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Friends? (By Barbara Ann Andoh)

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I placed my backpack in the corner where I always placed it and cleaned my desk with a tissue before I sat down. It had been a great night because I slept well and I was more than ready for classes today. I felt so refreshed. I placed my head on the desk and said a prayer, then took my devotional guide to read since I had not been able to read during quite time. Doreen has asked me to help her pack her books for school since she was late and would be punished by the seniors if she hadn’t finished her work by inspection time so I did at the expense of my quite time. I began to read.

“Sarah?” I looked up. It was Sandra my classmate. “Oh hi Sandra what’s up?” I asked. She sat beside me. “Hi, I just came to say hello. I haven’t seen you the whole weekend and I have been dying to talk to someone”. “About what?” I asked curiously, putting away my devotional guide once again.
“Ummm…. about Kofi?”
“What about him?”
“Well we had a wonderful time this weekend!”

She went on and on about how he showered her with sweet words and gifts and praised her figure. She believed he loved her so much and she loved him right back. Before she entered this relationship, she sought my advice. I told her not to venture, that it was a waste of time but she paid no heed. Well, what the heck? She was enjoying herself and I couldn’t help feeling left out.

“Kneel down!” Miss Osei shouted at us.
“But Miss……..” Sandra and I protested.
“Just kneel down!” She snapped.

We were being punished for being late to class for the first period. Sandra had asked me to escort her to the urinal. I sighed and proceeded to kneel down but Sandra still protested. She whispered something into Miss Osei’s ear and he reluctantly let Sandra take her seat. I expected to be let off the hook too but Miss Osei eyed me and continued teaching. I wondered what Sandra had said to her. This was pretty unfair, I thought. I glared at Sandra who tried hard to avoid eye contact. The class snickered and jeered. I was so angry.

Sandra approached me during snack time.
“Oh! I’m so sorry Sarah. It was Miss Osei’s fault.”
“Ha, how?” I asked annoyed.
“I told her I had soiled my school uniform and had gone to the urinal to wash it and that you escort me so that no one would see. When she asked me to sit down I thought she would let you go too but she didn’t. I am so sorry Sarah, Please forgive me!”

I sighed. It was pointless to be angry. What had happened had already happened.
“You are forgiven Sandra but you lied!”
“Oh! Thank you Sarah!” She exclaimed and hugged me. I smiled. She seemed not to have heard the accusation.
“I am so hungry. Let’s go and get something to eat.

My treat….” Sandra coaxed. I looked at the mathematics text book I had taken out. I had planned to go through the topics the mathematics teacher had told us to study before the test during the snack break. But I was hungry anyway.
“Ok, let’s go but promise we would be back before snack is over?
“I promise!” Sandra exclaimed.

*********************************************************( TO BE CONTINUED)

I lay on my bed trying to sleep but couldn’t. I had wasted the whole day and had studied nothing. It was rest hour now and wasn’t allowed to study. After Sandra and I had return from snack, I took my English reader out and started to read but Neena and Sandra had started a discussion about fashion designers and had roped me in. I couldn’t help it because I admired and adored designers. This discussion continued till the last period when Mrs. Francis our biology teacher came to class and put us into groups to do some practical. Yes! I knew what to do. After rest hour, I’d hurry with my house duties, eat and leave the dormitory early for evening prep so that I could cover more topics. Yes.

I woke up feeling good about my plans. I ate hurriedly and did my work. I prepared to take my bath.
“Sarah, Sarah!” Doreen called.
“Yes Doreen.” I answered.
“There’s a basketball tournament going on right now at the court. It’s between the best teams on campus. Let’s go and watch” she said excitedly jumping up and down. I shook my head.
“Why don’t you go alone?” I asked.
“No. It will be no fun without you. You know how much you like basketball. You know all the tricks…… It is always fun to watch with you…………”
Doreen coaxed. I hesitated.

