My second night in school, I indulged in aimless walking which would soon become a favourite habit. With Miriam in tow, we set out around seven pm and toured every delicious inch of our new environment. The grounds of Unilag are magnificent at night, light contrasts with darkness and the dark areas were famous for the acts they covered up seamlessly. I think the added thrill of knowing there was a lighted area close by added to the fun of the act in the dark areas. You know that saying that the sense of imminent danger heightens the fun of doing something forbidden? I believe that explains it.
We took every short cut we could find and chatted nonstop, attempting to plan four years in four hours. I just couldn’t keep the smile off my face nor could I stop my sporadic bursts of excitement. Life was beautiful and as we returned to the hostel, I ignored the aches that the long walk had caused. I felt scandalous already, daring to get back at eleven pm, a feat I could never accomplish at home, but here, there was nobody to sanction me. And it was okay since it was just an innocent walk with a girlfriend, for now. Other dangerous acts can be introduced in good time.
I was changing into my nightdress later that night when I heard a burst of laughter. I turned to see Gold staring at me amusingly. I immediately became self-conscious. Had she been laughing at my body? But I had turned my back to them so maybe it was the inch-long scar on my right thigh she found amusing. I didn’t have to wonder for long.
‘You are hiding your body from us and in the process giving the window and the boys a good view’.
Our window faced a supermarket and another female hostel and boys frequented that route a lot. I turned away from the window back to her.
‘I didn’t realize they could see me from here’, I mumbled in my defence.
‘Of course they can. There is nothing to be ashamed of; we all have the same body’.
For some reason, that didn’t reassure me and as she watched me while I finished undressing, I wondered if she was a lesbian. What if she raped me?
‘You can even sleep or walk around naked if you want; we are all girls in the hostel’.
Even as I contemplated the horror of being in the same room with a lesbian, I immediately seized on another point of freedom in her statement. I wouldn’t have dared sleep naked at home since I do not have a room to myself and I have brothers. No matter how oppressive the heat was, I had to stay covered. Now, I could choose to be free with my body and I’m sure it will appreciate not being confined so much.
I didn’t think I would feel comfortable walking around naked in the hostel but maybe in my underwear which was a no-no for me at home. I spied a look at Gold who was still staring at me and decided to change from my nightdress to pyjamas. That would make it harder for her to rape me if she was a lesbian. Although we weren’t the only two in the room, she may have lesbian tricks like gagging me or asking me to go the bathroom with her.
‘I love that nightdress, why are you changing it?’
‘Uhmmm…nothing. I prefer this’.
My prayers that night were a bargain with God. I wouldn’t abuse my newfound freedom if he would save me from being raped by Gold or being her new target.