It was like any other day. There were students all over the place, some waiting for classes which may never hold, others hoping to defend their projects and of course, the vast majority who solely seek on a daily basis, to have their presence at the lecture halls recognized on the attendance lists which practically run all the affairs of the university.
I came to class in a very blasé mood, not excited about anything in particular but hardly depressed. I hadn’t seen my girlfriend in a few days though, and like it or not these things start to affect a guy after a while.
Anyway, the hours of my first lecture flew past in a blur and I knew that in a few minutes I’d be mandated to once again slave behind the counter on the second floor, attending to the supercilious stream of students with their endless demands. All they ever do is eat in this school, I thought to myself in disgust as I stared uncomprehendingly at the philosophy lecturer while her mouth released words summarizing her lecture—words I couldn’t care less about. I sighed mentally, for what seemed to be the one hundredth time all morning. The burdensome task to render hours of my life being of service to loud over aged brats wasn’t something I looked forward to and I once again bewailed the financial status of my parents which had indirectly subjected me to such a fate as this; all for the sake of having a little extra ‘change’.
The tiresome drone of a class was finally over and I gravitated towards my duty post at the buttery counter. Thankfully the minutes seemed to rush by and I was in and out before I knew it. My boss happened to be in high spirits and gave me permission to leave before my shift ended as I had a class immediately after. To further heighten my joy, my girlfriend was passing by the buttery just as I stepped out and we got to chit-chat briefly, before she had to hurry off to a class she’d already been late for.
Little did I know we were being watched….
After finally getting a seat and settling down, amidst the heavy struggle that always goes on whenever we have classes in the so-called laboratory for my department, one of the many banes to my existence in the person of Julius Kolade, deemed it fit to sit next to me only to get me engaged in one of the worst conversations I’d ever participated in.
“So Jamal, what’s happening? Through with your snack selling already?”
I looked at him and plastered on the smile that always occupies my face when I mentally pictured a train running over him and then gave a stiff nod.
“Why, that’s a shock! Anyway, I think you look pretty good behind that counter…” He gave me an unnecessary jab in the ribs and I stiffened. “No homo.”
I knew he was insulting me. I would say subtly but as I was able to catch on so effortlessly, I couldn’t quite classify it that way and for some strange reason, a strong desire to ram his face in coursed through me. I sighed. Being around this guy just proved to me that I’d wasted precious money on all those anger management books.
Turning to him, I said; “Riiiight. Uhm, Julius, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ignore you now.”
He raised his hand and gave me this annoyingly patronizing pat on the back. “There, there, good man. Eventually I’ll get out of your hair but first, there’s something I’d like to discuss with you.”
“What? Get to the point man.”
“Fine, fine.” He smiled at me, flashing his off-white dentition. “So I spotted you a few minutes ago outside the buttery chatting with this girl…”
“You mean my girlfriend, Amy.” It was a statement not a question. We both knew he was fully aware of who she was. The goat.
“Yes well, I think she’s a very fine individual.”
I looked at him with a brow raised to my hairline. “Are you high on urine, ehn Julius? What exactly are we discussing my babe’s ‘fine-ness’ for?”
“Let me be straight with you Jamal, I think she’s very nice and all, but she must have been really desperate for a boyfriend to be, you know, dating someone like you.” My instantaneous facial reaction must have prompted his rushed; “No offence though, it’s an honest opinion.”
I smiled and shook my head. I always thought God never punished people for their wrongs but rather, justly judged them. It seemed I was the exception as He’d decided to bring this idiot into my life.
“Okaaaay. Are you done?”
Julius shook his head. “Not at all. I want to ask you if you’d be a gentleman and break up with her, for her sake of course.”
“Really? Because you’ve decided in that ruptured device you call a head that I’m not good enough for her abi?”
“Weeeell, yes, that’s included. But it’s really because I plan to ask her out and I don’t want her natural sensitive nature to get in the way when she considers, as I’m sure she will, that she’d probably be breaking your heart or something like that. All that can be avoided if you, not being half as inane as I currently perceive you to be, would just dump her.”
I looked at him trying to figure out if he felt like a boss cracking this massive, way too long joke which had neither a head nor tail but to my surprise the guy had on a straight face.
“I mean guy, let’s face it you’re hardly able to eat a proper meal , save the snacks you manage to pilfer form your boss, and you expect me to believe you’ve got what it takes to take care of a lady? Naaah, I strongly doubt.”
He laughed then, like there was boundless humour in all the garbage he was spewing. He began winking at me and making silly kissy sounds with his lips like a five year old. I looked at him then, sincerely surprised and almost saddened that a person so young should be suffering from mental instability.
When he wouldn’t quit the girly act, intended to mock my feelings for Amy, I began searching for a plank to restructure his face and at that moment we both spotted Ona and Wande, two of our coursemates, staring at us and whispering and I quickly looked away. I didn’t want them to read the fury I was too certain was now etched in every line of my face so I plastered that dead smile on again.
“Hmmm, I wonder what those two are yapping about.” Julius glanced at me; “They’re probably wondering why you left your duty post so early today. Hahaha.”
I laughed too and searched again for that stick.
“Well, let me know what you decide okay pal? I have to get myself ready for the presentation we’re going to give Dr. Ike in 124. I’ll talk to you later.”
I ignored him as he turned his back to me on the swivel chair and prayed for God to send down water, unlike the well known song, because my fury had escalated to a very dangerous temperature. As if I hadn’t suffered enough, he turned again to give me one more crap nugget.
“I hope we cool though Jamal ‘cus I’m just trying to be nice man. We both know that whether you listen to me or not, she can’t possibly be with you much longer. Just take my counsel, alright bro?” He patted my shoulder patronizingly. “Friend to friend.”