Episode 1

Some things in life aren’t as perfect as they should be. But we are wired to cross hurdles and transcend boundaries. The bottom line is to generate happiness from deep within. (GRACE OCHIGBO 2016)

Tuesday, 15th August.
With hunched shoulders, cowered back, eyes widen, l could feel Jerry trembling as he followed me into my room, or maybe “our” room. l don’t stay alone, l am one of those that believe a student shouldn’t stay alone especially someone in my condition but then students’ hostel is a ‘NO NO’ for me.

l love my room!
It is a relatively large room, ‘self contained’ as we call it. There is a antique-brass book shelf, a bistre shoe rack and a bright- lavender mirrored wardrobe beside our dressing table. The Bulgarian-rose dressing table is always full of perfumes, make ups and jewelleries and accessories. Two students sized beds on which we placed attractive colours of bed covers occupied the two edges of our four cornered room. The walls of the room is painted cerise-pink, deep-lilac curtains covered the windows. And of course, our blue reading table alongside two duke-blue plastic chairs stood neatly on the dim-gray-tiled floor.

Don’t get me wrong, am not cohabiting! l have a roommate. Yes! she is a female, her name is Grace, Grace Charles.

Enthusiastic about my decision, l hurriedly sat on my bed, my lips pressed together firmly, with my eyebrow raised as l rested my hands on my laps. Jerry closed the door quickly but gently behind him. Grace was laying on her bed deep asleep, or so I thought. l shrugged as Jerry took his seat beside me placing a hand on my hands.

“Tonia, l thought we were over this?” he paused wiping some sweat off his forehead
“Why you are bent on doing this” he turned my distracted face gently in his direction
Without showing any expression whatsoever I drew my face from in between his soft palms. This made Jerry jerk a bit. l got up, dragged my reading chair and sat on it instead. l wanted to face him squarely, he needed to know l wasn’t kidding, l needed to get this done with.

“Jerry!…” l started, looking straight into his eyes. Jerry was sweating more profusely. He shivered as he clamped his hands together, his brown eyes were gradually becoming red, he didn’t know what to expect as he looked expectantly at me with his round-face, well-trimmed dark hair and beards, he had the Desmond Elliot’s kind of looks though he was slimmer.

l sat up and continued
“This is my decision and l will appreciate it if you respect it.

He swallowed as his eyelids closed. He didn’t know what else to say or rather, l didn’t give him any further opportunity to speak before l walked to the door and opened it
” Please leave Jerry..”

Jerry got weak, he looked very dejected. Winds of helplessness blew over him as he saw the rigid expression on my face. He cringed as he got up dispirited, arranged his silky, falu-red short sleeves which was neatly tucked in a pair of black pants before walking out slowly without uttering a word.

l stiffened my face and didn’t look at him. What informed my decision?

Maybe it was the aftermath of my last hospital visit

l really don’t know. l have done this nevertheless
“L-E-A-V-E!!” l stressed raising my voice when l noticed Jerry was about to pause in his tracks. This l believe woke Grace.

l am Tonia, Tonia Abuh. My close friends call me “Tee”. Third year student of Microbiology in the prestigious Kogi State University. Oh! physical descriptions? Alright, am a bit fair with fairly spotless skin. Average height, with bulging-blue-beautiful eyes, slim but gifted where necessary, if you know what l mean. l love flaunting my natural long and full hair. Rarely will you find me on braids, the same way l love simple casual outfits. A pair of jean on polo shirts is enough dressing for me. So my wardrobe is filled with those.

My parents are well to do. Well, at least l don’t lack my basic needs. Dad is a Professor of Physics while mum bagged a first class degree in Microbiology from Ahmodu Bello University, Zaria. But she prefers business and she is doing really great at it. l have a beautiful proactive kid sister, SUCCESS, in her last days at high school. Our last in the family is a boy, KING DAVID, the only boy and he just got into high school.

Most times my sharp piercing eyes helps me mask my fearful and anxious nature. l seem to have fear virtually over everything, that’s why l have few friends, or do l say none? l literally live in a world of my own. But believe me l have lots of guys flocking around me, in need of a relationship, of course! And l guess l give some, if not everyone of them a fair share.

l have been Jerry’s girlfriend for the past six months and this is happening for the third time.

Grace screamed as l slammed the door hard immediately Jerry stepped out. Not like am not used to her screaming at me. She does it all the time an incidence like this occurred. It has always been our little secret. Just that there is this sincere bitterness l feel in her voice this time. Quite strange!

“Was she just acting big aunty towards me? Or was this about Jerry?” l thought to myself. l let it slide though. l truly cared less. Her attractive braids scattered all over her brown smooth face as her small round eyes pierced my skin all the way from the door till l sat. She was still on the pla!d shirt and vintage denim skirt she wore out this morning. I am sure she started this sleep immediately she got back.

I shrugged as l poured water into a cup from my bottle. l drank the water, took two Tramadol capsule from my drug basket and swallowed, my head was begining to ache already, it’s been over 4hours l last took my drugs. But l was also doing this deliberately to ignore her. She got pissed off, even more, with my attitude. Furiously, she approached me with so much venom that l have never seen before. l quickly dropped the cup on the table as l noticed her eyebrow lowered. She stamped her feet angrily against the floor.

“What is wrong with you” She yelled pushing me on to the bed. It was a miracle l didn’t hit my head on the wall and she didn’t even bother. l could feel it.

She was truly bitter
“Just within these two years we have been living together in this lodge.” she said biting her thin lips “Haba! When will you grow up?” she hit me hard again. l felt that pain.

l sat up on the bed and tried to tickle her but she still wore a frown on her face. l finally gathered the energy to talk

“Haa!, Gracey!, what is your own na? why are you worrying yourself over nothing. lf l can do what l like then am grown up. Check me out” l said, standing up and turning around. Grace ignored

“But Tee, you know this is not fair! you should have done something better” she said in a more sympathetic tone.

l patted her on the shoulder, cleared my throat before talking

“See my dear, no man on earth is deserving of my love. Men are cheats, heartbreakers and they are wicked,” l spat out frankly or should l rather say that is what l believe?

Grace continued “Have you ever imagined being cursed?”

That statement got me laughing heartily again.
“Now you are beginning to sound like my grandmother, curse ko? curse ni! Abeg!” l rattled in pidgin English, hitting her hand off me before standing up

“Let me go and dress jor, Ben in 400lvl will be taking me tutorials this night in block C ” l winked at her and she hissed but l continued “l am dressing to kill”

l twisted my waist as l headed towards the wardrobe.

Grace kept on looking at me speechlessly
“Tonia, God will have mercy on you. People come to school for different reasons. Now the innocent boy will be busy getting ready to take you tutorials while you are here planning s£duct!on” she said , got up and ran towards me ” let me catch you dress to kill from this house, rubbish child” she cursed
l ran into the bathroom and bolted the door.
“No one is innocent” l screamed from inside the bathroom.

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