Osas Idubor 1 year ago
@Theosasidubor 16 min read Write a comment #creative-writing

Play Her (chapter Five)

(Lanre) His mother left him many missed calls and messages, but he neither returned the calls nor read the messages. He deleted them, without bothering about the contents. He wanted no explanation of hers.

It was rather bold of her to act as though nothing had happened and choose to embrace peace whilst he visited home. He was back in school, the drive to school was roughly 1 hour 40 minutes, had there not been traffic congestion, it would have been 1 hr. It didn't help that he was also stopped at various checkpoints and each time to avoid deep confrontation, he had sorted out the officials. He had once gotten into a bigger issue with them and since the time they dragged him to the cell, he had rather avoided getting in their mess. Although he feared sooner or later he just might get into their trap, for no reason whatsoever other than for breathing and being a Nigerian youth.

This was the situation of things in the country he finds himself. He didn't think Nigeria held more good for its citizen, its youth most especially. If he wasn't reading about the unjust actions meted upon youths someplace else, he was experiencing the action first hand, or someone close to him was. At least two out of his friends at school, church, and home, had been arrested by men in uniforms. Maybe Nigeria will be a perfect place to live in, someday soon, maybe not. But till then, he gave his voice to the right causes the little way he could and dodged things that could potentially put him in trouble.

"You're back," He had just entered the room and noticed Lanre was sitting on his mattress, eating fried rice from a food park in his hands. He neither acknowledged Chugg's presence nor replied to his question. "I heard the police are back on the search. Where do you stop?" Lanre looked up from the food park in his hands but not in Chuggs' direction. "And you are asking because you know I traveled?" Chuggs nodded. "Ehn nau, David mentioned that you were home for the weekend, wasn't expecting to see you so soon." He settled his backpack on the single white plastic chair in the room before he sauntered to Lanre's side of the room. "You are lucky they didn't stop you. Those people are becoming something else of late. My guy's brother had just been molested by them. They took so much money from him, about 300,000 nairas."

At this juncture, Lanre looked up and in Chuggs' direction. "Your friend's brother?" He asked.

Chuggs was hesitant before he replied. "Ehn nau." Then after a while, he giggled as if catching the memo. "He isn't into fraudulent activities. He does crypto and stuff." Lanre scoffed inaudibly, he opened his mouth twice in a bid to reply to Chuggs but said nothing. "You know, they really shouldn't be terrorizing youths. Treating them the way they please. I know youths, on the other hand, are as well to blame for engaging in illegal activities. But again, not all youths are, fish the guilty ones and leave the innocent ones alone." He said. Lanre was just struggling with a beef within his fingers and teeth, half-listening to what Chuggs was saying. "Like the drug dealers..."

At the mention of this, the beef within Lanre's fingers fell to the floor. Slowly, he reached for it and tossed it in the empty food pack, then reached for the bottle of water lying next to his right leg and emptied the remaining content in his mouth. "You see them everywhere." Chuggs was still saying.

Lanre felt a great deal of discomfort. The mention of drug dealers was what first caused his precious beef to slip through his fingers. Yes, he sold drugs. Yes, it was illegal. But he hadn't thought of himself to be a defaulter even though he was quick to also acknowledge that more youths were involved in fraudulent activities the most popular being "yahoo". He didn't know if it was panic he felt at first, but he sure as hell felt guilty and suddenly overwhelmed with shame. "They have no right whatsoever to treat us the way they do, I'm never going to be in support of their actions but I also wish these illegal activities weren't paramount of late. The Bible says..." "Abeg abeg." Lanre put up his hand at once narrowing his gaze at Chuggs. "E don do. We don hear." He said. He gathered the disposables from the floor and trashed them, then stepped outside of the room, deciding hastily to take a stroll.**********

(Sly) She kept tossing and turning in bed, this behavior wasn't like that of the student that had a mid-semester test, it wasn't. This she kept saying to herself, acknowledging that she might as a matter of fact flop if she didn't get her shit together. Ngozi kept dropping everything she bringing out of her bag noisily. "What didn't the rats eat? And to think someone else was in the room all these while...well, I'm not surprised." She was one of Sylvia's roommates who had only just resurfaced for the second time in school after resuming that semester. Sylvia rolled her eyes, avoiding all the indirect talks targeted at her. "It is beyond me that someone else was in this room all along but choose to look over her foodstuffs only. Later they will go to church, parading themselves as the true Christians they are not...is that not madness? Hypocrisy is in the highest order if you ask me! If not for the mid-semester test that made me come to school, isn't that how they would finish everything!!" At this point, other hostelites were beginning to troop into their room, and Sylvia seized the opportunity to walk out, deciding there and then that she would take no part in the madness.

Luckily for her, she wasn't shabbily dressed, before her roommate arrived at the hostel, she had had her bath for the second time that day and had dressed up with hopes of going to an empty class to read but one or two things happened, and she had found herself tossing about in her lower bunk even as Ngozi unpacked and rearranged her personal inbuilt where she kept her foodstuffs.

"You." She almost ran out of breath when she heard his voice. She pulled her head up slowly, and eyes to meet his, but unavoidably looked away almost immediately. "I didn't know you drank palmee." Sylvia scoffed. They both were standing outside the stylishly built hut that served as a palm wine and mai-shai joint. She took her seat in no time, avoiding his question still but hoping silently that he would sit on the other vacant chair close to hers and he did, which made her happy. But she tried just as hard to hide her joy. At the moment she wondered what had suddenly come over her and assured herself that she was acting Tayo's script, getting his money for her textbook, then forgetting he ever existed.

