It’s series season again here in Kenikodjo land. Been thinking about ways to make this series different from all the others. It feels different. I am not quite sure why though. Looking forward to hanging with you guys every Wednesday. As always, I would love to hear from you. Your feedback helps to shape the story in many ways as we go along. Hashtag is #Room1045.
This week, we’ll take it nice and slow and meet a few of the characters. Happy reading!
‘Joan! Don’t use the name of the Lord in vain.’
‘Nobody woke me up for my lecture? It is 11:45.’
Kesewa looked up at Joan, as she jumped down from the bunk bed.
‘You didn’t ask anyone to wake you up.’
‘But my alarm-’
‘If you set your own alarm and snoozed it when it rang, who am I to wake you up? I don’t know what agreement you have with your pillow. Besides, I don’t know about you but I like to be left alone when I am sleeping.’
Joan rolled her eyes and grabbed her jeans from the top of her bed. She turned to look at the other girl.
She almost never spoke.
To be fair, they had only been in the room for a week.
It was still early days.
Joan pulled off her nightie and then instinctively covered her breasts. It was too early to walk around the room naked. Next thing she knew, Kesewa would be gossiping about her to her ‘we think we are better than everyone else because we got into Business School’ friends.
She looked at the time again.
Crap! This man is definitely going to think that I am not serious.
‘Relax. I am sure he is not even there yet.’
‘I was late for his first class on Monday and he wasn’t pleased. He marks attendance as soon as he gets there and anyone who comes after he does is marked absent.’
Kesewa pressed the space button on her PC, freezing the moment just before Fitz and Olivia’s lips met. Scandal could wait. This was too good to believe.
‘Ei! Attendance for a dance class? This man must think he is Beyoncé or something. It is not that deep.’
‘Joan, I can drop you off.’
When Salamatu spoke, they both looked up.
‘Erm, so you don’t have to wait for a shuttle.’
‘Oh thank you very much.’
I didn’t know she had a car.
Salamatu shut her Biology books and got off her bed. The person supposed to be on the bed beneath her had not yet moved in. Kesewa kept assuring her that there was nothing wrong with sleeping on the ‘down bed’ even though she was only in level 100, but she still insisted on staying on the top bed. The truth is she never really liked ‘down beds’.
Everyone sat on them and didn’t bother to smoothen the bedsheet when they got up. She also didn’t want anyone to step on her bedsheet when descending from the top bed. Waking up at dawn to study was easier on a top bed. All she needed was a torchlight. She had to get into medical school. She had to. She hadn’t been able to sleep well ever since she got her admission letter. The pressure of an entire generation of women was on her shoulders. This was her chance to prove to her mother that she did not make a mistake by not aborting her. Failure wasn’t an option.
Silence reigned in the car as she drove up the hill to the dance studio.
‘So do your parents have anything against you buying stuff on your own?’, Joan asked.
‘Why do you ask?’
‘Well, you brought everything from home. I have seen inside your locker. You have everything from an extra sponge to Vodafone recharge vouchers. I could have sworn that I saw a telescope in your locker. You have a car and so you don’t need the shuttle. So there has to be a story.’
‘It is my mum. She has three stores in Makola and two in Kejetia. She sells everything, so I have everything.’
‘Oh cool. Boyfriend? Sugar daddy?’
‘No and no. Right now, my only priority is to get into medical school.’
‘Well, from what I hear, you are quite the shark, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Sorry if I sound like a stalker. Let’s just say I do my research.’
‘You? Where do you come from?’
‘Six siblings. Last born. Dad was in the army but I don’t have a disciplined bone in me. Oh and I have a sugar daddy. Just so we are clear.’
‘Also, I didn’t want to come to uni when I got this BFA offer. Who comes to the university to learn how to dance and sculpt? Oh, also my sugar daddy thinks I am studying Economics. So do my parents. I am fee paying. My parents think I am a regular student so they pay regular student fees. Sugar Daddy pays the difference. Yeah, my life is a movie.’
Sala didn’t know what else to say. Nothing she could say would sound half as interesting as Joan’s life did.
‘We are here. Good luck with your lecture.’
‘Wish me luck with the grumpy old man.’
Abbas balanced the chopbox on his head as he headed towards the hall.
Who in their right mind comes to the University with a chopbox? Does he think that this is an extension of Capital High or any of those secondary schools?
He deliberately slowed down so that the potbellied man behind him could catch up with him. The man was panting and sweating profusely.
They got to Room 1045 and knocked.
Kesewa opened the door in her tiny shorts and crop top.
‘Are you my roommate?’
‘This is my room and you are standing in my way.’
‘There must be some mistake. Check out 1044. I know there are boys in that room. Literally next door.’
Just before the man could utter a rebuttal, Bryan opened his door and poked his head out.
‘Bryan, can you check to see if he is in your room. For some reason, he is bent on being in 1045.’
‘Sure, come this way, Sir.’
‘Come in. Meet the guys. I am Bryan. Level 300 Business Admin. Yooku is a law student. Prince is Yooku’s cousin. He is perching here for a bit until he finds a room. Between you and me, that usually means for the entire sem. Then there is Prayer Warrior PK. He spends more time at prayer meetings than he does at his Statistics lectures. That’s the gang. You?’
‘Chris. Level 200 Psychology. I was doing the Distance programme but I switched to Regular this year. I am a policeman but I am on study leave.’
He didn’t add that he just signed up for the course because he also wanted a degree. His wife was a secretary in one of the law firms and she was disrespecting him simply because he didn’t have a degree. Those men with white wigs in her office who used English words that he could not even dream of spelling had suddenly made his wife feel like he was below her standard. He also didn’t add that he had 3 children- two of them were probably not his.
But then again, it was early days. No need to air his dirty laundry just yet. It was bound to air itself sooner or later. Who knew, maybe the prayer warrior could save his marriage.
Kesewa came out of the washroom and reached for her phone.
2 missed calls.
Her stomach instantly tightened.
The knock on the door worsened the situation.
The loud slap across her face caused her to bite her tongue.
‘How many times have I told you that I hate it when you don’t pick up my calls?’
Her ‘I was in the bathroom’ was suffocated with tears.
‘Why do you keep doing this? You always do what I don’t want and then you push me to punish you.’
She crawled away to wash her mouth.
‘Pick up your damn phone when I call you. Don’t make me come down to get you again.’
Salamatu stood at the door, not quite sure if she should open it with her key or knock.
It all made sense now, why Kesewa kept vanishing for hours on end.
The door opened before Salamatu could decide what to do. The man standing in front of her looked like he could eat a horse as a starter for his three course meal. She gulped.
Chukwu stormed out, saving a grateful Sala the trouble of awkward hellos.
She quickly put some water in the kettle and reached for a face towel, attempting to reduce the swelling on Kesewa’s face.
Kesewa stopped her even before she could touch her.
‘I don’t know what you saw or heard but it is none of your business. Chukwu loves me. He just gets a little too angry sometimes. We are not discussing it. You are not allowed to pity me. Look at me, do I look like someone who should be pitied?’
Sala wanted to say yes. Instead she said nothing.