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By Leoman Valloway


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So     he   turned     and   with    steady,   measured     paces   was  walking    back    towards the    boys. His    face   decidedly   blank  was ensconcing   empty,   faraway   gazing   eyes  and to   his  waist  were   his   hands    rigidly   akimboed.

This…he  was  pondering   in  bewilderment…was   most and   utterly  unbelievable!….A   girl  like   her  he couldn’t  enchant  in  a  single  encounter?.. It’s never  happened    before….not  in  a   long  long  while.  Could  he  really  be   this  rusty? Could  he  be  losing  his magic?…No  way!…it  wasn’t    that…It   couldn’t   be   that…he  was  forever  a star!…OK!   she   won  this  round  but  the  next would  be  his!  He would  be   leaving her  floating among  the stars…that  much   he  owed   her.

“Buddy! Buddy!! Buddy!!!…how  did  it  go?”  A gleeful  smile  was  dissolving  Frank’s  features  as his  hand  pierced  skyward  with  palm  flattened and  upright. “Cool…no  sweat,”  he  replied  clapping  his  palm into  Frank’s  in  a  hi-five  salute  “What  did  you expect?  She’s  mine.” “Cassanova! Don  Juan! Superstar!” Maurice  was  hailing in  racking  laughter. Toyin  and  Frank  joined. He  stared  at  them.  Upon  his  face  the  wedlock of  feigned  perplexity  and  powder-puff  crinkle  of a  smile  was  incongruous. “What? You  guys  don’t  believe  me?” “We  do!”  Toyin  was  incredulous “how  dare mere mortals  doubt  the  god  of  female  hearts!… the retribution  of  eternal  celibacy  we  ‘re  too feeble  to  bear….” And  as  if  pre-rehearsed  the three  of  them  reverently  chanted  in repeated bowing,“Superstar! Superstar!! Superstar!!!” Uproarious  laughter  reverberated  throughout  Moremi parking  lot  from  all  witnessing. “Idiots!…fools!”  he  couldn’t  resist  muttering through  clenched  teeth. Anticipating  him  turning  away  Frank grabbed  his arm, “My  lord  supreme! My eternal master!…”  he couldn’t  have  sounded  more  beseeching “…into  thy skull  hammered  unworthy  maiden  a  twelve  inch nail…surely  thou  wouldst  oblige  thy  loyal subjects  privilege  of  extraction?” “Leave  me  alone!” his  jab  catching  Frank violently  across  the  jaw  finally  loosened  his  arm  of  the  latter’s  grip. “Ahh!” Toyin  was  to  exclaim,  “Thou  hast  wrathed our  deity! Thou  hast  bestowed  upon  us  calamity! Oh  pity!  pity!!”

Crackling  in  conflagrating  ravaging  anger  he  was briskly  stomping  away. The  shout  from  Maurice  of  “Hey  superstar! Please  wait  in  the  room.  I  need  your  Lab Reports,” he  didn’t  even  hear.  Utterly  impassioned by  fury  and  bitterness  he  was  deploring  his gross  misjudgment.  Had  they  ever  really  been  to him  true  friends?…what  senile  gullible  half-wit he  was  for  not  seeing  through  their  fašade  of genuine  friendship. He  was  deserveful  of  this humiliation!…Of course! Why  shouldn’t  they  be envious?….To  end  Maurice  near  record  run  of  six girlfriendless  semesters  he  it  was  who bequeathed  one  of  his;  any  girl  that  timid spineless Frank  ever  laid  claim  he  was mastermind; if  that  hysterically  guffawing  Toyin is  wooing  a  girl  then  he was present coordinating...conducting...imparting confidence. Why  won’t   jealousy  bedevil  their ungrateful  minds? Why won’t euphoria billow their inglorious hearts? they  coveted  his  charisma, they craved  his  charm, they  yearned  his Midas  touch, the  bloody  losers  they  were, begrudged  his superiority! At  his  every  stumble  any  reason jubilation  mustn’t  be  theirs?….poor  godforsaken minnows! Any day,  anytime, he  was  their  king! That can  never  change.  They…


He  had  to  swivel  backwards  before  beholding  his caller.  “Hey  Tony!…” his  hands  went  aloft  in apology “…you  wouldn’t  believe  I  didn’t  see you.”

“What’s  happening, man….are  you   okay? How’s Frank?”

“Nothing’s  wrong...” He  was  brusque  and  caustic as  kept  trudging  on “…Frank  can  drown  in  the lagoon  for   all  I  care”

He  disappeared  through  Jaja  Hall  portal, climbed  four  flights  of  stairs, traversed   three thresholds  and  was  inside  his  room.

