The day he died, he had sex. It was his first time. He did not die during the act, no. He was moaning sensually and wishing it would never end. But it did end, and his life with it.
It happened on a Sunday. The boy had just woken up in his room at a very strange time: 4am. He was not sure what woke him up. But when he sat up and yawned, he realized that his boxers was wet and somehow sticky.
“Not again!” He whispered as he got up and made to clean himself. All his roommates were still asleep. Buru was sleeping like a dog. His bed was on the floor and on his bunk was a heap of dirty clothes and waste paper. Half of his body was on the bed and the other half was on the floor. He mouth lay wide open, like that of an Israelite waiting for divine manner. The twins were snoring; Mark and Matthew. The boy ignored them and checked his own bunkmate. Ala was sleeping quietly. If not for the regular heaving of his bare hairy chest, one would have thought him a dead man.
The boy sighed. This was his fourth time in seven days.
The first time it happened, he just washed himself and went back to sleep. Releasing semen was a normal thing, he had been told by his Biology teacher. ‘Once your sac is full, it finds a way to empty itself and does so by releasing especially when you’re asleep,’ she had said with a tone of uncertainty. So, the first time, it did not matter much. The second time also. The third birthed a fear in him. Why is my sac getting full so fast? What is happening to me? And then he had asked his bunkmate, Ala. Ala had confessed honestly that he had not experienced such a rush in his entire life of seventeen years. He had advised him to ask Buru who was the eldest in the room. Buru was twenty-one years old. He was too old for secondary school. When he told him about his excessive release, his advice scared him.
“It has happened to me before, you see, ” Buru started with. “But here is the thing, you just need to do something to stop it. It happens to everybody, you see. (Buru was fond of saying you see. The boy hated that.) There are three things you can do. First, let it keep plaguing you and do nothing. ”
“Forever?” The boy exclaimed. That was no option, he thought.
“You see, that’s the first. The second thing you can do is to pleasure yourself. ”
“Like masturbate?” The boy asked in shock.
The boy gave him a searching look. It was not surprise that made him to do. It was doubt. If Buru claimed he did not know the meaning of the word, he would not be surprised. Buru was a dullard, everyone knew. How else could you explain his inability to spell simple words like rhythm and curiosity.
“Don’t worry. Go on, ” the boy said after he was convinced that Buru was actually a fool with an empty skull.
“Okay. The third, which I did during my own plague is to meet a girl. ”
The boy knew what he meant. That day, he had walked away regretting that he ever discussed his problem with the overgrown idiot.
But the words that had been planted in his heart did not walk away. Like seeds on an empty fertile ground, they took root and stayed firm. Little by little, they grew and remained firm, waiting for the harvest.
He returned from his wash and went to the room. Buru was completely on the floor now. The twins had increased the volume of their annoying snores. Ala was as peaceful as a dove.
The could not sleep. He just sat down on his bed and waited and thought about everything that had been happening to him.
I can’t continue like this. This is a new week. Today is Sunday; a sacred day.
A hour went.
By 7am, all his roommates except his bunkmate were already up. The twins and Buru never went to church. Only he and Ala did. But today, he was feeling strange. He did not feel the urge to go to church. Today, church was like a boring and useless Chemistry class he had to go so as to mark himself present.
As Buru and the twins made to go to the classrooms, he followed them.
“You’re not going to church?” Mark, one of the twins asked.
He shook his head subconsciously, his head down in shame and guilt. When he looked up, they were not on the way to the classrooms.
“Wait. Wait, guys. We are not going to the classrooms?”
Buru laughed. “No buddy. We’re off to the Other Side.”
The Other Side… They were going out of school… Illegally. “This is what you do every Sunday?”
“Yeah, buddy. Every fucking Sunday. You see, do you think we’d still be students if we told you and that your SU bunkie every Sunday where exactly we are going?”
“You lied to me?” The boy felt foolish.
“Everybody lies my guy. It’s in our biology, you see, “Buru said. The twins laughed.
“I am very sure you meant genes,” one of them said. The other laughed at him.
“Whatever. Are you coming or not? ” Buru asked.
Three pairs of eyes were fixed on him. I can’t go to the Other Side. It’s illegal. I can’t disobey the school. “No,” he said and made for the classrooms.
The classrooms were quiet. They always were on Sunday. Every student was expected to be in the church or mosque. The boy was not going to church today, that was settled.
He found an empty classroom and entered and resumed his thoughts. My excessive release. He had no one else to ask. He was sure if he should call his mother, she would attribute it to some strange family witches who wanted him impotent. Am I impotent? No, no. I can’t be ejaculating if I’m impotent. But…what if I actually am? Should I do this thing Buru is suggesting?
He imagined himself with a girl, naked together in some bush behind their Agriculture laboratory. The thought of it excited him. And immediately, he was already thinking of which girl. There were many who liked him in his class. Every girl likes a brilliant boy. He blushed and laughed at himself. He was happy and alive. The names were rotating his head and he was losing control of his senses. Bola, Shade, Ada, Mariam, Sabina, Rofiat, Damisi, Dasola, Solape, Chidinma, Blessing, Esther… Many names! He knew most of them would not be in church. Only Damisi was the SU among them. The others would probably be in their hostel or on the Other Side. He felt his member rise and he got up. He had to do something.
Ada was his surest bet. That one, he need only ask or give the sign. She would understand immediately. She had once sent him a paper with the letter ‘I’ in the ‘v’part of the letter ‘Y’. When he asked Buru what it meant, he said it was a call. “She wants to do you,” he had said. That was two weeks before. If only I can get Ada now, he thought as he sat down and dropped his head on the table before him.
