JOURNEY PART 1 by sharon


"What do they want from me." I adjusted my glasses. Holding my file firmly, my eyes darted anywhere but their direction just to avoid their stare.
  Was I just paranoid, or was it my mind playing tricks on me. It was 8:30 in the morning, but why am I sweating so much?
 "Esther just hold it in, you are almost there." I looked up from time to time to confirm there's no wall, or if I'm almost there.
It was a long way from the gate, walking down the road which leads to the admin block where the Screening or is it clearance is scheduled to hold.  I had to walk past different people who would just not concentrate on their destination. 
My consciousness increased with each person I passed along the way.  When they laughed behind me, it sounded like a bell.
"is it my hair?"  "Are they laughing at me?." I increased my pace but not in a way to draw any more attention to myself.
By the time I had gotten quite some distance from them, I had a clearer view of the school environment. From what I saw in the school website– it looked quite different. The admin block was like a few minutes walk away from the health centre, and  the library was close to the admin block.
 I was almost there but I still felt uneasy; sweat kept pouring like rain drops. Its not like I cared much about my perspiration. Afterall I don't apply makeup. The crowd was overwhelming. I made sure my shirt was well tucked in my pinafore. At least I have to clean my face, the sweating was becoming something else.
"Where is my handkerchief." Silly me, I don't have one. "Well let me just make do with my hands."
 Quickly I wiped it off with my hands, making sure no one noticed. Finally I got there;  the exercise was being carried out in one of the lecture halls. That's when I figured that the exercise was not actually taking place at  the admin block. I just had to go with the crowd. Everyone was holding their files, some were arranging their documents, the classes were built in such a way that an opening was in the middle where flowers were planted and adequately taken care of.
There were about five members of  Staff  in charge of checking the documents.
"Are you blind?"
One of the staff that looked like he was a villain in those Indian movies, with his scary glare and twisted moustache,  threw the file back at the guy who was by now too scared to say anything. He just picked the file and came out trying to arrange it in the right way.
 I drew closer to a group of guys, arranging their own file, quickly memorized the pattern of arrangement and went back to my hiding place to arrange mine. My hiding place was a small corner behind a flower, where I sat observing every detail; Since it was not yet time for those in my department to be cleared.
"All mechanical engineering students come this way." The nicest of them beckoned on us to gather in front of the next class forming a queue. Relieved that I won't have to meet that grumpy man, I followed the crowd closely trying to look out for more girls. I heard that girls rarely studied mechanical engineering but I never expected it to be this bad.
"Hey stop there!"
"who is that unlucky fellow." I thought as I increased my pace to meet up with them.
"You on glasses stop now." His voice was close.
I had my glasses on,  but I did not stop nor did I look back. "Please not me, please not me." I continued ignoring him.
"Hey! he is referring to you." A petit guy tapped me from behind. I turned, my hands sweating, everyone's attention was diverted to my direction. Each direction I faced, their stare followed me, so I focused on my file pretending to be searching for something.
"Where do you think you are going to?."  Veins were popping out of his forehead.
" " I stuttered.
"Are you in mech department?." He scoffed.
My brain did a little spinning and calculations before I understood that mech was actually short for mechanical. "Esther something as simple as that you will still think."
"Yes sir." I quickly replied before the angry lion will devour me.
"I give you just one year and you will be thrown to science where you belong." He looked at me with scorn." These girls don't know what engineering is all about." He hissed.
I could no longer hold it in anymore. "Sir I will show you that I'm more than capable to study mechanical engineering."
 I glared pointing at his face. I even addressed him as "sir" he should be grateful.
"Why are you frowning and bullying everyone as if we are the reason why your life is so miserable." I adjusted my glasses feeling like a superstar  as everyone clapped at my bravery.
"Hey why are you just standing there mopping at me, do you have something to say?" he asked impatiently.
"No sir."
I grumbled and met up with them at the back of the queue. Like a rain drenched puppy, I stood behind one garrulous fellow.  He had been for as long as I could recall,  and loudly at that, laughing and stepping on me.
 I struggled to keep my balance. He was trying to act like "Bovi." that famous comedian but all his jokes were lame to me. He almost shoved me down, and I pushed him away from me.
"What is it?." He turned sharply.
"Why this girl dey romance me na." He shouted aloud. 
Trying to create a scene or give people something to laugh about. Yeah right he got exactly what he wanted and with a flash his fans started laughing.
"And you nor even reach for me to manage. All these child abuse" He laughed loudly.
"I did...I was..." My eyes were already teary.
"What is your problem? Why must you make fun of people like that?"
 Someone voiced out from the front; and it was a feminine voice.
"Why don't you  mind your business." He attacked.
"Its my business. You said  she's child abuse. Is it her fault that you are in 100level at this age?" she retorted.  Everyone laughed and that got him quiet.
I smiled and was happy that someone could stand up for me. Its not like I didn't want to speak out but I get so scared of facing people. Even when I had a million words to say; it all gets stuck in my throat.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a good look at her,  because she was at the front. After I finally got cleared, I pondered on the long list of things left to complete.
 I bumped into her on my way to secure a hostel space.
"Hey it was you right? the one that guy made fun of."
She asked staring at me curiously. She looked like a guy and her hair cut made it even worse. Wearing a big  black T-shirt, jean and a big white sneakers. "She would have been a very cute guy" I thought to myself.
"Hmm yes than..."
"See; you better smart o. Na University you  enter so." She looked at me with keen interest.
"I nor sure say u fit survive for this department at all. But anyhow sha where you dey go now?." 
"I want to secure hostel space." I smiled.
"Ok..ermm what's your name." She switched to English, after noticing that i was not in the pidgin speaking class.
"My name is Esther."
"Okay I am Zuby. Just hold on a second, let's go together."
 She rushed over to a kiosk nearby to buy something. I felt a bit at ease for the first time since I stepped into the school premises. But still, I had a big problem. Staying with five girls in a room, it gave me goosebumps. I cried a lot when my dad wanted me to attend a boarding school and somehow, I managed to evade that.
Staying off campus was not an option to my dad.
"Hey what are you thinking about?." Zuby hit me almost paralyzing my arm.
"This girl is just something else." I thought, as we quickly went to secure hostel space which was 'first come, first serve.'  

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