If you missed Part 2, Read it HERE
Patricia stared wide eyed at the light complexioned woman behind the counter as if she was seeing a ghost.
“What do you mean the check has been cancelled by the issuer?” She asked the fat woman with tight cornrows that helped highlight the high forehead that shone brilliantly under the overhead recessed lights of the banking hall. The woman tried to smile but it came out as a grimace.
“I am sorry but that is all I can tell you for now.” The woman motioned to the man behind Patricia to step forward and he did. Patricia felt numb, she tried to move out of the way of the man pushing to the front of the line but her legs refused to obey her.
“Good Afternoon,” The man in green over-sized suit greeted the woman behind the counter, passing her a cheque and a green plastic I.D card. Patricia felt the slight pressure from the man’s hipbone as he gently pushed her out of the way. She obliged the man, leaning on the wall beside the counter as her heart raced with a thousand emotions.
What was happening? Did Tola cancel the cheque?
She felt betrayed as she remembered his kind words and gentleness two days ago when they went out
for dinner. She noticed a few people on the line begin to regard her with interest. She straightened up and hoisted her bag to her shoulder with a sigh. There was nothing more she could do. The porter at the hostel was definitely going to kick her out now. Thoroughly dejected, Patricia walked from the bank at Alagomeji to the bus stop where a few people stood in the afternoon heat waiting for the rickety yellow and black buses that usually drove with reckless abandon. The steady stream of cars on Herbert Macaulay road whipped her ankle length dress around her legs, sometimes molding her figure to perfection but Patricia didn’t care. She walked on wooden legs to join the crowd that stood in front of Sweet Sensation, feeling as if her heart had been ripped from her chest.
As the cream arch of the school gate rose into view, she began to weigh her options. She could choose to ask Onyinye one more time for help as she has always done or she could try other ways to raise the money. She remembered that night a week ago when she met Tola for the first time. Runs was the last thing she wanted to be involved in again. She prayed hard and hoped the three notes of one thousand naira in her cupboard sustained her long enough for another option to come up.
“Gate!” The scrawny looking conductor with dirty white singlet and green jeans trouser screamed into the afternoon air, his right leg leaving the door of the bus from where he hung and suspending in the air.
“Owa!” One fat woman answered with a loud voice, dragging two bleary eyed children by their thin arms as the bus drew to a stop in front of the school gate. Patricia followed after the woman and walked towards the campus with the realization that she was considering a familiar conversation with Pero.