“Banky, get up.” A jab soon followed when the summons went unheeded. “Guy get up joor. You get visitor.”
He replied with a grumpy “Who?”
He face-palmed mentally. What did she want again? “Tell her I’m not in.”
“She knows you’re in.”
“I don’t care.”
“Well, I don’t either. Go tell her yourself!” and with that Damola stalked to his side of the room.
Bankole was miffed. School was not really offering the respite he so badly needed. It was one thing to stop attending classes because his mind was in constant turmoil and couldn’t concentrate. It was another thing to have people disturbing his peace in his place of exile.
If he didn’t answer the door, she was bound to come knocking again and he didn’t think Damola would take kindly to being disturbed again. What did his course-rep want? She kept coming repeatedly to look for him and he’d told his roommates to tell her he wasn’t in. Each time, she’d given a polite thank-you and left. It seemed she’d caught on to his ruse and so she relayed every message to whichever roommate was unfortunate to open the door and projected her voice for the whole block to hear. The pest. He donned a singlet and stepped out to meet her at the short distance from his room, where she was.
“’Yes?’, ‘Yes?’. Really?”
He’d made her angry. Well, what was he supposed to say? Sorry? He wasn’t. It was bad enough that his conscience still smarted from ignoring Bolanle’s calls.
Putting off her call and Emeka’s each time had worn him out initially and he picked. The conversation had been stilted, majorly his fault. Hearing her voice had pushed him close to tears and in struggling to contain his emotions, he’d been silent too long for a dialogue and the call had ended awkwardly. He couldn’t bring himself to call her back to explain, and guilt stopped him from picking her calls anymore. If his very parents had not wanted him, who’s to say Bodunde and her husband really did? They probably called out of duty. He scowled.
Atinuke leveled him with a look of impatience when she saw him frown and ticked off her fingers. “You haven’t been in class for weeks, you’ve not been picking calls, and you’ve not been in your room, according to your roommate.”
He imagined the brows she raised at the last part of her sentence indicated she knew he’d been lying. What did it matter? “No, I haven’t.”
“That’s what I just said.”
She smiled sweetly. “You’re ever the charmer, Mr Bankole, a wonderful conversationalist. I take it I can go in now.” She began to walk toward his room. He panicked and ran after her, stepped in front of her, opening his arms wide to effectively stop her movement.
With another smile, she cocked her head to one side and opened her arms as if to welcome an embrace, imitating him. He dropped his arms sharply and felt a little foolish. Her laughter rang out at his response and a smile pushed its way forward on his lips at her teasing.
“Sorry,” she said still laughing. “I just needed to get your attention.” She quickly sobered up. “The course adviser wants you to report to his office tomorrow. You have no attendance for weeks and you’ve missed some tests too. He wants to work something out for you but he can’t if you don’t see him.”
He glanced away. He didn’t need nor did he like the reminder.
She came closer and said firmly to him, “I don’t know what is wrong, Mr Bankole, but you need to pull yourself together. This is your final year. Don’t let other years be a waste because it will be if you don’t take action.”
And with that she said goodbye and walked away.
He returned to his room and slammed the door with more force than necessary. Damola snapped at him for attempting to destroy their door, and told him a Bolanle had called.
He sighed. Take action, Atinuke had said. He didn’t like the fact that she was right. Who was he kidding? His attempt to disappear had not been successful and his academics was not either because of his negligence. Problems didn’t disappear when he hid. They practically accumulated.
He sighed again, this time very heavily and Damola snapped at him again. He ignored his cranky roommate and picked up his phone. It was time to take action. And he could very well start with the beginning of his escape.
He unlocked his phone and dialed Bodunde’s number.