Throwback: Life in Junior High

​I’m not saying growing up was wacky for me (maybe it was sha), but I have one of those days. I wanna share.  It’s everything but funny. 

Life in Junior High

One day (like the typical way to start tales by moonlight), there was a girl (that girl was me). She was very small (when I say small, I mean small) and bony too.

23rd February, 2005. 
Federal Government Girls’ College, Akure. 
School premises.

    Like a normal Junior School student, normal I say, she looks rough and unkempt. Classes are over, and no afternoon prep/siesta. 

    In her pinafore, she sits on a slab near blue house line area. It’s a sports day, the usual on Wednesdays. Everything is normal or maybe worse. It’s like a normal thing to get punished on her birthday. This birthday, she has evoked a punishment-worthy something; she misplaced some of her “bunkie’s” clothes. [A bunkie is a person you share a twin-bunk with] in this case a SS3 ‘senior’. You fetch water, wash and run errands for her too.] And that spells ‘you’re dead girl, dead dead!’. She knows it.

    She sits there and cry. With no hope, no hope of being consoled. Yes, it’s that bad. She’s within the confines of reclusion. Don’t blame her, she’s not ‘goodly to look upon’ like our dear David — no friends.

    Needless to say, sitting down there does not reduce the ‘doom’ that awaits her, she prepares her mind, spirit, and every shred of her soul for what is about to befall her.

    She goes to the sports ground in her pinafore instead of a sports wear; that’s an offense too but she doesn’t mind. She can take anything now, anything at all. Same with evening prep.

    Let me call that day ‘bad day, devil drink water’ (ojo buruku, esu gb’omi mu). But she has to sleep in that room, and on that twin-bunk.

    What ensued after is better imagined. But let me allow you into a little detail of the ‘doom’.

    She gets into the room at about 9.30pm. Prep has been over before then by 9pm. But she’s been roaming around like ‘igbona’.

    There is possibly only one gut left in her and she decides to use it well. “Enter dorm 6 and go to your corner. Eekan l’omokunrin ku” is the music playing on repeat in her head. 

    She gets into the room. She sees people still making small talks since light out is not until 10pm. Some are opening their lockers to take the last round of garri/corn flakes/golden morn for the day while others are already slipping into their night wears and  climbing into their beds for the night’s sleep. ‘I wish that was me’, she muses.

    She carries herself sluggishly, no one noticing, and walks to the last corner at the rear left of the big room housing eight other bunks. 

    Seeing senior Motunrayo(bunkie) sit on her bed and tapping her feet makes her want to change her mind. 

    She doesn’t, she speaks up now. “Senior Motunrayo sorry. Please sorry. I know where I spread the cloth. Somebody took it. Senior Motunrayo sorry. I did not lost it”, she says already in tears. Her frail frame shaking. 

    Her bunkie slaps her hands together. “E gba mi lowo omo yii ke. You misplaced my check(hostel wear) and you’re telling me sorry. Before I even say anything, just  squat and fly there’, she says raising her voice.

    “Now, ‘squat and fly’ is an evidence of how much stress the thigh muscles, ankles and hands can withstand. It is the hope of what the mixture of tears and sweats would produce” (Oluwanifemi, 2005).

    She gets to work. She squats, opening both legs, back straightened and arms flying  opposite directions. She resigns to fate, she makes a mental note not to plead. She stops crying. Besides, that doesn’t say she will be told to get up. I guess this infuriates senior Motuntayo, she starts another round of rants.

    Minutes into the ‘exercise’, the sweats start flowing. She swallows hard as her tummy rumbles. She remembers she missed ‘afternoon and evening foods’. “How bad can today go again?”, she asks herself internally. 

    She is doing just fine until something reminds her that it’s actually her birthday. This thought slips off her last grab on strength, she breaks down. Not tears, wails. Not for the aches and pain, but for the unanswered ‘why me?’, ‘why today?’ queries. She begins to plead again.

    It’s long past light out now. The wails have become sniffs and hiccups. She gives up and gets up, lets out a ‘kuku kee me’ sigh and climbs on her bed… in the already smelling pinafore. Damn whatever!

    She expects a voice, senior Motunrayo’s but none came. “She’s slept. Wicked senior”, she cusses. 

    “I wish next year doesn’t have a February 23”, she hisses. Her eyelids shut almost immediately only to open to morning light.

    I’m sure senior Motunrayo wouldn’t remember this. After all, na pesin wey pack shit dey remember, no be pesin wey shit am.



    Kolawole Oluwanifemi 
    For SpeechCathedral 


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