“Kill? Argh! No o, God forbid bad thing. Nobody killed anyone. I only had room mates who came with these things to the hostel, show them off and ask you to imitate them too.” I looked at Peju and was sure she was saying the truth.
“The first time I experienced it, I was in my junior class and a senior pulled it on me, because I reported her and she was punished. She held it to my head and threatened to pull the trigger and shatter my brains the next time I tell on her or her gang,” she said, using her two index fingers to put a quote on “gang”.
“What did you do?” I asked quietly, paying every attention to Peju with a feeling of guilt growing in my mind. All of those times I had created the boundary between us and buried myself in books where heroes saved their victims, my bossom friend was having a gun to her head and I wasn’t there for her. But what I would have done if she did at the time was beyond me.
“They were always on my neck, threatening me and sending me on unending errands. They would order me to deliver my provisions to them as soon as I got them and would do me the “favour” of me going to beg them for a half spoon of milk and a cube of sugar broken perfectly in halves. They would lick the half they would give to me so they could drop their saliva on it and make sure I use it.”
“But why all these bitterness?” I asked, perplexed.
“Well, not bitterness perse, more of a revenge. These people were victims like me too at a time and would make sure junior students coming after them suffer like they had. But every subsequent generation wants to he tougher than the former. They want to leave their mark and most times would pick on the most attractive target.”
“So how were you the most attractive target?” I asked, paying every bit of attention.
“You should know,” she smiled.
“No, I don’t.”
“I was small na, and looked too innocent,” she laughed, mocking what she used to be, to further reinforce that she loves her new self.
“So you mean every senior student did or still do that?” I asked, not sharing in her amusements.
“No o, not all. Some do not find any of these necessary. I was not that stern…”
“But you pulled a gun on a student?”
“No o, I didn’t. I only had room mates who brought them to show off amongst themselves. I don’t even think any of those guns was loaded. Just empty guns they used for threats. But you can’t be so sure of which was loaded or not, so you had to comply always.”
“Did you report any of these at home?”
“Report?” She exclaimed. “That means more punishments.”
I looked at Peju with such pity on my face and suddenly became thankful to my mum for not succumbing to my pleas to attend a boarding school. Somehow I decided I would forgive her and go to Unilag as she wished, even if I had to write the exams over and over.
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