Lanre looked past her head as though something behind her had caught his attention. "Bad day?" Of all the things she was expecting him to say, she least expected the question, and for the first time since they walked into each other that day, she put her head up, firmly looking into his eyes. Lanre drew a breath. "I had one too." After what seemed like a million years, Sylvia asked him if he would love to share; she didn't exactly think he would oblige, again, he surprised her. "Family issues. Dad and mom have been separated for a while now. I don't know how to feel around each of them, and I was home earlier today but returned to school almost immediately."

Sylvia could feel her heart race. Unsure if she was wide awake and getting told all she was getting told by Lanre. But she had to compose herself. "Which one of them did you see or are they still living together?" He shook his head. "No, they are not. My mom gets to keep the house. I met her today." "You didn't talk to her?" Lanre gave a strange look. "I mean, bond for a short while with her or maybe bonding isn't the appropriate word." She chuckled nervously. "What I mean to say is, being there for her would be such a nice thing; she is going through a tough time and..."

"No, she isn't." Lanre cut in sharply. Unsure what he meant and afraid to get on his silly nerve, she resolved to keep quiet. "And you? Why is your day any worse?" Did he ask?

Her face lit up in a small smile but once conscious of the smile, she held it back. She didn't think; he was going to ask her the question. But she didn't think she wanted to warm up too quickly around him, thus sending the wrong idea to him. "My roommate whom I have only seen at least twice since this semester began is back. She made sure to put a lock on her inbuilt before she traveled, and this I initially found disturbing and had asked for her key, but she refused to give it to me then. I was simply asking because of unforeseen circumstances, like a fire outbreak or the number of disturbances from rats, but she refused and is now back to witness the many wonderful things the rats decided to do to her foodstuffs." She searched Lanre's face; he didn't seem entertained by the gist. She didn't know if to go on. "But guess who is getting the blame for everything?"

He looked up. His warm eyes met hers. "Me." Her voice was low. She lost focus from just meeting his gaze and didn't think that was the first time either, but this time, she had rather not looked away. She was beginning to get used to it. Assuring herself that it was only because she wasn't a shy person. Did he say a word to her? No, he kept looking at her too. Kept chewing on his lips absent-mindedly even as he did. A gesture she didn't think was meant for her but for that which was eating him deeply. "You are troubled." She didn't think she understood the situation enough but didn't hold back her observation. He looked away and got to his feet almost immediately. "You want to walk away?" She couldn't believe her voice. Why did she have to seem disturbed? Why was it any of her business? "I'm not. I placed an order for soft drinks and mai-shai, it's been some minutes, and I need to check on them." He said. With that, he went into the hut. Sylvia tried to calm her nerves even as she watched his retreating figure.**********

(Lanre) It surprised him, then angered him. He hadn't opened up to his parents' separation to anybody before Sylvia. It surprised him how he didn't think it wasn't a conversation he wanted to have with her. It angered him, how much weakness he just might have shown around her. But he resolved to change the game once he got back outside. He would carry out his plans of playing her and then dismiss her thereafter. Although lately, the words "playing her" were beginning to come off as discomforting to him. He didn't exactly know how he was going to play her and didn't like all that the words held. Emotions are unspoken. Actions that would likely be all too frightening and forbidden. "Lans. E don tey oh. I be think say you nor go come here again since SUG presido threaten to lock this place." The attendant said to him. Lanre managed a smile, reaching for his pockets for money. "But I am here now. I asked your wife for drinks, I haven't seen her since." He said.

The attendant was once a student of the school. He knew because their stories had been relayed by him and his wife many times. How he finished school and how he couldn't find a job after many years, decided to start something by the side and didn't think it would grow to this point. The hut was within safe areas, away from the lecture halls and the same road that leads to a bush path known as a "prayer garden." In truth the student union governors keep trying to shut down the place, owing to the many fights that erupt from the joint, but for it being a mai-shy joint, they still allow the activities. But not with the knowledge of illegal drinks that were sold there; like locally brewed gin. They knew nothing about it, but the shuttle drivers whom they got most of their patronage from, knew. But it was only a matter of time and they would be made to face the consequences of their actions because some students purchased them too. "I nor know where she enters. Wetin you want, make I serve you." He said.

Just then Sylvia called his name; he turned to look at her. She was standing as though firmly rooted at the spot and had both arms crossed, even as she spoke to him. "I need to go." Lanre could feel a lump in his throat. Their meeting was purely coincidental, but he didn't think he wanted her to leave yet. He was beginning to enjoy her company and didn't think she had it in her to rant the way he had earlier observed her ranting that day, outside the hut. He might not have shown it, but he enjoyed the small talk with her. "Okay." He looked away. She walked away while he had his back turned to her. "Na your babe be that? Omo, you nor dey dull oh. See her asset. Even the long skirt wey she wears nor hides anything." The attendant said. Lanre gave him a disapproving look, which made the man mumble that he was sorry. But Lanre was tempted to want to look back at her but he was disappointed enough that she was taking her leave and so he focused instead on nothing in particular in front of him. (Thanks for reading, and a happy new month to you. If you have a second, kindly vote for me again today using the link https://muchmore9ja.com/ncyawards18/ thanks even as you do🥂.)

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