At the beginning, if it was possible for Dayo to cut out his heart and give it to Ifeoma, if only to win her love, then he’d have done it without hesitating. He did everything possible. He took advice from magazines; from friends, and even radio and TV presenters, and at last, his prayers had been answered.
He met her on his third day on campus. Freshers like him were jostling to complete their registration, and get on with school life. There was a lot of lighthearted banter on that day as the students queued up in front of the ‘Admin’ complex to get their papers signed. A slight rain had fallen earlier in the morning, and as such, there were muddy puddles on the floor.
He was laughing with friends and sharing anecdotes too, when like an eclipse, his total attention was seized by an angelic looking girl who walked shyly towards them. She was putting on a white shirt and slacks, but it was obvious she had fallen down somewhere as there was a gigantic brown stain forming an amoebic map on the seat of her buttocks.
She attempted to enter the line saying, “I was here before, but when they were rushing, I fell down and had to go and clean myself up.”
“Story,” a guy responded instantly from the back. “You better go to the back of the line, because I didn’t meet you here when I came. Besides, I didn’t come here to sell groundnuts,”
“It’s not only front, its back. You don’t even need to queue, just go into the office straight. You think we that are here are fools, right?” a dark skinned and plump girl who had her shoulders humped like a tomboy retorted.
“Oh boy, if you allow am enter there ehn…na your space be that o,” a guy who looked to be in his early thirties (and as such older than the rest of them) said to the guy whom the girl claimed to be in front.
“This is so unfair. I was here before,” she began sobbing.
And suddenly, just like a heroic voice from the clear blue skies, “You can take my place.”
Till this day, even Dayo can’t explain what propelled him to talk. He didn’t even know he had spoken…all he knew was that, from the instant he set eyes on her, he couldn’t bear to watch her suffer; even if it was to his own detriment.
His friends had laughed him to scorn. They had taunted him and cursed him out for betraying some kind of weird “guy code.” But Dayo had beckoned to the girl, and stood aside as he gave up his space for her.
But just then, a woman who had been watching the whole episode from her office, stepped out and addressed the students.
“You students aren’t nice at all. What happened to your manners? For the boys among you; don’t you have sisters at home? This is the only boy that could come to her rescue; even the girls here stood by doing nothing. I’m ashamed of you all,” she said.
She took Dayo and Ifeoma with her to the office, and got their papers signed for them ahead of anybody else on the queue. That marked the beginning of what would turn out to be a whirlwind of a romance.
After that day, they did everything together. On occasions when it was possible, he asked her to stay back and did the work all alone. The school was an off- campus arrangement, and so he took it upon himself to sort her accommodation. They went looking for a suitable house together, and when they finally got one, he called some of his friends, and painted it in white, pink, and orange. It was a gay splash of colours and it seemed to have a life of its own, which made them name it ROOM OF LIFE.
All through their year one and two, they won numerous awards as best couple on campus, and everybody took it for granted that they were heading straight for the altar.
However, things took a dramatic turn when they were in their 4th year in school. Dayo had gone with his cousin (who was a fresher) to his class. By virtue of his involvement with the Student Union Government (SUG), Dayo had gotten quite popular and a lot of the students hailed him in admiration. He soaked it all up, waving back to them like a politician. He also put his hands round his cousin’s shoulder; a sign that the boy was untouchable.
All of a sudden, a very fat girl, surrounded by a retinue of girls, materialized in his front. She stretched her hands, and Dayo was insulted. He felt he was the one that should initiate the handshake.
“I’m pleased to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you…” she said, undeterred by his rudeness.
“Okay. Thank you. See you later.” He said as he hurriedly moved on. “See wash,” he said to his cousin.
“Abi, don’t mind her. But you know, you’re a celebrity on this campus now, so it’s normal. And that girl is the governors daughter o,” the boy replied.
“What?!” Dayo said. “Governor of which state, town or village?”
“Ibadan of course. Jokes apart, her father is the executive governor of Oyo state. Forget about her appearance o bros, that girl is a real wealthy girl.”
