The early morning sun was starting to appear. The one the biology and their former Integrated Science teacher had told them was of value to human beings. It was one that was really required by the human body as it added nutrient or whatever they had said it does. But to Mariam, it didn’t give her any comfort as she was feeling it at her nape.
As she drew closer to some canteens on the pitch. She thought which of them she think her friends might be in. They never went into Iya doughs’ shop that early except may be they were extremely hungry. Often, they only come to the field to buy chewing gums, lollipops or chocolate.
She paused at the mouth of Iya doughs shop but couldn’t see the shadows of her friends, not to talk about them. She was starting to sweat profusely now which she never liked. It made her look somehow because she had very active sweat glands. She wiped her face with the handkerchief she often took with her.
As she walked a bit further, she decided it was time to turn back because walking also contributed to the sweats. She halted, turned to face the school direction but turned back again and walked checking each kiosk one after another.
She used the handkerchief to clean the sweats on her two arms. This sun was getting her really angry with the way it caused heat. Though it wasn’t shining with military force but the heat it was causing was more than a normal afternoon sun on a sahara desert would cause.
Where might these girls be? She thought as she approached the last kiosk which sold stationary and some mouth functions.
“Here you her” she sighed seeing the two friends but they both were in shock as they struggled to hide what they had been reading. Fatimah made sure it was well hidden in her bra.
“What is that you are hiding and why are you two in shock? Been up to some bad things lately?”
She didn’t get any reply from the two who rather laughed youthfully and chewed their mouths.
“You know I could rumple you and get whatever you’ve hidden there!” Mariam said pointing to where Fatimah had hidden whatever she had hid.
“Well, I know you can’t” replied Zainab. “Do you mind a chocolate bar?”
“Don’t bother” she refused, then continued “been looking for you two since morning. Why did you both leave without informing me your whereabouts?”
“You know you are in the science class and it is quite far from our class. And we thought you might be busy anyway.”
“But you both know as well as I do, I wasn’t. No teacher was ready to teach since they were still in session with the principal” she looked inquiring from both friends.
“What is it?” Mariam asked.
“Nothing really. Just that,………. Don’t worry” Fatimah said.
“Anyway, can I get either of your biology notebook? I need to complete my note. Would have to make use of it to read for the test coming up on Monday and Tuesday.”
“I would give that to you in class” Zainab assured.
“Don’t you see the timetable is somehow” Fatimah asked, rising up to take a bottle water from the fridge. She walked back to her seat and removed the seal of the bottle – and opened its cover. She gulped down some little content and covered the bottle back.
“I don’t know who set such timetable. Economics, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and English on same day. What sort of madness can that be?” Mariam cursed.
“I don’t even know how I’m going to read all those. And this would be our first test.” Zainab felt worried. Her face changed from the laughter filled face to one that appeared to have been struck with instant despair.
“This High school is really going to be tough more than we thought” Fatimah said her last and was lost in thought.
She thought about what she had hidden in her bra. It was a letter that had been address to her friend, Mariam. But she had not delivered it to her rather, – had opened it at her back and read it with Zainab.
That was some betrayal, she felt sober. She shouldn’t have done that. It was not friendly to be engage in such. It felt somehow, intruding on someone privacy. How would her friend get to feel if she later find out what they had done.
She thought about bringing it out to give her friend and ask for her forgiveness but she shrugged it off. She knew what she would do to the letter when it was right.
It wasn’t as if Mariam would even reply the letter. She never had interest in boys. Might be – she had her mind on the husband her parents had said she would get married to but she decided that couldn’t be the case.
Mariam, though wasn’t as rebellious as she was when she was told about the decision but she had not loved it but kept her calm since she didn’t want to be seen opposing the teachings and words of the prophets.
She looked at Zainab to pass a sign with the face or ask her something but she didn’t in turn look towards her direction. She was engrossed in a discussion with Mariam but her ears were apt to know it wasn’t about the letter.
She trusted Zainab but one couldn’t say when trust was relevant and genuine. Even ones blood often betrayed one. She thought the only thing she would do was to follow the plan she had.
“Don’t you think it is time we left for school. The teachers might have been through with the principal by now,” Fatimah cut her friends short of whatever they had been talking about.
“That’s true. Let’s start going” Zainab spoke up. And they all moved out of the kiosk, heading towards the school.
“I wanted to tell you about this guy,” Mariam started “when you people left me behind – in school yesterday. As I was passing towards the back of Government Colllege Ikoyi. He called at me. Don’t even know how he knew my name”
“Oh, you think these boys don’t know our names in the whole complex. They do!” Fatimah put in and she changed her position.
She walked across Zainab who was in the middle to the other hand where Mariam walked – so that, Mariam could be in the middle, then they followed her side by side as though they were some presidential escorts.
“I wasn’t surprised that much though, but he later asked may be he could walk me to the bus-stop. I replied I wasn’t that lonely and I had things I was thinking about as my partner that moment. But he was spirited and followed me. He introduced himself as Melvin and how he had got to know who I was. He said he was Clinton’s brothers friend. I later got to like him with the way he expressed himself”
“Hmmmmmmm! Hmmmmmmmm!” Jest her friends.
“Not as you people think anyway! I just saw he was funny and all that. Nothing attached to it.” She rebuffed their thoughts.
“So he didn’t ask that – you be his girlfriend?” Fatimah asked grinning.
“Not at all. He just said he would like if we could get to speak and have fun the way we did walking to the bus-stop yesterday and seriously, I’m dying to do that again! Arh, God!” She said and sighed.
She didn’t know when she started laughing. Her hearts were now ringing some sonorous melody. Her blood seemed to be the acoustics. She was so filled with happiness.
“I see you are happy. Look at your face, you must have started having fantasy about him!” Zainab smiled and swing her face somehow, it felt as though she was jealous.
“Not what you think anyway! All I know is that, I just like his calm and he doesn’t look bad anyway! He’s cute and wow!” She exclaimed.
No one amongst her friends believed Mariam was the one saying this. It was unlike her. She had never in her life complimented boys. Though, she had never done that in the Junior school – which meant it wasn’t ripe then to do, but how things were changing with each of them was more than they could imagine.
“I can see you’re already falling in love with him” Fatimah jumped suddenly at Mariam’s front and she in turn halted. She gazed into her eyes as though she were an Optician, examining the eyes of her patient. It was as if she wanted to see, may be, the guy had cast some spell on her friend. She really wanted to know if it was the Mariam she knew.
Zainab looked surprised at Fatimah’s action and watched what Mariam’s would be. They had stopped walking at the middle of the low grass lawn on either sides – with a path in the middle. But Fatimah didn’t see whatever she might have been looking for in her friend’s eyes/face.
“Don’t stare at me like that.” She rebuked Fatimah.”
“Oh, sorry!“ She flew off her body, perhaps she’s been lost in foolish thoughts. And they started walking again. But no words came from any of them till they had gotten close to the school.
“Please, can I get the biology note now?”
“You can come along, would give it to you” Zainab said and they entered the classroom.
To Be Continued….