He sat on a pillar and was looking at those who shuffled past him. Some guys were fighting some feet from where he was, but he showed little interest in them. He took a glance at the face of the pure gold Rolex watch rested grandly on his wrist. He looked worried and from the way his eyes kept darting to and from different directions, he must be searching for someone or something. Suddenly, someone gripped him from behind shook him and said, “You look too serious man, cheer up.”
He looked up hopefully but when he realized the guy was not the person he hoped to see, instead of greeting, he gruffly asked, “Chucks, have you seen Lanre anywhere? I’ve been waiting for him here for over two hours. I was invited to a luncheon and that dunce was supposed to go with me. I don’t even know why I kept allowing that idiot around me,” he hissed angrily.
Chucks expressed his disappointment and told him he had not seen Lanre in over a week. He had however not finished the sentence when like an overcharged battery the person he was talking to erupted.
“Wetin be your own sef? (What’s your problem?) If you know say you no ready, why you tell me make I com wait for here? (Knowing you were not ready, why did you tell me to come here?) I don forget say na African time user you be I for don comot tey tey” (I’ve forgotten you’re a notorious late-comer, else I would have left without you). He hissed once more.
“Fred, take it easy now.” The new comer who must be the said Lanre appealed. “You didn’t even bother asking why I came late. You just attacked me and started harassing me with those broken pieces of English which I’ve told you sound too barbaric for my taste.” Noting that his friend’s countenance became harder rather than soften, he quickly changed tactics “Okay I’m really sorry man. It is not my fault, I’m so sorry friend!” Lanre appealed looking sheepish.
Chucks intervened, “Fredo keep calm now and don’t be annoyed. He’s apologized so try and be cool” he said before took his leave.
Fred, who had been waiting on the pillar for hours, thanked Chucks. He gave Lanre a nasty look but when he heard the name Abbey, his scowl vanished. He listened with open mouth as Lanre narrated what transpired between him, Gloria and Biodun earlier. When Lanre told him how he trashed the ladies, he couldn’t hold it anymore. His anger vanished like smoke and was replaced with anguish.
“Lanre, how could you do that?” He inquired incredulously. “Haaa, put yourself in the girl’s shoe. You know what the rule here is and the disgrace she would experience, but those are nothing compared to being expelled after seven years in the institution. Please, please, please be considerate, think about this very well.
Lanre kept quiet for a while. Thinking about what his friend just said, pity almost crept in but as he pictured the whole thing again he chased the pity out. Me, a whole me, accepting the pregnancy of a crude lady like Biodun, never! She is beautiful but that is not the issue. What would the gang say? Will they not say I’ve become soft? That am complacent to her every whim? Isn’t it too early to chain myself to one lady when my whole youth is before me? These were the thoughts dominating his humane feeling.
“No way” he shouted “let her pay for her stupidity. She should have used her pills or be less careless, let her pay man I don’t care. Imagine her stupidity! A doctor- in-training making such a stupid mistake a gal in year one shouldn’t make? I really don’t know what I saw in her save for her beautiful face and bust. My, my, my well those are really something.”
He laughed lasciviously. He rubbed his palm together and gave his friend a sly look as he said this. Fred was too dumbfounded to retort immediately, seeing this Lanre quickly changed the topic of discussion.
“Can we please stop discussing about her and go to the party? I’ve bragged about it all week long to my peeps. How you manage to even get the invite is beyond me cos my peeps though tried all they could, couldn’t get one. Come on Fredoodo, look alive” He took up his funky tone again.
“I like da way ye dressed up dude ye look smashing. We gonna paint d whole place, com’on lets go a part’ng, am sure we will be hottest guys there.” He held Fred’s hand and tried pulling him.
Fred shook his head and deeply anguished said, “No! No! Man you’re missing it. It’s unfair, why should we go to a party being celebrated for another colleague’s girlfriend while your own is in tears? Let’s stay, rub heads together and find a solution to this. We’re late already as it is.”
“What’s ya problem man?” yelled Lanre “I tell ya what, let them gals be. Them gonna look for solution to that thing she be medical student. Why me worry over small business, man move yah arse let we go rock dat party!”
