2017.

They didn’t come so frequently anymore, the nightmares. They were more in my head now and that wasn’t okay if you asked me but nobody did. The dolls? The Sanity robbers? Nobody, no one. I’m stuck on my own to answer questions in my head, and in my heart. I’ve created a world of my own, a family of my own yet I don’t feel loved. I’m still that little one craving for affection and running from my nightmares only to discover I don’t want them to stop, rather I want them to continue. The pain and tears, they make me aware that I’m breathing and that’s much more than I could say for my earthly family or imagined family, family of dolls.
I stepped out of the dark and to the area where the little scented candle was lit, I looked out the window, it was dark outside and the nightsky was everything I wasn’t — Peaceful, calm.
'Mhmm..now is the time' my subconscious whispered to me. I knew it was time, always the time when I felt bad, weary and when I let self pity envelop my soul and drop it out for delivery, delivery to the hellhole that was now my comfort zone. I walked steadily to my phone and scrolled to my playlist, clicked on MY TANG and left FALLING on repeat, it was the only song that worked for me, the song that was playing in the background the night it all started. The night it all ended. I blew out the candle and turned on the red light that made the room dim, I got undressed and lay on the cold hard floor. I saw my shadow as I touched my body. I smiled. Tonight, no fancy dresses or role play or wine. Tonight? one word: rough. With my hands there, pain here, anger and fear, they came near...
I knew he was watching, I could feel his cold but yet hot stare boring into me and leaving visible holes. I knew exactly where his right hand was, underneath his pants. His left hand holding a glass of Scotch and swirling it while taking little sips in between his satisfaction. I bit my lower lip in disgust but I didn’t stop touching myself, I couldn’t. That was the deal, that was his thrill and this was my nightmare , one I lived everyday. With no regret.

CHAPTER ONE
 Benin city, Nigeria.

Natasha
 I hated Fridays, yes, the ever common acronym: TGIF, didn’t work for me. I’m thankful for another day, though. Fridays just don’t have a special place in my heart as against popular opinions. Friday was just Friday, like every other day.

It was 8:40am and all I could think of was beer, but no, I woke up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. If only my stepmother understood my hatred for coffee, yes! Another thing that didn’t have a special place in my heart, I could curl up with a beer mug all day but would never do same with a coffee mug, 'no hard feelings cliché, you’re just not my thing’, was all I could think. I yawned, frowned and sauntered to the parlor greeting my ever gleeful stepmother Michelle. One thing, she was more cream than white. British and beautiful- the double b and somehow her early morning face didn’t do it for me, I hated that she woke up looking radiant and my skin looked okay. I had the look of an overly mixed beverage, more Ovaltine in the orange light and more milk in the white light, my complexion was just as confusing as my cravings, even more. I counted myself lucky. I wasn’t necessarily ugly, but I wasn’t attractive either. I was just the mix of the two, ugly on some days, mildly attractive on others.
 I opened the fridge and slammed it back in frustration.

"Who drank all the fucking beer?" I yelled, knowing the answer already.

"You sure do some nerve for someone who drank the last bottle" there was a pause.. "Run to mama Joy and get some. No cuss words in my home!" My stepmother yelled back.

Although, you couldn’t classify it as yelling as being the quiet woman Michelle was, she hardly had any voice higher than the bedroom voice or maybe the bathroom-shout-over-the-running-water voice. The last part accentuated her heavy British accent so I knew this was no joke. I went to get dressed. I thought about Michelle and how much things had changed since her arrival; beer, profane words..

My stepmother tried as much as possible to fit into our culture since she arrived Benin. I could remember clearly when Papa brought her home, she was a nuisance, tried too hard to please everybody it sucked.

It had been hard for me but even harder for Papa when Mama died, I knew that. Not because he cried, he couldn’t shed a drop of tear even if his life depended on it. He was that strong. I knew instead from the way he changed women like they were toys, which got me worried. Only if he changed his clothes that much. He smelled and started to stink, not to mention was getting broke with every passing drunken sex-filled no-hair-cut day. He wasn’t working and he had to put my brother, Junior, and I through school. My brother had been mad but what did it matter, Papa couldn’t hear anyone but himself. He spent long nights out with different women and even longer nights out drinking. He missed Mama. But, two years was a long time.

