Kehinde walked clumsily through the dark scuffing her shoe over the floor, falling on the ground this minute, and picking up herself the next minute. She dawdled through her journey but somehow managed to get to her destination. She knocked dizzily; nobody answered. She knocked again and again, yet nobody answered. She shouted her sister’s name; nobody except herself could hear her shout. Her voice was bereft of strength; the bottles she had gulped had taken a huge toll on it. She was thinking of other ways to announce her presence when her ears perceived some sounds. She hoped they were from her twin sister that she had finally responded. She listened attentively and realized to her dismay that they were from rats; some scrambling around with loot in their mouths, others rigorously scavenging heap of refuse. Frustration filled her to the brim and somehow she had to let it out. She raised a fist, moved it backward to garner momentum and struck. She immediately withdrew her hand in a jerking motion like a ball would ricochet from a pole. “Ouch!” she moaned, shook her hand randomly, blew air unto it, placed it between her laps and grimaced at the pain. She peered inquisitively into the dark and discovered that she had actually struck a wall and not a door. She cursed the wall and walked few pace to her left to locate the door.
She kicked the door forcefully as though it was it that hurt her. It flung wide, creating a blast that jolted, Taye, her twin sister out of sleep. “kehinde, you made me jittery,” Taye said, placing her palm on her chest which was palpitating heavily like that of a petty thief who just escaped an angry mob. Kehinde staggered towards the bed and dived inside it without acknowledging her sister. “Kehinde,” she called again – but now with emotions – with tears collecting at the corner of her eyes. “Why are you doing this to yourself? You are drunk again,” she sobbed.
“Hey, hey, you get your life… I get my own,” Kehinde mumbled drunkenly.
“If mummy gets to know this is what you do, how do you want her to feel?”
“Mtcheeeew… JAMB question,” Kehinde retorted.
“Exam is just a week away but you barely read.”
“No be by book jare,” kehinde argued. “Babe, na person wey know way na him know book,” she said and smirked.
Taye was concerned with her sister’s academic negligence for she knew she had to turn over a new leave lest she incurred their father’s wrath. He had vowed never to spend, even a kobo, on Kehinde if she failed her pre-degree exam. Kehinde had attempted JAMB twice while Taye was recuperating from an illness. When the later finally recovered, their father decided to procure pre-degree form for them.
Kehinde initially took the warning seriously and was determined to surprise her father. But everything changed when she got to school. The side attraction was just too overwhelming and irresistible, especially for a social freak like her.
One day, few friends of hers exhorted her to accompany them on an adventure to the main campus. In the course of their adventure on campus, they stumbled on a joint. “Amazing Delicacies,” Kehinde read out the signpost suspended above the entrance to the joint. They sauntered in and scrupulously chose a round dining table set in the most comfortable corner. They contemplated on what to buy and Kehinde went to collect them. On her way back to her folks, she bumped into a tall guy and the tray in her hands dropped. “Ouch! I’m sorry,” the tall guy pleaded. “Mama, resell the things she had bought for her, I shall bear the cost,” he ordered. Kehinde was sincerely grateful to him. She went back to her sit, with the loaded tray in her hands, beaming with smile.
Some guys were approaching the joint prancing like rams. At the sight of the tall guy, they drifted into a kind of frenzy – they raised their hands, stamped their foot repeatedly on the ground, and shouted repeatedly: “Boss!” It later occurred to Kehinde that the tall guy, called Boss, whom she had bumped into, was the SUG President. She had heard many things about SUG presidents: that they were the biggest boys on campuses; that they had enormous influences on campuses; that they had connections to lecturers; that they even had connections to governors. She felt it was a privilege to have bumped into such a person. Her friends were set to go but she excused herself. “Let me say thank you to him, I will be right back.” She sashayed her way to him, wriggling her body in such a manner that suggested it was just a matter of time before she broke. “Thank you,” she said to him in a gushy tone, all smiles and childlike. “Don’t mention,” he replied. “I never knew you were coming behind before I -”
“Never mind,” she interrupted, winking at him. They shook hands and their hands lingered together than normal.
A guy ran towards them apparently seeking Boss’ attention. “A minute please,” Boss pleaded to the guy and turned to Kehinde to request for her number. They exchanged numbers and valedictory gestures.
Kehinde was overtly flabbergasted. “No word can sufficiently express how happy I am today,” she said to her twin sister when she got back to hostel. “I am happy!” she screamed in excitement and threw herself on the bed. She rolled on it then kneeled on it, spreading her arms wide as though she wanted to pray, or receive something from heaven. Her phone vibrated in her pocket. She reached for it – it was a whatsApp message from Boss!
“Hi,” the message read. Kehinde was instantly filled with adrenaline, frantically typing her response as fast as her fingers could.
“Hw ar u doin”
“Tanx 4 d oda tym.” She sent three messages at a time.
“Hw has bn ur dy?” Boss asked.
“Fantastic, especially afta mitin u,” she replied.
“I heard u ar d SUG Pres,” she probed.
“Yeah,” he replied
“S it tru u guyz alwys hv many girfrnds?” she asked
“Babe, I won attend mitin now”
“W@ ar u doin 2nite,” he asked.
“Den let’s meet @ Fish Bar.”
Kehinde read the last messages and smiled. She almost emotionally hugged her phone to her chest until she caught Taye’s inquisitive eyes resting on her. “Who took your attention that much? Who was that?” Taye asked. “A friend, we are both going to the library tonight, so I shall not be sleeping here.”
Kehinde partied all night with Boss. She got drunk and had to pass the night in his hostel. Yeah, something you are currently anticipating happened. They both woke up in bed the next morning in each other’s arms. Kehinde felt guilty, she awkwardly dashed out of the room.
She soon got over her shame and became numb. She started frequenting his hostel as frequent as Taye would visit the Library. She became very fond of him especially after he had assured her not to worry about her examination. He had told her he would get the answers to the examination questions few minutes before the exam. “I should have got it days before the exam but the lecturer does not want it to go viral. He does not want his name soiled,” he bragged. “All you just need to do is smuggle a small cell phone into the exam hall. I shall send the answers to you few minutes into the exam.”
On the examination day, Kehinde smuggled a cell phone into the hall. She was waiting for the message. 10 minutes into the exam, no message received. 20 minutes…, 25 minutes…, nothing came. She started trembling and sweating profusely like someone struggling to stifle faeces. A lecturer noticed her and enquired what the problem was. “Nothing,” she replied, improvising a smile. “Then why are you sweating this much?” the lecturer asked. “Ehnm… it is malaria sir,” she answered.
35 minutes into the exam, nothing came. She gave up on the message and started stretching to write from the candidate in front of her. She was looking at the candidate’s answer sheet; while her hand was simultaneously shading the answer boxes. She had shaded 35 out of 50 answer boxes when her phone vibrated. A chill ran down her spine. “At last, but why this late?” she mumbled. “10 minutes left,” a lecturer announced. She quickly reached for an eraser and frantically wiped off all 35 shades off her answer sheet. She gingerly took the phone out of her shoe sole with her left hand, while her right hand, holding a pencil, was positioned readily on the answer sheet. She slightly dropped her head to memorize a good number of answers but got the shock of her life! She wiped her face with her palm; the message became clearer but remained the same – “Dear customer, thank you for chosen Airtel, the smart phone network.”