I don’t see Toro till the end of the day. She has vanished with Steve Eko aka Mr. Lagos. The others speculate they may have gone to ‘town’ together. I assist Jang in settling down in my room. The space is small, the bed as well, but we’re men so no problems there.
I’m thankful the water is back or how would we have coped. Six adults sharing a bathroom and toilet. No water. That would have been a disaster. As it is with Toro and me, we bicker over who washes the toilet. I get that work most of the time because she shares her food with me.
Jang pushes his shoes under the bed. “So how do you eat here?”
He chuckles. “You give her money to cook for you?”
“No. Ah.” I laugh. “She shares her food.”
“She must be very generous.”
I shrug. And annoying. “She is. But most times I just buy bread from the village, and take tea.”
“Typical bachelor.” Jang looks around. “I like to eat real food so if I can’t cook, I must find where they sell.”
“Well, food was important to me till I got here. Their food is different.”
“I expected that. On camp I had to eat ‘amala’ that ugly black thing. The guys used to go to mami market and buy food. But that gets costly.”
“I’m not much of a food person.”
Jang looks me over. “It shows.”
“You like food but it doesn’t show,” I say. And we both laugh.
The others are concerned about food too. Fortuna had her kitchen paraphernalia but didn’t have kerosene for her stove. Kenny had a small camping gas but needed to refill.
We all head for the village. I have no idea where what can be gotten and market is not every day so we have to troop around asking questions. I feel silly most of the time.
Sure the villagers come out of their huts and stare at us. I see Bisi lounged against the trunk of a big tree, reading her New Practical English textbook. A small smile touches my lips but I hide it. I remember my butt, and what her friends did.
She looks up from her book when we walk by. “Good afternoon, Tisha.”
“Good afternoon,” I mutter and move on with the rest.
After an hour or so, we have all the things we need for a good dinner. All at ridiculous prices but for now, we don’t have a choice. I know the market opens twice a week so we can stock up.
Fortuna offers to cook for all of us. I buy three loaves of bread and restock my groceries since there are two of us now. I believe Jang will take the cue next time. Much of my finance comes from my mother, though the department pays a stipend. The school is expected to pay too but after six weeks and nothing, I doubt Mr. Akande will get round to it.
The evening moves fast. Fortuna cooks rice and vegetable stew. It is a sumptuous meal. Far better than Toro’s. Or maybe I’m still spoiling for a fight. She’s still nowhere in sight but I’m not moved. She’s a big girl and should take care of herself.
We retire to our rooms after a few hours of chatting and getting to know more about ourselves. The bed is too small for Jang and me, so I throw my blanket on the floor.
There’s a knock on the door.
I answer without thinking. “Come in.”
Kenny opens the door. “I thought as much.”
I sit up. Jang seems to be asleep. “Hope no problem.”
“Steve has still not come back and his number is not going. I thought Jang should come and sleep with me since the room is so big.”
Jang sits up. “That’s a good idea. I was feeling really bad for taking Abbey’s bed.”
“It’s not,” Kenny says.
Jang takes his blanket and leaves with Kenny. “Goodnight.”
I pull myself on to the bed. Grateful. With my body pains, I’ve wondered if sleeping on the bed will hurt me more. I can’t sleep though. I’m getting a little worried about Toro. Where could she have gone? My initial thoughts of her being with Mr. Lagos seem far-fetched. He’s a stranger. Would she trust someone she just met like that?
It’s late now. Close to midnight. I stand. I have to look for her and probably send a text message to Mr. Akande. Toro has been gone for nearly twelve hours. It is strange. She may be a silly girl by my assessment but even silly girls deserve someone to watch their backs.
I’m done dressing when I hear muffled laughter. I walk to the wall by Toro’s room and listen. The wall is so thin I can hear her clearly.
“I’m not going to take that from you next time.” Toro giggles. “Stop. It’s late.” Another deeper giggle. “Steve stop it. We’ll wake everyone up.”
“Let them wake.”
I freeze. They start kissing noisily. He’s up to something and she’s a fool to let him do this. Today is the first day for goodness’ sake! Was Toro this desperate?
I walk to my bed and lower myself on it.
“Oh yes, Steve. Steve.”
She’s a noisy lover. I hear every moan, and groan. I hear the zips of their clothing. I hear his deep grunts of satisfaction. I deduce he’s a dirty lover.
Then she begins to scream with every thrust.
There’s peace and quiet after another hour or so. My eyes remain wide open till close to dawn.