VIVIAN HURRIED TO her hostel; she could feel the tears of many years of pain, hatred and bitterness welling up inside her. When she got to the door of her room, she told a junior to help her check if Senior Jumoke, her bunkmate, was in the room. Vivian did not want her around because she always had somewhere to send Vivian to and she did not need that distraction, all she wanted to do was go on her knees and cry out all the tears in her eyes. The junior came back with a positive response. Vivian ran straight to her bedside, knelt down and allowed the tears to flow.
CHOIR REHERSAL WENT well and Dupe was happy. She had taught them one of her favorite songs from Bob Fits; ‘You are so faithful’ and they sang it beautifully well. Dupe could just picture how Sunday would look like. She noticed that Chioma was so quiet through the rehearsal which was quite unusual. Lately, her friend had been acting weird and she was getting worried. As everyone dispersed after the rehearsal, Dupe went to meet Chioma.
“Hey girl! Did you enjoy the rehearsal?” Dupe asked.
“Yes I did, I like the song you taught us today, it had this particularly soothing thing about it” Chioma said.
“Thank God. I want to ask you something.”
“What will that be?” Chioma asked with a curious look.
“Are you okay dear? I mean, this weekend has really been weird, and I’m kind of worried that it has been getting to you somehow” Dupe said.
Chioma’s heart skipped a beat. Had things been that obvious? “Dupe, don’t worry, I’m fine. I’m just trying to sought somethings out, that’s all”
“You know you can always talk to me Chioma, we are best friends and I love you so much” Dupe said
Chioma was getting very uncomfortable with the discussion. “Dupe, I’m fine, seriously. There is nothing to worry about and I really appreciate our friendship and if I want to talk, I will come to you.” She said, smiling.
Dupe decided to leave the matter. If Chioma said she was fine, then there was really no need to keep pushing the issue. “Okay then, just remember that I’m always here for you.”
Chioma went the hostel while Dupe waited for Executive meeting which usually held after Choir rehearsal. When all the executives were complete, the meeting started with prayer which usually took a while because they had to pray for the church service the next day and the school as a whole. Gbenga, the general secretary started the meeting with the minutes of the last meeting. After all the formalities, they started planning for the service the next day. Everyone was given a responsibility for the service. When all the planning was over, Gbenga asked if anyone had anything to say. Temi cleared her throat and said she had something to say.
“It’s just a little observation I made that I want to talk about. I want us to understand that as Christians, the world is watching us, people are no longer interested in reading the bible, and they now read the lives of Christians. Therefore, we need to be careful in whatever we do, let us not give the world a chance to mock the God that we serve.” Temi paused and then looked at Dupe and Tunde. “That is all I have to say”
The other executives were nodding in agreement to her words, unaware of the motives behind them. Gbenga concluded the meeting by adding that as Christians they were the light of the world and were to use the light of God to draw people to the kingdom and not repel them. He said the closing prayer and everyone started returning to the hostel. As Dupe was walking away, she heard her name. She turned as saw Tunde coming towards her.
“Dupe, how are you?” he asked
“I’m doing fine, thank you”
“Hope you are not worrying yourself over what I discussed with you last night?”
“Nope, I have put it in God’s hands and I know He will take care of it for me” Dupe said, smiling.
They exchanged some more pleasantries and Dupe left. On her way, she met Temi and greeted her but Temi gave her a cold stare. That worried Dupe but she let it pass and excused the behavior on a bad day for Temi.
Tunde met Temi just as Dupe walked away. They started walking to the hostel together.
“So what did you want to discuss with me” Tunde asked.
“The last word I gave during the meeting was for you and Dupe”, she said.
“I guessed as much. What did we do? Does it have anything to do with last night?” Tunde asked
“Tunde, why did you pick a Friday night to walk Dupe to the hostel, what were you thinking? Don’t you know what that will do to your image in school as the president of the school fellowship?
Tunde remained silent and Temi was getting irritated.
“Can’t you say anything Tunde? Do you know what people were saying about you and Dupe yesterday night? Tunde say something” Temi said angrily.
“Temi, please tell me the part that is making you angry; is it the fact that people are talking or the fact that I walked Dupe to the hostel?” Tunde finally said. “I remember that I have walked you to the hostel on several Friday nights and you have never complained that people are talking or mocking God. I even remember that last night, you came to meet me and asked me to walk you to the hostel. So tell me Temi, what exactly is the problem? Are you jealous?”
“ What is that supposed to mean Tunde?” Temi said, stopping in her tracks. “That I am now trying to correct a fellow Christian is now a thing of jealousy? How could you say such a thing Tunde? Look, I am your vice president, people will not flinch at us walking together but they would with you and Dupe, can’t you see that?”
“Temi, it is the same thing. Dupe is my choir leader; she is also an executive” Tunde replied. “Temi,” he said, taking her hand. “I don’t want us to argue over this issue. I had a really terrible dream about Dupe and I had urgency in my spirit to talk to her about it last night. It’s not anything serious and there is nothing going on between the two of us. I know I took a very dangerous step, but I had to. You must understand that people will always talk, whether you are right or wrong. I promise to be careful in the future. Is that ok with you?” he asked, looking at her
Temi was lost in the feeling of her hand in his. She did not hear his question, but still nodded. They started walking towards the hostel again. Temi was lost in thought and the feeling of his hand still lingered. She wondered if she should tell him how she felt, but she was afraid of what he would think of her if she mentioned it. It was bad enough that he knew she was jealous of Dupe.
“I hope we are still friends?” Tunde asked bringing Temi back to reality.
“Yes we are. It’s just that I care so much about you…and the fellowship. I wouldn’t want anything that will cause students to run away from the church” Temi said, feeling silly and hoping he hadn’t deciphered the true intent of her first line.
She so liked him and she felt she would die if some other girl snatched him away. She wondered if she could hide her feelings any longer.
AFTER DINNER, AS Dupe and Chioma strolled to class for night prep, they were both silent and lost in thought. Dupe had looked back as she was returning to the hostel after the executive meeting and had seen Temi and Tunde arguing. They had stopped walking and Temi was looking really angry as she spoke to Tunde. It really bothered Dupe because she could not shake off the feeling that they were talking about her and it had everything to do with her walking with Tunde the previous night. She hoped she could find Tunde before the prep started to ask him.
Dupe looked in Chioma’s direction and wondered what she was thinking about. The weekend had been so weird and she could not blame Chioma for being lost in everything. First, she had masturbated, then Pastor Tunde had walked her to the hostel on a Friday night, then Chioma confessed that she was bothered that no guy ever walks with her and everything had happened so fast, and without warning. Dupe had the strangest feeling that this weekend was just the beginning of many events that would soon unfold. The thought of that made her shudder and the dream Tunde had about her came to her mind again.
She dreaded that her weakness would get the better of her and bring her public humiliation. As she thought about it, she shuddered again. It was more than she could handle. God, please don’t let it happen to me.
CHIOMA SAT ON her locker and stared at her books. All she could see was the image of Dupe and Vivian praying together. She tried to remember when anyone had ever come to her for advice or even looked up to her for anything, but her mind kept giving her the error sign. She began to wonder why she was Dupe’s friend if she was not benefiting anything from her. The only thing that had come out of their friendship was that people just identified her as Dupe’s friend and Dupe’s back up singer. Chioma became more angry and jealous, she decided that things had to change; she had to become popular, get an identity of her own and stop being under Dupe’s shadow. She had to have her own identity and it didn’t matter if Dupe was hurt in the process. She no longer cared.
…to be continued.