 He  was abed  and  unstirring. A  grim  and  scowling countenance   was  brazen  on  his  face. Suddenly  a  loud  hiss  vented  his  lips. Inside  of  him bitterness  and  indignation  still  raged. He  was frothing  with  the  urge  to  punish. By God!  Didn’t  Frank’s  radio  deserve smashing?!.. hurling  their  books  into  the incinerator  is   even   better!…useless   bastards! They   merited  being  shot!….and  to  be  sharing room  with  them  how  accursed  he  was!

     He  shot  off  the  bed. Before  both  yanked  open wardrobe  doors  he  was  squatted; stuffing  his belongings  into  his  suitcase. He  was  moving out!…there   can  be  no  telling  their  next mischief!…Devils  must  be  avoided!

Snapping  shut  the  suitcase  he  lugged  it  to the   foot  of  his  bed. Crossing  over  to  the door  he  unbolted  it  and  was   once  again retiring  on  his  bed.

He  was  awaiting  them…At  their  entry  he  was retrieving  from  them  his  loan  and  clearing  out! Not  a  second  more  was  he  spending. Between himself  and  them  it  was  all  over. Yes! He  was ready  to  ‘squat’  elsewhere  till  he  secures  another  bed-space. That  wasn’t  a  pill  too  bitter to  swallow. Wait  and  wait  and  wait  in  fervid  impatience he  was  to; all  the  while  being  tormented  by the  parade  across  his  memory  landscape  of  their every  ill  and  transgression  against  him. Eventually  sleep  stealthily  and  beguilingly  would seduce  him. When  he  awoke  his

roommates  were sleeping  fitfully  on  their  beds. And  it  was past  two o ‘ clock  in  the  morning. Ruefully  he would  turn  on  his  side  and  burrow  back  into sleep. At  past  eight o ‘clock  he  roused  and realized  he  was  late  for  class. He  cursed  and leapt  off  bed. The  devils  left  him  sleeping!

To  the  bathroom  and  back  didn’t  cost  him five  minutes.  Hastily  he  dressed  in  un-ironed clothing  and  was  soon  hurrying  towards  class. He bothered  no  more  than  wave   to  acquaintances he  was  encountering.

Rounding  the   corner  of  Electrical  Machines Laboratory  he  instinctively  slowed. Ahead  the entire  class  was  assembled  outside  the  lecture theatre. Some  sat  others  stood  but  their  every attention  was  on  him. He  needed  not  be  told. Big  mouths  Frank  and  co.  have  bandied  about  his yesterday’s  misadventure. Every  face  was harboring  taunting  eyes  or  a  jeering  smile  or an  amused  countenance.

 Damn  them  all! Their teasing  and  ridicule  won’t  perturb  him! Nothing can  stop  him  going  upstairs  to  submit  his course  registration  forms! To  hell  with  them all!

Effervescing  extreme  unfriendliness  his  face was  a  mask   of  mean  hostility  as  he approached. He  was  barely  five  strides   from   them when  swarthy, amiable  Tienne  broke  forward  to confront  him, “Big  G! how  ya  doing?” he  was offering  a  wide  smile  and  an  outstretched  hand.

“Not  bad  at  all.” cold  and  assertive  was  his reply  as  he  skirted  around  the   other  and  was continuing  on.

He  unshook  hand  still  outstretched  Tienne turned  after  him, “Mike  you  forgot  to  shake  my hand” The  whole  class  exploded  in  laughter.

As  he was  gaining  the  stairs  their  voices  which  on his  approach  fell  conspiratorially  subdued  were rising  again.

They  were  lampooning  him!…they  better  be prepared  because  he  would  be  very unforgiving….especially  with  the  girls. Thank  God he  never  once  showered  even  an  ounce  of  his attention  on  their  ugliness! He   would  never….not while  other  faculties  are  teeming  with  heavenly beauties!

He  attained  the  first  floor. He  crossed  two doors  and  knocked  the  third. Upon  invitation  he entered. It  was  in  emerging  that  he  almost bumped  into  a waiting  ever-smiling  Tienne.

The  rage  contorting  his  visage  as  he glowered  at   the  latter  was  petrifying.

“Mike, you  ‘re  my  friend…  matter  what.” Tienne  wholeheartedly  offered. Mike  was  un-speaking.

“Look….so  everyone’s  having  a  little  laugh  from your  unsuccessful  wooing  of  a  200-level nonentity  of  the  English  department  so what?….that   shouldn’t  breed  malice.”

Mike  gestured  him  to  make  way.

“Mike  you  can’t  turn   y--”

“Shhhh!  When  I  ‘m   ready  you  and  them ‘ll. find  out.” and  shoving  him  aside  Mike  was strutting  away  conscious  the  other  would  be staring  after  him. For  once  that  sweet exhilarating  feeling  only  revenge  can  bestow  he began  to  savour. This  was  just  the  beginning! They  would  gnash  their  teeth!