One night, I heard him talking to his long time friend Andrew, more of arguing. The next morning, he was in his bedroom, sober. This was a first and I was moved. He didn’t see me or hear me for that matter, he was too busy humming his favorite tune, Isabela by Saulti Sol. I didn’t know I was nodding my head to the sound of him humming until I got to the kitchen to make myself breakfast and Junior gave me a quizzical look. He asked me why, and I told him. He was more concerned with me spying on Papa than knowing the details of his packing. I wasn’t amazed, though. Junior was self-centered. I continued making my breakfast of frying pan toast. There was no power input. So, the oil in the frying pan just had to do.

Three months, twenty days, a day after my fifteenth birthday, a few calls and a new boyfriend later, Papa came back with a woman and I wasn’t thrilled. The woman was white, and so beautiful it hurt. I greeted her bending down reluctantly, she bent too thinking it was a tradition. I burst out laughing, even Papa chuckled. She was trying too hard.

I brushed my hair, and now, I still remember all her efforts. She still tried on a daily basis to greet my dad 'Lamogun' and it was exhausting. Why can’t she just say 'good morning' like everybody else? She pronounced it wrongly, not to mention with so much British accent it was repulsive. Even after four years, she hadn’t stopped trying. Throwing the comb on the bed, I raised up my hands to sniff my armpit and realized bathing could wait until later. After all, I was just going down the road to replace the beer I had supposedly finished. I looked at the mirror one last time, and gave up on trying to make my stubborn hair stay away from my forehead.

The day was bright, and I was grateful. This meant clear sky and no rain. I wasn’t completely sure, but it was a thought I was willing to hold on to. The wind was blowing freely as I walked gingerly to Mama Joy’s. I greeted a few people who asked about Michelle. I snarled. Michelle this, Michelle that. It still felt as though I was betraying my mother. These were the same people who always asked about Mama. Now, all I heard was 'Oyinbo nkor?' Annoying, especially when I hardly ever got a reply in response to my good morning first. Betrayal. I sighed and took a silent vow to let nothing come between me and this beautiful morning, the confused neighbours included. I looked ahead and admired the landscapes. Benin had always been a beautiful place, with the sun a little too hot. Benin was hot, I knew that, but beautiful, nonetheless. The dirt road awfully red and dusty, it made you so used to it that without a glance of it in the morning, you’re lost. It’s like the icing on your cake. After a while, you just had to love it, no matter how sloppy. In this case, muddy.

I made a left turn for Mama Joy’s shop praying not to bump into yet another neighbor. Today was my lucky day, I didn’t see anyone but Omo, Mama Joy’s dirty looking daughter playing on the slab just beside my favorite canteen. She was wearing a red shirt that was a little too big for her, no trousers. The size made up for that. On it’s back, "No Worries" was bodly written. I agreed. Kids had little to worry about, except of course, worrying the rain will pour, spoiling their 'Mmababa’. I made a little 'hoo' thinking to scare her, she didn’t budge. She quietly got up from her sand castle, turned around and ran into my open arms.

"Now, there goes my favorite person, buhhh! How far?." I said ruffling her hair, sand came off in the process. I laughed, the day wasn’t going that bad, after all.

Her " I dey." reply came into between giggles. I had gotten better with the faces, I guessed. I carried her on my hips and went inside the canteen. Mama Joy wasn’t there, but she must have heard us as her resounding voice came thundering back.

"Who be that?!! I dey back," she paused obviously in an attempt to spit out something. "Wetin you wan buy ehh?!"

I went around, and met her seated on a stool, locally known as 'joko' at the back. I was right, she had been chewing kolanuts. The remnants were by her on the floor in a torn newspaper that also had her phone on it. The shh..shhh...shheesh of what she had on fire brought my attention to the pan, she was frying cassava, garri. I bent down to greet her while putting Joy on the ground to play with whatever caught her fancy this time and Mama Joy turned from the smoke, cleaning her nose with the side of her wrapper whilst dabbing on the eyes. Her face lit up admist the smoke.

"Eh, Nayteshai my pikin, Guuu-du moore-rin." Now, this was a woman after my heart, she always welcomed me.

I smiled, she still was the only one who couldn’t pronounce my name correctly. She was Hausa, and therefore had a revealing accent. She pronounced words badly too, with so much style you’d mistake for certainty.

"I want to buy one carton of hero, you still have some?" I said batting my eyes, the smoke was getting to me.

Mama Joy gave me the look and laughed, it was the na-only-you-go-school look and a good natured laugh. She did that when anybody talked to her in English.

She went inside to get it and gave it to me. I thanked her and left while she went back to continue frying the garri. Joy waved me goodbye and I waved back.

