The NYSC Diaries

The NYSC Diaries

For me, the news of the state I’d been posted to for the National Youth Service Corps, otherwise known as Now Your Suffering Continues, left me with mixed feelings. Confusion, for one. Confusion, because I didn’t know how I’d cope with leaving a job I’d only just gotten in October for one year of service, a job I’d started to get really acclimated to, a job where I clearly was at home. (Okay, not so much. I hate teaching. The job helped me realize that I love kids and love to nurture them. As for teaching them, hells to the no! Especially not with the crappy scheme and system of education we run in this country.) Add that to my misgivings about being sent to the state where the ex I hate the most lives, and I was thoroughly feeling disenchanted with the idea of NYSC.

On the other hand, I needed – scratch that – desperately needed to get away from home. Mother’s suffocating religiousness had become absolutely intolerable and I needed serious distance from her.

The day camp was to begin, I packed quickly and raced to the park to take a bus to the camp. I’d already asked a few friends for directions and sort of knew where I was going. As much as I have a high intolerance for road travel, I was sort of looking forward to the journey. After a very excruciatingly unbearable three-hour drive, I arrived at the camp, having taken a bike for the last leg of the journey. Upon my arrival, I thanked the Orishas because I didn’t see anyone I knew. The last thing I wanted was the stress of socializing. I like to think of myself as a bitch, but my best friend, Delle, always says that the bitch persona is a cover for the really sweet person underneath. I don’t believe him. No, I don’t.

Anyway, I began my registration and, unfortunately, within a few minutes, three people were already talking to me like I was a really familiar person. I just had to be the good person and respond, however aloof my responses may be. However, fast forward to a few minutes later, and I genuinely had begun to converse with them. For some reason, I just kinda clicked with them.

Registration was a serious bitch. I mean, it was the kind of bitch that doesn’t stop fucking you, even when you’ve tapped out or even fainted. It was that bad. The only thing that made the eight hours I spent doing that registration tolerable was (screw me!) the three friends I made that afternoon – Praise, Victor and Elizabeth. To make things even more interesting, we were assigned to four adjoining platoons – Platoons 5 to 8. So, we were on each of our lines, discussing and going through the entire process. And when we were done, we all walked to the Mami market together to have dinner, after which we retired to our different hostels.

The next day, the Orishas were not done widening my social circle. This time, it was an old friend from school, Ciara. We bumped into each other in the morning as we made our way to the parade ground for training. She was in my platoon and chattered nonstop to me, as though she was clutching to our old acquaintanceship as a lifeline in this sea of new faces and unfamiliar surroundings.

So far, my plan to be a loner during this camp period was failing. At this rate, I should have known the Orishas had a grand plan. A master design in store for me.

During the parade, the RSM asked for volunteers for the drums, and I left the line to volunteer. One of my new friends, Praise, joined me. Even though I knew next to nothing about drumming, I am a fast learner, and so, it was easy for me to follow what the training officer was teaching. Toward the end of practice, he appointed me as one of the tenor drummers. Praise was equally retained as one of the saxophonists. The training happened thrice that day, and by the end of the day, I was looking forward to a good long rest.

Then, the real gbege happened!

I was sitting alone in front of my hostel that night, catching up on the stuff I’d missed online. Usually, when I’m online, I lose touch with my surroundings as I’m always fully engrossed in what I’m doing online. Next thing I felt was a slightly rough hand caressing my cheek. I started in shock as I hadn’t noticed anyone come close to me and I most definitely wasn’t close enough to any guy in camp for him to try something that intimate with me. My eyes shot up from my phone to the face of the person in front of me. And my mouth dropped open in shock.

It was Pedro. My school’s former SUG president.

