Shade’s
body ached, she tried to stand but couldn’t, holding the sides of the bed for
support, she lifted herself off the bed.
The
room was really small and she had just put one foot out when it collided with a
form on the floor.
“Ouch!”
“Oh!
Sorry…I’m so sorry Oni…I am trying to go to the bathroom.” Shade said.
Oni
sat up from the ground, his eyes were droopy, he stared up at her and rubbed his
eyes. His gesture reminded her of Alan who she used to babysit in the U.S.A
during weekends.
“Pardon
me for waking you up…I meant to tiptoe to the bathroom. You’ve been so helpful
this past week and I do not want to inconvenience you further.” Shade said.
“I’m
up already. Let me help you to the bathroom.” Oni offered.
“No!
I can do it myself, please…this once, let me help myself to the bathroom.”
“How’s
the pain? Sorry you can’t go to the hospital because questions would be asked
and the police would get involved. You wouldn’t want that.”
“No…I
don’t want that…but will this wound fester for longer? I mean, I have to go
back to school and the semester would soon be over too.” Then chuckling bitterly Shade said, “It’s a pity that I couldn’t write a good number of my
exams, I’d definitely spill over next session. I’d have to avoid that.”
“How
do you intend to do that? This, is the first of many raids to come, you can’t
escape it dear. This is the reason cultists hardly graduate with their mates. ” Oni said matter of factly.
“I’m
thinking of quitting…” Shade said quietly.
“You
can’t quit a cult or didn’t your elder brothers or sisters school you on cult
practices?”
“None
of my family members were ever cult members and besides we are based abroad or
haven’t you noticed my accent?” Shade said, trying to sound upset.
“Your
fake Yankee wash you mean?” Oni teased.
Shade
threw him a punch and they both laughed.
“That’s
a weak punch, coming from a cultist, I mean…when I was growing up, my
neighbours had the best scoop on scary stories, cultist gists and all. How I miss
those days.” Oni sighed wistfully.
“You
haven’t told me anything about yourself Oni…that’s strange you know…”
“I
have nothing to tell.” Oni supplied.
“Serious?
Or do you have a girlfriend that you’re hiding somewhere?”
“Girlfriend?
Has any girl come here this past week, looking for me? You know the answer to
that question.”
“Then,
why aren’t you seizing the moment?” Shade asked huskily.
Oni
stood up from the floor and faced her, his eyes bore into hers.
“What
moment?” Oni asked.
“This
moment…” Shade replied.
“I
don’t understand what you are…” Oni started but was cut short but a quick kiss
from Shade.
Shade
placed her palms on Oni’s chest and kissed him hard. She expected to feel
something, but surprisingly she didn’t, there was no real chemistry.
Oni pulled himself back and pushed her away.
“Will
you stop it? Why did you do that?” Oni asked breathless.
“I
don’t know…I was only trying to…” Shade started.
“Don’t
you ever try that with me again, ever!” Oni’s voice thundered.
Shade
nodded silently and slowly made her way to the bathroom.
*****
Temi
couldn’t wait for school to be over. She checked her watch again, and again and
again. Then as though she had ordained it, the final bell rung, loud and hard, ‘Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee’.
Temi
murmured a silent prayer in her heart and picking up her report card that sat
before her on the desk, she got ready to leave the school.
“It’s
going to be a long summer holiday…” Said Haruwa, one of her new-found friends.
“Yes
it is.” Temi replied, checking her wrist watch again.
“Are
you on the excursion list?” Haruwa asked.
“Yea, I’m going to Lagos with the scholarship students.”
“Ew…that
sucks! I can’t imagine riding with students that aren’t part of my social strata.”
Temi
shrugged, one thing she hated about her new school mates was the fact that they
looked down on anyone who didn’t belong to their circle. The girls were the
worst, they criticized even the teachers that didn’t dress well enough to their
taste.
“So…are
you going to be in Abuja after the excursion? I’d like you to join my group. It’s
a mixed club with girls and boys from different schools and all. It’ll help you
blend better with the ‘who is who’ of Abuja.”
“I
don’t think I’m going to be around…”
“Really?
Where will you be going? C’mon…don’t spoil the fun…I’ve already bet twenty
thousand naira that you’d be joining my group.” Haruwa said with a pout.
