AFTER SPENDING two more weeks at home, Toyin went back to school. She was still confused about Jerry. Though he had phoned twice since his first call, each time telling her how much he loved and missed her, but she still couldn’t forget Juliet’s warning and the fact that she had seen Jerry leaving Gloria’s room.
Back in school, she couldn’t concentrate on anything she was doing. She was gradually losing weight and was very unhappy.
“Toyin, you’ve been very sad since you came back from home, hope nothing is wrong?” Ngozi her course-mate and friend asked concernedly.
“Nothing is wrong.” Toyin smiled weakly.
“If you have any problem, you know you can always confide in me.” Ngozi was not convinced.
She was sure something was wrong and though she didn’t make a habit of prying into other people’s personal problems, she was just very worried about Toyin.
“Is it something to do with Juliet?” She asked.
“Of course not.” Toyin laughed. “What gave you that idea?”
“Well, everyone knows that Juliet can be bitchy and quarrelsome at times.” Ngozi answered.
“Yes, she can be.” Toyin agreed. “But we’ve been getting along so far.”
“Well, if that’s not the problem and you are sure you don’t want to talk about it yet, then I’ll be on my way. I have an assignment.” Ngozi got up from the chair she was sitting.
“Okay, thanks for stopping by.”
Toyin escorted her out and came back to her room. She felt so depressed and wished she had talked it over with Ngozi. She was such a nice girl, she thought.
She turned sharply as someone knocked on the door. It was Juliet; she was back.
“Hello.” Juliet greeted smiling.
“Hi.” Toyin answered a bit stiffly. “How was your journey?”
“Oh, very tiring.” Juliet answered.
They lapsed into silence, each to her thoughts. Juliet was thinking how thin Toyin was looking and Toyin was thinking how beautiful Juliet was becoming. She must be very happy, she thought. Anyway, who wouldn’t be? No one had her type of problem, she thought in self-pity.
“You are looking sickly.” Juliet commented, breaking the silence.
“Oh, I’m not sick.” Toyin answered hastily. “I’m alright. Just tired of life.”
“Anything the matter?”
“Everything is the matter.”
“Everything? Like what?” Juliet asked. She could guess what the matter was but she didn’t want to ask Toyin directly.
“Oh, never mind.” Toyin answered airily. She felt that Juliet was the last person she should discuss her problems with. Especially problems that concern Jerry.
“You don’t feel like discussing it with me, right?” Juliet guessed.
Juliet was relieved. Though she would never admit it openly, she envied Toyin a lot. She hadn’t been sure if Jerry and Gloria were really lovers, she had purposely told Toyin that just to break her and Jerry up. And even though she now regretted her action, she didn’t know how to change it or what to do. And she was too ashamed to confess.
Some hours later, someone knocked on their door but Toyin was too tired to move.
“Julie, please can you check the door?” She said to Juliet, who was reading at the reading desk near her bed.
Juliet opened the door and was taken aback. What can he be doing here? She thought.
“Hi, Julie.” Jerry greeted, smiling. “Is Toyin in?”
“Yes, she is.” Juliet managed to smile back. “Come in, please.”
Toyin had sat up abruptly on hearing Jerry’s voice. She was surprised to see him. She hadn’t seen him for over four weeks.
“Hello, Toyin.” Jerry greeted as he entered the room.
“Hello.” Toyin greeted back.
“Errm, Toyin I’ll finish my reading in the library.” Juliet said, moving quickly to the door. “See you around, Jerry.”
“Have a sit.” Toyin invited politely as soon as Juliet left the room.
“Thanks.” Jerry said. He was looking at her critically and she felt uneasy. “You look so thin.” He observed.
“Not thin, just slim.” Toyin snapped.
Jerry was surprised at the tone she used. Was this really just about him behaving badly to her? “Are you alright?” He asked.
“Of course I’m alright.” Toyin answered airily.
“Are you sure?”
“Oh Jerry, please leave me alone.” Toyin replied angrily. “I’m just tired, okay.”
Jerry was taken aback by her outburst. What could really be wrong? He wondered.
“I hope you know that the only reason I haven’t been able to see you is because of work. I travelled and since I returned I’ve been busy at the office.” He said, changing the subject.
“I bet.” Toyin mumbled.
Jerry was now sure something was wrong. Something other than the fact that he had acted rudely last time they saw each other.
“You are not angry with me because I didn’t make tome to come and see you, right?” He asked jokingly.
“Why should that bother me?” Toyin replied sharply. “Your time is your own, so do with it what you want.”
Toyin hated to act like a wicked and rude person but she was so depressed, angry and hurt. And since Jerry was the cause of it all, she felt like hurting him too. So instead of saying anything, she hissed and faced the wall.
“I think I’d better be going.” Jerry said, standing up. “When you are ready, you can come talk to me.”
Toyin didn’t say anything, she just watched him leave. When the door closed after him, she threw her body down on the bed and started crying.
She continued crying until she fell asleep. The next morning, she felt even worse.