Ayo and I got home few minutes after the slap incident and I laughed at her all through the journey, you can count on me to do that.
While we were in a bus heading home however, my dad sent me a text that went something like this; I heard your school is in a state of total chaos as students are engaging in violent protests. Oluwafunmilayo, come home today!!!
He did not add the exclamation marks but it was clear they were there. I was definitely not in the mood to go to that boring house of mine where all I do is cook, sweep and run errands so I made a mental decision to disobey my dad for the first time in my life. Besides Maxwell and I were in good terms and I expected to spend more time with him now that the riot would mean no much academic activities to keep us both busy. Why that mattered so much to me was quite surprising though as I just met the guy.
On getting home we were faced with a minor challenge of who was to cook. I can be a good host and not make an issue out of small things like this when it is a cute guy or a not-so-familiar girl who is squatting at my place Ayo was more like a sister to me so no need to form for her. Besides I had been the one who had been cooking since the first day she came to my house so it was only normal for me to take a break.
“You can form boss now that it’s me but if it’s one of those your cute neighbours that came that other morning I’m sure you won’t dare have this conversation with me,” she said.
She sure knew me very well, I’ll give her that but there was no way I was going to accept that. “That one na for your pocket,” I replied, “if you wan chop for this house today then you better enter that kitchen start to dey cook.”
“What’s even the name of that one that took you to the balcony and started kissing you like he would die if he didn’t?” she teased.
“He did not kiss me o!” I corrected.
“Eh… I hear, what’s his name anyway?”
“Maxwell,” I replied but then I realised that was none of her business, “what do you need the name for?” I inquired.
“Nothing o… just that I saw the way you looked at him and just wanted to know the name of my besties boyfriend,” she grinned mischievously at me.
“He is not my boyfriend,” I said plainly to avoid further talks on the matter, but deep within me all I wanted to do was talk about was how thoughts of Maxwell gave me goose bumps and normally I would have talked to Ayo since she was my best friend but that was not what was important at the moment.
“If he’s not your boyfriend I know you clearly want him to be,” she said with all conviction.
“Babe leave that one first, e be like say hungry no dey catch you?” I tried to bring back her attention to the more important topic.
“Since you insist I have to cook I’m going to need morale.”
“Which one is morale booster again?” I asked.
“You don’t know what morale booster is?” she feigned ignorance.
“If I knew I won’t be asking.”
She placed two fingers on her lips and inhaled deeply in an attempt to describe what she meant by morale booster to me.
“If you want cigarette you can go and buy downstairs,” I said indifferently.
“Yuck! Not cigarette jhur, I don’t want to die young. You know exactly what I need na,” she winked at me.
“Well I don’t smoke anything at all so where do you want me to get that for you?” I asked.
“You are a very resourceful girl. I used to always admire you for that, or have you changed?” she pushed.
I knew she was just saying all those things to get into my head and make me want to help her but I decided to just play along. Life comes with moments where we all have to compromise, right?
“I’m only doing this because I want to and not because you told me so,” I said before walking out of the house to look for something I had no idea where it was.
I walked straight out of the compound and stood at the gate looking all around me for any sign that might help my search but that was fruitless as everybody seemed to be going on with their various activities.
Then an idea struck me. I could use this as an excuse to go and see Maxwell, he might know how I can get what I was looking for or might not but either way I would have achieved my main goal of seeing the guy who I really had no idea why I was so much attracted to. Maybe seeing him would answer some of the questions I had in mind. Like why was I looking for an excuse to see him?
My brain told me popping up at his door just like that was a bad idea but my heart kept on urging me to go and look for answers to my questions. I did not even know when or how I started moving but I just know that I turned and walked back into the compound heading for Maxwell’s room which was on the floor right above mine… don’t ask me how I knew his room even though I have never been there.
The staircase and hallway of the lodge was almost always dark as the engineers who constructed the building had not thought about giving the hallways windows or outlets of any pattern to ensure that it was properly lighted. Maybe they were foreign engineers who assumed there would always be steady electricity supply to power the light bulbs or that basically skipped their minds.
