The passageway of the hall from the ground floor to the top was busy. Freshmen were getting cleared, many were busy with getting their rooms cleaned up. Fredo and I were ready to go exploring the campus, but we decided to just chill out at the floor passageway. As we got out of our room, we bumped into someone.
“Hello! Please, I’m looking for room A7. The room tags are no more visible.” The stranger looked frustrated.
“It’s two rooms down.” I pointed.
“Thanks so much, I really appreciate. God bless you.” He said.
Looking at the Student Union Building from the top floor which I was allocated to, was cool. The university campus was so silent, it was almost just like estate I lived in with my parents.
While I was still looking at the buildings around, Fredo was busy with his phone. He didn’t seem to be fascinated by anything that caught my attention. Not even the serene nature that the campus environment exuded.
“Fred, let’s go. Is there anything you are waiting for? I can’t wait to go round the campus” I beamed.
“There’s nothing special about it, guy.”
“Really? Have you been here before?”
He laughed and said. “Guy, I don dey live here ever since dem don born me na.”
He reminded me of Okon. It was Okon who would always speak pidgin that way. “You don’t look like someone who speaks pidgin. And you remind me of a friend.”
He smiled. “I think we can go now.” As we were about to start our journey, the guy who we had bumped into, stopped us.
“Guys, thanks so much. I’m Gold.” He said, extending his hands towards Fredo. He drew the hand to my side when Fredo met him with a cold response. I shook his hands.
Even though Fredo had shunned his hand, it didn’t make him feel bad or embarrassed, he was all peace and joy. His smile was so true that it almost threw some sort of comfort on my heart.
When I had seen Fredo earlier, I could sense some pride in him. The scene that played out totally proved it.
“I’m Michael. It’s nice meeting you. And if you don’t mind, we are going…” I winced from the pain that came from Fredo stepping on my toes. I got the message.
“Ehm, I should not disturb you.”
“I know you guys are going out but I am going somewhere now too. Yeah, but we can set out together. You said you’re Michael?”
“Aderibigbe Michael?” He asked.
I was overwhelmingly bewildered by how he got to know my surname. This was someone I had never met prior that time but he knew my full name. So I asked him how he got to know my full name.
“I just know. Don’t worry about it. Let’s go now, abi. Oya now.”
Fredo who was quietly observing our discussion and simultaneously got himself busy with his phone was not even moved by what had happened. I really wanted to know how he knew my full name but I decided not to push any further.
“So, where are you guys going actually?”
“It’s Fredo that can actually answer. I really don’t know places here on campus.”
“Okay.” He was quite reluctant to ask Fredo since he shunned him earlier.
“You’re Christian, right?”
“Have you decided on the fellowship you’re going to worship tomorrow?”
“Dang it, I knew it” Fredo crossed his arm as he walked off.
“Please, don’t mind him. I don’t know why he is behaving this way. I have not made any decision yet. I’ve received many fellowships’ invitation.”
“Since you don’t have one in mind yet, I hope you do not mind we go together tomorrow to the fellowship I’ll be joining.”
“No, it’s no problem.”
To be candid, it didn’t sit well with me but I couldn’t be like Fredo. I just didn’t want to offend Gold. Perhaps, I would haven’t thought of attending any fellowship if he had not offered that we go together.
Fredo was way ahead, I had to run to catch up with him since Gold headed his way.
“Guy, do you know him from anywhere? Why were you so mean to him?” I asked him breathing heavily.
“I don’t know him but I know guys like him.”
“What do you mean?”
“Religious bigot. See how he tried to force you to church. How is it his business in any way?” He fussed and threw his hand in the air.
“He did not force me. I think that’s the way he cares. I think.” I shrugged. “Don’t you notice he has this thing about him. See how peaceful he is.”
“Fred, don’t you believe in God?” I asked.
“Not that…” He said frustrated. “See, let’s talk about something else.” he removed his glasses.
I couldn’t even drag the discussion. What did I know? I had not personally allowed Jesus Christ in my life. My addictions were gently eating me up and I was enjoying the lustful pleasure. Even at that, I still felt bad about how he had related to Gold.
“Where are we going exactly?” I asked him standing akimbo.
“Awo Hall. I want to go meet someone there? See, that’s the zoological garden.”
“Oh, waw. We should go in.”
“You have #500 to waste?”
“Rara o” I smiled. “So, this rich kid knows how to spend wisely.” I thought.
“So, this Awo hall of residence you talked about. Hope it’s not that far?”
“I thought you wanted to walk round the school. Well, it is. I didn’t want to go alone, that’s why I had to make you come with me.”
“I didn’t mean round the school, literally. Just few places, here and there. That was what I thought it would be.”
“It’s all right to think wrong sometimes, you know. It’s a lesson for you. Next time, you don’t assume.” He patted and made fun of me.
After a long trek, we got to the hall of residence. It’s the largest hall of residence in the whole of the University of Ibadan. I never knew it was a female hostel. Many ladies walked in and out the hostel. One of the ladies caught my eyes. She was just like Margaret. Just a little difference.
Fredo caught me looking at the lady and hit me. “Oya! What are you looking at?” He laughed so hard.
“It’s not funny jo.” I felt embarrassed.
A lady who I perceived was Fredo’s girlfriend came and hugged him deeply. I introduced myself to her. Before we left with the lady, I stole a glance at the carbon copy of Margaret. Through out our trek, Fred didn’t talk to me. He was busy with his girlfriend. I had to walk behind them and watch them do all they did. It reminded me of Margaret, and at that point I deeply wished she was still alive.
We got to a garden, Fredo later told me it is called love garden. The garden really depicted its name, people were mostly sitting in twos. Male and female. Fredo and his girlfriend had sat at a spot. I decided to look for somewhere to sit, to avoid disturbing them with my presence.
As I got to sit down, the same lady I had seen at Awo hall of residence was there sitting right in front of me. I was so uneasy, quickly I had to regain my balance. She was such an epitome of beauty. If only I knew that poison is not served alone, it’s always embedded in well prepared and garnished dishes.
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