Seni stared at her brother in disbelief. The way her eyes grew wide after his words landed on her ears, he might as well have had a banana tree growing from his head. Only a boy … No. Only a man would believe such a cleverly concocted tale.
“Dele, repeat what you just told me,” she said in the same sharp tone their mother frequently used when they were children. That tone, which overshadowed a question and answer session, was the warning that came before a slap or some other form of punishment landed on the unlucky child, for an act of disobedience.
Somewhere in Dele’s brain, he noted that she was irritated with him, but he completely ignored her, choosing instead to act like she was over-reacting.
“What?” he asked, shrugging his shoulders. “Weren’t you listening to me?”
Seni’s patience was evaporating quickly, but she kept her eye on the goal: talking some sense into her brother’s head.
Clearing her throat, she charged on.
“You just told me that I was wrong about Veronica, that I had misjudged her completely. Your excuse? Because she insisted on paying for her own meal at … Where was this again?”
“The canteen in school,” Dele replied immediately.
“Okay, so you went to eat lunch there and she just happened to be eating at the exact same canteen? Dele, she’s an Education student. You’re an Economics student. There are several canteens on that side of UNILAG–”
“Where the Faculty of Education is located. You’re now telling me that she walked all the way from her Faculty to a canteen behind the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, just to eat toast bread? Is the butter at that canteen made from cows that do nothing else but dance to Shina Peters, fool around with auto-tune and occasionally watch Nollywood movies all day long? I mean, what was so special about that toast that made her walk all the way from–”
“Who said she walked? You keep saying ‘she walked’ as if she doesn’t have friends with cars who could have given her a ride or like she couldn’t have taken a cab,” Dele snapped.
“Regardless of how she migrated to that canteen, don’t you see how absurd it is? That’s a 30-minute walk, at least, just to eat two miserable slices of bread, slathered in butter, with what could possibly be a peacock’s egg jammed between the slices!”
“You wouldn’t know a peacock’s egg if you saw it. I’m pretty sure of that.”
“Fine. But guess what Rita told me?”
“The same Rita with multiple carry overs?” Dele asked with a look that conveyed his low opinion of Seni’s friend.
“Forget that side jo. Listen, Rita is also an Education student and–”
“I pity her future students, that’s if she doesn’t wind up counting or mis-counting money in a bank somewhere. That girl’s ibon can kill both the sheriff and his deputy!”
“Yes, I know Rita is a notorious sheller, but she is not a liar. She said–”
“Good. At least you’ve admitted that her grammar needs serious polishing.”
“Oh-oh! Let me land now!” Seni wailed.
“Okay, I’m listening. But hurry up abeg,” Dele said crossing his arms across his chest.
“Well, Rita told me that Veronica does not have classes on Tuesdays.”
“Does Rita know the time-table of every student in her Faculty? I mean that girl … In fact, just forget that side. Veronica told me that she came to school to study at the library.”
Seni snorted. “Veronica study ke? Sure. When pigs fly and dogs start using typewriters. We are not even sure she really took JAMB by herself. I mean, this is 2001 and you know how these things work. Just forget what she told you. This is the truth: she came to school for YOU.”
At this revelation, Dele gave a blank stare. Not the reaction Seni was expecting. She pressed on.
“I can’t believe you can’t see through this girl’s antics. Her goal is as plain as day.”
“And what is that, Miss I-know-it-all?”
“She’s after your money! Anybody with eyes can see that. She will use you and dump you. Why can’t you see it? Or do I need to drag you to a woli to wash your head and eyes with koin-koin before you see what I see?” Seni asked in a frustrated voice.
“Woli? Koin-koin? Seni, how many times have I warned you to stop watching these rubbish Yoruba movies? They’re filling your head with nonsense!”
Seni clapped her hands together dramatically and perched one hand on her hip, while the other demonstrated the words that followed.
– to be continued –