We approached the senate floor, a crowd of sweaty students dressed in our night clothes, armed with tree branches and leaves, singing our aluta songs,”…solidarity forever/ solidarity forever/ we shall always fight for our rights!”
Our entrance into the senate building was forced, and as we crammed into the small space, the general consensus was for someone to address us. I saw them lift Bodun to the make-shift podium, the receptionist’s desk.
He raised his hands and there was silence. He began his speech with something Karl Marx said and his comrades cheered him. His eyes searched furtively for me within the crowd and when he did find me, he winked. I could feel my legs fail me; I remembered last night.
I was on my way to the reading room when he called. I rushed back to my room and took out my make-up bag. That was when Nene sprang up from her bed and asked where I was going.
“Buka,” I replied, but she was not satisfied.
“You are going to meet them Bodun, abi?” she persisted; I didn’t respond, rather I minded my reflection in the pocket mirror, generously applying lipstick.
All the things Nene had said about the members of the Coalition of African Students (CAS), a leading student activist group on campus came back. She had once dated a member, Castro. She said they were bunch of nitwits who embraced communal living and leftist opinions. They rarely attended classes, never dressed appropriately, and spent most of their time in each other’s company, espousing silly ideas. She had threatened Castro with a break if he did not leave his comrades; Castro had ignored her. Now she was dating a bank executive.
At Buka, Bodun ordered the finest wine for me. I asked what the occasion was.
“I don’t need an occasion to treat you, my dear.”
Bodun was not from a rich home. He had joined the CAS for monetary benefits rather than their politics. I was sure they had struck another deal with a politician and that was the source of their newly-found wealth.
After the wine, Bodun led me to their secretariat. It was dark. He took my phone and inadvertently shed light on the FREE MANDELA, GIWA MUST NOT DIE IN VAIN, FREE EDUCATION IS OUR RIGHT Posters on the table. He kissed me full on the lips and that was all that mattered. We made love last night with the music of Maxwell cooing from my phone.
Nobody knew when the Mobile Police arrived, but there was a loud gunshot and everyone ran for cover. Later the news came: the only shot fired made way into Bodun’s nape and burst an artery. Bodun was in a coma and the doctor said death was more imminent than recovery. Bodun passed away later that week.
It would be much later when I missed my period that the gravity of what had occurred would dawn on me. I would be carrying Bodun’s baby. I would have reached the crossroads, and I would not want to dare all the consequences of being a single undergraduate mother. Nene would notice my moodiness and vomiting, and I would have to relate my predicament to her. She would tell me not to worry that she would take me to a certain doctor the next morning.
I would dream of Bodun that night, sobbing, begging me not go.
Early the next morning, Nene would wake me up saying, “Oya, let’s go.”