Wunmi and Lara walk to the balcony of Mardel hostel in Under G. There is no-one on the balcony when they get there. Wunmi sits on the wooden balcony rail with her thin long legs also placed on the rail.
“Put your leg down,” Lara screams, “Do you want to fall?”
Wunmi doesn’t listen. “I can’t fall,” she says
Lara grabs Wunmi’s right leg; her hands firmly holding the leg.
“I know you can’t fall superwoman, but please put one leg down,” Lara pleads pulling Wunmi’s right leg from the rail.
Wunmi succumbs. She puts her right leg down on the pavement, and folds the left one of the wooden rail. Lara doesn’t do the same. She just places her elbows on the rail, and uses her palms to support her jaw.
The ambient is electronically quiet but there are cacophonies of natural sounds; the shouts of guys playing football in the next street; hostel mates arguing about football in the ground floor; a clique trying out a guitar in one of the room near the balcony.
A guy walks past. He is wearing a green hooded shirt and a white jean.
“Wunmi,” Lara shouts, pointing to the guy, “That’s him.”
Wunmi is perplexed. Her eyes narrow together on her long face.
“That’s who?” she asks.
“The guy …” Lara says, “Just look at him.”
The guy is now out of their view.
“I didn’t see him well; you know am short sighted,” Wunmi complains, “What is wrong with him?”
“That’s the guy I was telling you about; the one that sleeps with anything that wears skirt. They even say he sleeps with an average of five women in a single week!”
“Iro ni o,” Wunmi bellows, switching to Yoruba.
“Sit down there. It is even said that, Shade, that new fair lady in room 6 downstairs has slept with him. Hmm, shebi you know she is a packaged ashewo. One day, when I was coming from night class, I saw the guy entering Doyin guest house with Shade around 10:00pm at night. You should see them cuddling in each other’s arm.”
“I trust you Lara, my friend that carries news better than CNN,” Wunmi praises.
“Thanks for the compliment friend,” Lara said, “But I don’t know how that guy does it o; I don’t know what he eats. With all his rubbish up and down, he hasn’t shown any sign of weight loss, instead he gains weight. And I hear that his wife is heavily pregnant.”
“Ha, Lara, he has a wife! Is she also a Ladokite?” Wunmi asks
“He kuku has a wife. You should see her. She is very beautiful and innocent. She isn’t a Ladokite, but she comes once a while to check on her husband. I hear she is in Tasued. Only God would save us from these men; they are too unfaithful.”
A huge swarthy guy enters the hostel compound and he sees Lara and Wunmi on the balcony.
“Una don start your gossip again,” the guy says
“Wetin concern you there?” Lara replies, imitating the guy’s pidgin. “You hear me mention your name?”
“God go soon catch you” the guy says, as he walks inside the hostel.
A blue SUV drives by.
“That’s Prof Ajayi’s car.” Wunmi says pointing to the blue SUV.
“The lord of the professors in chemistry department,” Lara compliments “I know him very well. He taught us during pre-degree, but I was sick at that time, so I didn’t attend his lecture. I hear he is a very good lecturer.”
“Hmm, you missed. You should come around sometimes when we have his lecture. The man is a genius. He did his PhD in Cambridge. They said he beat all the oyinbos to clinch first position, so Cambridge offered him a lecturing job. He only did it for two years before he resigned and came home to work with Mobil Exxon, before finally deciding to take up the post in chemistry department. He is a multi-millionaire they say.”
“Very brilliant vocal citation,” Lara says, “But I hear he is also a womaniser.”
“Yes you are right,” Wunmi confirms. “But what I like about him is that he doesn’t victimise his students. He doesn’t ask them for sex. He deals with professional ashewos.”
“Like Shade,” Lara chirps in.
“Na you sabi that one o,” Wunmi says, clapping the back of her right palm against her open left palm. “I just feel for his wife. The woman did everything a woman could do to prevent her husband from looking elsewhere for sex, but you know men. She knows her husband likes fair women, so she bleached herself till you can see her veins as green lines in her hands. Her face is now white like an oyinbo, but some say her leg is black like charcoal. I haven’t seen her leg though. Anytime I go to her supermarket in Sabo, she is always sitting down behind the huge money counter.”
“Only God would help the men of this generation.”
The hooded guy walks up in the street again.
“That’s the guy again,” Lara points to him. “He is close enough now, but that mango tree is blocking him.”
“Really,” Wunmi says, climbing the wooden rail to get a good view. She climbs on her toes to get a better view. She hears someone call her amebo downstairs, but she doesn’t care.
“Come down Wunmi,” Lara pleads, “Do you want to fall?”
Wunmi doesn’t listen. She keeps watching. “Lara, climb and see. The guy is wooing another girl; that tall girl with bow legs that lives in Nissi hostel.”
“Really,” Lara says, her voice is lace with surprise. She climbs unto the wooden rail to join Wunmi. “I see him now. Shameless man”
The wooden rail creaks, but they can’t hear it. Their weight is too much for the wooden rail. Before they realise, the wooden creaks of the weak rail takes reign as the lord of sounds. Soon they are falling to the terra firma fifteen feet below- a paved one.
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