dating anyone in the school. No boy came near me; no one wanted to fall into Mr Adisa’s bad books.

I became the girl that sneaks out of the school every weekend, the one they had to suspend every now and then.

I’m glad it is all over now I thought listening to the deep breathing of the occupants of the dormitory. They had all gone to sleep, the howling Dog/Hyena or Wolf forgotten until the next time it pays its visit. I looked at Bosola as she slept on her bed. I grinned wondering how she would feel when she finally learns of her assignment, when she gets confronted with the mandate she had been given.

It was an assignment that had been given to me by the woman of the stream; Iya Stream as the students call her. A woman all the students talked about but that few people had ever seen. I had met her early one morning while I walked back to the school through the usual foot path. It was a meeting I would never forget.

Here is how it happened……

To be continued

photo credit: google images

Boarding Tales ~Episode XI (Yewande’s Story)

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For previous episodes please click here

 

Yewande’s Story

I knew when the dog started howling. I also knew they would all wake and start their usual chants of “blood of Jesus’’. I wonder what makes them think that Jesus would listen to them. Sometimes I would also wonder why whatever it was that made the noise couldn’t barge into one of the dormitories and take one or two people. This was sin high school; the great citadel of sex, play and books all in that order, why would Jesus want to listen to anyone here I thought as I wrapped my snow white blanket tighter around me.

I hated the school and was somehow glad I was finally going to be expelled. I had told mum from the start that I didn’t want to attend a boarding school but she had insisted. I know it might be because of the day she caught me with the house maids but most times I prefer to think she just wanted to be rid of me.

It wasn’t like I had been doing anything that day, all I did was watch. I still can’t understand how that can be a crime.

Mom had travelled on one of her business trips, I think Dubai or Spain. Whenever she was not around the house became Aunt Shadia’s. We had four housemaids and Aunt Shadia was the head. That was another thing about Mom that I never understood, I didn’t understand why we needed four people to take care of just two of us. It was convenient for me to be honest, I never had to bother about washing plates, clothes, sweeping or any of those other arduous house chores.

So that day Aunt Shadia had gathered the other house helps into Mom’s room as was their practice whenever she was not around.  They had locked the door from the inside and warned me sternly to stay put in my room and watch MTV like I usually do.

I innocently nodded my head. I was Eleven yearsold but I wasn’t blind, neither was I stupid. I had been curious about what it was that they did in the room for hours and had satisfied my curiosity on one occasion. I had been alarmed and intrigued at the same time by what I saw.

I had peeped through the key hole that day and saw all four of them stark naked. Two of them had been spread-eagled on mum’s double bed another two were kneeling between the legs of the girls on the bed. I had been shocked, I didn’t fully understand what it was they were doing but knew even then that whatever it was, it was something mummy must not know about.

On the day we all got caught, they had gone inside the room as usual and I had also gone to watch. I was probably too engrossed in what I was watching to hear Mom walk towards me. It wasn’t until I was shoved aside that I realised she was beside me. I placed a palm on my mouth and moved backwards. What’s she doing here, I gasped. Aunty Shadia is dead I thought as I watched her place an eye over the key hole.

After what seemed like an eternity, she banged furiously over the door.

‘‘Shadia, Titi, Mojoyin, Shade e ko ara yin bo sita’’

I rested my back against the wall and watched as Mom paced the corridor. I glanced at the door of the room wishing they would be lucky enough to have disappearing powers and not have to face her.

They walked out in a single file and stood by the wall head bowed. I was scared wondering if mum was going to punish me along with them.

‘‘Shadia,Titi,Mojoyin, Shade go inside and pack your stuffs. You are leaving my house today.” she said already dialling a number.

They all fell on their knees and started pleading. ‘‘Sorry ma, it was the devil, we didn’t know what came over us.’’ They went on and on begging her in the name of all the deities on earth. Mom was unyielding, she placed a call to their agent and told them the helps he got her have done an act she cannot forgive and so she wanted them out. He told the man they will be outside the gate.