When he woke up, his boxers was wet and sticky again. I have to wash, he said frightfully. He stood up and looked out of the window. Outside was as empty as a graveyard. He got out of the classroom and turned to the direction of his hostel. It was then he heard the call.
Ada’s voice. He turned back and saw her waving from a window of one of the junior classes. An answered prayer. He was in the classroom in jiffy. There was no one else within except the girl.
“Good morning, Ada. ”
“Morning to you too. You didn’t go to church? ” She asked looking up. There were some books in front of her and a broken mirror. Her face was bright. Beautiful. But her voice was more beautiful.
“No. I was a little bit down today,” he said. A sad look surfaced on her face. She cares about me, he thought. And then he added, “Can I see you for a minute?”
“Hope no problem? ” She looked disturbed. Or is it fear he glimpsed?
“See, I was going to tell you. If it’s about the Y note, I wasn’t… ” Ada began
“Yeah, it’s about that. Just that… I… I wanna… I wanna do too. ”
She covered her mouth with her two hands in shock and for a fleeting moment, he knew he had failed. Only when she removed the hands, her lips stretched in a smile.
She grabbed his hand and got up.
“Where are we going? ”
“The toilet. ”
It was not the usual toilet he always visited. It was the staff toilet which was always locked that she took him to. She provided a key and the entered and locked them in.
“Where… Where did you get that?”
“A teacher forgot it with me.”
She straightened up and began undressing. The boy could feel his member on fire. Ada was the girl. She removed her skimpy skirt and flung it aside.
“Do you want to do it with your dress on?” She asked as she brought her naked body closer to him and started removing his trousers.
In less than a minute, they were on fire. It was fun. She moaned like a chick in pain that the boy first thought he was hurting her until she whispered, “You’re so much fun.” He enjoyed it. The life. The energy. The sounds. Her body. The touch of their body together. He so much enjoyed it he wished it would never end. But it did end.
He soon got tired and slid down from atop her. Her chest was heaving up and down. Same with his. It was as if he had just finished carrying some 50kg weight.
“We should do this again right? ”
“S…su…sure, “he managed to say.
“I love you. You know that right? ”
“I.. I love you too. ”
She got up and began to dress. He did the same. And they kissed, like one of those things they did in movies. They pressed their lips together and opened their mouth. Their mouths were busy and so was their hands.
She broke away first. “We are never going to stop if we continue. We should do it again next week, abi? ”
When he woke up the next morning, he was wet again. This time around, it was more. The time was 5am. Why again? Why?
He found Buru in the bathroom.
“It hasn’t stopped, Buru. ”
“What? ” the stupid boy asked.
“My release. It’s become more.”
“Oh.. That? It will keep coming until you do the needful. Three options you remember? ”
“I have done it…yesterday. ”
“What? You… You pleasured yourself? ” he looked surprised.
“No…the third option. ”
“Jesus! ” That was the first time he would hear Buru say ‘Jesus’
“You seriously…like had sex?” He is surprised. Why is he surprised? The boy wondered.
He nodded. “You said it was going to stop. It hasn’t. See, ” he showed Buru his erected member.
“Whao! That’s a huge thing you got down there… But.. I was just joking. I never knew you took it seriously. ”
No. No. No. I must have heard him wrongly. It’s all a lie? “What did you say? ”
“I mean, I never knew you took it serious. I was just…you see…joking. ”
“You.. You lied to me? ”
“Come on. Every body lies. It’s in our biology, I told you. Anyways, I’m sure you enjoyed it. Who was it? Ada, the Y girl? ”
The boy walked away. Buru knows. Buru knows I had sex with Ada. And Buru is a parrot. The school has known already. The whole school. And then my parents. My family.
He did not know where he was going. He just went. He was lost. He was dying. He had had sex…the unforgivable sin. He had sinned against the Holy Spirit. He would die and go to hell. He remembered the sermon his pastor at home had preached during their Teen Camp.
“A woman is like the devil, Lucifer himself in clothes. When you behold the nakedness of a woman, you behold the deceiver in all his nakedness. ”
He had seen Ada’s nakedness. He had seen Lucifer. He had slept with Lucifer, the enemy of God. He felt dirty…unworthy.
I ought to die. I ought to die.
He found himself in the Sports Office. It was just 6am and the whole place was still empty save for a student sleeping on one of the High Jump beds. The room was filled with sport equipments and things. Javelin, discuss, high jump stands, batons, sneakers, boots, tug of war ropes… His eyes stopped their and his head started working. A rope… That was all he needed. As he walked out, the only thing he saw was his wasted life reflecting in Ada’s broken mirror and the rope in his hands.
The whole school woke up to the horrible sight. There was a crowd beneath the tree beholding the hanging boy. The news had been carried by the sleeping boy in the Sports Office who was on his way to the dining hall for breakfast. He claimed the boy was still alive when he saw him dangling and ran down for help. By the time the whole school got there, the boy was gone.
Ala cried when he saw his bunkmate hanging loosely like a bag of dry bones.
“What was his name? ” a strange girl beside him asked.
“His name, ” Ala was shocked..shocked that in the space of ten minutes, everything about his friend was now was…past tense. Ala looked into the girl’s eyes before he answered. “His name… His name was Joseph. ”
Slowly, the girl said, “RIP, Joseph. ”
Ignorance is the mother of failure. Don’t be ignorant.