I headed back home. I had a lot of chores to do. My stepmother already had lunch on fire, it wasn’t even ten yet, I figured it was an Englishman’s thing. Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch..
I asked about Papa, he had gone to work. I dropped the carton by the fridge, placed some cans in it and left for my bedroom. 
I was taking off my trousers when my phone rang. It was Stefani, my best friend.

"Winshhh ohh, what’s up?" 
I laughed, that was our greeting. No hellos or formal greetings, it was too eighteen sixty.

"Idiot, I’m here ehh, this one that you’re calling me this morning ehh, who break your heart?"

"Foooo-oooool." she dragged her reply laughing hard. "Second batch is out, that’s why I’m calling. Check."

I was about to reply when I heard the beep. I laughed, never enough credit as always. I was scared as I was excited. This was it, either I was on this list or I forget about my admission for this year. I picked up my phone from my bed and swiped to unlock, went to my applications and slowly tapped on the opera mini application. This was it.
I took a deep breath while opening the link, I was directed to Uniben’s kofa page and I typed in my login details. The moments before it opened was painstakingly slow and frustrating, I resulted to biting my nails and wistful thinking, I watched the blue light move slowly and wondered if it was all in my head, if it had only been moving for seconds. In a split second, it opened.
Everything was a blur for a moment, finally as the "admitted" registered in my mind, I screamed in joy and ran down the stairs with sagging trousers, phone in hand and a big grin on my face. 
I met Michelle halfway, she had thought I had been hurt. I explained to her and she hugged me tightly, occasionally patting my back like I was a kid. I held back a grin. This Friday wasn’t as terrible after all.

Then I noticed it, the change in weather - Rain. 
I pulled back from Michelle’s arms. Fridays never changed, not for me.


2009.

I remembered I had smelled of dirt, fishes and people. I didn’t mind the dirt or the fishes, but I did mind the awful perfumes mixed with sweat and more attitude than scent.
I had been on my way to play at my then best friend’s house, Lola. She had been good to me and even better for my family. I had been like part of her family, she like part of mine. Friday, the rain had been heavy, terribly heavy. I had just gotten to my junction when it came pouring in loud thuds, I was devastated. I had two options; run back home and grab an umbrella or continue anyway. The first wasn’t so appealing as that would mean voices screaming "stay home!" and I didn’t want to. I had wanted more fun in my life than big screens and old voices. I continued anyway.
I flagged down a bus and it came to a screeching halt in front of me. The conductor jumped down screaming "leu bene, leu bene." I bit my tongue to stop myself from laughing, this had always been the highlight of my going out. I had always wondered why every bus conductor and driver plying these routes pronounced "new Benin" as "leu bene". I hopped in.
The old bus swayed from left or right like a dancer under the influence of alcohol, the roads were bad. And with every pothole and gallop, I bounced to the rhythm. The bus stopped again and I knew another person must have waved it. A man with suit and a briefcase entered the bus taking a seat by me, on my right. A woman was on my left and she smelled of market and rain and fishes.
The conductor soon started collecting money from the passengers and I took out a notebook from my bag to give him mine. It wasn’t there. I flipped through the pages again, same thing. I looked at the outstretched hands pointed towards my direction and shook the book profusely, still nothing. 
Then it hit me, I hadn’t removed the money from the other book to put it in this one. I looked inside my bag as if searching for the money, willing the bus to move faster as I was already close to my destination.
"Oh girl, con gi me my money na. You yus dey look inside bag, dey shake book fi fi fi everywhere. Small girl gi me my money ibeg."
The noise had already been drawing attention, the driver stopped. The passengers began to murmur, some had been more concerned about the stopping than the little girl who couldn’t pay the fare, no one offered to help. The murmuring continued, the driver turned back to ask what was happening and the conductor explained. The driver turned even more to look at me that I was afraid his neck might snap. He hissed.
"Hey you small girl, where you wan for drop?" He asked.
"Medical junction, sir." I couldn’t recognize my voice anymore than I could understand my own weight, I suddenly felt too heavy.
He hissed yet again, started the bus and continued driving.
"If nor be oga ehn, you for trek go reach where you dey go inside this water today as you oh use my money buy sweet mouth na. Nonsense." The conductor said hissing profusely.
We finally stopped at medical junction and I alighted. The rain had reduced considerably now, but still, it drizzled. I shivered. I avoided the gazes that were on me. Even as I walked away, I could still feel the eyes on me.
I crossed over to the other side of the road - I hadn’t looked left or right, I heard cursing and swearing. I hadn’t. I walked into the street and greeted the woman selling fruits,anytime I bought fruits from her, she always gave me one orange. She knew I loved oranges — Or, I had until recently. I breathed in and checked my purple coloured rubber wristwatch — I had been walking for minutes, Lola’s house was five houses away from the junction but still, I had been walking for minutes: not just five houses, also potholes I had to jump, water I had wished I could’ve walked on but I couldn’t, and that left me dodging invisible darts to get around the brownish coloured liquid that occasionally danced in my direction because of the big cars and even bigger idiots controlling them. Soon, I saw the brown gates holding together the Spirogyra spiralled fence that I could’ve have sworn has never been painted once, but I’ve been told otherwise. I pushed the gates open or the breeze did, I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t certain who made the first move. The compound was big for the oddly small bungalow sitting in the middle, the sand was wet and I could see large footprints up until they faded behind the plush welcome rug that was surrounded by shoes and slippers of different sizes, I had left my smaller footprints and shoe behind too. I knocked on the door, no one answered, I shouted Lola’s name, still no answer. I pushed the door open, again, I wasn’t sure of it was me or the breeze that did it first. Just then, I felt the chill, and now, I was sure it was the latter. The rain still threatened with the hollowing wind, I shivered and let out the breath I had no idea I’d been holding. 
The sitting room was the same, save for the silence. The multicoloured throw pillows rested against the beige coloured sofas that curved to face the huge TV screen, above it were numerous framed family photos that were arranged meticulously on the yellowish cream walls. The voom-voom of the rolling ceiling fan only meant someone was still in, so did the huge footprints. I heard a door screech open and soon a loud cough sounded just as the person behind the large footprints and ridiculously loud footsteps emerged through the curtains separating the parlor from the adjoining rooms. I had been right.

