A PROMISING DAY INDEEDby AYOBAMI OLABISI ODUNOWO fromEDIDOT COLLEGE
Oh! I cried as the black wooden door in the classroom was slammed on my little finger.
Good for stubborn ones like you, he retorted.
It all started on a Monday morning when the music teacher, Mr. Johnson Bobo made an announcement that the students in primary five must all look their best the next day because there was going to be a special music lesson featuring two popular music directors: Mr. J.K Amope and Mr. Emmanuel Ojo.
The following day, the atmosphere in the hall of utmost excitement; the bobbling scent of perfumes, overpolished black shoes through which one’s reflection could be seen and well-ironed uniforms of most students explained it all.
Those of us without electricity supply placed our uniforms under our pillows as though they were priceless gems so as not to look odd. Some students went as far as changing their accent into American, British and other unidentified oyinbos.
When the music directors mounted the stage, it was like the world had come to an end. There were cheers from every angle of the hall. In the end, all the female students were told to be in school on Saturday for a special voice training. We were told not to bring in any gadgets.
Saturday morning featured a golden glow spread across the sky as the sun closed the dark clouds and the palm trees in the next compound swayed gracefully. A sight to behold, it posed to be a promising day.
At exactly eleven o’clock in the morning, the school bus dropped all thirty-two girls in school but the bus drivers were told to return only when called.
Mr. Bobo who could not make it that day was replaced by two music directors: Mr. Olaseun and Mr. Bueni Nwafor.
All thirty-two of us girls were divided into groups of eight. We were told to stay in specific classrooms. Myself, Debbie(my best friend)and six other girls were led into a class by Mr. Seun.
When we arrived in the class, it was stuffy and dark but as I tried to lighten up the room, Mr. Seun barked loudly, sit down. Sir, its not conducive in here I replied. Conducive! he chuckled. Pele o Iya conducive, he answered. As he was about to leave, he wanted to remove the key and shut the door permanently so I tried to stop him but he slammed the door on my little finger. Oo!, I.
The Classroom was so dusty that it made me sneeze periodically. Achew, Achew. When Mr. Seun returned, his black shirt was soaked with sweat and in the dark, one could almost not be able to differentiate him from his shirt. He dragged in Pamilerin, my seatmate along like an old rag.
I examined her and noticed she was bleeding profusely. This time, Mr. Seun forcefully took two girls out of the room and when they were out, I asked Pamilerin, What is going on?
Oyin, he raped me. What?, I shouted. Shaking my head regretfully, I handed her a piece of tissue to clean up.
The room was strange. We had slept off and were dragged to a different room. Mr. Buchi was raping Rhoda, my neighbor. She screamed and shouted for help but I thought very useful
Mr. Buchi slapped her twice and shouted keep quiet my friend, An-u-ofia. The Igbo accent with which he spoke infuriated me. Then Debbie signaled for me to see that the back door was open.
We quietly walked out leaving Rhoda behind and split ourselves to avoid being caught.
I ran as fast as a cheetah and as I imagined being molested by Mr. Seun, who was as black as charcoal and Mr. Buchi who was obese, I accelerated. Just then, I sighted Mustapha as the gatekeeper who had just returned from the mosque. Walking cautiously toward him, I whispered into his ears Oga Mustapha dem dey rape all the girls. Bang, bang, the bullet flew over my head. Down went Mustapha.
There was a hole in his head and blood gushed out. I froze for a second but thought he has a phone. I walked slowly towards him and stylishly picked up his phone but when Mr. Amope got to the spot, he took me by the arm and dragged me along to the nearest classroom leaving me alone. I dialed my Mums number and as I narrated my whole experience, my mum kept on lamenting Jesu Mo gbe, Ha! Ye, Jesu The worries of a mother, I thought.
Mr. Amope returned to the class looking ferocious and as he moseyed towards me, I moved backward.
In no time, he held the hem of my skirt and split it in two. Help! I shouted. He hit me on the nose and blood spilled on the floor creating a pattern I could not understand,
By the time he was about to rape me, hands on your head My Mum arrived with the policemen. I stuck out my tongue at him Imee as I stood behind my Mum.
Oyin would you answer me? said Mrs. Onuka, my biology teacher. No, ma, I have never been raped, I replied. Next time wait till you sleep before you dream because it took you an hour to answer a question.
The teacher said hissing away.