“No Lanre! Be less self-centered for once in your god damned life” Fred interrupted as his anger rose again because of Lanre’s attitude. “That sweet lady would be at her wits end by now come on, let’s help her. There will always be parties to attend even more than we can both attend in twenty life-times. See, I won’t be a party to this. Because while your house is on fire you should not sleep or party as the case may be. It could be very dangerous.”
It was as if dynamite was thrown inside fire the way Lanre exploded and all that were passing could not but look in their direction. He instantly dropped his funky tone.
“What is your problem, why do you concern yourself with the girl? Sweet girl indeed! He smirked “if you want her better go for her. I’ve noticed you’ve always had a soft spot for her. Listen to the rubbish you’re telling me. I won’t take this trash from you too okay. I’ve had more than enough nagging today. If you’re so into being a Samaritan, then go and take responsibility for the unborn brat. I wonder at times why I’m friends with someone like you; you are such a gomless twit” he said and strode away.
It took all of Frederick’s self-control to keep calm. Else, a very big fight would have ensued there and then. He felt like giving his so-called friend a good hooker in his jaw that would make eating or talking a chore for him for the next few days. He felt very embarrassed and disturbed at the way Lanre addressed him and his attitude to Abbey’s pregnancy. He however brushed that aside as his mind roved thinking of a possible solution.
He was so disturbed by the whole scenario that he couldn’t bring himself to attend the party. He jumped into his car and as he drove out of the campus he could not help but mutter to himself. He was really dumbfounded by what had just happened, he couldn’t help but ask himself if Lanre would actually leave Biodun in the lurch.
It’s been over two weeks since Lanre gave Abbey and Gloria the beating of their lives. The examination would be held in less than a week so; the whole school became a grave yard. No more partying and gyrating as all party riders had decided to have some weeks of tranquility. Any visitor into the institution would think they’re on holidays the way everywhere was quiet. Even those who took pleasure in disturbing the school environment with noises from their car stereo which they called music, pretended sanity for exams sake.
Many stopped their outings and on most of the doors in the hostel were inscriptions warning people off. It was not uncommon to see things like: ‘visitors are unwanted’, ‘think you’re my friend, Stay away’, ‘silence is golden please keep quiet’. Some even placed a sort of advert on their door like; ‘examination 6 days to go be prepared!’
The female students no longer had time to style their hairs in the most recent fashion, neither did they worry about whether what they wore was in vogue or not. Most of their heads were covered and if opened the stench coming from it was unbearable. Many had lost weight on account of reading; they didn’t sleep while others even forgot to eat. They did nothing but read and read till eyes became swollen cos it wasn’t allowed rest. Some even took to consuming coffee, bitter kola and all sorts just to discourage sleep. Examination seemed to be the best teacher for students.
Biodun had a swollen eye, unkempt hair and weight loss. Unfortunately, hers wasn’t because of the forth coming examination but her pregnancy. She had thought of a solution till she developed migraine. At last an idea occurred to her and she hoped to run it by Gloria and possibly seek her counsel.
Since there was no time to waste, she dressed in a simple shirt and pant with a beautiful pair of slippers to match. She applied a little make-up on her face and applied lipstick before setting out. From time to time she glanced at her tummy, searching for a baby bump. She hoped no one was beginning to suspect her.
When she got to Gloria’s room, she met her eating. She sat down after gently refusing to join her friend in the meal. She waited for her to finish her meal before she gruffly told Gloria the plan she had came up with.
Her plan would be to take permission to leave the school for the next two years before the students started going to the health center for their pregnancy test. This according to her, would be her best chance of avoiding been expelled from the institution as other choices seemed void. Seeing her friend’s despondent look, Biodun became aggressive. She defended her choice by asking if Gloria has a better idea. To her, searching for better alternatives was like searching for a needle in a haystack.
“I will not abort the innocent baby I called into the world” She angrily said. “Let the chips fall where they may, I will carry my cross and take care of my baby just like you advised. I may have luck of getting a well-paid job somewhere to take care of us. But I won’t go home as I don’t want to cause mummy any grief. I will come back after two years to complete my required years before going for my houseman ship”.
Gloria was silent while her friend ranted and tears slowly filled her eyes. When Biodun was through, Gloria inhaled heavily and said, “Sweetheart, I will never advise you to abort but, I wish there is something else we could do.”
She moved nearer to Abbey and hugged her closely. Still holding her, she mournfully said, “Abbey I am so sorry it had to come to this”.
