Never Forget.

Alieza Rizvie-8c6230db

“Jems, make sure you are back home before…

7 pm! Yes, Popsy!” I would often retort with eyes rolling. “Your name is not even on my tuition fees but your own smothering is too much. I’m an adult for crying out loud”. I had grown fond of calling him Popsy but Osato was my neighbour during my days as an undergraduate. He was one of the first set of ‘nice’ people I met during my course registration. Though he had told me a few years ago he was only nice for one reason, to ‘shag’ yet another fresher but thanks to my Chi or whatever has been protecting me from carnivorous male hunters in school, I was speared.

Sato was a very good bad boy. An axman with one of the notorious cults in school yet bagging a 4.7 GPA at the faculty of Law. He was the most feared yet influential human in school. I never understood how he juggled both so well, but he did and it made me jealous of him sometimes.

It worried me why he took great interest in me. In no time, he became a self-imposed school father, Bodyguard, and ATM. Throughout the rest of his three-year stay at Uni, I never lacked what to eat or how much to spend on anything that pleased me. Sato was the first person to shorten my name from Jemimah to Jems. Oh! How the butterflies in my stomach leapt when he called me Jems with that soothing voice of his but my exterior was always feigning hard babe-unflinching at such mushy goodness. He was a ladies’ man and I was glad to know my place as the apple of his eyes. That was enough for me.

Sato helped to fast track my registration process. I didn’t have to wait in line for one admin staff who found pleasure in making students wait indefinitely while they ate or gossiped about their oga. Even when it came to course registration, Sato knew who to meet. All he would say was, “Meet me in the evening with your course form, we would go visit the person who would sign it for you at the beer parlour ”. And you bet, they signed it. He instructed I got an apartment off-campus as against staying in the hostel, which according to him was not safe.

I remember saying: “My parents cannot afford me to stay off-campus and…

“I’ll pay for your rent. You are too Ajebutter to stay in that dead place called hostel”

“Could this be the guardian Angel they have been asking me to locate during the Power must change hands crusade or could this be a ploy”? I would often soliloquize but was too petrified to even ask him.

In a matter of days, while my mates were still hustling for bed space at the hostel or begging someone to squat with, I was a proud tenant of a studio apartment at Balami Estate all thanks to Sato. The only challenge I had was, that this apartment shared a wall with his mansionette which according to him, was his way of ‘protecting me’.

“You know say you be small geh and I sabi this school pass you. Make you just dey thank your God say I like you. You are a very naive and smart girl, I no wan make you quick spoil”. Sato would often tell me with that grin showcasing his well-dentition white teeth. I honestly don’t blame the girls that line up at his door to ‘help’ him cook and clean his apartment and mine since I happen to hold the key to Sato’s mumu button and I was usually the tool they needed to get through to him.

“Jems, you don dey follow those fellowship people again abi”? He would often say with a sense of disdain whenever he saw a brother from FCS walk me to the house.

“But they are godly people, at least they can keep me safe from the troubles you guys cause during your cult wahala”. I would respond.

“Keep you safe?” we shall see. He replied with that hysterical smile I disliked. The audacity with which he made such statements made my chest boil and I dislike the fact that he was always right. I had once met the sister’s coordinator of one of the major fellowships(who was on a mission to cast the spirit of wearing trousers from me)come out of his apartment.

This harmattan evening, I was being a Godly girl attending fellowship at Geography block when a fight broke out in school. It was yet another power tussle between cult groups versus Police and In a matter of seconds, glass splattered through the lecture theatre we were having our fellowship. We could see thick smoke emanating from Lecture hall 1. It seemed hell came to earth in a millisecond. In between reciting Psalm 91 and running for safety, I recalled Sato and I had once had this long conversation on how to be safe during a cult clash.

“First, once there’s a clash, find any means to get to the house. If na the only thing wey those your chingum brothers for fellowship fit epp you, make dem follow you reach your house”.

“Yes sir, I said, laughing. You dey take d mata joke shey? Anyway anoda thing, if they catch you, tell them say you be my sister. If dem mad make dem touch you! dey go know say to be axman no be for mouth.”

“Such a prideful guy”. I told him as I scoffed.

“na u sabi”.

But on this dreaded day when the school was in rancour, I remembered that conversation. I picked myself off the ground, dusted the rubble off my body and began my crawl towards the school gate. I just knew if I could make it out of the school gate, our house was not a big deal.

I hadn’t even made it to the nearest exit door of the block when I noticed these ginormous hands grab my arm from behind. I could barely look at him but I saw the machete in his left hand dripping with fresh blood through my side-eye.

“Could this be it? Is this how I would just die like that?”

“Where you dey run go?” He said with a husky voice.

“Erm… I… even the words were frightened to come out.

“Oya lie dan, dey roll make I dey see you”

I remembered what Sato told me to tell any of the cult guys when this happens to me but the Machete silenced me before it could even touch me. What if this clash involved Sato and his gang? “I’m doomed.” Jemimah Ayeye you better have sense and roll this roll”.

I had been rolling for a while when I heard Sato call:

“Jems! Jems!!”

“Sir” even my saliva at this point had resigned to fate. My response was inaudible but I recalled he knew I went for fellowship. I had sent him a message earlier to inform him of my movement. It was Sato’s idea for me to tell him about my every movement.

“Sparrow why you dey ruffle my sister, you no dey fear again? How many times I don tell una say my sister na no go area?” Sparrow, like a child recovering from the beatings of an African mom, said with a whimpered tone:

“Ax! Abeg. I bin no see her face. I just know say she dey run comot from the lecture hall and I just dey tink say I go just pipe am up small” abeg. Sparrow, now kneeling before Sato.

Abeg, no vex baba”

“You wan pipe my sister!” Sato yelled as if to call the attention of everyone to the scene, his hands gesticulating towards his heart with fury ready to be unleashed in his eyes.

“you don mad?! Anyway, I go deal with your mata later”.

Oya Jems, Moo dey go house”.

With alacrity, I picked myself off the ground as I held onto him until we got to his car. It was on our drive to the house in his tinted Mercedes he told me Sparrow was planning to rape me. That’s what he meant by ‘pipe’ and why he got furious.

He looked at me with that fatherly fear or concern if his baby girl was raped by someone he probably mentored, he would never forgive himself for it.

*****************

It’s been over eight years since Sato and Myself graduated from school. Life has happened. We lost touch. I tried the popular Facebook search to find him, but I got nothing. Recently, I was invited by a work colleague to their church thanksgiving soiree. As long as Soiree involved food, wine, and music, I was there. I highlighted from the uber and stood in front of one of those modern minimalist houses we Millenials have flooded Pinterest with. As I strutted towards the door, heading for a knock, I tried to dial my colleague to inform her I was at the door, so she could lead me to the party before the greatest shock of my life stood in front of me.

No way! Jems! Is this you!

Popsy! Issa lie!

“Ah!, Jems, sharp babe. You’ve already met Pastor Sato” my colleague broke the surprising look.

“Pastor ke!” I was flabbergasted

Yes. I’m a Pastor now. Please come in. we never leave a damsel outside.


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