The Elder’s Daughter – Episode 4
© Jennipher Duru
“Madam Pastor, wake up please! You’ll be late for classes” Naomi said, rubbing her hand on Esther’s shoulder. Esther woke up, struggling to open her eyes fully because of the light. “What time is it?” she asked. Naomi laughed. “It’s almost 7:30. I bet your classes start at 8am right?” Naomi said.
Esther rose up from her bed like a scared cat. “Oh my God, I am late” she said as she got her bathing kit. Janet, who was making up her face mocked her “Hmm, I guess you and lover boy had a long night last night”. Esther looked at her. “Which lover boy?” she asked. “Oh come on, don’t pretend to us. We saw you being so intimate with your boy” Janet answered. Esther was feeling very nervous. She refused to respond and ran to the bathroom. She was imagining what the two ladies were talking about. “Did they see David hugging me? I hope they will not tell anyone. If my father hears this, I will be a dead person!” she thought to herself. When she got back to the room, she was happy to find that Naomi and Janet had already left. She dressed up quickly and rushed to her class. On the way down the hallway, she met David, who was also heading to his class.
“Hey Esther. Good morning” David said with a smile on his face. Esther refused to respond to the greeting and went past him like she never knew him. David looked surprised “What did I do wrong?” he asked himself. Esther didn’t even want to look behind. “I need to start avoiding this guy before I land myself into problems. I need to concentrate on my studies” she said to herself. She finally arrived in class and went straight to where Angela was seating.
During lunch break, Esther and Angela were having lunch when David came to join them “Hello ladies, do you mind if I join you?” Esther responded immediately “Yes we do mind. There are many seats that you can occupy over there please. As you can see, we are having a private conversation between us”. Angela starred at her wondering why she acted so cold. David stood there feeling so ashamed. He was about to walk way when Angela held him by the hand and said to him “I am sorry my brother. I don’t know what’s gotten into my friend. Please you are welcome. Do take a seat and eat with us”. David thought for a second and then sat down. All of them were very quiet. Esther pretended like she didn’t know who he was. David kept on looking at her, while eating. Finally, Angela decided to break the silence.
Angela: So, bro what department are you in?
Angela: Ok. That’s great. I hear you guys have a lot of foreign lecturers?
David: Yes, sure. Actually, more than half of our lecturers are foreigners. And you, what are you studying?
David: Hmm, you want to take care of us when we are sick?
Angela: Hahaha. Yes! And I hope you will also help to bring development to our economy
David: I will try. Can my children come to your hospital for free?
The two laughed as they continued their discussion. David was such a funny man. Esther kept quiet, but deep within her she wanted to join them and laugh with them. However, she looked across the table and saw Janet talking to Naomi and pointing to her, laughing. Esther was getting nervous again. She stood up violently and left David and Angela. They both looked at her in astonishment. “What is wrong with your friend?” David asked. “I really don’t know. This is the first time I am seeing her behave this way. Are you sure you’ve never done something wrong to her? Do you know her?” Angela said. David smiled “Well, the only thing I know is that I have never done anything wrong to her. Maybe she just doesn’t like me. Anyway, I guess she has her own reasons. So tell me, what made you decide to do this course?” he said, trying to change the topic of discussion. They both continued chatting. Angela laughed so hard because of David’s jokes.
Esther had gone back to her room. They had no classes that evening, so she had a free time. She lay on her bed, thinking about what she had just done to David. She felt rather bad, but she convinced herself that she did not want her roommates to think David was her lover. After a while, Janet and Naomi came back. Janet was smoking cigarette. “Madam Pastor. So you are trying to pretend that you are not seeing that boy hein?” Janet said. Esther got upset, rose up and said firmly “Please stop it. Just stop it! How many times will I tell you that I am not seeing anyone? David is just a friend”. Janet burst out into laughter. Naomi looked at her and said softly “Janet, stop troubling Esther. She has told you that they are just friends. Leave the poor girl alone!” Janet went to sit near Esther, and putting her hand on her shoulder, said “Don’t mind Janet. She behaves like a detective. But now tell me the truth, is that boy asking you out?” Esther’s eyes opened wide: “No he is not. He is just my friend” she said.
