I held on to TJ.
“TJ please help me! He has a gun! Take me away from here!”
“What is it, Mabel?” he asked with a puzzled frown on his face.
“Her brother was killed and she is having a hard time accepting it. She doesn’t want me to take her home to her parents in Lagos,” said Sam smoothly from behind me.
“Please don’t listen to him. Just take me away from him,” I begged.
This was my only chance at getting help because the area is usually a place where you rarely saw people walking on the streets. If you know University of Ibadan campus well, you will know the area around Oba Dam. There are no hostels there except private residences for university staff. Some of them rent their quarters out to students but they are few.
I saw TJ and Sam exchange that look that guys give each other when one of them wants to ask another about what’s wrong with his girlfriend.
One of TJ’s friends looked familiar to me and I tried to look pleadingly at him too.
“Guy make we help the babe na,” I heard him tell TJ in pidgin English.
Then they looked back at Sam. I looked too. Sam had this no nonsense look that seemed to say “Don’t meddle in me and my babe’s business.”
Then I heard TJ whisper something like “I no wan put myself for wetin no concern me. Una know about Sam for this university na.”
“Na true o,” the third guy said.
I saw my hope slipping away.
“What do you know about him?! Please don’t leave me here with him! Help me!” I held on to TJ’s shirt.
“Babe please let’s go to Lagos. It will be fine,” Sam said gently.
“Sorry Mabel. Both of you should settle your quarrel with each other. I need to go. I am really sorry about your brother but please pull yourself together and let him take you home,” TJ hugged me quickly and started walking away.
I nearly went mad. I realized that he didn’t believe me. I became hysterical and held on to his shirt but he snatched it from my hands and walked away.
“I’m sorry,” he said as he left.
I froze for a few seconds in disbelief then I started running after him but Sam was immediately behind me. He clamped his hands on my arm.
He held me close and whispered:
“Don’t make this more difficult. Just get into d car. I am doing this for your own good.”
My own good?! He just put a gun to my head a few moments ago! I glanced at d street; I looked left and right and as far as possible but I saw no one.
I had no choice but to follow. Besides, Sam still had his gun.
Afternoon of same day
I tried to watch a home video on the television in my room but my mind was drifting here and there so I switched it off. I was expecting Frank to visit.
I and Frank go way back but we weren’t as close to each other as now. We went to the same high school and everyone drifted apart until we met again at UI.
I went to a polytechnic after high school and earned an Ordinary National Diploma in mass communication. Then I was able to get a direct entry level admission into UI.
His father is a retired army colonel in the army but he had many wives and numerous children.
Frank spent his time traveling around to his numerous siblings, making money and writing UME every year until he was admitted into UI. He also seemed to have inherited his father’s love for women.
My mind went to Mabel. I miss her terribly. She sometimes reminds me of my mom. I am her youngest child among three children and we were really close.
My mom died of cancer at a time when things were getting better in my family: my oldest sister had just delivered her first baby and my second sister was planning her wedding while I had just gained admission. Also, my father who had run off with a young woman when I was 12 had just reconciled with my mother. She was strong until the very end.
Mabel had my mother’s complexion – they were both of the fairest skin complexions a black person can ever be (without bleaching or being an albino of course).
A knock at the door brought me out of my reverie. That must be Frank, I thought.
I was surprised when I opened the door and it wasn’t Frank. It was Laura, Mabel’s roommate.