‘It’s just a phone, calm down’ I whispered to myself. All I had to do was bend and pick it up before someone stepped on it.
It’s just that, I was sandwiched and I could not move to leave alone bend. If only I knew this was the kind of trouble and torture one endured fighting a losing battle named deadline I would....... What actually would I do? Nothing, because I am always a punctual person. Scratch that, was, is the key term. I was once a punctual person until college.
I tried to move a bit to create some space so I could pick up my phone. The person behind me in the queue was a man so I found it oddly funny to bend over, the scene would look like those dirty dances. In full force I have pushed again forward, crossing my fingers as a foot was just a few inches into stepping on my phone neither could I risk coming out of the line, once you step out there is no going back and I had been queueing since morning.
College was supposed to have mature people who could simply do simple tasks like queuing. These people were just big babies behaving like colonialists scrambling for a country by cutting in lines and pushing others.
“Still where I left you” my roommate Lydia just appeared from nowhere, yeah not exactly. She was from her lunch break.
“What do you expect they have been on lunch break for the last two hours” I spoke irritated.
“poor you, you must be starving” I was sure she was laughing at me.
“Could you please pick that phone for me” I spoke pointing at it.
I do not know where another tornado came from, but I felt myself moving forward. I closed my eyes fighting back tears as I heard the cracking sound of my phone. I mourned for all the perfect memes for different feelings and occasions I had stored in my phone gallery.
“Oops!” Lydia exclaimed
There was silence and if not everyone most people turned trying to identify where the sound came from. I could see their sympathetic looks. Nobody is dead, it’s just a phone. I wanted to scream at them. I just hoped also they not only felt sympathetic to the street children or anyone who needed help, but they also empathized with them whenever they came across them.
I wanted to be mad at the girl who had crushed my world. I just couldn’t when she stared back saying all manner of sorry.
“My God I am sorry, I am so sorry.....dear God sorry” The girl repeatedly sang.
Was she saying sorry to me or God? She might have been trying to compose a worship hymn.
I waited for her to say the correct words like ‘I’ll buy you a new one’. All she offered were apologies which were not good enough but I pretended and said ’it’s okay, not your fault.
The truth was that I hated the phone model. My father bought me the phone while I was still in high school. My whining to get a better model like Samsung or iPhone got me nowhere. I even washed his car and polished his shoes for a week!
I remember last month I intentionally smashed it against the floor, only for my father to have it fixed and wrap it as if it was new. You can imagine my disappointment when I opened the box. That was one of those rare occasions I saw my mum laugh so hard.
I was sure this time I was getting a phone as I held the beyond repair phone.
“Let’s get out of here, I’ll show you how we are going to get served without queueing” Lydia suggested.
“Do I have to remind you, I am two weeks older than you in this university?”
I Stood for some minutes thinking, tomorrow was the deadline for student registration. I was yet to have my units registered and my student portal activated. I checked where the queue started to where it ended. At least I wasn’t the last one.
“Okay, wait for the next tornado, your teeth will be next. I’m out of here” She spoke when she realized I was hesitant.
Screw this. I followed her.
It has been two weeks since I walked or to say stumbled into this University. After a week of confusion, I finally managed to find my class and classmates. Only to find out they had already formed groups and I couldn’t charm my way to be included in any of those groups. That is a problem for another day.
“I’m so hungry, do you have anything I can eat?”
“Just because I do a course in food and dietetics doesn’t mean I am always carrying food” Her eyes glimmered with humor.
“Don’t finish the juice” She said as she gave me her juice and a sandwich. I just rolled my eyes
Lydia was a foodie, every morning she had to pack food for her to eat throughout the day. I remember first when I walked into my room. I was greeted by three pairs of eyes. The room had two bunk beds so we were going to be four roommates. They all cheerfully greeted me making me feel more welcomed. As days went by I grew fond of Lydia since we were both freshmen and we loved playing Euro truck, FIFA, and Grand Theft Auto. Being the only child of my father made me more of a tomboy.
Within seconds I was done eating and feeling more alive.
“So what is the plan?” I asked.
Instead, she took my hand and dragged me towards the administration washrooms. My blood was boiling with anticipation of what was to come.
Minutes later we walked out. I could feel weird stares on me.
“Lydia, people can tell it’s fake” I tried to keep my voice low.
“Just play along, you look so fine.....I have to take a photo of this” she spoke trying to suppress her laughter. Then before I could blink the flashing light of her camera almost blinded me.
“You are a savage, we are savages”
“Please....” she rolled her eyes twisting her lips.
When we emerged at the finance block the queue had grown twice longer.
If her plan failed, I might as well call off the semester.
“Now do like I instructed, one hand on your back the other one use it to rub your swollen tummy...
“like this” I pretended to rub my swollen tummy.
“Nice, now walk as if in pain but also savoring this magical experience of pregnancy”
I raised my head and started walking. I can do this, I can’t do this. I don’t know the fact that I was mostly self-conscious but as I walked I could hear accusing voices of not only did I have sex but it was also unprotected.
It was embarrassing, even though it was fake.
So far so good, I had not heard any complaints as I was budding the queue moving to the front.
“for you to be served without queueing you have to pretend you are pregnant” I laughed hard when Lydia initially said that. “People turn soft on any pregnant lady, someone may even offer to do the registration for you, just trust me” she insisted and I trusted her. Her plan was working, people were too kind to excuse a pregnant girl. Finally, I was at the front of the queue.
“It’s okay ma’am, you can go before me” a familiar male voice spoke.
I looked up. I was so busted.
He stared at me, looked down at my belly then my face again. It’s like he was trying to remember if we ever meet. I have a very photographic memory the moment I saw his face I knew it was the histoplasmosis guy.
I will never forget that term. Histoplasmosis.
“Next” a woman’s voice called from the counter.
“You go ahead” he spoke.
“Thanks” I sweetly replied.
I looked back after I took some steps. He had a big smile on his face. He remembered me.