Noting that Abbey had started sniffing and wishing to avoid another festival of tears, she dropped her hands from Abbey’s shoulders. She stood up, began moving up and down the room struggling with the decision they had to make. After some minutes, she quietly moved to where Abbey sat with her bent head placed on her knee. She knelt in front of her, gently raised her head and looked into Abbey’s eyes as she said,
“Well there is nothing you can do again today. We will go to the students Affairs Office together tomorrow. It’s really sad that everything should end like this”.
She inhaled heavily again as she stroked her friends cheek. Biodun might have cried but since she was determined to be bold she kept a dry face. Both were silent and lost in thoughts when Lydia and Rolake, Gloria’s room-mates at Freezy hostel busted in
“Whatz up gals?” The duo greeted.
Rolake sat heavily on her bed. In her reckless and scatter-brain attitude she began to shed her clothing talking all the while. She moved from one topic to the other not bothered that the only reply she got from those in the room were grunts. Lydia however tired from all the lectures they got that day, laid quietly on her bed. Gloria was about telling Rolake to shut up when excitedly in that sharp chirp-like voice of hers, she said:
“Hei girls, have you heard the latest gist? The vice–chancellor of the school had been told to resign over a fraud running to millions of naira”.
Everyone looked sharply in her direction, even Lydia opened her eyes. Seeing that she had caught their attention, she went for the kill.
“That’s not even the gist, the real gist is, wait for this, wait for this.”
She stalled for effect. Being her melodramatic self, she lapped at her companion’s curiosity and eagerness.
“Haa, Rolky stop this now, ok please tell us,” Gloria pleaded eager for the news.
“Well, the person expected to be the acting vice – chancellor has decided to abolish some of the school’s rules and regulations. According to my reliable source, he claimed they are anti-independence and maturity. You know as a Communicator, (she studies Communication and Language Arts) I’m not allowed to divulge my sources. Well, back to what I’m saying, more freedom would be given to students. Pregnancy test would be abolished. Even the no- drinking rule would also be considered abolished.”
The others stood up and moved nearer to her mouth agape.
“Yes now, don’t you ladies believe me? The school would be doing a great harm to the nation if it continually turns out Hypocrites; graduates who had perfected their act of hypocrisy while in the institution. The University is expected to produce people with sound mind and great vision not chameleons. What do you babes think? That’s a great gist, isn’t it?” She in her characteristic way jumped on her bed laughing wildly. “Considering all the present Vice Chancellor had been telling us all, isn’t this the biggest event of the semester?”
Biodun looked enquiringly at Gloria; Gloria herself could not help smiling. God, she wordlessly prayed, let this be true because if it is then, it had come in the nick of time.
Before she could talk Lydia cut in, “Yeah, it’s kind of all over the campus but the prayer is; it should be accepted by the school’s senate since no law can be made or abolished without them.”
Timidly like a rat peeping out of its hole after being chased there by a cat, Biodun bleated.
“When did you hear this information and how reliable is it?”
“Oh! Come off it Abbey, you’re so out of league. Don’t you even know what happens beneath your nose? Well, what am I even saying; apart from Lanre who tries to socialize you, all you do is read. At least we have other friends who also are medical students but they still socialize. Doctors are very busy, that’s why they need to socialize more hen!...................”
‘Rolky! Lydia chastised “you always go the extreme in everything must you always hit the nail on the head?”
“Yes o, that’s me, I don’t hide my feelings and like some people I don’t gossip so, why not let her know my opinion about her” Rolake replied unremorseful.
Biodun felt highly uncomfortable. Gloria, who already sensed her friend’s discomfort cut in before Rolake could continue hurting her emotionally. She considered that Biodun who as a result of her pregnancy had become very touchy could start shedding tears. To distract attention from her, she quipped, “Rolky, answer Abbey’s question now, how true is your information? The one and only Minister of Information in our institution.”
Lydia hooted with laughter as Gloria said this and they both hailed Rolake, chanting her name. Rolake raised her shoulders, playfully struck a haughty mien she said,
“Well na me be The Minister of Information and any info I give is authentic”
She faced Abbey, still posing continued, “Young lady to answer your question, I’m very sure about the information as it was in a press briefing I got this morning. So, let your mind be at peace and you can officially pass it around as the MOI has said it.”
