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Read Parts 1,2, 3, 4 and 5 of the Pristine series herehere  Here Here and here

Her mum was upset, as expected.
She had yelled over the phone when Dara called to tell her about the posting,
and the yelling continued even after she got back home for the after-camp
break. Her dad was calmer, as usual. His only grouse was why she hadn’t said
anything about not wanting to redeploy in the first place.

“Maybe because I knew mum was
going to react this way?”
Dara finally had the nerve to answer, on her third
night at home, when they still wouldn’t stop asking why she had done what she
“How am I reacting?” her mum
retorted. “What sane mother would want her child in a dangerous place like

“Mum, do you know that before I
left for camp, I had never spent a whole day out of this house? I even went to
school from home everyday because you didn’t think the campus was such a great
idea. I don’t want to be this overprotected girl without any exposure. This is
an opportunity for me.”

The older woman tried to explain,
“This isn’t about you living home, it’s about where you chose to stay—“
“Accidents happen everywhere.
Sickness kills too. Boko Haram isn’t the leading cause of death in Nigeria. And
they aren’t even striking in Gombe, I’ve told you that several times,”
said, exasperated. “I stayed at the Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship
family house the two days I spent outside camp, I met several other corpers in
different batches that had been there before me and all they had to share were
testimonies. It seems like a good place, really.”

“Well, you’ve obviously made up
your mind to stay so it’s too late to argue,”
her dad pointed out with a glance
at the two of them.
Her mum shook her head. “I know
it’s too late to argue, but I’m thinking of asking one of the pastors in church
to intervene. Dara is obviously out of hand. She needs to be reminded of the
consequences of disobeying one’s parents!”

Dara smiled. “Really, mum? And you
don’t even believe that God is our protection wherever we find ourselves?”

Later that night, Gideon went to
her room and told her, “You know mum just wants the best for all of us, right?”

“I know.”

“And you can always still apply
for relocation. People do, even after six months into the service.”

“Yeah, but that would be if I
hated it there. Let’s wait and see.”

“So…any other camp gist you
haven’t given me yet?”
he asked, smiling mischievously.
“Well, there was this guy—“

“I knew it.”

“And no, he isn’t my reason for
wanting to stay, you know I decided to before I even went to camp,”
reminded him. “He relocated anyway.”

“What happened with him?”

Dara shrugged. “I liked him. He
was my friend. He wanted to be more than friends, but the feeling wasn’t

Gideon sighed. “What on earth do
girls mean when they say stuff like that? This girl at my office told me the
very same thing. Is friend-zoning the good guys like a rule you all follow
these days?”

“You know, now that I think about
it, you and David actually share some qualities.”

“You’re both really sweet and
nice, the type girls love to talk to because you’re such great listeners.”
He looked puzzled. “Isn’t that
what women want?”

“Well, I can only speak for
myself. And I imagine it must get boring. What I’d really like is someone who
makes me laugh, someone I can be spontaneous and have fun with, not just talk
and listen all the time. He must also be able to make me mad sometimes, and
turn it all around almost instantly too. I want a guy who keeps me on my toes.”

Gideon nodded. “Interesting.” Then
he added, shaking his head, “Girls are just plain crazy and insatiable.”
December seemed to pass by too
quickly, and Dara found herself staring into a Nigerian map in one of Dan’s
Geography textbooks on Christmas day when she should have been helping her mum
out in the kitchen.
“What have I done?” she groaned,
slamming the book shut.
Dan tried to console her. “At
least you’ve been there before. Now you’re abit familiar with the place. You’ll
be fine.”

“My ass hurts just thinking of the
trip already,”
she said, wincing.
He grinned. “Yeah, you could use
more flesh in that area.”
When she didn’t laugh like she often did when teased
about her derriere size, he added reassuringly, “Don’t worry, sis. You’ll come
home on holidays, right? Easter isn’t so far away.”

Dara shook her head, dejected. “I
can’t travel that distance for a two-day break, it’s not worth it. And I
already know my punishment’s no money for flight ticket from mum and dad. I’ll
be packing for the whole year when I leave nextweek.”

Dan sighed. “But you know, you
might get a rich Nomad with plenty cows and never even want to leave Gombe

She did laugh at that. The
possibility of finding love with a cattle-rearer was much more attractive than
the deliverance team she imagined her mum would consult if she ever considered
permanent residence in the North.


Morountodun is a writer and a microbiology ‎ graduate of University of Ilorin.
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