It was a beautiful day, the kind that could be expected after a heavy storm that raged for hours. The sun was smiling shyly as the breeze caressed the whole earth. Birds became drunk from the wonderful weather and were singing and dancing with all their tiny hearts. It was a day which made people glad to be alive as the universe looked so bright, polished and lovely.
The campus of lvory Tower University was not spared from the weather’s good spirit and the sun’s smiling face. Everywhere looked so beautiful, shiny and radiantly different as compared with the dull, mouldy atmosphere, which normally permeates the university. Students moved with a spring in their steps as they went about the campus and lecturers could be heard humming and sometimes whistling as they moved to and from the lecture rooms. The sound of car horns which normally disturbed the atmosphere and would infuriate as it grated the ear sounded so sweet like music in the ear of its hearers that morning, such that some people were nodding to the sound of its music. It was such a day!
Despite the weather’s wonderful attempt to create laughter, Biodun was as gloomy as a devil from the grave. She refused to be tempted to join in the celebration the unusual weather had caused. Neither did she enjoy the serenity as she believed it to be a mirage; a temporary deceit and luring that would ensnare its admirers. For her, the storm had just gathered strength and it would descend like a hurricane shattering everything that had been her dream, future and life.
‘I’m in my final year in this institution, my final exams is less than a month away, am I just going to sit here and lose all I’ve worked hard for because of my naivety, foolishness and blind faith in love?’
She soliloquized, not paying attention to anything her lecturer was saying, [New sentence] she had a frightened look on her face like a lone sheep cornered by a hungry wolf. Her friend (who was sitting close to her as they listened to the briefings given by one of their lecturers) peered at her strangely when she noticed the lost look on Biodun’s face- looking like a child frightened by a fierce masquerade and worse still she heard her murmuring by herself. That’s not a good sign, she thought, but she waited till the doctor dismissed them before she faced Abbey, nudged her and said;
‘Hei Girl, What’s wrong? You are looking so glum, hope no problem?’
Biodun Jerked and as if just realized the class had been dismissed hissed, “Ha haa! Is it that bad?
Gloria inquired again but instead of answering her Biodun stood, gathered her things and walked out, leaving Gloria more confused and disturbed than ever before. Gloria waited for some minutes, trying to analyse the reason for her friend’s strange behaviour. When she could not arrive at anything meaningful, she jumped up, snatched her bag and ran after Biodun, determined more than ever to find out what the problem was. In her haste, she collided with a strange looking young man and knocked him down. The guy who was dressed like someone from medieval period was carrying a back pack that must be very heavy judging from the way it swayed. It made him heave and pant and, as if the load was not enough, he carried some six other hefty books in both hands.
Immediately they collided, the guy with moustache like that of Shakespeare fell heavily. Fortunately the big bag cushioned his head from feeling the impact of the hard concrete floor but his books scattered. Looking at him on the floor, you would probably be tempted to laugh; he looked like a rag doll in his over-sized out-dated clothes.
‘Sorry…’ am very sorry.’
Gloria apologized without bothering to help the young man up or even gather his scattered books and this made the young man look at her annoyingly with his eyes blazing fire. He struggled to get words strong enough to convey his annoyance and displeasure with Gloria but because he habitually stammered, all he could say was mumbled and made no sense. However, realizing that he was wasting his time; he relented and concentrated on how to get up from the embarrassing position. When Gloria realized that the guy would not be coming after her, she ran as to catch up with Biodun, who had disappeared.
On entering Biodun’s room in the hostel, there was no one around as all her other roommates had either gone for lectures or were busy elsewhere. Gloria was pleased by this and decided to use the opportunity to discover what was eating at her friend. As she was trying to cajole her into revealing what the problem was, Biodun suddenly shouted:
“I’m finished! After seven years of hard work in this school, who will help me out of this mess? I’ve disgraced myself and my family.”
She cried heavily as a dam of tears burst forth and tears gushed out of her eyes in torrents, racing down her cheeks to soak her clothing. Gloria was greatly disturbed seeing the sobs that ransacked Biodun’s chest but more than that she was confused as to what could have caused the festival of tears. Her friend was mumbling sound in her ears like Greek as she couldn’t grasp a meaningful thing from her outburst. She felt helpless and wiping her friend’s face said; “Abbey love, these tears are too much, it could….’
Not paying attention to her, Biodun jumped up and started pacing, still lamenting with tears.
“Men are so wicked o, they are a heartless and selfish bunch without any conscience whatsoever. All they know is getting between your laps; they won’t take responsibilities for their action. Rather, they will expect the woman to handle it as if she did it alone.”
When Gloria heard this, her shoulder sagged in despair and her countenance became very hard as she gleaned a clearer picture of the reason for Abbey’s strange behaviour. She inhaled deeply and tiredly inquired, “How many months now?”
“I think two months, Biodun replied tearfully, and Lanre has refused to pick my calls since I told him about my predicament. He did not even bother calling or visiting like he used to, can you believe that?”
