I FELL IN LOVE WITH A STRANGER
(THE CYNOSURE OF MY YOUTHFUL LIFE ON CAMPUS)
“Ghrrrriii… Ghrriiii…. Ghrrriiii…. ”
That was the ringing sound of the alarm my dad got for me. He often tells me that a good student must have an alarm to wake him anytime he or she falls asleep.
It was my second day in College, one of the best Colleges in Nigeria, University of Lagos, School of first choice and the nation’s pride.
The weather was so cool and I could realize I was all alone by myself.
No one was around to wake me to have my quite time, no one to remind me of my meal early enough. No one to suggest the cloth to put on.
And the one I felt was perfect was no one to tell me to do any house chores. I was never told to do lots of house chores though, but I am naturally lazy.
I stretched out of the bed struggling to kill the noisy, piercing and disturbing sound of the alarm clock.
As I raised my head, I saw two people, not really strangers, they were staring at me from the bed opposite mine. They look older than I am. I knew they were my room mates. They look wicked and ugly. I don’t like them.
I quickly sat up with my feet almost touching the floor. I am not short. I tell people I just have a small stature.
These weird faces continue to look at me. I was afraid this guys might be a bully, even though I was little less concern.Just a call to my dad will handle them.
I wanted to behave like an adult, so I promised not to call my dad for any mishap (maybe to am extent).
I remembered my dads words to me. He will always tell me “Tayo, for people to respect you, you have to behave like a big brother to them.”
I immediately summoned courage to ask for their names.
Me: Hello guys. How was your night? I am Tayo.
First boy: Tayo, I am Wale. (he said sharply)
Second boy: My night was great. And yours?
Me: My night was good. I am Tayo. (I repeated since I was short of words)
Everything felt like it was going normal. I placed my pillow on my laps just to comfort and mask my shyness somehow.
In less than a minute, the second guy (I wasn’t familiar with their names yet) continued the just suspended conversation.
Second boy: Sorry, I didn’t mention my name. I am Benjamin aka BenJ. (He looked at his friend’s face, turned to me) Do you mind if I call you tallest? Considering your height.
First Guy (Wale) : Fuck…, What an Irony of life (laughing out loud)
This guy just said “fuck” easily. The ‘F’ word, What my dad hated me to say.
Me: (I muttered) I just have small stature. I am not short.
I hope these guys are not bullies. I decided to take my phone to keep me busy. I kept it in my wardrobe.
I was afraid to stand and go get my phone in my wardrobe they will laugh at my height or maybe stature again.
I then thought of what to do.
Me: Who watch Game of Thrones?
Not with a formal reply, my two stupid roommates started talking about scenes in the movie. And seriously, I have never watched it. Not even an episode.
I kept on nodding my head to what they are saying. While I kept on watching the boys arguing the way I planned it.
I immediately side walked to my wardrobe, opened it, took my phone and went back to my bed.
After the noise continued and I could see it wasn’t going to stop anytime soon, I came up with a big brother style again.
Me: You know what guys? Reduce your noise. You are supposed to be arguing and not just shouting.
The room became silent. And I knew I was setting my personality right. I was very young but I had to use those words my father gave me. The two guys never said anything. At first I was afraid. Just to change the subject matter, so I said.
Me: (facing them) Have you guys met before? You behaving like childhood friends.
Wale: (laughing).. No vex Bro (I felt respected) (pidgin). Yeah. BenJ and I have known ourselves since age 12. We lived on the same street.
Benjamin: Baba, no tell this guy our life story finish na.
Wale & I: (Laughing)
I decided to take a walk outside the hostel.
I never loved going out before taking my bath.
So I hurriedly went to the bathroom. Very clean,the water was running properly. (This later turned the opposite side when we started approaching mid session).
I was happy I was in school, even though the anxiety in me already reduced.
While taking my bath, I start to thinking of what to eat. My dad gave me more than enough money which made me feel I could buy whatever I wanted. I finished taking my bath and headed for my room.
Lo and Behold! (I never use this words on a normal day) Entering my room, I saw BenJ beside my wardrobe with my Cornflakes in hand pouring his milk in a container. The milk wasn’t mine but the cornflakes was obviously mine. Wale was just operating his phone, still sitting on his bed.
Me: BenJ! WHAT do you think you are doing!? (I said angrily) Stealing from me on a first day meeting with me!?
