9JA STORY: OATHS (EP 14 & 15)


Episode 14

Boma snuggled close to me and held me, pulling me closer to himself. He smacked my hair softly as the tears flowed out freely. It seemed like, the more I tried halting it to stop, the more it poured. However, he consoled and comforted me in his arms.

I held tight to him as the basking euphoria of nostalgia filled me up. I hadn’t been that emotional before.
Just then, the lock to my door twitched open and Mimi walked in. Considering the position she met us, on a normal school of thought, one would initially think the other way round, and I wasn’t surprised when she did. I saw the look she had; a very complex one.
We adjusted ourselves and sat properly as she entered.
“What’s smelling here,” she asked, sniffing the air like it had some sort of poison. I and Boma shared glances at each other, obviously puzzled.
“Like seriously you guys don’t smell anything? Something is burning,” she said. I instantly panicked to my feet and rushed to the kitchen, only to discover that my porridge sauce was half burnt.
In just one day, I had experienced a tonfold of bad luck. From my torn dress to the water tap refusing to work, which led to my fall along the road and made me sprawl a sandal, and now my porridge sauce was ruined.
“How far with the food?” I heard Mimi’s voice from behind as I turned off the stove.
“Why don’t you see for yourself. It’s burnt.” I said.
“Burnt as in?” she came closer.
“My goodness, I hope that’s not the food I want to eat sha?”
“It’s still manageable,” I suggested.
“I can’t eat that.”
“So what do I do?”
“What do you mean what do you do? You cooked it so you should know what to do,” she was almost yelling now.
“If you can’t eat it, leave it.” I exclaimed and left her.
The funny thing was that, I and Mimi never quarreled in that house until then. I knew I was unnecessarily paranoid probably from the bad day I had, but I couldn’t help it.
I returned to the room and joined Boma on the bed. Mimi walked out of the kitchen, hissed past us and went through the door.
“What happened?” he asked.
“I rather not talk about it.”
“Is it because of me?” he pestered on.
“It’s not you, something else.”
“Hmm… I better take my leave.”
He stood up, got on his feet and headed for the door.
“Boma, if you step through that door, consider us enemies.” I warned.
“If that’s how you want it, so shall it be. I prefer being an enemy to someone than watch her quarrel over me with her best friend,” he said.
“But I just said it’s not you. You’re not the problem.”
“Whatever it is, sort it out with her. I will call you when I get home. Take care,” he said and left.
So far so good, I had lost in many ways in just one day. I couldn’t even taste the food I cooked later on, due to its bad state. I lay on my bed with an empty stomach, reflecting on I and Mimi’s quarrel. I came to realize that I was somewhat at fault too and ought to apologize.
In a bid to wait for her return, fatigue took over me and I fell asleep.
I was woken by continuous pats on my hip. I slowly opened my eyes to see Mimi next to me, with a darkened atmosphere and a torch lamp lighting the room.
“Wake up, Fifi.”
I opened my eyes and was surprised to see dusk already. It was evening.
“You want to kill yourself with sleep?”
“How long have I been?”
“Closely five hours now.”
“Five hours? That’s a lie!”
“I’m serious. Have you eaten?”
“No,” I muttered.
“Come and join me,” she pointed to the pot close to her bed.
“I’m not hungry.”
“You think I will beg you, me I no get your time o! If anybody wants to hold grudge in this house, it won’t start with me. So you better check well and know who you are fighting with,” she said plainly and got off my bed.
With that remark of hers alone, I was convinced enough to see that she didn’t take our little quarrel to heart. I soon joined her on the floor and we ate together.
“I saw what you and Boma were busy doing when I entered sha o, in case you think I didnʼt,” she said.
“What were we doing?”
“You dey ask me? Love wantintin!”
We both chuckled as she said that.
“You claim to be holy holy but you have such a bad mind,” I said.
“So what were you doing then?”
I was about replying her when my phone rang. It was none other than the person we were talking about. He called to inform me he had gotten home, if I had settled with Mimi and if I had also had something to eat. All the while, Mimi kept smiling sheepishly as we talked, even until I dropped the call.
“What’s your own sef!”
“That was him abi?” she laughed. “I knew it!”
“Knew what?”
“You’re gradually falling in love. I can smell it.”
“Love?” I laughed. “Love is the last thing on my mind now.”
“Will you agree before? Itʼs in your eyes!”
“Na you sabi o!”
That ended the topic for me. Since we had papers the following day, we proceeded to study a bit before heading to bed.
That night, I met a man along a long narrow road. He asked me to follow Him and I diligently did. He took me through various corners and routes as I followed behind. Suddenly, I fell into a muddy pit and started sinking slowly. The man had gone. Another man appeared.
This man’s robe was bright, glistening white that I couldn’t look up to Him. I cried and begged Him to help me, but He stood still instead, watching me sink.
“Why do you chastise me this much?”
Immediately after that statement, I woke up, realizing it was all a dream.

