Louise reached out from under her plush duvet to silenced the alarm clock on her beside vanity table. The sunlight from the far window dappled the bed, highlight its lilac frame. With closed eyes she groped along the vanity table by her bed till she felt the sleek lines of her new iPhone 4, which she gingerly picked up and brought to her face, squinting as the light hurt her eyes. She instantly felt guilty, she hadn’t even prayed yet and she was already swiping at the touch screen. The guilt was quickly forgotten as she noticed the text message icon blinking on the top left corner and her heart began to race. Only one person still sent her text messages.
“I don’t know why you won’t get a twitter, Panlam. No one uses text messages anymore. Even Saan’s asked you and you still say no.”
Panlam paused mid-stroke and smirked at Louise through the mirror that took one third of the wall.
“First, Saanyol won’t appreciate you shortening his name, You aren’t ‘chummy’ like that.”
She finished applying her lip gloss and turned to the bed. “Second, I don’t need a twitter, my life is already far too exciting as it is. Don’t need to broadcast it.”
Louise gave a tight lipped smile in response and started pulling on her wedges. Panlam ignored the silence and gave Louise’s room another once over. She had changed the curtains and room color, again. The mirror was new too. She let out an involuntary sigh, she really missed her tiny flat back at school, furnished to her exact whims. Too bad none of her friends here were going to see it. She picked her clutch off Louise’s bed and pulled down the hem of her mini dress for good luck.
“Gimme a sec, lemme hide your other clothes, madam Clark Kent.”
A couple of hard knocks on the door to his flat startled Saanyol awake. He jumped off the couch he’d passed out on did a sweep of the room, his heart racing as he took the mess he’d made. He began to clean, frantically ridding the room of the spent blister packs strewn around the centre table, bundling them up with the tray of untouched ones. He pushed the whole thing into a nearby cabinet, locked it shut and put the key in his back pocket.
“Saan, stop cleaning up and open up jor.” Panlam shrieked from outside the door. “You can’t scam me with the rush cleaning you’re doing, I already know you’re a filthy pig.”
Saanyol grinned. He flung the front door open and scooped Panlam into a bear hug.
“You ehn! So you entered Lagos and you didn’t even tell me.”
Panlam smacked him on his tattooed shoulder. “It was last minute, besides I don’t tell anyone about my whereabouts, not even my parents.”
“Hello.” Louise squeaked from behind Panlam.
“Panlam, You dragged this one along?” Saan muttered, slightly amused.
She frowned. “You know she’s my alibi. If I didn’t come with her, my father wouldn’t have let me go anywhere.”
Saanyol scrunched his nose at Panlam in mock disgust and extended a hand to Louise. She took it and he pointed her to the only love seat in the room. He collapsed into one end of the settee directly opposite. Panlam ignored the other end of the settee and made a beeline for the fridge in the kitchen.
“Welcome to mi casa. One of these days, you should ditch this old thing here and come hang out, like a big girl.”
Louise lowered her eyes. “Err… I’m confused.”
Panlam cackled from the kitchen. “You think this whole virgin thing would work with Saanyol?”
“Please leave her oh.” Saanyol cut in. “She’s trying to stay loyal to her side preek.”
Panlam peeked out from the kitchen, her face contorted into a mock gasp. “Side Preek?!!! Lou, You?”
“Ah! She hasn’t told you, yet you people are putting up pictures with bestie hashtags on Instagram. She and Xhiz go on ‘dates’ and shit. Which day sef she was tweeting poetry about him. Who knows if she’s given him to kpansh yet?”
Louise felt herself flush with embarrassment and she instantly found something to do on the phone in her lap. Panlam walked out of the kitchen, hands burdened with a half full bottle of Grey Goose Vodka and a tumbler. She went over to the love seat and pressed Louise to herself in an uncomfortable side hug.
“Don’t mind Saanyol jor. I’m not angry that you didn’t tell me about Xhiz. Besides who you open your coochie for is your business. Because…”
“I haven’t slept with him!” Louise blurted out.
