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You meet up with him somewhere close to your hostel. He is the guy you have always wished for: dark, tall, round face with finely cut beards forming brackets on both his cheeks. He takes you to a fancy restaurant, and talks about how he wishes to show you to his parents, and friends. When you tell him you wish to show him off on Instagram and Snapchat, he refuses. He says he does not want publicity. You agree. After all, in relationships, show off is not that important.

You have heard some other things people say are not important; something like kissing in public. But you cannot explain how both of you lock lips; tongues entangle with passion. After all, sometimes, in relationships, there are no stable rules; just do what makes you happy. He then takes you for a short walk. He keeps brushing the sand with the tip of his shoe. You look so small beside him, but you do not mind. You do not mind so many things. First, he is tall and touches your weave as if he is the one who bought it. Secondly, he is Yoruba and you are Igbo.

He takes you to the park where you both sit on a concrete platform. There is a tree forming a canopy over both of you. In front of you is the lagoon, and the Third Mainland Bridge darting across it. You look up to him. He realizes and then smiles back at you. His smile is that of a new born baby, refreshing and lovely. He then tells you that you complete him. You smile and nod your head in approval. You put your head on his shoulder and then he puts his arm across your shoulder so that if forms a C.

As the sun dissolves into the clouds darkening the skies, he tells you that he wants to start going; that he wants to travel home and will spend a week. You don’t want him to leave. He smiles, and tells you that he will come back for you; that he will always be there for you. You accompany him to where he will board a bus. He hugs you tight, and then you watch him leave. The brake lights of the bus bids you goodbye.

You return back to your hostel. Some Passersby keep glaring at you. You want to confront them, but you keep quiet. Silence, sometimes, settles many fights, you think. Then one of them asks if you are alright. I am okay, nothing is wrong, you reply her. You enter your room.

There is nobody in the room, so you sit on your bed, back leaning on the wall. At once, your two roommates enter the room, shouting and chirruping like angry birds. They start snapping their fingers, sighing and clapping hands. You shrug.

“What is happening?” You say, looking at them intently. Then they find their composure and move closer to your bed.

“It is Femi.” one of them say. You don’t seem surprised they know him. They have seen you with him many times. He has even taken all of them out once. “When last did you see him?”

“I saw him some minutes ago. What happened to him?” Your cheek bones out and eyes bulging as if they will pop out.

One of them move to the other bed in the room, lifts the pillow and then brings out a rumpled piece of paper. “Babes, we tore this paper from the faculty board where it was pasted. Just take and read.” She says, as she hands you the paper. She puts her hands on her cheek.

You straighten the paper. The first picture on the paper was Femi’s. Below that picture is his family picture. Below the family picture is inscribed:

NOTICE TO ALL STUDENTS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC!!

THE MAN IN THE PICTURE ABOVE IS NAMED ADE ADEBAYO. HE DIED THREE YEARS AGO IN ILE IFE, OSUN STATE. WE HAVE HEARD REPORTS THAT HE HAS BEEN SIGHTED ON AND AROUND THE CAMPUS HERE IN LAGOS.

IF YOU SEE THE NAMED PERSON ABOVE ANYWHERE, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH THE STUDENT AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT.

You cannot believe your eyes. You swallow your saliva. You adjust the paper so that it comes close to your face. Your words and senses fail you. Your chin is about to dissolve into a cry. Your jaw drops, as does the paper.

You stand up, stumble to the doorway, and then past it, out.

 

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