“Uhm,” Dayo nodded and walked on.
Two weeks later, Dayo was at a friend’s party with Ifeoma; they were having fun drinking, dancing and just partying the night away, when he sighted the governor’s daughter with some of her friends.
He later found a way to excuse himself from Ifeoma and her friends; he cornered the girl by the balcony of another flat in the house.
He placed a firm grip on her arms from behind and pulled her away from her friends. “Hello. I’m sorry for my rudeness the other day; I was just in a bad mood.” he said.
“Ok, I’ve heard. Can I go now,” the girl said and walked away.
Dayo attempted to go after her; thought better of it, and turned back. But the thoughts of the girl lingered in his mind.
As fate would have it, he met her two weeks later in the cafeteria. She was seated all alone with a sad expression on her face. He approached her cautiously.
“Hello,” he ventured.
“Leave me alone; I’m not in the mood for anything now, just leave me alone,” she said.
“I can see you’re troubled. It shows all over your countenance, but why don’t you share it with me? You know, a problem shared is a problem solved.”
She thawed a little, and he took a seat beside her. She said her mother wanted her to go out of the country to continue her education, but that she preferred to stay in the country.
Dayo began to convince her. He made her see reason as to why she should continue living in Nigeria as a princess, rather than to go overseas and live like one of the masses.
After about thirty minutes, her countenance lifted dramatically. “Thanks, you’re God sent. It was really wonderful talking to you,” she said.
“Oh, it’s no bother. Just make sure that you do everything I told you. You must be adamant, and also put pressure on your dad. Don’t let your mother sell you into slavery,” he said. He later walked her to the front of the restaurant and hailed a bike for her. Before she got on, she said, “Please, can I have your phone number?”
“Yes,” Dayo replied coolly. “Don’t mind me, I should have asked for yours. I was just carried away with your problem.” Inwardly, his gonads wanted to burst with excitement. The ball had been set in motion.
After that day, Dayo began to see more of Aisha. She literarily spoiled him with cash and different gifts.
On his part, he was always ready to offer a listening ear to any of her woes, ranging from a mosquito that bit her, to a lecturer that was rude to her. But he never spoke to her about love. It was evident that Aisha wanted to date him, but he never broached the topic with her. Unknown to her, his loud silence on that particular issue was part of his grand plan.
One day, Aisha was discussing with her friends and Dayo’s issue came up. They were seated in a circle on Aisha’s bed and there was a bottle of Red Label Whisky in their middle, its contents drained by half.
“Aisha, what’s up with Dayo now. You have to be sharp o…don’t just let that guy go like that,” Olabunmi, one of her friends, said.
“Come on girls, it’s not my fault. I’ve tried all I can, but the bobo doesn’t just understand all my eye and body language,” Aisha moaned.
“This is not time for subtlety; you have to push it in his face that you want him. Some of these guys can be slow at reading signals. You have to seduce him at all costs. That guy is the dream of most girls on this campus; and who should have him but you. Just get him to have sex with you, and the rest will be history,” Esther aka sharp Benin girl said.
Later that evening, after the Red Label had been drained; Aisha was feeling bolder than usual. There was no power supply, so she put on her generator; pulled the curtains tight and slotted in a MP3 of “Cool Blues.”
She reached for her phone and called Dayo. “Hello dear, please can I see you,” she said in a very soft and sexy voice.
“Okay,” Dayo replied, and rivulets of joy ran through her entire body.
Forty-five minutes later, Dayo knocked on her door. “Come in,” she cooed.
She was dressed in a transparent negligee with nothing underneath.
“What’s the problem?” Dayo asked. “You were sounding down on the phone.”
“It’s nothing, just that I wanted to see you. Your thoughts have been running through my mind, and I feel cold. I want you to warm me up,” she said, moving close to him and reaching for his neck.
“Aisha, are you sure you’re alright? I can perceive alcohol on your breath. Take it easy,” he said.
“I’m okay. You’re the only thing wrong with me…I need you to make me feel like a woman,” she held him tightly to her bosom.
“Uhm…Aisha…I…” was the last thing he muttered before he was admitted to bliss.