Gloria shook her head in response and considering all that her friend had to lose, tears of pity for her friend coursed down her face.
Biodun Onifade was a final year medical student of Ivory Tower University, an institution of great learning that balanced academic achievement with morals. She discovered she was impregnated by a fellow student Lanre, a final year student studying Architecture whom she had been dating for over three years. This discovery had been giving her headaches as the school rule stated that no unmarried student should get pregnant and anyone caught would be expelled from the institution which was reputed to be the best in the country.
Female students were periodically made to undergo pregnancy tests, whether a ‘Jambito’ or a ‘staylites’, especially before the commencement of any examination, thus the reason for Abbey’s tears considering that her final papers were less than 30 days away.
Though students resorted to tricks of all sorts when they were pregnant, many of them were caught. Then, lecturers and Administrative staff of tertiary institutions did not just lecture and go away; they made themselves part of the students’ life. They saw themselves as a porter whose duty it was to mold the clay (their students) into good forms and shapes. They were like surrogate parents to them, offering pieces of advice that would improve their students’ life. As a result of this, thus they were able to notice anything unusual. Though the school did this with good intentions, it however promoted abortion and misuse of contraceptives while some died while trying to avoid the disgrace of expulsion.
Gloria was tempted to join her friend in the festival of tears when she remembered the school’s rigid rule. She felt particularly concerned as she was the go between for Lanre when he wanted to ask Biodun out.
“Biodun, let’s go to Lanre together and plead with him. There may be something like an engagement that could be rushed before exam commences or what do you think? At least all those love he professes could not have been swept away because of this, some months back, he was telling Fred how he couldn’t wait for you to finish school so you guys could get married. Considering these, I think what he did was impulsive,” she concluded optimistically.
Biodun was reluctant and her expression showed she was not too sure of the wisdom in that advice. She was skeptical because she remembered clearly his reaction after she had informed him about her pregnancy. Gloria gently persuaded her as she helped her wash her face, comb and restyle her hair. She chose a sexy and beautiful gown for her friend to wear; a dress she was sure would enhance her friend’s beautiful figure.
When she was through dressing her friend up, she surveyed her handwork and smiled at her beautiful friend. As against the red-eyed lady of a few minutes ago she saw a ravishingly beautiful girl with curves cut to perfection. Noticing how woeful she looked, she told her friend to change her facial expression, as it was like a man standing before a firing squad.
They took a cab to go to Lanre’s hostel which was quite some distance from theirs. They alighted at the gate and, though trying hard to be bold, they nervously held each other’s hand as they moved towards Lanre’s room. On getting there, Gloria knocked. It was however some 10 minutes or thereabout before anyone replied. When they heard shuffling of feet, the ladies looked at each other nervously trying hard to be bold.
Suddenly, the door opened and a dark, slightly built young man with a well-kept moustache appeared. He wore a track pant and had a white shirt around his neck, though he wore no shirt or singlet. From the way his eyes were however, Biodun realized their knock must have woken him and she swallowed her heart.
He greeted Gloria but his eyes hardened when he saw Biodun cowering behind her. He nevertheless waved both ladies in, closed the door after them and crossed his arms across his chest, questioning them with eyes that were sending forth tongues of fire. Gloria decided to be tactful. She started normal chit chat about school and things happening around, but none of the duo was buying it. The air was so heavy and uncomfortable that Gloria, dejected, decided to shut up.
After eyeing one another for some minutes, both girls went on their knees and started to appeal to Lanre. Gloria reminded him about the part she played in making Biodun his girlfriend. She also begged him to remember the love that he always professed for Abbey. Wanting to seize the moment, Abbey too tried her feminine wiles but, Lanre just stood near the wardrobe glaring at them as if they were goblins out of the wood. Their words were completely wasted on him as he turned a deaf ear to all their appeals. But when Gloria started recounting how many tricks she had to play to get Biodun to agree to date him and how she (Gloria) was persuaded to play the role of a match maker, Lanre’s frown deepened. It created deep creases on his forehead that divided it into five lines.
Suddenly he barked, ‘You gals’re disturbing me; you’ve interrupted my siesta because of this nonsense, gat out here now before I kick you out!’
Lanre had a particular accent and tilt; an intonation that Biodun had always found annoying and irritating, although Lanre believed it impressed people and showed his sophistication. When Biodun heard him addressed them using that tone, Biodun knew he was intentionally trying to infuriate her because he knew how much she detested it.
Gloria, for on her part, was shocked by Lanre’s utterance and considered him heartless and inhuman .Biodun started shedding fresh tears and her mascara ran down her cheeks in its black glory. Mixed with tears, it however stained her eyes giving her a horrible look. Biodun, not minding her ruined make-up, thought of all she had to lose if Lanre did not cooperate with them. This made her wail like that day was declared the world weeping day. Her eyeballs became very red and bulged like they would drop off; she felt like someone had taken her heart and replaced it with a huge rock.