‘‘What are you people still waiting for?’’ she bellowed. ‘‘Oh you want me to call the security man to throw you out ehn?’’  ‘‘Eyin omo irankiran, so you people want to influence my daughter abi? I won’t allow that, anyway I’m going to the kitchen to get a drink; I must not meet you here when I get back.’’

****

By evening all the helps had gone and that was when Mom called me into the living room for a talk. She said she has decided I should go to a boarding school, she added that she had information about a good one and that it would be convenient for both of us.

‘‘I don’t want to leave you with house helps again and you know my business requires that I travel frequently. I promise I would check you from time to time.’’

‘‘Mummy, I don’t want to go to boarding school.’’

‘‘Of course you don’t want to, you would prefer watching err err stuffs like the one you were watching this afternoon and before I know it you would join them. There is no discussion about this, you are going to boarding school and that’s final.’’

I had watched as she stood up and left for her room wondering for perhaps the hundredth time what it would have been like to have a father. That was another topic mum would always bully me on. My father was dead and I had to accept it like that. There was no need to see his pictures or any of his relatives, he was simply dead.

 Like everything else that concerned me I had to do Mom’s wish and that was how I got to boarding school. I wasn’t surprised to realise mum didn’t mean it when she said she would visit regularly, neither was I too surprised when she suggested I spend my holidays in school as she was out of town. By the time I was in J.S.S2 she decided I was old enough to stay on my own if she wasn’t around. I never missed her much anyway; we just didn’t have the mother-daughter relationship.

To my many suspensions, she would place a call to the principal and apologise for whatever I had done, she would make promises on my behalf that I would be a better person by the time I come back. I would get home and if she was around, we would never get around to talking about my crime. She just didn’t want to know the details so long as I promise to change my ways. Perhaps Mom did not want to be a hypocrite. You don’t condemn a child for doing something she knows you also do. That was my belief although I wouldn’t have dared to say such to her.

****

I didn’t start out as wayward girl in boarding school. I had gotten to the school with the thoughts of attending classes, reading and making friends. Mr Adisa changed that vision for me. I met him the first day I resumed. He was the one that received us; he assured my mum they were going to take very good care of me. Mum was impressed and even showed it by handing some naira notes to Mr Adisa.

In the days that followed, he would call me his baby, his pet. He would tell the seniors to treat me well that I am his dark and lovely.

The day I would move from pet to lover, he had come to the hostel very early on a Saturday morning and asked that I and another senior follow him to the assembly hall.

We got there and he said we should sit beside him, one on his left, and the other on his right.

He then brought out a bottle of Calypso and Fanta from the small bag he had been carrying and asked that we drink.

‘‘There is no cup sir’’, I had said and he laughed saying ‘‘can’t you kiss me?’’

‘‘I want both of you to kiss me o so we will all drink from this bottle.’’

He poured some Fanta into the half empty bottle of Calypso, shook the mixture and drank some. When he was through he handed the bottle to Chiamaka the other girl.

‘‘Uncle, you have started o, I have told you I don’t like alcohol.”

‘‘Iwo wo, Orobo, Orobo mi o’’, he exclaimed poking the girl in the ribs, I watched in astonishment as she giggled softly slapping Mr Adisa on the wrists.

I watched on as she drank from the bottle and passed it to me.

‘‘I’m not drinking sir’’, I said my voice shaking.

‘‘Okay no problems if you don’t want to drink.’’

‘‘I want you both to escort me to the admin block over there. I’m going back to the staff quarters but you guys will escort me to the admin block and turn back.’’

We both stood up and followed him, some few yards to the admin block, he stopped and turning to Chiamaka he told her to call the hostel prefect girl for him.

‘‘Okay sir’’, she had said turning back immediately.

‘‘Let’s go Yewande’’ he said putting my palm in his.

I walked on with him, I wanted to say something after we passed the admin block and turned to the bush path that led to the staff quarters but for some reason the words came out silent. I saw the staff quarters ahead but we kept going and still I kept quiet, not a word even when we entered Mr Adisa’s sitting room and he told me to sit on a chair. He entered the room and came out after about ten minutes. It was when he came out that I found my voice and started screaming alarmed at what I saw.

to be continued

photo credit: google images

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