Meanwhile, Ifeoma had noticed the closeness between Dayo and Aisha and she wasn’t pleased with it. A lot of her friends kept telling her stories of how they always saw Dayo with the girl on campus.
They had several fights over the issue, and Dayo repeatedly assured her that there was nothing between them.
“Ifeoma, I swear, there is nothing between me and the girl. I’m just like a big brother to her. And besides, you know her father is a governor; she could benefit us in major ways,” he said.
“Forget about her. Other people can help as well…I have a bad feeling about her. I don’t want you to have anything to do with her again,” she dissolved in tears and hugged her pillow tight.
“Don’t take it that way dear. You know I love you dearly, and our relationship has been on for so long. I wouldn’t jeopardize it for anything,” he said and gathered her in his arms.
“I will never hurt you my baby,” he said as he planted damp kisses all over her face. “Don’t listen to what your friends are saying. Not all of them are happy with our relationship, and they just want to see us crash,” he said as he unhooked her blouse.
“I’m just so scared. I can’t bear to lose you,” she confessed as she interred his head in her bosom.
Seven weeks later, Dayo was in Aisha’s apartment. He smacked his lips and patted his protruding belly as he took a sip of the cold beer to wash down the sumptuous meal of Poundo yam, egusi and fried turkey that Aisha had just stuffed him with.
“Honey, there is something very serious I need to discuss with you o,” Aisha said.
“Hmm” Dayo replied. He figured that she was trying to talk about their relationship; how they had take it to the next level. He was ready for that.
“And what could it be my dear?” he asked as he raised the bottle to his lips.
“I’m pregnant,” she blurted out, and the bottle dropped from Dayo’s hands, shattering into irredeemable fragments on the floor.
“What? Come again please,” he stuttered.
“Yes I am. Aren’t you happy about it? Afterall, you’ve been talking about marrying me if you have the oppourtunity. Now, the golden oppourtunity has presented itself. We just need to go and meet my dad,” she said.
“Okay,” was all he could say. “I have to go now…need to clear my head with a walk,” he said soberly, the effect of the alcohol completely out of his system.
It was in this confused state that he got home. He met Ifeoma seated on the bed, an apprehensive look on her face.
“What’s the problem?” they both asked each other simultaneously.
“I just had a bad day at school. I scored lower than expected in a test,” Dayo quickly answered. “What’s wrong with you? You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” he said.
“It is not a ghost I saw o, it’s a baby,” Ifeoma replied, bursting out in tears. “I haven’t seen my period for the past seven weeks, and I went for a pregnancy test today. As it turns out, I’m pregnant,” she announced, and Dayo felt the world caving in all around him.
He let out a deep breath. “Calm down Ifeoma, are you sure of what you’re saying? But you never told me anything,” he said.
“I didn’t want you worried and distracted, but now, the deed is done. What are we going to do? My father will kill us if he finds out,” she said.
“Don’t worry, we’ll sort this out,” Dayo said, trying desperately to appear calm and collected.
“And how do you plan to do that, because I’m never going to have an abortion,” she sobbed.
“Why?” he asked, perplexed.
“Have you forgotten? A prophet once warned me that I must never abort, or else it will lead to death,” she answered.
“Come on. All those prophets talk like that. Nothing will happen. We’ll go to an experienced doctor,” he cajoled her.
“Ánd I said no! Do you want to kill me? Now, I know you don’t love me…you never did,” she cried hysterically.
“It’s enough,” he said as he put his arms round her. “Stop screaming, we wouldn’t abort the baby,” he cuddled her and stroked her arm.
“We only need to go and meet my father. After all, we’re almost through with school and we would have graduated by the time the baby is born,” she said.
Dayo’s mind was unbalanced. How could he explain to the world that he had gotten two girls pregnant at the same time? He couldn’t afford the scandal.
“Just give me some time to think up a plan, okay? I’ll inform my parents, and they’ll pick a date that we’ll go and visit your parents,” he said. “Now, show me that smile I love,” he said and wiped the tears off her face.