Episode 15

Something funny happened the next day at our Lecture Hall during the exam. In the midst of the struggle as everyone cracked their heads in one way or the other to answer the questions, there was this certain girl who sat a row before me, asking and demanding for extra sheets from time to time. In less than an hour, she had used up to three answer sheets. Everyone’s attention was on her. The supervisor himself was surprised.
The funny thing was that, Oluchi sat beside me and we had barely written anything. She was as clueless as I was, and we had little time left.
“Oluchi ask this girl na,” I whispered.
“You ask by yourself,” she replied.
“Abeg na, we donʼt have time.”
“You don’t have mouth?”
“Please na,” I pleaded.
She hesitated briefly before tapping the girl. She turned back to face us.
“Babe abeg, any number you have answered, help us biko,” Oluchi asked.
“If I tell you I haven’t answered anything yet, you won’t believe. Help me with number 1,” she asked.
I and Oluchi shared glances and couldn’t control the laughter that emerged. We almost got ourselves into trouble. If not that the supervisor was a nice man, he would have seized our papers.
We ended the paper for that day and met outside. I, Oluchi, Mimi and Jovita strolled randomly about the school, discussing along the way till we found ourselves at the school field. It was actually Oluchi’s idea for us to go there.
When we asked her why she preferred the field instead of the cafeteria we intended to go to, she asked us not to worry, that we would see for ourselves. It actually happened that a match was being held there.
To my surprise, I saw Boma, Simon and Kingsley all dressed in football jerseys. They were training before the match. I wanted to call out to Boma, but Oluchi hushed me not to disrupt their training. So we took a sit among the crowd and watched them train.
“How did you know they were here?” Jovita asked, referring to Oluchi.
“Simon informed me earlier on today. He wanted me to see him play,” Oluchi replied.
“So this is what they are playing? It’s very boring.” Jovita shrugged.
“They haven’t started yet na! This is just training. Don’t you watch ball ni?”
“I do, but not anyhow ball. This their own is dry,” she complained.
“Let them start first,” Oluchi said, trying to die off the matter but Jovita wasn’t up for it.
“Should we bet?”
“Bet say wetin?”
“Iʼm sure they wonʼt win. Iʼve seen their rival team beat other teams before. That team is very strong compared to them.”
“So you donʼt believe your boyfriend’s team can win?” Mimi asked.
“Leave boyfriend aside, I know they wonʼt win. Let us bet?”
“How much?” Oluchi asked.
“One Kay each,” Jovita responded.
“Deal!” Oluchi agreed.
They both pulled out a thousand Naira note each and dropped it with Mimi.
The training session ended and soon, the real match started. The referee blew the whistle for kick-off. In the first 10 minutes of play, it seemed like a warm up for both teams. Their focus was more on defence than that of attack.
20 minutes passed into the game, yet no goal came forth. It was like a tug of war between both teams. I especially wanted Bomaʼs team to win, not because of anything but because I wanted to prove Jovita wrong as well as Oluchi wanted.
The anticipation for a goal was credibly high as a member of Bomaʼs team dribbled across the field and made it towards the rivalʼs goal post, only to make a wrong move that ruined the shot. He could have simply passed to someone else and clear a headway for a goal, but he chose not to.
The first half soon ended with no goal from both teams. The coach could be seen from afar, shouting at the guy who ruined the only chance they had at a goal, while Boma and the rest of the team sat on a bench looking tired.
I waved to him from where I was but he didnʼt see me. I called out his name, he didn’t hear. Then I had an idea. I borrowed a cardboard paper and a marker from someone seated next to me and wrote Boma on it, visibly clear, and waved it up.
He initially didn’t see it at first until a guy seated next to him tapped him and pointed towards my direction. He looked up and saw me, immediately tapping Kingsley and Simon likewise to see us. We all waved at each other except Jovita who just shrugged, pretending not to see them.
“Babe, your bobo dey greet you na,” Oluchi intervened.
“I’m not blind. I can see that. Mind your business,” she snapped.
From her remark, we easily knew they were having issues. Little wonder why she didnʼt support our team.
The second half began and now, the anticipation was more high. Both teams played with much enthusiasm. Much morale. Much vigour.
I personally cheered the team with my cardboard raised up to signify our support. Oluchi and Jovita werenʼt smiling either. Their bets were at stake.
Halfway into the game, it already seemed like the match would end in a draw. Everyone’s expectation had reduced, including mine.
All hell broke loose when a guy from the team Jovita supported waved across the field, dribbling past the defenders and making a headway for a goal. He passed to a teammate and with a swift kick, the ball found its way into the net.
The crowd went haywire! I couldn’t believe it. I also saw the look of disbelief in Oluchiʼs eyes; she was literally dumbfounded. Jovita jumped up screaming in jubilation. Her prediction was correct.
The match soon ended with our team on the losing side. We lost the match, as well as Oluchi lost her bet.
“Didn’t I tell you?” Jovita mocked as we climbed down the small podium we had sat on.
“I told you they would lose, you didn’t believe me. Now see your life,” she continued mocking at Oluchi specifically. Oluchiʼs countenance felt like she wanted to react at a point, but I gave her a sign to keep calm.
We ignored Jovitaʼs taunts and walked towards the pitch where the guys stood. They looked devastated and unhappy, especially Kingsley who was the goalkeeper.
“Common ball you cannot catch, but if it’s to romance somebody now, that is where they will see you inside,” Jovita mocked, referring to Kingsley to our surprise. We thought it was a joke until she hissed and walked away.
Kingsley on his own part didn’t even act like he cared. He hissed back and excused himself from us.



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