Naomi: Listen, I know how most of these small boys here behave. Once they see a new student, they will start moving around her like hungry puppies, looking for an opportunity to eat the forbidden fruit. You need to be careful with them
Janet: And you know what! Most of them have nothing to offer you except their dirty mouths that smell like a poultry house. You need to have class. You don’t just move with anyone, including your short friend with glasses. There is nothing you can learn from her. University is a training ground. You are not supposed to leave this place the same way you came.
Esther: I like Angela. She is a good person. And I don’t think I am complaining about anything. I am perfectly alright
Janet: Well, if you say so. But just know that you look so much like a village girl. The kind of clothes you wear, I haven’t seen them in like 15 years.
Naomi stood up and shouted “Janet! Will you stop being so rude?” Janet continued “But I am saying the truth. She looks like a grandma. I am even sure that small boy laughs at her. But since the only thing he wants is to sleep with her, he will never tell her the truth”. Esther stood up from the bed and ran out of the room. She went behind the dormitories and cried. She felt like calling her dad to tell her that she was quitting, but she remembered that her phone was back inside the room. She definitely didn’t want to face Janet for a while. She sat down on a wooden bench and cried “God, why did you bring me to this school?” she said. She missed home, especially her mother. David had been looking for her after having his lunch. He thought she would be at her favorite place under the trees, but she wasn’t. He was ashamed to knock on her door as he didn’t want to be seen by Janet and Naomi. He finally saw her behind the dormitories. No sooner did Esther see him than she started running away. David ran after her. Some students, who were present, looked in amazement. David finally caught up with her.
“Esther, what is wrong with you? What wrong have I done to you?” He said, pulling her hand towards him. When Esther turned to look at him, David noticed that she had been crying. “Esther, what is going on? Why are you crying? You know you can count on me. Talk to me please” he said. Esther wiped her tears and said pointing to her clothes “You think that I look like a village girl don’t you? Just because I don’t dress sexy the way other girls do, you think I am a fool right? Well you have to understand that this is the way I am and I like it. You can find other girls to sleep with, not me. I am a child of God and today you have been exposed”. David started laughing. Esther got even more upset “You think this is a laughing matter, don’t you? You can’t plan evil against me and succeed. Leave me alone and let me concentrate on my studies, please!” she shouted.
David strongly held her by the hand “Listen young lady. I don’t know what you are talking about and I am not ready to listen to such stupidity. Who told you that I am after your body? I have so many things to worry about in my life, don’t add to the stress. I am sure those useless girls you call your roommates have poisoned your mind by telling you lies about me. They are lucky that I am no longer the fighter I used to be; otherwise I would have caused them to parade naked in the hallway for all to see. And as for you, if you can be so naïve to believe any single thing that you are told, then you definitely don’t deserve to be my friend” he said and walked away.
Esther was speechless. She had never imagined seeing David like that. She looked at him as he left and shouted “David, David, please let’s talk”. David continued walking, ignoring her and eventually disappearing from her view. Esther went to sit down on the bench. She cried again. After a few minutes, she went back to her room. Janet went to give her a hug “Oh my dear Esther, I am really sorry if you were hurt by what I said. I didn’t mean to hurt you my dear. You know, I am a very frank person and if I like someone, I always tell the person the truth without any strings attached. You can ask Naomi if you want. Sometimes, we get into a fight when I tell her the full blown truth, not because I hate her but because I love and care about her. You are our roommate now and we need to be like sisters because you never know where you’ll find yourself tomorrow” she said.
Esther felt much better, although she was still thinking about David. Naomi said “You know Esther, you have to understand that you are no longer a kid. Your parents who sent you to University should understand that you have the right to live the life you want”.
“But I love the life I am living right now. I am not complaining. If you really want to be my friends as you say, then you will need to accept me just the way I am” Esther said, wiping out her tears.
“Ohh, don’t cry my dear. Ok, ok, ok. We won’t disturb you again about that boy or how you dress ok? We accept you for who you are. Now wipe those tears and put a smile on that doll face of yours. Don’t you know that you look like a rabbit when you cry?” Naomi said. Esther smiled.
To be continued