I receive a letter from my school, rejecting my request to be transferred out of Abagboro, which is just what I prayed for. In the last one month my requests had changed at least three times so this was good. The school stated I had three months to go, and I was expected back by Easter. I would then have one semester left of school, and be a graduate!
My joy knows no bounds and calls for celebration.
“We need to drink to this!”
Besides Iya Elemu’s joint whose canteen held too many sad memories, a nice bar is situated at the square. It is where most of the more civilized village society meet. I know it is inappropriate to take Bisi here but I reckon if I throw a small party, it won’t look suspicious.
I return to my room after school and find Moni relaxed with a novel.
“Welcome, Bro. Abbey.”
The two previous days, I’d changed into casual wears and left immediately without any explanation. Unlike Moni, she’d not asked for any too.
I pull off my shoes. “How are you?”
“Your choice. Don’t complain.”
“Hmm. Such love.”
It’s been hot throughout the day. I change into a T-shirt and knickerbockers. “I’m throwing a small party.”
She jumps to a sitting position. “A party? For what?”
I smile. “I’m celebrating. My school has reinstated me here.”
She hisses. “I thought you won the lottery or something.”
“You’re not serious. Are you coming or not? I’m taking my friends to the bar at the village square.”
She shakes her head, then stands. “What will I be doing if I don’t come along.” She straightens her long flared skirt, and finds her slippers. “At least, I will know your friends today.”
I scoff at her snide remark. “I’ll go ahead now.” Bisi will be at our meeting place since I didn’t have the opportunity to inform her at the school. “Come over there at about 5pm.”
She stops her preparations. “I thought it’s right away.”
“No. 5pm. I need to tell Jang and others.”
I know Jang probably won’t accept the invite but I pass by the church-house and tell him. He gives an excuse because of evening service.
I rush from there to be with my babe. We have another hour to be together. We walk deep off the path and cuddle. We say our little nothings, teasing and knowing more about one another.
“If I invite Ajao to the party, will you come with him?” I murmur against Bisi’s hair.
“Ade will be there.”
“I’m not inviting him.”
She raises her head and looks at me. “I think you should. He will come and take me there.”
I suck in my breath. This is a problem I need to solve. “I don’t want you to come with Ade.”
“If you’re buying drinks for people at the bar, Ade will come. Even if you don’t call him.”
I’m tempted to call it off. The only other person I’ve told is Moni and I can explain to her. “Maybe I should forget about it.”
“No. Let Ade come. See him again in front of people. See what he will say.”
Her advice makes no sense to me but I place a kiss on her lips. “We need to get going then.”
I invite Ajao and two other teachers, one an English teacher like me, in his thirties, and one I didn’t know much about but who was a young man I guessed could make use of the fun.
Like Bisi warned, Ade arrives in her company, with Foyeke, Ajao and six other students. Moni comes with Anike, to my surprise.
The bar is packed and noisy. To my surprise, everyone seem to catch their fun. I steal several glances at Bisi but she maintains her composure. Ade drinks several bottles of beer and continue to order.
I knew I couldn’t pay for all these drinks but the bar madam assured me I could owe her for a month or two. It wasn’t my style to buy on credit but it felt good to see people having fun at my expense.
The drinking continue for four hours. And close to 9pm, people stand to leave. Bisi had not taken more than a bottle of coke but Ade is drunk. They stand to leave and Ade walks over to me.
“I forgive you.” He belches in my face before I could turn away. “You are a good boy.” He staggers and puts his arm around Bisi’s neck. “Take me home, wife.”
I want to explode and push him off my girl, but I notice Moni’s subtle shift toward him, using her body to half-block his. I turn away and they leave.
Bisi owes me an apology.
“It was a good evening,” Moni says after the little skirmish. “We should leave now as well.”
“At least, he didn’t mess things up for me.” I remember the last time Ade showed up uninvited. “Let’s go.”
I thank the madam-in-charge. All my guests have left. It’s Thursday and not the likely evening for long drinks. The bar is near-deserted as well.
Moni, Anike and I take the shorter route through the school to our quarters.
“When are you going to help me escape from here?” Anike says.
“I can’t do that, I told you.” I turn to my sister. “You never should have told her I can.”
“Now you’ve spent all your money on drinks for the whole village, it seems you can’t.” Moni rolls her eyes. “Happy hour for people who don’t care about you.”
Anike hisses. “And that wicked prince came and got drunk, forming big and playing with that half-caste girl as if she’s the prettiest thing on earth. All on your money.”
“None of your business what I do with my money!”
Moni rolls her eyes. “Do you still have money for my transportation back on Saturday?”
“I’ll give you once we get back to the room.”
Image of man courtesy of Photo stock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net