Three days after Akande proposed to me, I gave him reply over dinner. “But we won’t get married immediately after school, oh,” I said.
He agreed that we needed to explore and conquer the world. As usual, Yemisi was present, as we talked about our dreams and aspirations.
“I will be your manager when you make it big,” Akande joked. “And whenever you appear on TV or travel round the world, I will boast to my friends that that is my wife.” And we all laughed.
When exams was approaching, I told Akande we should give ourselves some space so I could concentrate. He agreed. In those days, there were no mobile phones, so there was no communication whatsoever between us for three weeks.
On the day I wrote my last paper, I had gone to fetch water from the tap in front of the residential hall, but noticed all my hall mates were staring at me in a funny way. Then, I made a stop at Yemisi’s room to tell her I was done with my exams. Her room-mates had this funny expression written all over their faces. “She didn’t sleep in the room oh,” one said.
“Didn’t sleep, or no longer sleeps, you meant to say,” another fired.
I left a message for Yemisi and headed to my room.
I think I had slept for about an hour, when Esther, one of my room-mates, woke me.
“Don’t tell her yet. Allow her rest some more. You know she just finished her exams,” Ndidi, another room-mate scolded Esther.
“But the earlier she knows, the better” Esther replied.
Sleep vamoosed from my eyes immediately. But nobody told me anything.
I went back to check on Yemisi at her room that night. Her room-mates were mute, yet were acting in a funny way; I didn’t understand. Again, I left a message for her.
The following day, I saw the note Yemisi left for me, on my reading table. She wanted me in church the next day. “It’s very important” she had stated at the end of the very brief letter.
Yemisi, Akande and I attended the same church but I wasn’t the overly born-again type like them. Yemisi was an usher and Akande was a member of the prayer department. I was a runaway chorister who couldn’t stand the rigorous rules that had to be adhered to in the choir. “I don’t do cults and can’t be owned by any human being” I told anyone who cared to listen.
I obeyed Yemisi that Sunday. I arrived just before praise and worship began and she shot me this terrifying look. She had an ugly frown on her face, as she ushered me to a seat. I wondered, “What’s her own? Was she expecting me earlier? I tried that I came this early naa.“
Immediately after service, I went to hug Yemisi the way I usually did, after church service. She wouldn’t hug me in return and her eyes looked like she wanted to kill someone. That was when I saw my immediate elder brother, standing by. “But he doesn’t attend this church,” I said to myself.
Then, it began.
Yemisi pulled out a chair for my brother, before she took her seat. I was ordered to sit down for a chat. She said a prayer, calling on God to direct and perfect the discussions that were about to take place. Then, she began hurling the missiles at me.
“I called this meeting today to report your sister to you. She doesn’t take her studies serious. All she does is follow boys up and down,” she said to my brother.
“It’s true! Am I lying?”
“That’s a lie from the pit of hell,” I responded.
“Haven’t you been going on dates with guys instead of reading your book?” she asked.
She turned to my brother and said, “She didn’t read for this exam. I have talked and talked to her but she wouldn’t listen. So, I decided to call your attention to it.”
I got up and walked out on them in tears. I made the journey back to my room in less than five minutes. It used to take me fifteen minutes from the church. A crowd had gathered in my room, to ask what was wrong with me; many of them saw tears and mucus all over my face, as I trudged angrily to my room. I just sobbed some more. No content of a First Aid kit could stop my heart from bleeding. The pain of the injury from Yemisi’s knife refused to abate. A hostel mate lent me her shoulders to lean on and cry the more.
My hostel mates were livid when I managed to tell them what happened.
“Haaa!” they all chorused.
“That girl is a devil. But I told you people we should tell her but you refused. This would have been prevented,” Esther yelled at Ndidi and some other ladies in the room.
“How can you tell her such while she’s writing her exams? Are you mad? You want her to fail,” Nkemdilim raised her voice over Esther’s.
“Eyaaa. Poor girl, she still doesn’t know. Let’s tell her now?!” another hostel mate told others.
They agreed to tell me.
Another bomb detonated.
“You will have to be strong. You still have a beautiful life ahead. And be more careful next time,” Ndidi began. But she was unable to continue.
So, Esther did the job. “Immediately you got so busy with preparing for your exams, Yemisi your friend, moved into your boyfriend’s house.”
I went mute with confusion.
“It’s like she doesn’t understand what you said,” Nkemdilim said, sounding worried.
So, Esther explained further. “While you were busy preparing for and writing your exams, Yemisi was busy with your boyfriend. They now live together.”
EROBOT ON TRIAL is a serialised, true story