“Na you sabi,” I replied.
Laura and another roommate, Bunmi who is a fresher giggled as they walked out of the room. They were both writing the same paper. My last roommate, Bibi was already preparing to leave the room to study at the reading room. She took her books and stepped out also.
“I hope you aren’t leaving because of me?” Tony asked her.
“Of course not. I have work to do and I was already about to leave when you knocked,” Bibi said.
“Alright. Happy jacking.”
I grumbled as I let him into the room.
“You know you are the last person I want to see this morning. In fact, I have a make up lecture by 10am.”
“I know that is not why you are grumpy with me. You are still angry with me about last night and I am sorry. I can explain what happened.”
“Ok. Go on. Explain.”
“The suitcase filled with money is actually not for me. I mean they are counterfeits and they were brought by a lady from a non-governmental organisation that fights human trafficking and prostitution.”
I burst into laughter.
“What is funny?” Tony asked.
“Your cock and bull story, of course. I know you have so little money in your account right now and that you can’t get a big suitcase of money to drop from heaven. You are just trying to cover up for yourself. You can only get that kind of money if you joined Yahoo boys, was an armed robber or did money rituals. Come on. That money I saw in your room was as genuine as the real one. Tell me the truth about how you got that money.”
“I am telling you the truth. That lady used to be a prostitute and a part time fraudster before she changed. She knew where to get fake naira notes. She now fights against prostitution through any medium. Therefore, she volunteered to help you in your play. Remember that part where the prostitute in your story stole a large suitcase of money.”
“Oh. That makes sense. If your story is through then Professor Ola would be really pleased about that part. I hope I get an A in that course.”
As third year students of Theater Arts, we were grouped to write and produce a play in order to pass a course. I was sure my group members would like that part. Maybe we could let the prostitute get to her room in the scene after the theft and throw the money up gleefully. The audience should like that.
“A penny for your thoughts,” winked Tony.
“I am sorry for not letting you explain,” I said.
“And what? I already apologised for jumping into wrong conclusions”
“Won’t you thank me for my innovation?”
“Is that how to thank your husband?” he teased.
“Thank you my husband,” I mockingly curtsied in appreciation.
We both burst into laughter.
“Seriously, I appreciate what you did,” I said.
“You are welcome,” he said.
“Oh I still have that marathon make up lecture. That Dr Niyi is exasperating. He won’t come to give you lectures or assignments during the semester but when it is examination period, he will come up with make up lectures that may last from 10am to 4pm,” I groaned.
“Don’t worry about your lecture. Your lecturer is not in town. He gave me a lift yesterday when my car broke down in the middle of the road. He was on the way to the airport for an event in Abuja. His wife actually drove. You can confirm from your course mates,” he said.
“Oh thank God. But let me confirm from him” I called Dr. Niyi and he said it was true and he had informed the class representative. i was really relieved thoughI knew he would fix the class for another time anyway.
“Now, what do you have that one can eat in this room. I am hungry,” Tony said.
“Let me prepare some rice with stew,’ I replied.
While I was cooking, Tony said: “Can I ask you for something?”
“Yes. What is it?”
“The campus press is organising a dinner where I and my executives will hand over to the incoming president and his team. Will you be my date for the night? It is in two weeks time. Exams would have been over by then. What do you say?”
“Of course, I will love to accompany you.”
He suddenly hugged me from behind and said thanks.
I was surprised.
I met Tony when I was a ‘jambite’ registering for the first time in school. I was on a long queue during general registrations. I had stood on the mile long queue for hours and when it was finally my turn and i was about to step into the registering officials’ office, a lanky guy rushed in. He mumbled something about his witless brother forgetting his admission letter in that office so i let him pass. Immediately he went in, one of those school officials came out to tell us that it was time for them to close and that registration would continue the next day.
Everyone was angry and frustrated. I lamented on why they had to close when it was my turn.One of the guys behind me asked me why i let the lanky guy enter and i told him, he wanted to pick a document up for his brother.
They all laughed at me.
“Don’t you know he is just a fresher like you? He has no brother here that i know of. He is just a 200 level direct entry student. He hoodwinked you,” one of them said.
I was so angry and my eyes turned red. I know because everyone says my whole face turns red when I am angry especially because of my fair complexion.
“I am sorry about what happened. It is just one of those things. I am Frank and I am studying Computer Science,” the guy said.
I loosened up a little bit and introduced myself back.
I saw him again during our matriculation ceremony.
“There is someone I want you to meet,” Frank said. He dragged a guy towards me.
“Tony, meet Mabel,” he said.
Then i recognised him! He was the guy that cheated me on that queue. I hissed and started walking away from them. Frank dragged me back.
“He is sorry about that day. Please hear him out,” he pleaded.
“I am sorry about that. I had to travel to Port Harcourt. My mom passed away that morning and i did not know when next I would be able to come back. Naturally, no one would let me jump the queue or believe my story so I just followed whatever idea came to my head. I am really sorry,” Tony said.
I softened and said: “I am sorry about your mom. When is the burial?”
“We already buried her. Thanks. Will you join us for lunch at De Moritz tomorrow?”
I agreed and that was how we became friends. Now, I see Frank once in a while because he is in a different faculty but I and Tony became closer as he was in the same faculty with me – Faculty of Arts. He was studying Communication and Language Arts and now in his final year. He is also the President of the campus press.
I had to constantly deny being his girlfriend. Everyone thought I was until he started dating Allison a medical student last session. The relationship broke up this semester due to reasons that neither Tony nor Allison wanted to tell me. I did everything possible to bring them back together but they stubbornly stood their grounds. In our recent conversations, anytime I mentioned Allison’s name, it was as if the shutters of a window became shut and Tony would change the topic abruptly.
One day, he sat me down and told me he was through with Allison. He urged me not to try to bring them back together as they want to remain on a platonic friendship level. He also noted that Allison already had a new man in her life.
I was surprised when he hugged me so tenderly. Tony had always treated me as one of the guys. We were best of friends. We did a lot of things together. We usually hugged when we see each other after a long time but not like this. I liked this particular hug. I think I liked it too much. Oh! Much ado about a hug, I guess.
He stepped back suddenly and said; “Hmmmm, that stew smells delicious. Hurry up, will you?”