The next morning saw Sunday at home. The memories of what happened that night was still in his head but this time as though it was a dream, the thought haunted his mind throughout the night and the fact that he had no sleep was not helpful at all. It did not also help that the harmattan season was around the corner and the cold was just about setting in. No doubt bringing with it the melancholy that plagued him, he thought to himself.
They had drove him home that night in the car of one of the older members and when they arrived, some items were giving to him - a hand band, wristband and a very sharp knife. He looked at his sponsor who was beaming with pride when he asked what the knife was for.
“For protection brother” was the response he got.
Sunday looked puzzled. “Protection against what, Bear?”
Bear looked at him and smiled. “You are now one of US. You will wear our colors and our insignia will always be on your clothing. That means you will have a lot of enemies on the campus and outside it”
He continued. “But don’t worry, the fact that you are one of us is enough to drive off most people and the knife is for those who won’t budge”.
E…Err… Sunday sputtered.
“No errs” was the reply he got. “You now belong to the Skulls and you are one of us, just be bold like tonight and you will be okay”.
All through the night he had replayed the moment over again seeing the face of the guy he killed and thinking what if he was the one that was on that ground. Sleep did not come as every sound drove him more awake and alive than ever. This was not what his mum told him to do and yet here he was. A member of a frat!
He decided to skip the morning lectures but he had a test at 2:30pm he could not miss. He spent the larger part of the day sleeping in his room and ignoring several knocks by his neighbors checking on him as was their habit. At eleven he finally dragged himself out of bed, had a bath and made sure he put on clothes that would cover his back and chest to conceal the floggings he had received during the long process of initiation. Luckily, he did not have a girlfriend and so taking off his shirt was impossible. He just had to get through this day.
He had told his neighbors he would be spending some time with his friends on the school’s campus and told his campus friends he would be travelling home to see his mother back home. He could not even let them suspect a thing as that would be disastrous.
As he headed to school carrying his normal backpack a thought told him to carry the knife but the security at the gate carry out random searches within the school premises so he left it at home instead. He had the Green hand band on though, he was a member now and that means he can’t be harassed by anyone. People will also naturally assume that the band was an accessory to his dressing and won’t notice.
He arrived at the park and wanted to board the nearest bus he could find but there was a little rush which resulted in a scramble. In the process, someone stepped on his shoe in an attempt to get in and he let out a sharp hiss. The guy looked back and murmured a “sorry” when he noticed the hand band as Sunday bent down to wipe his shoe.
Another sorry came out of the guy’s lips, “I am so sorry, I did not know or see you”.
Sunday looked up surprised at the unusual barrage of apologies and noticed that the guy’s face was white and he waved off his apology impatiently.
“Never mind, it is just dust”.
“I was careless and I will pay your transport fare just to show how sorry I am”. The guy replied,
Sunday never got this kind of treatment before, most times people act like he did not exist and now this dude wants to pay for his transportation fare! No problem.
He pulled his ear piece from his pocket, plugged it into his phone and started playing some of his favorite songs, falling into a world of his own. He had not prepared for the test but he was not concerned. He had finished the material on the course and there was nothing he could not answer about the course.
He got off the bus right inside the school and true to his words; the guy paid his fare and did not even wait for a thank you. He shrugged it off and started the long 10 minute walk to his faculty where he spends all his time. In fact, he does not go elsewhere in school but there. The walk was longer than usual as the pain he had endured during the past days started coming back to him especially his back where he was hit by a steel pipe in order to test his strength.
This was going to be one hell of a day, Sunday thought to himself for the umpteenth time.
The day went well considering, the test was done and he found it easier than he expected. The only difficult part was lying to his friends who asked about his mum and some who were asking for what he bought on the 5 hour journey. That was cool, his friends he could handle especially his best friend Tayo.
Tayo was one of those people who was born into a rich family but did not act like he has a penny to his name. He rejected going to a private school and also refused the car his dad got him when he was matriculated as he said he wanted to experience school like all the other students. Sunday shared everything with Tayo and until recently, he had no reason to lie or hide anything from him.
Tayo was the first to notice the band but he did not talk until they were alone on their way to the cafeteria.
“Nice hand band dude, where did you get it?”
Sunday had already rehearsed a story for that event and he was good at lying. Keep it short and simple.
“I got it from one of my cousins. I think it looks good”.
“Yeah it does but it also dangerous”. Tayo replied
Sunday feigned a puzzled look. “Dangerous?”
“Well only members of the Skulls wear stuff which are green around here and you know it. If one of them came around, you might get in a whole lot of trouble my friend”.
Sunday waved him off.
“They will probably ask for money or demand I remove it and I will, simple. “Come to think of it, is the school color not green? It shows that I am a true student of this school and I am proud of the school jorh”.
That was when he noticed that Tayo was smiling. The kind of smile when he about to do something extremely silly.
“Why in hell are you smiling?”
“That is because a beautiful woman is coming behind you”.
Sunday spun around in time to see Sandra coming towards them. She is Tayo’s girlfriend and they were very much in love. Beside her was her roommate, Anita, whom Sunday had tried to woo but the girl turned him down ruthlessly. Perhaps he was not skillful enough or she just did not like him because unlike Tayo, he could not afford expensive gifts or call long hours and such. He had ignored it and moved on but he always avoided her. No point letting her gloat over him.
He looked into his phone like he was late for something and was trying to leave when Sandra grabbed him and gave him a tight hug which made even Tayo frown.
“Hey, how can you hug him before me, and how come the hug was that tight?”
Sunday was still caught in the moment when Sandra kissed Tayo on the check.
“How are you boys?” she asked before turning to Sunday.
“How come you did not buy bread while coming? And you did not even call when you were with your mum?”
“I am sorry, I was real busy helping out with the shop and stuff and my cell phone battery was dead most of the time”
Sunday looked towards Anita and held out his hands. “How are you doing today beautiful?”
A frown showed up on Anita’s face.
He saw an angle of attack and took it. “Well you are beautiful. One of the most beautiful girls I know”.
Anita who has had a lot of experience with guys was not moved and her response was as before, hurtful.
“Tayo can’t you just teach your friend how to woo and compliment a lady rightly? He is cute and all but those lines are just old”.
Right there and then, Sunday felt like dying. Sandra cut in with a smile.
“Just because you don’t like him does not mean another lady won’t find them attractive you know”
Anita in her usual blunt manner replied, “I doubt it”.
Sunday had a flash back of the previous night and right there imagined that Anita was the person he shot and a small smile appeared on his face. Tayo noticed it and asked as the girls moved past them and into the cafeteria.
“Why is your face lighting up?”
“I just remembered something that happened while at home with my cousins. Nothing important”
He had barely stepped into the cafeteria when his phone rang. It was his sponsor calling and Sunday wrestled with thoughts on whether to pick up the call.
(Mynd is a final year student of Mechanical Engineering at one of Nigeria's universities. When he's not busy being a nerd he spends his time writing, playing basketball, listening to music and laughing! You can reach him on firstname.lastname@example.org)