“Well…I
really would like to join you but my life’s at stake here. I’m going to see my
family in Lagos.” Temi said.
“Seriously? Aw Mehn! Okay, whatever happens. Could you give me your phone number? I’d like
to keep in touch.”
“I
don’t have a phone but let me give you my guardian’s…her name is Bee and her
number is 080…” Temi gave Haruwa, Bee’s number.
As
soon as Haruwa left, Temi opened her report card and stared at the contents.
She wasn’t staring at her scores or her position, she was looking at the letter
that she had been given by the school authority. Temi had already memorized the
words:
It’s with pleasure that the above named
school invites Temi to the annual excursion. The trip for this year
is tagged ‘Exploring Lagos’ and we are proud to say that the Lagos state
government has approved that we pay a visit to the governor’s office. We are
embarking on this journey with fifty students, your child/ward included and we’ll
appreciate it if, you sign your approval and return your letter to us so that
we can confirm your acknowledgment. Thank you for cooperating with us as
always.
Signed
School Management’’
Temi
smiled and hurriedly shoved the report card into her school bag and left the
classroom.
*****
Timilehin’s
watched the students that stood at the assembly podium and of course at the middle of it all
stood the ‘Indomitable Tara’ whose presence angered her.
“And
the overall best in Physics goes to Tara Dolapo, she’s also the best in
Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and Economics. Could we hear a resounding round
of applause?” Shouted the Principal over the microphone.
They
were all gathered at the assembly ground. School was about to close for the
term and the students were too eager to go home. Tara Dolapo had emerged ‘best’
in most of the subjects of the science class. The principal handed over the
gifts to all the students at the podium including Tara and Timilehin watched in
envy as Tara shook hands with the school heads.
“Why
does she get everything? Who does she think she is?” Timilehin muttered aloud.
“Yeah…I
know how it feels when your sister is stepping up her game and you’re not. I
guess I’m used to it, my little brothers are the pride of my family and while I’m
just ‘the daughter’. You see, my parents can never learn. I told them
categorically that I want to be a designer when I grow up but they keep shoving
‘Economics’ down my throat, must I be an Economist like my dad? I love making
clothes for my teddy bears and I’m good at sewing too. My aunt who’s a tailor
says that I have the gift of fashion and because she lets me learn with her
tailoring machines, my mom stopped my visits to her place. Well, I didn’t get
the bottom position at the economics exam, I can’t guess who did.” Chinenye,
one of the students said to Timilehin.
“I
just hate her…look at her fake smiles and tears of joy. I wish I could wipe
that smirk off her face.” Timilehin said.
“Don’t
be a kill joy, c’mon, you must have strengths in something’s she has no idea
of. You see, my uncle was so good at football and my second uncle wanted to be
like him but…” Chinenye continued her long tales.
All
Timilehin heard from her was ‘Yadayadayada’ because she wasn’t paying
attention.
Yemisi
left her line and joined them.
“Let’s
all go home together, you know, just like old times.” Yemisi said to Timilehin.
“I’m
sick of seeing her cart away with all the prizes.” Timilehin said.
“I
wonder why you’re sounding jealous. We both know that Tara is the most intelligent
of the three of us. She’s been a star student right from her kindergarten days
and she shares her prizes with us too.”
“Well,
I don’t need them this time.” Timilehin declared.
“I
do…I need her friendship back. I want us to go back to old times when we were
together as sisters. Let’s drop the fight, it doesn’t pay. We are Dolapos and
Dolapo’s stay true to themselves.”
“Are
you sure about that? Not everyone bearing that name is a true son or daughter
of the soil.” Timilehin supplied.
“What
are you implying?” Yemisi asked.
Chinenye
had stopped talking and was listening to the two cousins talk.
“Tara
is no Dolapo dear, get your facts right.”
Yemisi’s
jaw dropped in shock, she stared at Timilehin is surprise.
“What
are you talking about? How dare you utter such rubbish?” Yemisi asked in
disbelief.
“You
think I’m lying? Go and ask my mom or better still ask Tara’s real mother
Jumai. I confirmed it from her myself.”
“You
are lying…you are such a big liar!” Yemisi barked at Timilehin.