CHAPTER TWO

Sam

The hot sun was shinning and glistening on my yellow chest. I could feel the heat meet my body and form a liquid that formed the sweatdrops that dripped from my neck slowly gliding in a zigzagged motion to my chest. Just like every football day, I was shirtless and sweaty. I was lying face up, eyes closed to the sun, not caring. Occasionally, I slapped my leg with cupped palms to kill the sandflies. Always, I missed. It was like pursuing a rat in the dark with your eyes closed, they get to you, but you never. I was spent as could be, my eyes were reeling from all the running and my voice gone from all the shouting. We had lost and somehow, they had blamed it all on me. I was the different one, after all. One wrong pass to the opponent and I became the cause of all the future problems, I wanted to be angry – I couldn’t. Being born an albino had made me familiar with a lot of things. I was different; my yellow skin, my odd eyes, my squint, everything. There was no denying it, even when I dyed my hair black, it was still there like a stigma. It was a stigma. Everywhere I went I heard stale jokes and basically everywhere, unintelligent remarks not to mention outrightly rude ones, were made. I had ignored then, still do.

"Ebo, you nor dey see abi...?" I shut my eyes tighter in an attempt to shut him out, I knew it was David. The David: black, confident, got everything; the girls, the money. 
When I was sure he must have been done with whatever broken record he was about to replay, I used my hands as shield to protect my eyes and looked up at him, squinting hard.

"Boss, nor vex, na mistake." I hadn’t known why I had said that, but I had. I knew it wasn’t, so did they. That didn’t stop them from referring to it and that didn’t stop me from playing along. It was a regular after all. I could still remember my days in secondary school when nobody wanted me on their team because I was me. I couldn’t blame them, nobody wanted a yellow social recluse that they assumed couldn’t see without glasses playing with them. They’d be one man short or so they thought.

One day, I was lucky enough to be picked after all the other extra players must have been injured, I had been beside myself with joy. I was exhilarated. I had played like my life had depended on it, my social status had. I had felt little guilt as I used my albinism to my advantage. They all thought I couldn’t see and they avoided me like a plague because of the fear that they might injure me, they had. I had been catching my already ragged breath when the ball had been passed to me, I ran blindly while dribbling and aiming to score. I got tackled by a relentlessly opponent that had played like it was the world cup and he was a Ronaldo in the stone-y and sand-filled field. I hadn’t scored, but I had a sprained ankle and an indifferent attitude towards the sport, until recently.

I lay there until I was sure they were all gone and slowly, I stood up and wore my red T-shirt, tied the laces of my white football sneakers together, slung it over my left shoulder, and jogged with my socks to my house. It was just around the corner. On getting home, I went straight to the shower. I wanted more than anything to scrub off the dirt, the comments. I wanted more than anything to be clean and happy until the next day, the next round of comments, and just a little dirt. As I stepped out of the shower, I saw my dad standing by my room’s door. I greeted him, he looked at me square in the eye and shook his head. I knew why.

