*Kosi stand up there and tell us the circumference of a circle*

The maths teacher was at it again.

Knowing fully well that my head rejected maths vehemently.

Knowing fully well that my score and red ink were best friends.

*Ee-hh-mm, eehhm, I don't know ma*

In a split second,
Her hands twitched.

Like an unwanted guest gate crashing a wedding.
The cane suddenly landed on my back.

Amidst the tears
I knew that God existed and He simply hated me.

Saturday came.
That dreaded day of house inspections.

The day of joy had come for most SS3 students.

Like hyenas surrounding a gazelle while going for the kill,
They surround all junior students while still in their drawals.

Who could blame them?

They had endured five years of beating and were entitled to dishing it out now.

The hour hand clocked 5am.
The house prefect rang the wake up bell.

With satisfaction,
I rose from my bug infested bed.

Today was going to be different
Because I had a bucket and had fetched water.

Been a long while I felt this way .
For the bushes around and toilets had always been my place of refuge.

Refuge from those seniors obsessed with finding erring junior students.
Refuge from the whole sham process they called Inspection.
Refuge till the dinning bell rang and the seniors were dispersed.

Today was definitely going to be alright.

Sliding down my bunk.

I sighted senior Francis.

The lazy and dirty man was getting his whips ready for the assembly.

Bending down and looking under the bunk.
The greatest shock of the century gripped me.

Someone had stolen my bucket of water.
And my long brooms too.

I cried out loud.

My heart beating faster now
I was going to be canned.

Worse still,
Riding a bike mid-air was going to be my punishment.

A means of escape began to devise in my mind.

'Back of Mr Shittu's house would be my refuge'

I began to tiptoe towards the south exit of the hostel.

*Kosi come here*
Senior Seyi roared.

For his hawk like eyes had been on me the whole time.

*Lie down flat there*

Amidst the beating
Amidst the jeers from fellow students,

I knew there was a God
And He hated me much.

Sunday afternoon came.

The dinning bells rang
Jollof rice and egg was the meal to be served.

Like Flash on a mission to save the earth,
I ran to the dining hall.

Spoon, fork and knife all in hand.
'Na God go punish any teacher or senior wey ask for cutlery today'

Sitting at the edge of the bench.

Embracing the food bowl a little too tight.
An evidence of my first place position in the race for the dinning table.

The time had come.
To show forth my serving skills and acumen

While waiting for the hall to fill up,
My mind fantasized.

*Yes, I will heap my plate big. Then put small thing for Austa. I will punish him for laughing at my predicament*

*Enifome..Enifome. I will put two more helpings to her plate. Being the only girl at the table, I needed to impress her and this was my opportunity*

Hands on my shoulders detached me from my thoughts.

It was Tokede again.

What did he want?
For his table was far away from mine.

*Kosi,Kosi. I hope you remember our deal ooo*

Our dealll
Our deal!

*Which deal Toke*
I asked in apparent confusion.

*My Thursday evening Asaro  (Porridge) wey you chop naa*
Toke answered.
Obviously puzzled at my forgetfulness

*Yesss. I remember oo. You made a deal with Him*
Lasisi spoke out.

Who could blame him?

He was the second to reach the table and he too had fantasized on the heavy rice he would put on his plate.

*Jesuuuu, mo gbe*
Three words that came out of my lips.

Like Esau,
I had traded the future glory to satisfy a fleeting momentary pleasure.

In my gluttony,
I had traded my Sunday rice and egg for his Porridge that evening.

Shame faced and downcast,
I trudged out of the hall towards the hostel.

At least my locker held small garri and sugar I could manage.

Reaching the hostel,
My locker was wide open.
The 'chairmen' had plundered me.

*I have had it*
I shouted to the heavens.

Marching furiously towards the chapel,

It was time to tell God that He was wicked to His face.

Entering the church,
I began yelling.

*You are just wicked, you this God. They said you are good and yet you allow all these to happen to me?*

A hand touched my shoulders.
It was a certain Senior Tobi the head boy.

*God loves you* He said.

*Psst. Then why am I facing all these problems* I answered back.

*To bring you back to Him and make you realize that He is your maker* He replied

*Have you eaten?* He added.

*No sir*

Senior Tobi took me back to the dinning hall.

As it was custom,

Twelve students were given one food bowl.
While prefects had full bowls for themselves.

Having came with Senior Tobi,
I ate directly from his bowl.

Four eggs and twelve helpings of jollof had been my portion.

There and then I knew.
Knew that God existed.
And He loved me dearly.

For even though everything was working against me,
His plans towards me always reflected a blissful expected end.

Like a king I ate,
In the presence of my table members who gazed hungrily at my plate.

My cup ran over with joy.
For Senior Tobi sent Lasisi to go and buy Fanta for both of us at the Tuck shop.

Surely, God remained my fortress.
For I could always go and report anyone to Senior Tobi

I was thirteen and this was my first encounter with God.

okonta kosi