“Madame Minister!!!” they chorused shouting as they jumped up and down.
The rancor was still on when three other ladies entered visibly excited.
“Hi ladies” the newcomers greeted.
“Have you heard the hottest campus gist, the V.C had been told to resign……”
They happily confirmed all that Rolake had been saying.
Biodun almost fainted in relief. Her face became bright while her eyes sparkled and bulged as if it would leap from its socket. Though, the reason for this was not clear to Gloria’s room-mates, Gloria understood perfectly and was not surprised when Abbey suddenly said, “Glory hurry now let’s go”.
The others looked at each other. They wondered why all of a sudden Biodun seemed eager to leave the company. Big mouth Rolake did not even bat her eyes as she said;
“Hmmn lover girl, your Romeo don dey call abi? Or is it that you’ve missed him so much you can’t bear to be in the company of ladies like us? Na wa. Just let’s have a copy of you guys wedding invitation as am sure na to marry you dey (you guys are headed for the altar). The way you guys are going, you might even be awarded the best couple of the year at the student union level. I will gladly help enter your name”. She added when she noticed Abbey’s uncomfortable pose and miserable look.
Everyone burst into laughter when they heard this.
Are these Ladies not aware that we’re no longer together or are they mocking me? Biodun thought but she smiled nervously at them. She checked her tummy afraid a bulge had appeared and they’ve noticed it, thus the mocking. Gloria so eager to rescue her friend from the tigresses quickly put something on. When she was ready, they left the room with its chattering occupants who were still salivating over the news and how it would affect them.
Biodun and Gloria were so happy at the information they received. As they descended the stairs in Gloria’s hostel, they held unto each other. They laughed joyously as they discussed how wonderful and relieving it would be if such a law was passed.
“Well, we will have to be patient and not rush down to the students Affairs officer at least till after the senate meeting next week or what do you think?”
Gloria said in response to an unasked question. However, instead of Biodun to reply she changed the subject to something that had bothered her while they were with Gloria’s roommate.
“Are your room-mates not aware that I’m pregnant and I’ve broken up with Lanre, or was Rolky just teasing to make me uncomfortable?”
“Oh come on Abbey, your secrets are safe with me. No one except me, Kunle, Fred and Lanre knows you’re pregnant except that beast has told all those lousy dirty niggers of his”.
Biodun burst into laughter in spite of her troubled mind. She could not help but laugh when she heard Gloria’s description of Lanre’s friends.
To the delight of the students, they got the desired news few days later. Information was pasted on notice boards of all the departments in the school intimating them with the new development and fliers were distributed around the school. On the school’s radio station, the new rules were read. The new acting vice-chancellor condemned most of the laws his predecessor had used claiming that; the school being a higher institution can admit anyone once they have the necessary requirements. So, why give laws that allow innocent babies to be killed each year thus causing bloodshed. He told the school further that, some of those who were pregnant would have been willing to keep their babies. The ‘get pregnant and get expelled’ rule, had placed those students between Scylla and Charybdis thus the high abortion rate. Though, they were guilty of pre-marital sex but, the solution should not be expulsion as the school only made things worse. He threw a question at his listeners that since the school started operating the law, could it be said there was a decrease in pregnancy rate? No, rather there was an increase in abortion rate. The acting V.C therefore pleaded with all and sundry to try and understand his policy and work with him so as to keep the schools’ flag flying.
He believes there are other areas where more strict rules should have been applied. He promised that such areas would be looked into especially, cultism and raping which the institution was quite notorious for. He therefore pleaded with the students to go for their examination as no pregnancy test card would be required. Also; they should behave themselves, avoid exam malpractices, ‘pampa’ or whatever they call it. They should be good ambassadors of their home and conduct themselves with dignity. With their cooperation, the school would continue being the best institution in the country.
During this special broadcast, all students were glued to their radio set and immediately the broadcast was over, a loud shout was heard throughout the school. Some were happy while some were sad.
Biodun, Gloria, Kunle (Gloria’s boyfriend) and Fred were very happy over this. It was good news and it came at the right time. They were especially happy that Biodun won’t have to quit at the eleventh hour. They had a party among themselves to celebrate the good news.
“Biodun, forget Lanre I’ve always said matchmaking you and Lanre is like casting pearls before the swine” Kunle said receiving nods of approval.