She tried appealing to Lanre from a human angle that even if the love he had for her didn’t exist anymore, he should please consider her career. Gloria even suggested a mock marriage which could be nullified after both parties were through with their final papers. After all, it was not something unheard of among the students who would do anything to avoid expulsion. It was like they were speaking to a statute with the amount of attention they got from the guy who completely ignored them.
Biodun considered this the height of humiliation; she became hysterical and started shouting, “I should have known you were up to no good, you wanted to use and dump me after satisfying your selfish whims without consideration for my feelings. Remember, you are the one who deflowered me also, don’t forget the oath we took the night you did this, which you initiated including the curses you placed on yourself should you ever hurt me. Since you’ve broken our bond, may all the curses you pronounced that night and other worse ones follow you henceforth. From now on, you will never experience peace in your life. Just like you have dashed my hopes to pieces, may disappointment continuously trail your path and may help elude…”
‘Gboah’! A thunderous, blinding and deafening slap silenced her. Biodun fell heavily and blood trailed from her broken lips. She immediately recovered her voice. She screamed with all her might, which further infuriated Lanre who turned her into a punching bag, landing punches on any part of her body closest to him.
Panting heavily, he said, “How dare you rain curses on me in my own room? If you are not daft and incredibly stupid, how could you a doctor in the making, get yourself knocked up, you have the guts to stand here and insult me instead of realizing your stupidity and take responsibilities for your careless actions. You slut! He snickered; you are so unbelievably stupid and you don’t know a B from a bull’s foot if in that stupid mind of yours you believe I’ll ever settle for a gullible like you, dunce!”
Gloria could not sit still again; she couldn’t believe the monster in front of her bashing Biodun was the same Lanre. She moved closer and placed herself between the duo that were busy trying to kill each other. She held Lanre’s hand but maybe it was because of anger or it was intentional, they would never know. Lanre gave her a heavy punch on her chest and shoved her, which sent her sprawling on the floor while clutching her chest. Being an asthmatic patient she was scared the sudden hit might trigger an attack but it seemed Lanre who before now had always been conscious of her state of health, had gone mad.
He beat both ladies black and blue and unfortunately; there was no one around to rescue the ladies from the rain of blows and brutality, as he lived in private quarters off campus. When Gloria realized Lanre would kill them without remorse in his rage, she grabbed Biodun when she saw a chance to escape. He was trying to remove his belt to further beat them as they dashed from the room, leaving their bags. Luckily though as he chased them with the belt, he threw the bags after them, as he cursed them to high heaven.
Both were so scruffy in appearance, with their swollen faces. Biodun had a split lip that was bleeding badly and Gloria was holding her chest. It took a while before a courageous driver stopped to pick them. Gloria who suffered less, told the driver to stop while she bought water. Thankfully though their clothes were not torn, but to avoid unnecessary stares when they got back to the hostel, they tried to clean themselves as well as they could.
On getting to their hostel, Gloria led the way to Biodun’s room and on getting inside; she locked the room from inside. She took her inhaler, dragged at it for a while and was silent as she allowed it do its work while she watched Biodun who was still heaving. When she felt stronger, she plugged water in a kettle. She used this in massaging their bruised faces and other parts where they were injured then she applied some hot balm on the wounds.
When they had finished with this, Gloria calmly said, “Abbey, please as hard it may sound, you will have to erase that animal from your mind and all that happened today. We have greater worries, am sorry I persuaded you to go to him, I never knew he had run mad, imagine that humiliation and pain; am so sorry dear.” Tears were coming from her face as she said this looking into her friend’s eyes.
“I should apologize for getting you involved in my mess, if am not a dunce like he said, I wouldn’t have…”
“No, no dear, you are not and will never be a dunce, don’t let what that mediocre told you sink in and give you a low opinion about yourself, it would only make him win. Darling, let’s forget about him and think of a possible solution to your predicament fast as exams are fast approaching as you rightly know.”
“Hmmn, so ‘am now a blot on the escutcheon, It is ok, I accept it, that is the price for my stupidity and naivety. I will forget him, but dear its painful losing all I’ve worked for for seven years. Why did I ever agree to date him and why did I allow him to have sex with me?” Biodun lamented bitterly.
“Stop it dear, stop it, you will only harm yourself by asking these questions. You gave yourself to him because you loved him, but he is an animal who does not appreciate the value of someone like you. Am not sorry to say it, I regret my part in getting you guys together. Remove your thoughts from all these… what if … assuming that …. Had I….. And other such regrettable terms, some day you will find someone who will appreciate you for the rare gem you are. What would be would be o dear. Stop all these, don’t harm yourself. Have mercy on me, yourself and on mama o,” Gloria chided gently
‘Ha haa my mother!” Biodun started weeping afresh. “What will I tell her when I get home?”
“Please Abbey, don’t be so downcast and be in doldrums, it could have been worse than this at least you are alive, we will look for a suitable solution and am sure we shall all remember today and smile in the future”.
Gloria smiled sadly trying to encourage Biodun who was so shaken and distraught that, she was not even aware when she succumbed to the arms of Morpheus.