I remain on my back long after Ajao left, a deep longing for a rewind seated in my belly. Can I trust him to keep the secret? At least he turned and left without a word, which was as good as it was bad. He wasn’t as bright as his sister, and I search within of any time I may have picked on him or his friends, whoever they were. Does Ajao have a bone to pick with me? And does he have his chance now?
My heart breaks at the disappointment I heard in his voice when he called me. Sure now, this may have happened before. It may be the reason why Bisi chose that secluded area to wash and bath. It may be the reason why she brings her brother along each time.
I’d come every day since that last week, and now I can say at least she comes on Saturdays alone. But would she ever come again? What would Ajao tell her? If she knows it’s me, how would she react?
My offensive phone rings again. I pick it this time. It’s Toro.
“Aha, where are you? I’ve been calling since.”
I need a word stronger than hate. “What’s the problem?”
“Aren’t you coming with us to Erin Ijesa again?”
“We planned to leave early for the waterfalls, remember? Where are you anyway?”
“I—at the stream. Go without me.”
She sounds breathless. “Of course not. Only you will remain here? All the corpers are going even some students from OAU.”
“What did you go and do at the stream anyway? We’re waiting for you, o!”
She hangs up.
Maybe I need sometime out to catch some fun. Since I arrived this village, I haven’t gone anywhere. I’ve not even visited the famous Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. I’d heard so much about OAU and yet I’ve been here for nearly two months without a visit. This is the opportunity. It will help me get out of my grouch as well.
I get to my feet and dust my trousers. And look around. I have no idea where I am or how to get out. I follow the direction I imagine I ran from, and the bush just thickens. I turn and follow another direction.
At some point, I imagine I hear the stream, and then voices but I can’t trace it. Toro calls again but I refuse to pick her call. No use.
I roam around the bush for over an hour before I burst out to the village square. My heart thuds with frustration. How more stupid could I get? Thank God I’m not lost. To crown my shame, the group are in a small bus at the square. They stop when they see me.
God, why wasn’t I missing for another hour or two?
“I’ve not had a bath. Go on without me.”
“We’ll wait for you,” Toro says.
Steve scowls. “We’ve been waiting for him forever. Is he a baby? Please let’s go!”
I nod. “Good word.”
“What’s your problem, Steve? You’ve been grouchy all morning.”
“Can’t you see the time? You’re never conscious of time. You think everything and everybody will always wait for you and what you want?”
Toro rolls her eyes. “You don’t have to shout.”
To my shock, and I notice Jang gasp too, Steve pushes Toro’s head. “Don’t you ever roll your eyes at me?”
I throw my hands up in the air, not ready for any form of combat. “Okay. Please give me ten minutes, and I’ll be back.”
I run off despite my earlier fatigue running, and then roaming. Steve pushing Toro’s head like that is just nonsense. That’s what a girl gets when she hops in bed with a man the first day they meet.