BenJ: It Is not stealing (he shouted back). I allowed you see me. I would have locked the door instead, If I wanted to steal.
Me: This is too bad for a start. (I said angrily in a low tone). (I felt like calling my dad but I am an adult)
BenJ: Why will you be having cornflakes in your wardrobe? You are not in a boarding school, Or are you a baby?
How come this idiot is tagging cornflakes with babies food and he his stealing it from me. I felt like getting his ass whipped.
Me: FUCK!(I just used the word my dad doesn’t like) I did not lock my wardrobe. It was my fault.
This was when I knew again that I am all by myself.
Wale was just there operating his phone. He did not make any utterance until now.
Wale: BenJ! No finish that food oo. I go chop oo…
BenJ: Sure na. We be brothers.
I was perplexed seeing how my own food is being deliberated upon. It was like I was the fool in that room.
This time I knew I needed somebody in the room by my side. It’s a four-man room with two bunks. I wanted my bunkie to be a nice person and in support of me. Not like these two idiots, Wale and BenJ. The last room mate is not around yet.
BenJ kor Ben10 ni.
I never spoke a word. I dressed up, put on my cap and my nearly oversized shoe.
I was about leaving when I remembered two things.
The first was to act like a big brother. So I said.
Me: I want to take a walk. I will back soon.
Wale: Yoo man.
BenJ: OK bro.
(The two guys responded well, as if nothing had happened between us. They were concentrating on their food. No.. On my food).
The second boy was to lock my wardrobe and all my properties. I went back to my wardrobe and locked it myself.
I thought Wale and Benjamin will feel remorseful but instead they started a new talk.
Wale: Bro, always lock your wardrobe oo. Thief dey this hostel.
BenJ: Wale, sheybi you remember.. Last semester, they stole my phone..
Me: I stared at them like.. “are you guys not also thieves? ”
We talked for a while. It was during the conversation I knew they were in 200 Level.
I already forgotten the stuff they stole from me when I told them bye with a smiling face.
I walked down the stairs. My room was on the second Floor. Nice place for someone like me to stay.
I was almost at the entrance of the hostel when I heard one masculine voice shouting from behind me
“MR MAN! ARE YOU A BONAFIDE OF THIS HOSTEL ????”
This was the first time someone Referred to me as “Mr Man”. I thought people saw me as a small boy with further consideration of height.
I turned back to see one tall dark, chubby man. He should be in his late fourthies. Maybe My dad’s age mate.
“I am talking to you, can’t you answer?” He shouted again.
I did not remember his question. It wasn’t familiar. Lol.
Me: Yes sir. I already paid my hostel fees. (I thought it was like my secondary school where you get harassed for not paying your school fees on time).
The man behind him started laughing.
“Urrrhh.. Omo year one ni.(Yoruba). Na fresher.” he said.
It was latter I knew these people were called Porter. They were the people in charge of administrating the hostel.
Porter 1: Oya give us money for minerals. Or just recharge our phones. (they said it like we both worked for the money in my pocket).
Porter 2: You will need us o.. So let’s be close. If anybody disturb you, don’t hesitate to tell us.
Me: I had no choice than to remove the 1,000 naira from my pocket. I knew I was being dupped by a mere brain washing but I wasn’t concerned since I was making peace with everyone.
Even the Bible said it. “Follow peace with all men and holiness… ”
I knew it wasn’t by giving them my 1,000 naira though. But corruption in Nigeria has come to stay, so I have to dance to the tune.
After giving them the 1,000 naira.
Porter 1: You are going somewhere. What’s your name? (trying to show concern about me)
Me: My name is Tayo sir.
Porter 2: (I could see pride in this man though) Tayo, don’t join bad gang o. Face your book. (He looked at his colleague, and then said) you can go.
They started acting like a father as if they would have done so, if I never gave them that 1,000 naira.
I Went out of the hostel not even bothered about the 1,000 naira. There was more than enough to spend, I thought.
You could see the ego in my gait.
I was just going to a place called “No destination”. (I saw beautiful girls but I think unilag girls were being exaggerated).
They were cool but I wanted to see the special girls. People say unilag girls were like angels. So beautiful. And I wanted to see them.
All these girls were just like the ones I left in my secondary school.
I was still walking in pride when I saw somebody.
Yes! Not just somebody but a very important Somebody.
Continue Reading on Episode 2
Written by Adu Wesley Young
Thanks for reading.