“Derrick would be playing you know. Tall, fine Derrick………….. Come on, I know you like him, it may be a chance for him to notice you…..” I shook my head and smiled at Doreen’s desperation. I did have a crush on basketball team captain Derrick and I did love basketball. One game wouldn’t be bad. “Ok. Let’s go!” I exclaimed. Doreen smiled broadly. “Atta- girl! Let’s go else we’d miss the action. She pulled me and I ran along.
“Sarah! Stand!” the prep supervisor yelled. I muttered some words and stood. I was so sleepy and could barely keep my eyes open not to talk of reading a word from my textbook so I kept dozing off. I was to stand as punishment. I guess all the excitement of the basketball has gotten me tired. Doreen and I met Sandra and Neena at the basketball court and we screamed and shouted and jumped about just cheering our favourite team on. When they won, we waited behind to congratulate them. Sandra gave Kofi a huge kiss much to my surprise. Doreen also flirted with Kay and Neena smooched with Baffour. I was the only one with nobody to congratulate. It was then Sandra introduced me to Derrick
“Dee, this is my good friend Sarah; Sarah; Dee”
“Hi Sarah. Nice to meet you!” Derrick responded with a cheery smile. I didn’t know he was so friendly.
“Nice to meet you too”. I said shyly. Sarah whispered something into Derricks ear and he smiled even more at me. He took my hand and led me away. We had talked and talked about ourselves and gotten to know each other. Before we parted, he gave me a tight hug and promised to see me after prep.
I was snapped out of my reverie when the bell for prep over was rang. I was all of a sudden wide awake. I was to meet Derrick at the crossroad. He was already waiting there. He beamed with smiles when he saw me approach and hugged me again. He took my hand and walked me to my house. I was so excited. He told me that he loved my smile and that I was very pretty. He said he’d been wanting a girl to call his own for so long and now that he’d found me, he wasn’t ready to let go. My head felt like there was wine in it. I couldn’t think. It was quite fascinating he’d fallen for me so shortly after we’d met. Was I that captivating? All came to a climax as he kissed me passionately before he left for his house. I was so overwhelmed I almost fell. Was this me? I thought I hated this? I spoke against it many times. Or had Sandra’s lifestyle influenced me ? I shook the thought out of my head as I climbed into my bed. Discussions about Sandra’s lifestyle and boyfriend couldn’t influence me, could they?
**********************************************************************************

I woke up with a start.
“Oh No! “I screamed. It was the day of the test and I hadn’t studied a thing. I hurriedly did my house duties and got dressed. Everyone had already left the house for breakfast.

“Asanka”!” Screamed someone as I entered the dining hall. I wondered if he was referring to me. The boys giggled as I walked past their table.
“Asanka!” they chorused. I was confused. I sat at my table and took out my plate, cup and cutlery.
“Good morning.” I greeted. Everyone looked away. I was so baffled I dropped my cutlery. Laughter rang through the dining hall.
“What’s going on?” I asked Danielle who was the only one who seemed indifferent.
“ You don’t know ?”
“No.”
“Well, stories have spread about you that you’re a cheap girl. That anyone can have you anytime he pleases”.
I stopped dead in my tracks
“What?! Who spread such stories?”
“Apparently Doreen. She said Derrick told her all about what he did with you”. Danielle shrugged.
I boiled over with anger. Why would Doreen do such a thing? And why would Derrick tell Doreen what he and I did together? Besides, what had we done that should give the right to call me a chop bar Asanka that anyone can eat in anyway?

The sharing of the test papers interrupted my thoughts. I read through the questions. They were questions I knew but I just couldn’t clearly remember the formulas. I fumbled and messed up. I burst out into tears when the teacher shouted stop work and collected the papers. Surprisingly, no one seemed to notice. They were all jubilating. They had no difficulty at all with the test. I was all of a sudden so angry with myself. Why hadn’t I studied? Why had I wasted so much time? Oh yeah; my friends they always found a way to distract me.
“Sarah!” Sandra called gleefully.
“What ?” I snapped
“What is wrong with you ? you should be happy, everyone is so happy because the test was so easy…..”
“ Oh so it was easy for you huh……. Well how , tell me how because for all I know we spent our days together and I never saw you learning ………” I said angrily.
“ I wake up to learn at dawn Sarah.”Sandra shouted back.
“Ha ! I see , and you never bothered to wake me up to study with you?….”

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