I kept staring at the spot close to the ankle where I could still see the small scar, my heart skipped a beat each time I looked at it. I kept hoping and wishing that maybe the next time I checked the scar was gone, erasing every trace and memory of the dream.
“The marketing mix is often crucial when determining a product or brand’s offer, and is often associated with the four P’s: price, product, promotion, and place”
The lecturer’s voice brought me back to reality as I picked up my pen and started writing.
“Why’re y’all staring at me” his voice echoed in the large classroom as a slight trait of a fake American accent was notable in his tone “your exams are fast approaching and I have just mentioned something y’all need to know and they are looking at my ugly face”
Someone chuckled from behind me, Dr. Omotunde kept chewing on his kolanut which he always had with him and was his trademark. I pushed aside my fears and worries as I concentrated on the stout, bald man and listened to his every word.
Two hours later, I was sitting at Red bricks eating my first meal for the day. I had my earphones on as students started trooping into the restaurant. I fixed my eyes on the T.V screen
“The blast occurred at the crowded bus station around 6:30 am yesterday during rush hour as commuters were about to board buses and taxis to go to work in central Abuja. Two buses full of people were struck. It is believed that one of the buses, which was parked overnight at the motor park, was loaded with the bomb that went off “ – The T.V reporter said as pictures from the scene of the blast were splashed all over the screen.
The group of friend’s sitted in the table beside me started having a heated debate on who is to blame for the state of the country. I pushed my plate aside, as I decided to rest for a while waiting for my next class. I looked towards the entrance and saw two girls making their way in. I looked away, suddenly recollecting the face I turned towards them again. The oyinbo pepper from George’s birthday party; his girlfriend. I waved at her as our eyes met, she looked at me for a split second in confusion then it dawned on her who I was, she looked away and whispered to her friend who stared at me then looked away as they walked towards an empty table.
I contemplated why I haven’t seen her face before now in school, well maybe I have, but didn’t pay attention to it. I felt a vibration on my lap as my phone started ringing, looking at the caller’s ID. It was my mum calling, I shoved my books inside my bag hurriedly as I left the restaurant.
“Hello ma” I said as I pressed the receiver button.
“How are you my dear?”
“I am fine ma” I paused a bit contemplating the idea of telling her the dream, then decided not to as I knew the series of preaching, prayer sessions and constant calls that will follow.
“Remember we are having our monthly fasting and prayers next week”
“Yes, I remember”
“Do you still have food stuffs” she asked sounding worried
“Yes, mum I am fine” I said smiling
“I still have enough left”
“Remember to say your prayers always, and don’t hesitate to let your dad and I know of any issues you have”
“Yes ma, I will”
“Ok, bye, bring your friends over to the house next week”
The conversation went on for another thirty minutes, after which I went back to class for my last lecture of the day.
* *. *
At 9pm we sat on Jessica’s bed as we had our eyes fixed on the T.V screen waiting for Uju’s jellof rice she decided to cook for us.
“This your rice is taking too long, or is it stone you put in that pot” I said
Ewo! I have forgotten o” she shouted as she rushed to the kitchen, coming out some minutes later with a tray carrying three plates of rice.
“Finally!” Jessica said sitting up as she dropped her iPad.
I took a spoon, cautiously scooping a little quantity and dropping it at the tip of my tongue. I dropped my spoon, looked at Jessica, waiting for her reaction and the drama that would ensue.
“Jesus! Uju did you use all our pepper, and the tomato paste tastes raw” Jessica said with an irritated look as she dropped the spoon angrily.
“Please stop entering that kitchen, especially days when we are this hungry” She said as she gulped down a large quantity of water
I bit back my smile, as I knew where this was heading.
“Please don’t eat again oh, give me your plate” Uju retorted sounding angry
“I won’t eat, I have classes tomorrow and I don’t want to purge” Jessica answered.
“Amaka is the food too peppery?” Uju turned to me, soliciting support
Jessica turned to look at me, knowing I was in a dilemma. I looked at the two faces grinning.
“The pepper is a bit too much” I admitted
“No! She put the whole pepper we have in this house” Jessica cut in
“It’s ok, I have a more serious issue” I said trying to change the topic
“What happened again” Uju said obviously still angry
I eyed her, I narrated the story and their expressions changed from lack of interest to disbelief.
“So you mean that scar, is from the fall in the dream” Jessica said pointing at the spot in disbelief
“Yes it is, I am still trying to find another explanation”
“Amaka, which kain story is this, you just wake up and forge story for us as we are kids na” Uju said dismissing the story
“Why would I cook something like this up?”
“Did you see the girls face?” Jessica asked
“No, I couldn’t make out the face”
“So have you told your mum?”
“No, I haven’t. I don’t want to, she will get so worried and organise series of prayers for me”
“But I think you need it, I think it’s serious when a scar in a dream also appears in reality”
“I think Roland scratched her mistakenly or she hit her leg on a hard surface while she was dreaming” Uju said sounding uninterested
“I still think she should take this dream serious” Jessica answered
“Shey she is Omo pastor, say a psalm, you should know which one is for bad dreams” Uju said clearing her plate noisily and sulking.
