It is 4:30 in Nigeria, a Wednesday,
two days after Mosun’s birthday. Yes,
it is 1998 and I go get a bowl of garri
because I’ll have to go for prep in JSS1 Class
at 7:30 and then go to Red house to meet Bola’s
sister and I don’t know why she wants to see me.
I stroll pass the second large room almost empty and
look for a junior to go get me ground nut and sugar from
Wumi or Peju in their room, just above my room and I carry a radio –
rechargeable lamp to hear some latest music
I continue to large
room to my cupboard and Senior Tayo (the strict room leader)
didn’t even look up from her bed to ask for my sweet and
because she’s a nice one I give it to her although I now command a little
respect for I have once shown those seniors that I can’t be messed
with. Other seniors and room leaders are mini military terrors
like Babangida in their rooms. Some are just like Ojukwu’s and
Yellow house is practically a military base where junior girls
sleep with one eye open and their hearts in their mouths.
and as there is no junior around I just walk to the back of
DEMONSTRATION and ask for hot “beske” and “dundu”
and then I go pass Green house back to Yellow house large room,
ask why Tayo is still glued to the radio-rechargeable lamp listening
to some static noise I can’t make out from where I am standing
but I think I heard his name. I wonder what he has done this time
and I am drinking a lot of water by now and wondering why today’s
pepper is so hot. While Tayo still holds on to the lamp listening.
Then she scream, ‘he’s gone,’ everybody scream, his voice clear from the
lamp, I froze with my hand mid-way to my mouth and a silent scream in my throat.