I was used to the hallway already so that did not pose a huge challenge, besides there was just enough light to see whatever one would need to see so I walked passed my room floor and kept climbing till I got to the next floor. I left the staircase and walked towards the direction I was sure his room was and that was when I saw it.
I saw Maxwell kissing the girl I had met at the hospital the other day. Mary-Anne, I think that’s her name.
I wanted to just go back the way I came and act like I did not see anything but my heart was too broken to do that and I just had to see his face to confirm my doubts. Can you believe I was actually making up excuses for him in my head by thinking that was definitely not him?
“Maxwell!” I yelled out his name and watched as he pulled out of the kiss forcefully before turning to face me.
I could not clearly see his face considering the poor light but I saw enough to know it was him and he was pale like someone who had just seen a ghost.
You do not get to see someone butchered everyday so cruelly, as a matter of fact I am sure the closest most of you have seen when it comes to butchering is that of a chicken on Christmas day. But no matter the amount of times you have seen an animal being butchered nothing really prepares you for seeing a human-being being cut that way into pieces.
The sick feeling I had in my stomach was proof of that. I continuously felt like I was going to throw up so I sat on the floor in my toilet, leaning on the water closest just in case I finally actually vomited something.
My anxiety was growing larger as my phone kept on beeping as several whatsapp messages kept on flooding my phone, majority were broadcast messages and messages from my department’s group chat. The messages all had one thing in common though, everybody seemed to be talking about the riot going on in school which all started as a result of Agbaya’s murder.
The police have started throwing tear gas at the students and shooting live ammunition towards the sky in an attempt to disperse the massive crowd that have turned up for the riot, someone posted in the group chat.
It has been confirmed that one student has been shot and you are here saying they are shooting at the sky, abi was the student a Benin witch? Another replied almost immediately.
From the hundreds of messages that entered my phone by the second I gathered that the protest which had started all peaceful by the Social Sciences students who were protesting the sudden refusal of their lecturers to teach them had now developed into an non-peaceful protest by all students generally in which most participants were more interested in the massive increment of the school fees.
All these would not had happened if I had not involved that heartless son of a bitch, Henry, into this matter and to even make matters worse the idiot was not picking my phone calls. At the thought of this, I re-dialed his phone number.
As I listened to his caller tune which I found to be very ironic because how would the devil use a gospel song which glorified God as his caller tune? I kept on thinking about the what ifs and what not.
What if this all comes back to me somehow? I thought. Surely the riot would ensure that the school authorities look deeply into the matter and they would most likely start at the scene of the murder. But Henry also told me not to worry as he had taken care of all potential witnesses… but was I to up hold the words of a heartless murderer?
The automated voice which told me the user is not answering my call snapped me back to reality. He did not pick again as expected and then I thought of using the only method I knew how to get his attention; a threat text message.
If you don’t want me to go to the police and tell them everything I know, you had better call me in less than ten minutes. I am not joking here. The clock is ticking.
I sent the message without even thinking twice. And then knew I had to wait for him to call me, I was so sure he would call.
Having done that, I finally accepted the fact that I was not going to vomit even if I sat by the water closest all day so I stood up from the floor and went back into my room. It was then I really saw how messed up my room was so I did what any normal human would do, I went on to arrange the room.
I had just finished sweeping the room and was about to pack the dirt when I heard a knock on the door.
I smiled as I expected it was Henry, turns out the text message worked more effectively than I had hoped. I opened the door without even trying to check who it was only to see that it was definitely not Henry.
Standing at my door was a very tall and skinny guy who looked so mean that I felt like running away at the mere sight of him. I recalled the last time I saw him and that was when he was striking a cutlass at Agbaya’s neck.
“I was sent by you know who to put an end to all your drama,” he said as he walked into the room and bolted the door firmly.
TO BE CONTINUED