“I think you should tell your mum if it reoccurs” Jessica said still sounding worried
“I will pray about it” I replied, wanting to dismiss the topic as Jessica’s concern increased my fears
Some hours later, I had my eyes fixed on the ceiling fan as I dreaded closing my eyes to sleep for fear of the dream reoccurring. I had so many thought swirling through my head it made me feel dizzy. I finally made a decision, picking my phone up
“We need to talk, will be at your place by 7pm”
I felt a sense of relief immediately, I closed my eyes and sleep finally won the battle.
*. *. *
No, I didn’t mean any of those words, its just guy’s talk”
I looked at Roland as he got over his shock after I replayed his words to him.
“So why did you say them”
“Believe me, I love you” he said moving closer as he tried to hold my hand. I moved away, I needed as much space away from him so I could think with my brain.
“That is not what I asked you”
“What did you ask me?”
“I said why did you say it, if you didn’t mean it?” I repeated emphasizing each word.
“Please can we drop the subject, why were you eavesdropping on us in the first place?”
“Are you trying to turn the tables and make this my fault?”
“No, answer me. Why we’re you eavesdropping? I wasn’t talking about you that day”
“Now it’s not me, okay. So who is the girl you were talking about” I said feeling hurt as the conversation didn’t go as I anticipated.
“You don’t know her”
He stood up, “Is that why you said you wanted to see me?”
“Yes” I said suddenly losing the confidence I had. I suddenly didn’t feel like the wronged party anymore. Remembering Uju warned me about this, how they make you feel guilty and sorry for their own crime. I picked up my bag.
“Goodnight, I think it’s better I go home. I have gotten the answer I need” I said close to tears.
Walking towards the door, he held my hand.
“Where are you going? Aren’t you spending the night?” He said looking repentant
“No, I have to go”
“Are you breaking up with me” he asked with a pitiful expression
I knew this was my time and chance to walk out, to put a stop to this madness but I still had this tiny voice in my heart telling me just another trial won’t hurt.
“No, I am not, or do you want me to?” I looked away and focused on a painting hanging on the wall.
He hesitated for a moment as if contemplating the idea
“No, I don’t want you to”
“I just have to go home today”
He took a step closer, placing his forehead on mine I felt his every breath. His lips were inches away from mine, just a step closer and I knew I would not be going home tonight if I let him kiss me. I turned my face as his soft lips landed on my cheeks instead, I took a step backwards.
“Goodnight Roland” I took one last look at him and turned away quickly before I lost my will.
Walking down the stairs, sitting at the back seat of the yellow and black cab as I headed home I couldn’t shake off the image of Roland’s face as I stepped away from his arms. It was an expression I have never seen before on his face.
* * *
“That was how the girl wanted to pay cab man, she no see money again” Ronke said gesticulating.
“Haba! Ronke this your story eh” Uju said laughing uncontrollably.
“But it could be true” I said smiling.
Ronke is my course mate, she drops by occasionally to visit us and she comes with a handful of weird stories. She was telling us the story of a girl who had sex with one aristo and the money she was paid disappeared the next morning. She started the story in a bid to convince Uju how possible my dream was.
“My dear, start praying o. Maybe you have offended someone o” Ronke said
“I don’t know of anyone I offended”
“I have said my own, abeg any food in this house” Ronke said still insisting.
“Yes, yam porrigde” Uju replied
“Hope it is not you that cooked it” Ronke asked
“Oya, kon dey go your house”
Ronke ignored her, standing up she went to the kitchen to serve herself as she started another tale of her cousin who fought with a girl in a dream and woke up with finger nail scratches on her back and face.
* * *
“We have a birthday party next weekend” Uju announced excitedly
“Whose birthday?” Jessica looked away from her iPad
“You guys remember George from the beach”
“Yes, but I thought it was his birthday just last week” I answered
“He said his friend is having a small birthday party at his crib and he asked me to come with you guys”
“I don’t think I want to go” Jessica said
“You won’t drop that iPad and stop stalking Wale on Instagram, twitter, bbm, whatsApp. The dude is a player and we all know it, has he explained the nude photos?” Uju fired at her
“I thought you were inviting us for a party, why bring Wale into this. And yes he has explained, the girl is a fan who sent him her nude photos. You know how girls are” Jessica said avoiding our stare.
“Wale doesn’t have any fan, when did he become Davido? Anyways we are all going for the party, I won’t take no for an answer” Uju said deciding for the two of us.
“That reminds me, I saw George’s oyinbo pepper babe when I went to eat at Red Bricks. I didn’t know she is a UNILAG student, she snubbed me when I waved at her” I said trying to change the topic and avoid the argument that was already brewing.
Uju hissed loudly, “So she is even a student like us, she was now carrying shoulders like one correct working class babe that is why we should even go for the party. Let her go and die when she sees George invited us”
“You will just kill yourself on top George matter” Jessica retorted.
‘You that is dead already on top Wale”
Hissing Jessica picked up her iPad ,
Uju can be very persistent and I knew we had no choice. I didn’t mind a party, I looked at my phone as I resisted the urge to call Roland. We haven’t talked since the night I walked out on him, or has he ended the relationship? No, he can’t end it now, I will end it myself but not yet. I did a mental scan through my wardrobe as I wondered what to wear to the party. I recollected how I met George, the dance we had, as I pushed the images away I wondered what it would be like meeting him again.