Pedro and I were really close friends. He was that friend who I had a major crush on. And I told him I liked him. He told me he liked me too. However, he’s bisexual. And, to make matters worse, he told me he’d gladly have dated me, on the down-low of course, but that I was “too innocent and pure for him and that he’d ruin me if we dated” – whatever all that meant. He wanted me to, in his words, remain the pure unsullied person I was. That didn’t prevent us from being really close. Usually, back when he was SUG president, he used to drag me to virtually every political meeting he had, despite my not having any sort of political office, saying he valued my insight on issues and that my presence always kept him calm and focused. This whole drama happened for all of my third year, and even though I went on to date and break up with someone else within that period, Pedro remained it for me. Some part of me wanted to simply take care of him, to help him achieve all he wanted to achieve. I was the one who wrote his assignments when he didn’t have time to do them – which he rarely ever did. The one who cooked for him while he was out and waited patiently for him to return from his political events. The one who was stupid in love. I kept rationalizing it all away with me having a lot of free time whereas he didn’t, seeing as he wasn’t just the SUG president but also Rotaract Club president as well as a Veterinary Medical student.

This madness continued into my final year, until I moved out of the hostel into an off-campus residence. Even then, we remained close. However, when my issues with school surfaced, he too began to have his own problems with school as he was kicked out of Vet. Med into Physical and Health Education for failing the Vet. professional exam. Shortly after that, we fell out of touch with each other.

Now, here he was, staring into my eyes with those extremely beguiling eyes of his, smiling that smile that never failed to make me sheepishly smile back. And I felt my heart start to race. In my head, I was like: Which of the Orishas did I offend to cause this human being to walk right back into my life like this kwanu? Especially here in camp!

I had to quickly pull my wits together and say hi to him. He grabbed a seat from the stack of plastic chairs close to the door of the hostel and sat next to me, right in my personal space.

Hay God!

We talked for a bit and he told me he’d only just gotten into camp a few hours earlier and hadn’t even finished his registration. The next day was our Swearing In ceremony, so I urged him to complete it as fast as he could in the morning.

Next thing, he told me to follow him to Mami market so he could get some things. Like, he told me. Not asked. Told. I tried to refuse but Uncle wasn’t taking no for an answer. He pulled me up from my seat and dragged me for a few steps. I just had to give in and walk with him. As we walked and talked, he put his hand around my waist and pulled me closer to him, so we were practically rubbing against each other with each step we took. I tried to shimmy out of his grasp but he held me tight. We walked that way to the market, where he proceeded to withdraw money from one of those POS agents there. Cash in hand, we went around buying several items for him. Toward the end of the long list he had in his hand, I realised it was already past 11 PM. And I needed to sleep. I disengaged from him, pulling my hand from his grasp, and told him I needed to get some sleep as I had duty to attend to in the morning.

He tried to make me stay with him some more, but I was insistent on leaving. So, he walked with me a bit and caressed my cheek again as we said good night to each other. And as I walked away, I couldn’t help but wonder just what in hell is in store for me over the course of the remaining 19 days of this orientation exercise.

Written by Mitch

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  1. Dyiro
    March 31, 07:44 Reply

    Pedro-SUG President-Vet Medicine!
    I don’t need to guess the school right, though I crushed on him too while in School!

  2. Michael
    March 31, 08:44 Reply

    *shudders* I’m so in for this tale. Keep them coming Mitch.

  3. Tolu
    March 31, 10:23 Reply

    This is a nice story though… guys are allowed out till 11pm and beyond?
    Please which state camp is this let me relocate

      March 31, 21:58 Reply

      I swear. The soldiers be blowing their darned whistles before 10pm and I’m like wtaf!!!???

  4. Realme
    April 01, 10:07 Reply

    I can wait to see what happens next..this is like Cinderella…. ?

  5. Jay
    April 01, 11:06 Reply

    This is going to be juicy!??

  6. demi
    April 01, 11:39 Reply

    also in camp, Adamawa ‘hot zone’.. atleast you have familiar faces, here is like I’m all alone, though always preoccupied at d clinic.
    just have fun, Pedro seems cool.. and I hope we get to read more gist.

  7. Lorde
    April 01, 17:07 Reply

    So You Were….. “the good wife”

  8. Sim
    April 02, 21:31 Reply

    Where is part II, pls.

  9. Sleek Creamy
    April 06, 16:16 Reply

    Oritsha has loads of blessings coming ur way pedro….

  10. Jeancabrez
    April 11, 08:33 Reply

    Pedro, SUG president, Rotaract, Vetinary medicine. Oh lawd ?. Never sth romantic could out of my school.

  11. Jeancabrez
    April 11, 08:40 Reply

    Imagined* story teller, my guts tells me I know you so f**king well ?

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