My examination score had come as a shock to everyone, but me. I had a score of two hundred and one in the examinations and though the cut off was two hundred, I knew there was no way I would have a shot at majoring in Microbiology, not with the competition in a federal university. So, I had purchased a change of course form and settled for biology in Education. It was the only chance I had and I was willing to take it. 
I watched him go and I knew what that meant. I followed him slowly to the balcony. He didn’t have to send for me or use any words. Over the years, after my mum had lost the use of her legs in a car accident and now confined to a wheelchair, we lost the need for words. We had found a way to understand actions. My mum had lost not just her legs, but also, her will. Her gloomy past cast a deathly shadow and more often than naught, we maintained a silence that couldn’t even be found in a cemetery. The TV was for display as was the other things that made even a distant sound. I was my head phones best friend, and my dad was his work and the ceiling’s. 
I stood in front of my dad, quietly. Waiting. He looked as though I was a stranger. I was – with both dark skinned parents, there could nothing be stranger than an albino son who was an only child. A child who came as a blessing; a boy, but also as a curse; an only child. I was proof of my mum’s fertility, but a mystery yet to be understood. No other siblings to unearth the mystery. I was unnerved.

"Samuel, what are you doing about your admission?" His voice was a whisper, but I was certain I stood now, in front of my father, like an obedient soldier, because of my admission.

"I bought the change of course form, sir." I said trying to sound sober.

"Change? Change to what?" He asked quietly.

"To Biology, Edu, sir." He was sitting on the bench and I was standing in front of him. He bowed his head and I could see the silvery grey hair entwined with the black ones spread all over his head. He was never going bald. I thought.

"Under Education?" He raised his head to look at me and I saw that look, it was the same look he had given me when I had told him I was going to the University of Benin, the look of annoyance hidden by a fake raised up left eyebrow of surprise. His eyes were telling me what his mouth couldn’t. But this time, they weren’t telling me how stupid I was for wanting to go so far from home, or how the University of Lagos was a better choice. This time, they were telling me I was incredulous to think that I could study under Education and make it because not only was I likely to become a teacher which unfortunately, Nigeria had little use for, I was going to be an albino teacher which Nigeria had absolutely no use for. I had marginalised myself even farther from the sensible line, and I had singular handedly spelt my doom with this one move.

"No child of mine is going to become a teacher." He shouted. This was the first time in months he had taken his voice above the usual whisper. I wanted to point out to him that there was only one of me, but I didn’t. Three months ago, he had said "no child of mine is going to that cursed land to school." It would blow over, or rather, my mum will douse the flames of the barely started fire. All I had to do was talk to her. I bowed my head in defeat, feigned acceptance, and left in search of my mum. I checked the time on my phone: 19:45pm, my mum would be in bed, hands on her bible with her rosaries scattered all around her. She wouldn’t be praying in the regular way, she’d be mumbling the hail Marys. She still believed the members in the Pentecostal church and a few relations didn’t wish her well. Shortly after her accident, she had joined St Gabriel’s Catholic Church and had looked at everybody with suspicion. Her life was a holy mess with avalanches of hail Marys.

Slowly, I pushed the door open. She was there, just as I expected. She smiled when she saw me and I bowed my head down in greeting. She was beautiful even after everything, she was one of the few mothers that retained their spark after marriage. Her beauty hadn’t even diminished with her accident, her caramel skin still glowed and her eyes could still reach a soul. I wished I could do more, I hated that I had to use her like this. I hated myself for always bringing her to solve my issues, she was the only good thing in my life and I didn’t want to lose that. I looked at her again as she removed her left hand from the Bible and patted the bed beside her for me to sit. Yes, she was.


I stood on the queue for hours on end, the hot sun tanning my very existence. I couldn’t leave the queue to go rest, this was clearance. I knew nobody here and the national anthem 'I dey your back' of banks didn’t hold here, it’s either you’re on the line, or not on the line. I counted the people in front of me waiting to be cleared and I realized I wasn’t getting cleared today after all.