“You are right K. man. It would never appreciate it rather; it would drag it into the dirt with it. But that’s not even issue. Considering Abbey’s state of mind over the last month, do you think she is capable of writing the exam?” Fred inquired.
“Fredo, don’t you know Abbey well? Look at you; she has it all at the tip of her fingers. If at this moment her question papers were placed before her, she would have A’s in all the courses I can assure you.” Gloria replied jokingly shoving her friend.
Biodun was too dumbfounded to speak. She shed tears of joy and hugged her friends in appreciation of their steadfastness. To her, they were her friend in need, which qualified them as her friends indeed. They were real friends and she would always cherish them.
Lanre was shocked but unperturbed when he heard the news. After all, he had his exams to think about so, he crossed Biodun out of his mind. His main problem however, was how to pass his finals because he had spent the whole semester partying.
Years back, he had decided that he must not just pass through the institution; the school must also pass through him. This meant that, he wouldn’t leave the institution the same way he came in. He will enjoy all the school had to offer and participate in everything to the fullness. However, he knew he would pay for this somehow because two things cannot be done simultaneously without one affecting the other. Especially for a guy not as brilliant as he made people believed he was.
Worse still, He had stopped speaking with Fred since that quarrel although it was Fred who had helped him scale through the previous examinations. Well, he would scale through again without Fred’s help, he thought optimistically. At least, giving a sop to Cerberus was a very popular term on campus. So, passing should not be that difficult he concluded, as he dressed getting ready to go for another party.
When Biodun got back from the party thrown for her by her friends, she was tired and giddy. Tears of gratitude stood in her eyes. She slowly undressed, went and stood in front of the standing mirror and gazed at her naked body. Her body was yet to show signs that it harboured another life save for the slightly swollen breast.
Biodun was a very pretty lady, fair in complexion and five feet seven inches tall. Her black hair, lustrous, full and very long; a hair rarely seen on a black lady. Despite the good shape and beautiful body, she rarely had dates. She was generally known to be a nerd and a workaholic.
Since her admission into the school, she had always been among the top three in her department. To her lecturers, she was one of the most promising and this would have made it a great disgrace if she had been expelled.
She flashed back to how Gloria had cajoled her to a party three years back despite her own protest.
“You don’t mix baby” Gloria had said admonishingly that fateful evening. “Loosen up once a while. You are such a sweet innocent thing and I’m afraid you might be taken for a ride if I don’t quickly make you see the way things are done in the real world,” Gloria had said.
Biodun smiled sadly as she remembered that and murmured, “How right you were, Glo,”
She thought about the irony of it all. She’s actually been taken for the ride despite all the effort made by her friends to avert it. Lanre had played on her naivety to cheat her. She could remember how at the party her colleagues were surprised seeing her. Even when she was requested to dance she had refused till Gloria had chastised her for behaving like a kid. This was why she agreed to dance with Lanre when he asked oozing charm all the way.
He treated her as if she were a goddess that night. She remembered sadly also that he claimed he never believed there were still sweet innocent angels on campus till he saw her beautiful face and sweet disposition. Although, she looked a bit lost and confused, he joked. When he offered to see her off, she could not refuse as she did not want another reproof from Gloria. Moreover his charm and perception of her arouse a yearning in her which she couldn’t explain.
The relationship blossomed from there. Lanre, a party animal and herself being an introvert was a great contrast that friends wondered how they could cope but surprisingly they blended. Theirs was the perfect example of how opposite attracts. They did have nasty fights like any other lovers and when annoyed, Lanre would accuse her of being too naive and crude.
She had always believed he said those things because he was annoyed. Moreover, he apologized each time after they’ve settled the dispute. But, looking back now she realized there had been many telltale signs which she ignorantly ignored. Though in fairness to him, he had no other lady that they knew of but he just believed she’s not as smart as he desired in his life partner.
Someone knocked on the door suddenly, Biodun stirred and this roused her from her reverie.
“Oh my, who is there?” she quietly asked
She hurriedly put something on as she moved towards the door.
I should stop thinking of the past and concentrate on the future. She admonished herself. I’ve got an exam coming which I have to prepare well for. I would be more careful next time, once beaten, twice shy. She wordlessly advised herself and burst into laughter “to hell with men” she said aloud as she opened her door.