She shrugged Panlam’s hand off her shoulder. “I swear, our… thing… it isn’t like that between me and Chibuzor. We’re just friends that’s all. Can you guys just talk about something else?”
Saanyol scoffed. “Okay oh! We’ve heard. Just be informed that Xhiz’s ‘friendship’ comes with complementary souvenirs.”
Panlam smirked and joined Saanyol on the sofa. They quickly fell into raucous conversation about the happenings in Panlam’s school and all the mayhem he had orchestrated in her absence. Panlam poured from the bottle of vodka and they passed the tumbler around taking swigs. Louise joined dutifully and laughed where necessary, chugging twice as much alcohol as the others to calm her frayed nerves. Just then she noticed the edge of a blister pack wedged into the cushion of her chair. She covertly fished it out and read the print on the foil encasing the 10 tiny ovoid tablets.
Wow! You turned on the Android. What’s happened to your precious iPhone?
Yeah. That. The phones are on. It’s just that I’m in a public place and I don’t want to leave and make a call.
Where are you? Aren’t you supposed to be with Panlam?
Yeah, we’re with Saanyol.
Did you tell him anything about us?
Because he knows about us hanging out and then he said something about you and surprises.
Lol! @ ‘Hanging out’. Sha, no idea what he was talking about.
Chi, can I ask you something private?
Do you have a girlfriend you’re cheating on?
I don’t have any girlfriend right now.
Do you have a baby with someone somewhere?
Hian! Where is this coming from?
You know what, whatever!
Need to take a drive. Call me later?
“Hey, isn’t that your cousin? The Hot Hausa one?”
Janet, one of Kikelomo’s lackeys whispered from behind her. The class was small and the lecturer, a short stocky professor with a temper, could see everyone quite clearly so Kike couldn’t turn her head and reply. She tore off a tiny piece of paper instead and scribbled before covertly passing it behind. She wanted to message but that Janet’s Blackberry was never on silent.
“Ah! But why aren’t you guys talking?”
A slightly larger sheet with more scribbling changed hands.
“Ah! Kike, you sef. How will you not follow your cousin? Is it not just a follow back? Your own na wa oh! Please do and apologise so you can introduce that hunk of Hausa chocolate to somebody.”
Kike hissed and stomped on Janet’s outstretched foot stretched beside her. Janet yowled, attracting the attention of the lecturer, Professor Arigbede. The bespectacled woman turned sharply in their direction and pointed to Janet.
“You, yellow shirt. Get your stupid self out of my lecture hall!”
Janet looked as though she were about to cry. “But ma…”
“You want me to ban you from my class for the rest of the semester?” Professor Arigbede threatened.
Janet needed no more persuading. She tearfully packed her books and shuffled out of the class. Kike’s heart fell once she noticed Farhad observing the spectacle from his seat, his face completely impassive. He had seen everything, further validation for what he thought about her. He’d tell his mother, just like he told his mother about their argument that first day and her ignoring him the day after. Eventually the gist always got back to her father who then talked her ear off for it.
After the last report he’d gotten of her behaviour, he’d given her a week to mend things with Farhad. Sigh. She glued her eyes to her book and tried to ignore what just happened and just get through the class.
Kikelomo was waiting in the corridor by the time Farhad finished registering with Prof Arigbede. He saw her and paused for her to pass before side stepping her and continuing on his way when he realised she wanted to speak to him.
She swivelled. “Tomiwa! Why are you ignoring me like this? Where is all this hatred coming from?”
He stopped but didn’t turn. “You’re a selfish, thoughtless person. But I realise you do it unconsciously now. Still, doesn’t make it any easier to like you.”
“I’m sorry about that day.” She said, truly remorseful.
He sighed. “If I cared about that day, I wouldn’t have to stopped to listen to what you had to say. But that doesn’t mean we have to be friends. That you’ll have to earn.”
She watched him as he started down the steps, leaving her standing alone in the Department of Philosphy corridor.
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Status Message: Received at 3 March 20– 5:42pm
Subject: Toyin Tomato Jos (@InsuredLegs) is now following you on Twitter!