I heard mocking whistles, sighs and snorts. I turned around to see what was causing all the uproar. It was a white woman, scantily dressed with an Igbo-looking girl holding on to an office file, probably for her clearance too. She was wearing a modestly ripped jean with a sweatshirt and sneakers while the white woman who looked nothing like her mother was wearing an armless top on a badly ripped jean, anklet, jewelries enough to fill up a display glass and an outrageously heavy make up that made her look ghostly. Still, she had an air of confidence and beauty around her that was rare which made her look gorgeous.
The ko-ko-ko of her heels became louder as she got closer to me, I could smell her perfume as she passed me holding on to the Igbo-looking girl’s hand. She smelled of Chypre and it reminded of citrus, but this was way more bold than anyone wanted, it also had a scent of jasmine that altogether cut through my nose, disarming me . The Igbo-looking girl looked at me and I tried a smile which was just as bad as me trying for a decent conversation, I sucked at both. They both walked in and just as quickly walked out, this was it; the corruption we didn’t talk about.


2017.

I stared at Mikayla, she stared back. She was the oldest of them all. I had bought her the next day, the day after it had all started. I had been walking home and had seen these dolls and teddy bears by the roadside for sale. I knew they weren’t brand-new, they were used and scattered, not to mention selected like me - selected to be on display on the table while the rest remained in the sack bag under the table, untouched and save from the prying eyes of the savage public, they had been lucky. I hadn’t.
I had chosen Mikayla instantly even when on getting closer, her clothes were torn, I hadn’t minded that or her tangled hair for that matter. There were better looking ones, but I’d chosen this and now, I could understand why. Mikayla was me. I continued to stare at her. Now, she was pretty.
"You need to stop staring, you need to understand it wasn’t your fault." She said gently.
I snorted. "Then, why am I still involved? Why can’t I stop? Why can’t I move forward like you have? Why do I still hold all these grudges and can’t let go?" I asked all in one breath.
"Because you’re over thinking this, you’ve been for years." She simply said.
I looked at her with anger in my eyes. "No, I haven’t, you are the one okay with this!" I shouted.
"I’m not!" She shouted back as her dolly eyes lit up.
I looked at her rested by the headrest of my bed. She looked better than I did, she had accepted it early, I hadn’t. I stood up and ran my fingers through my braids.
"Don’t you dare, don’t you dare! He hurt me, he hurt us!"
"Did he, now? I’m trying to look past that."
"Oh, no, no! You’re just trying to shut it out, you are!" I yelled.
"You’ve an on and off buttons on emotions for a reason."
"No, I’m allowed to feel pain, we are." I said even more angry.
"Yes. We are allowed to feel pain, not dwell on it."
She smiled, or so I imagined. Her smile was beautiful and reassuring, the kind that made a terrible headache seem like a good thing, the kind that made you feel better. I tried for a smile just as bright, but it vanished. The already pent-up anger made way for the bottled up tears that threatened to choke me - tears trickled down my eyes and slowly caressed my cheeks, I could feel its warmth, I could taste it now, salty and sweet. The pain churned at my heart, and I coughed, crying and swallowing my pain at the same time. But, Mikayla was almost right about one thing: it wasn’t my fault, then. Now, it was.
I picked her up and stared at her for sometime, then finally, I sat her down between Lola and Ivie, her friends.

CHAPTER THREE
Natasha

"Faculty of Education." I read the signboard out loud for the third time after I alighted from the bus before sighing and walking towards the well-known faculty of the rejected ones, everyone one had something bad to say about this faculty, from the 'you never get any attention in this faculty' to the 'why would you even agree to be in the faculty’. It was no news that this was a faculty for losers, no one in their right mind added education when filling their details, I would know, I didn’t. I had always wanted to be a writer, not a teacher. But this was what I was stuck with, it wasn’t pretty, but it could get me a job, still. I looked ahead to the bunch of students walking all around me, the boy and girl holding hands totally unaware of the people around them, the self conceited hot girl showing too much skin without a care in the world, the loud boy with headphones on singing to himself thinking he could pull off a Charlie Puth effortlessly, the groups- oh the groups; the group of guys checking out girls and the group of girls slamming other girls out of sheer jealousy or mindless attention to their deflating egos, and the freshers; me. I walked on, I was already late for my eight o’clock class.

The classroom was as rowdy as it was stuffy, with hundreds of confused students in a class with only one carefree lecturer, I was even more confused than I would’ve liked to admit. I bent to ask a boy sitting close by a question, It was the boy from the day of the clearance, he looked at me and moved over so I could sit. I wished I hadn’t, the silence in the deafening loud lecture hall was unsettling. My question disappeared and came out as a carefully mouthed 'thank you' He nodded slowly.