You shudder on your platform, feeling helpless and confused. The air becomes thick with intense uneasiness.
What is Paul doing here? Shouldn’t he be in rehab?
The idea of Paul seeing you so desperate gives you a familiar tingle and you feel like laughing at yourself. After all, it isn’t the first time he’s seen you in this depraved state. You are just surprised and relieved that this time he is supposedly on the rescue team.
Luke tries to turn and pierce you with another huge hypodermic needle. Somehow he doesn’t even get close to your IV bag. Paul whacks him straight down his neck, probably paralyzes the geezer right on the spot.
He crumples to the floor. On cue, the lady to your right comes to and you can’t see her face against the dim light seeping in from wherever.
Your mouth goes dry. The realization she is the one who is behind your captive state in this dungeon sickens you. You feel that karma did part of its job in landing her into her own mess. Ironically, your trust issues with the people around you become so glaringly clear.
You can’t trust that Chrissy was in a relationship with the wicked kidnapper, Luke. Even your friendship is in question. You barely get along with her fast life. You can’t trust that Sheila will continue to be the angel she has been up to now. You can’t trust that your least favorite person happens to be the hero of the day.
It’s all a mess in your head. For sure, you don’t even know whether you can trust yourself to bear all the mental warfare going on.
“Untie me!” You scream at Paul who is busy taking stock of what is going on.
He mutely walks to you. You can see the longing look in his eyes. The look of naivety and desperation. You definitely don’t want to stare longer.
He unties the cords around your legs, waist, and hands and then steps back as you quickly dash to the closest door you find.
That’s all you crave right now. Not Paul, not Chrissy and not Sheila. You don’t bother that Luke has other people in bondage.
Once your face hits the cool air outside, a blinding light flashes your eyes. Followed by distant sirens and the whirr of chopper blades.
“We found ’em! Move in!” A voice bellows from above.
Your knees are weak and you are craving water. The dungeon door opens and you see Chrissy and Sheila, followed by other girls who are part of Luke’s pen. It angers you that people like Luke exist in the world. They are the kind of people the glitzy lifestyle magazines don’t profile.
You hear cars moving in towards the dungeon. You think about safety, warmth, being away from the people you distrust. It warms your heart.
A man approaches you, bends on one knee and lifts your head up. He urges you to your feet, sees you struggle and helps you up. You don’t know him but you are grateful that he is helpful.
You squint closer and see that you recognize this man. He is Chrissy’s doctor. The real angel.
As soon as you and the other girls are safely loaded in a Jeep, you immediately fall asleep.
The lecturer gathers up his papers, gives one last stern look across the theatre and then storms out with a condescending shake of the head. Once he leaves, a communal sigh of relief goes around the theatre as everyone stands to leave.
You hate economics. It must be genetic, you tell yourself. You don’t understand why someone should teach you ways of making money and owning property and being generally rich and yet they are not mega-billionaires to pose as inspiration. It’s a waste of your time.
In the fray, you feel a hand link into yours and you smile back at Paul. He has a wide smile on his face and you don’t know why.
“Why are you so happy after an Econ class?”
“Why shouldn’t I be?”
You conclude that Paul must be an alien. But he looks extra jittery and jumpy.
“Am I missing something?” At this point, you are walking leisurely along the campus pathways.
He stops and swivels to look at you. You can never get enough of the magic within his brown-eyed gaze.
“Today marks two years since we met. Back in high school. Two naive teenagers just wanting to have fun,” he says. He wraps your hands tightly into his. “You forgot right?”
A tight know forms in your throat. Ever since he saved you from a mass kidnapper/social extremist who finds pleasure in capturing girls, you feel like you owe him a part of your soul.
But this is too much, too far. The memories of your past with him come rushing through your head. The way you liked him, the way he spoiled you and made you his “queen”, the way sleepovers turned to spending nights over at his place, the denial, the accusations, the constant fights, the rumors…
It overwhelms you. And now you finally wonder why everyone talks lightly on trust issues on social media as if it is a game. It is not a game. It is painful.
You loosen your hands and sigh, stepping back from Paul.
“Is everything okay, K?”
“No. Everything is not okay, Paul.”
Open up. Tell him that you may never forgive him. Tell him that he has taught you whom to trust and whom to discard. Tell him he doesn’t deserve you or anyone.
You want to open your mouth and spew out all the bottled up rage that has been accumulating three years on.
Then you sigh again and begin walking away from Paul. In the hot Thursday afternoon, at the Econ class hallway, you decide you will have to learn and forge a way for yourself.
That night you feel engulfed in emotions. The friendship you desperately wanted to break up finally works. But you still feel like garbage. Why aren’t you happy?
Maybe it’s the fact that you and Chrissy no longer talk. And her bed bunk now belongs to a sweet autistic girl called Jenna.
Together with Izzy and Ma, the four of you are capable of talking matters boys, makeup, photo shoots, latest events and lousy lecturers for nights on end.
Today isn’t that day though. They urge you to talk but you keep mute and bury yourself in bed. You wait until they start snoring before you sit up in bed and take a long deep breath.
Your phone vibrates.
You have attached a feeling of bad luck whenever your phone rings at night. It almost makes you chuck the phone out of the window. But you have Facebook notifications and Whatsapp groups to mill around in.
Then you turn over the phone and see the caller -ID. It’s your mother.
You quickly pick up while muttering a short prayer to God.
“Hi, Koki. How is everything?” Your mother sounds characteristically jovial. At ten p.m. She rarely calls past seven.
You lie to her that you are okay and that studies are fine.
“Well, I have someone I’d like for you to speak with.”
You hear her whisper to someone to pick the phone. Your father’s voice clears up.
“Koki. I’ve missed you.”
No! Not your father!
You jab the Cancel Call button and stuff the phone under your pillow. You’ve learned. You’ve grown. There is no need to go back.
Hi there, reader. I am so glad that you’ve followed through with the College Hijinks blog series, a first for me, and reached the final post. It was really amazing for me to do this sort of first narration fictional shots and I am thankful for the feedback which has been positive.
Help me decide whether I should do more of this in the comments below! Cheers!