“Whatever…I
know I’m not lying. Besides I don’t need any validation from the girl who got pregnant
by a hoodlum and almost got sold into slavery.” Timilehin supplied.
This
brought gasps of shock from the students that stood around them.
A
very angry Yemisi pounced on Timilehin but she was no match for the ‘hood rat’
who tore at her in bitterness. The school teachers ran to separate the fight,
Yemisi’s school blouse was torn in two places while Timilehin’s was still intact.
They were separated and all the students gathered to see what was happening
including Tara who still clutched her prizes.
“You
both are in serious trouble for fighting.” Shouted the head teacher.
“She
pushed me to it.” Yemisi screamed, blood trickled down her bruised cheek.
“Well
you pushed me first.” Timilehin snapped.
The
teachers instructed them to go into the staff office and while Yemisi followed instructions, Timilehin refused.
“Abegi…school
don close jare. Whaarisdis! The term is over! You have no right to lock me in.”
She shouted at the teachers who stared at her in shock.
“Don’t
be stubborn, do as the teachers tell you to. You will be in serious trouble
when mom and dad finds about this.” Said Tara who clutched her gifts.
“See
this one. Who are you calling mom and dad? My parents? Or people that took you
as their own even when they never knew the real truth about your existence. Please
spare me that lecture and quickly drop that name Dolapo from your last name
because you are not and will never be a Dolapo.” Timilehin said.
Tara’s
prizes slipped from her hands to the ground, with a loud cry, she turned and ran.
*****
“Do
you like the snails?” Bee asked.
“Yea…I’m
not really a snail lover…” Temi replied.
“So…it’s
you and me now, school is over for the term.” Bee said as she munched a
crunchy snail.
“Did
you see my report card?” Temi asked.
“Yes,
you left it on my dressing table. I want you to know that whatever position you
came out with, I’m fine with it. You’ve been through a lot and that report card
should be the least of your worries.” Bee assured.
“Well…that’s
not all that’s in the report booklet.” Temi said.
“Really?
What else?”
“It’s
my excursion trip letter.”
“Oh..that! I’ve forgotten totally. When is it?”
“In
three days. The fee has been merged with my next term school fees so, it’s
kinda covered.” Temi said, lifting up a glass of water to her lips.
“Okay…so
is there anything else I should know about the trip?”
“Yes,
it’s necessary that you sign the dotted lines and return the letter to the
school management, latest tomorrow.”
“But
tomorrow is Saturday, I’m busy on Saturdays.”
“I
know, that’s why a representative of the school will be here first thing
tomorrow morning to receive your signed version of the letter.”
“Serious?
Then I’d better get to it as soon as I’m through with my dinner.” Bee said as
she chewed up another snail.
They
ate in silence, with only the silent hum of the air conditioning, filtering
through. Suddenly, Bee’s phone beeped.
“I’m
sick of text messages, why cant people call instead?” Bee complained as she
scrolled through the text. After reading it, she gave Temi the
phone, stone faced.
Temi
took the phone from Bee and almost died when she saw the message.
Hello Temi, it’s Haruwa from school. I know
you’ll be busy with the excursion trip to see your family in Lagos but I
really want you to join my group. Anyway, I’m not going for any excursions
because my dad won’t let me leave Abuja for any reason. I’d like us to get
together and become good friends but oh well…if wishes were horses, beggars
would ride. This is my number, call me when you get to Lag. And if you have any hot brother, hook us up but shh…don’t tell my daddy. xoxo.”
Temi’s
mouth stood open, Haruwa had just blown her cover and she was a bigger fool for
letting out her secret so easily. Wordlessly, she handed the phone back to an
unsmiling Bee.
“I
don’t think I’d be signing that letter after all. You have enough family here in Abuja to
last a lifetime.” Said Bee, who stood up from her chair and stormed out of the dinning room.
Temi
held her face in her palms and wept.

4 COMMENTS

  1. OMG. my darling Temi. chai. she should just check Facebook or Twitter. I believe some of the Dolapo's are on it. now Bee will keep her under lock and key.
    Shade…….. oni…….cousins kissing.
    Nice one Ada. may God bless and uplift you Amen.
    Yemisi now you want Tara back as your friend. SMH. This is a message to all of us. even if you are going through tough times NEVER neglect those that truly love you.

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