On  the    stairs  he  began  his  descent. There would  be  no  lectures  for  him  today. Rightaway he  was  heading  for  the  Arts  faculty!….hand  in hand  he  intended  to  walk  back  with  her! The last  laugh  would  be  his!

This  time  as  he  glided  through  their midst  he  was  almost   levitating. Their  snipes and  snickering   were  music  to  his  ears: he  was totally  immune.

Stepping  off  the  Arts  block’s  elevator  on the    second  floor  he  strode  to  a  lanky  male student  perched  on  the  balcony  railing.


-Did  he  know   where  200-level  English language  students  might  be? -  Mike  asked

“Sure,”  the  other  replied  and  pointed  at the  next  classroom, “they  ‘re  taking  a  lecture.” “Thanks.”  he  muttered  and  clambered onto the  railing  beside  the  other “Mike” he  offered  a hand. The  other  shook  it. “Justice.” A  while  of  silence  lapsed. .  “You  ‘re  not  of  this  faculty?”  the other  inquired. “No.  I‘m  here  for  a  babe….Her  name’s  Helen. Tall, dark, gap-toothed.”

The   other  smiled.  A  wide  amused   smile.

“You  know  her?”

The   other  nodded. His  face  was  now deadpan.              

“How  well?”

“She’s  my   girlfriend”

‘“Oh,  really?…”forcing  a  smile  Mike  was  in  a tumult “…she’s  a  wonderful   person.  Man,  you re damn   lucky.”

“Thanks.”  Justice   beamed.

In   a   cavalcade  the  classroom  began  to empty.  The  lecture  was  over. She   came  out flanked  by  two  pretty  friends. As  she  reached them  and  tightly  hugged  Justice, Mike  couldn’t help  wondering  how  beautiful  she  looked.  She didn’t  seem  to  notice  him. When  Justice  pointed him  to  her  indignation  first  swept  her  face before  blank  hostility  took  over.

“Hi.” Mike  stepped  forward  with  a  dazzling smile. His  heart  was  almost   pounding  to explosion.                                  

“Hi.”  she   was   curt, cold and  standoffish.                   

 “I  ‘ve  never met  your  beautiful  friends  before…” he  was already  beaming  at  them  and   shaking  their hands “…my  name’s  Koya. Mike  Koya.”

“Bimbo.” one  of  them  said.

“Yeside.”  the  other  added.

“Great!..” he  had  reverted  back  to Helen “…and  I  bet  they  ‘re  as  brilliant  and inspiring  as  you  are . I  was  just  telling Justice  what  a  unique  person  you  are.”.

 He paused  only  for  a  moment. “Helen, I  ‘m  in  such a  huge  rush  and  I  need  your  help….” And  he turned  to  the  others  with  a  placating  smile ,“…I know  you  friends  won’t  mind  allowing  us  a minute  in  private.” Before  Justice  could  complete “Not  at  all, go ahead” he  was  already  guiding  her  away  by  the elbow. At  a  distance  well  out  of   the   others earshot  he  faced  her.

 Sighing   heavily  he  began, “Helen…   explain   in   a  minute  what sometimes  can  take  a  lifetime  is  a   miracle. But  I  can, know   why?  Because   yesterday  I met  an   angel. My  life  which  has  been  one  big whirlpool  of   disenchantment  and   insecurity   she promised   to   transform  into  a  paradise  of tranquil   happiness….if  all  this   sounds confusing  to   you,  you   don’t   have  to  worry…I ‘m   coming   over  to   your   room   tonight   to unravel   it...all   you   have   to   do   is remain   the  angel   you   are…I‘ll  see   you later,”  and   he   was   leaving   her   before    she even    could    utter   a    word.

Reaching   the   others    he     hugged Justice   and    shook   hands   again   with   the

girls.“My   exam   is starting   any   minute…I   ‘ve    got  to   go,”  he offered  by   way   of   explanation, “Thanks   for everything”

“I   hope   we   ‘re   seeing   you   again.”  one of    the   girls  pipped.

“Definitely, definitely.”   he   was   already hurrying  for   the stairs.

Whoops!  He  had  done  it  again! He  was the   brightest  in  the  firmament!  His  spell  had  her  bound  and  nothing  can  be  left  to  overcome. Her  puzzlement, the  reverent   sparkling  of  her eyes  as  his  words   flowed,  and   her   almost helpless  surrender  to  his  seducing   personality were  the   bedrock  of   his  conviction. Tonight   he   would  go  to  her  room, complete  the   wooing  and   return   with  her   to his  room.  His  jealous  losers  of   roommates  will thaw   with  shame!  They   would  wish   they  were never  born.  And  tomorrow   she   would  come  to meet  him  at  the  faculty  and  he  would  introduce her  to   all  those   stupid  laughing  idiots.

As  he   descended   the   stairs  and  was heading  for   the  library  never  had  he  felt  so relieved  and  carefree.  In fact  he  was   whistling.