On my way to the hostel, I met two senior girls who were also walking to the hostel a stone throw away from me.
“Junior babe! Junior babe!” one of them called out.
I looked at them to see who they were calling and realized it was me so I walked up to them and greeted them. When I did, they laughed and insisted I say hi or hello. I didn’t know why the seniors had a big deal with good afternoon or good evening. I guess to them it was their way of acting posh like Anabelle once said. They asked if I was new in the hostel and I told them I had just arrived that afternoon. They also said they had seen me with senior Daniel and asked if I knew him and all. I told them that he was my school father and their face seemed to brighten up when I mentioned it.
“So he is your school father. What’s your name?” one of them said.
“Meso,” I replied.
“Okay Meso, my name is Onome and this is Joy,” the same senior girl said as she pointed at the other girl.
“Okay senior Onome and senior Joy,” I replied.
“No! No! No! You don’t need to call me senior. Just call me by my name, Onome. From now on, I will take care of you as my school daughter. If you need anything, food, money, advice. Just meet me okay? My room is room seventeen. So you know where to find me now. Okay?” senior Onome said.
“Yes senior…I mean Onome.”
“Good, now you can go to the hostel, freshen up and prepare for lights out. The senior prefect girl will be ringing the bell for that soon”
“Hmmn Onome, the school mother. You know we also observe lights out too, we better start going to. I don’t want senior Ada to start her madness this night.” I heard senior Joy, the other senior girl say while I was walking away from them.
When I got to the hostel, I noticed that most of my mates were in their towels, some already in their night gowns. I guessed they were all preparing for lights out. I asked Anabelle what time they observed lights out and she told me the prefects were to ring the bell by 10:00pm every night. I asked if there would be prep time (an hour of the day where all students are supposed to stay together and study without any form of noise) before then and she said there wouldn’t be because it was the first week of school so I also took a shower before changing into my nighties.
An hour later, the bell was rung for lights out. Demilade, one of my roommates stood up from her bed and went to put out the lights while every other person cuddled up in their beds. A few minutes later, a senior came into the room and when she saw that everyone was on their beds, she left the room, closing the door behind her.
The next day, very early in the morning, I heard the bell ring for some time and immediately all my mates who were sleeping stood up from their beds, rushing out and yelling, “I’m after you! I’m after you!”. As confused as I was, I decided to ask Anabelle why they were yelling.
“You know we take turns to have our bath and the lines for each of the bathroom are usually long. That’s why we keep spaces oo because sometimes some seniors even come to bounce us so that they’ll have their bath first,” Anabelle said.
That was when I understood the reason for the yelling. I asked Anabelle if she had found space to take her bath and she said she already kept spaces for both of us. I thanked her and hugged her dearly. Meanwhile, I decided to get my uniform and shoes ready. While doing so, I remembered the very day my uncle took advantage of me and tears began to roll down. I didn’t want anyone in the room to see my tears so I tried hiding my face.
Anabelle who left the room a few minutes ago came inside again. She walked up straight to me and I tried to wipe my tears as quickly as I could but Anabelle caught up with me. She looked at my eyes and saw that I had been crying. She said she was going to tell me to go and have my bath as I was after the person that was in the bathroom at the moment but she met me crying instead. She asked why I had been crying and I remember saying I was missing home. I didn’t want to tell anyone about uncle Sam and I. I was too embarrassed and I didn’t want people to think uncle Sam was a bad person. How stupid I was. Anabelle consoled me and tried to make me laugh. She told me it was normal to miss home and I shouldn’t be crying because I just got to the hostel the day before. She said it would be okay and even though deep down I wasn’t okay and didn’t think it would be, I nodded at her statement. I wasn’t okay for a reason completely different from what she thought but I told her I was fine and thanked her.
Anabelle had always been like a young mother even from primary school. We had been very close, sometimes people mistook us as siblings because we did almost everything together. I told her almost all my secrets but this was one secret I didn’t think I had the guts to spill.
Later that morning, the bell was rung for a morning devotion which was conducted by the chapel prefect boy and girl, and after we had our breakfast. Throughout that day, I tried as much as possible to forget everything that was in the past, but I guess as much as I tried to forget, the sicker I got. I just wasn’t feeling fine.
To be continued