She woke up just as she had the previous day, but with a massive headache. She felt as if she had been run over by a bus or like her body had finally given up on her. She struggled to get out of bed and felt dizzy at that one action. Adanna balanced herself by holding the bunk bed till her dizziness had passed. Her head felt light, her stomach tightened in knots and her mouth was stale. Once she had gotten a little bit of herself, she noticed the hall was almost empty. Was she that late? She asked herself and checked her phone. Crap! She was that late. Adanna quickly put on her newly purchased shorts and jungle boots before she rushed to the bathroom to splash water on her face and use a mouth wash.
As she doubled up out of the hostel, she remembered that she had not eaten anything that day but she wasn’t even hungry. She was sicker and out of character than she had in a long while.
The parade ground was full by the time she got there. All platoons had taken up their position as Adanna walked slowly to enter a line. She couldn’t run and could not be bothered about doing that either. Everywhere hurt! From her body to her mind. She felt most hopeless about the situation at home knowing that she couldn’t assist. As she fell into her position at the back of the platoon line, she was consumed by the usual chatters and funny comments of her platoon members.
“Down Down down!!!” someone said loudly from within the crowd that scared everyone only to discover it was a corper and everyone laughed. Adanna didn’t find it funny as the little scare only intensified her headache. The parade started under the scorching sun and at a point, Adanna knew she couldn’t stand anymore. She asked a soldier if she could go and rest under a big sycamore tree where the Red Cross stood and where corpers could rest if they were not fit enough.
The soldier eyed her up and down “What is wrong with you.”
“My head hurts sir, I feel nauseous” and my heart is pounding faster than usual she thought the last part.
After the soldier had accessed her over and over again, he gave her the go ahead to leave the parade ground. Adanna eyed the tree like the Garden of Eden, as she approached it. She could already imagine herself lowering her butt on the root of the tree, she could imagine buying a cold sachet of pure water and letting the cold droplets slid down her skin for the fresh breeze to fan her cool. But before she could reach the tree she heard another soldier’s voice.
“You there! So you think that because you are wearing white on white, you are now a ghost that can walk past me and I would not see you?”
Adanna kept walking. It couldn’t be her. It wasn’t her. She had come too far for it to be her.
“Hey! That white fowl with jungle boots. Come here!”
“Are you kidding me right now?” Adanna couldn’t help but say under her breath. She turned around and came face to face with the scary looking soldier.
“So you don’t want to answer me abi?”
“No sir, I didn’t know you were talking to me.”
“I said go back.” He shouted and attracted the attention of everyone nearby.
“Sir please I am not feeling fine. I already spoke to a soldier and I was permitted to go.”
“I said go back!” he shouted again.
“You want to frog jump abi?” he took a step closer to her in challenge. As if daring her to say one more word.
Adanna felt hot tears sting her eyes she didn’t deserve any of these rubbish but she walked away and headed back to her line.
“Come back here!” the soldier called her back. It was with evident vexation that Adanna turned around and stood.
“Come back here.” At the moment she didn’t even care what happened next.
She took few step towards the soldier and stopped. With a frown on her face, she looked at the bald headed man.
“Don’t you ever disrespect me like that again is that clear?’
“Your father! You are very stupid for telling me yes.”
“Yes sir!” Her tears were threatening to spill now but she kept that frown on her face and looked at the man straight in his eyes. He could do his worse. Decamp her if he liked, but she would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry.
The soldier studied her, he knew he had vexed her, he had gotten under her skin. Good! “Go back to the parade ground.”
Adanna blinked away her tears and walked back to the parade ground. Bukky gave her a questioning look but she just shook her head at her friend. She could not talk at the moment, not in the state she was in.
The parade continued and even went beyond the normal time. Adanna tried to pull herself together until she could go to the clinic. As the parade ended, a soldier came to her platoon and called out her state code. She lifted her hand in acknowledgement and he told her to come and collect her ID card from the commandant. Quickly, she followed the soldier to collect her card but what she did not expect was the long wait involved.
As she got to where Captain Jude was sitting on his stick as usual, she saw a crowd of corpers standing behind him and he was still calling random corpers who had defaulted one way or the other.
She found a place to stand so as not to draw attention to herself again, until a bundle of ID cards were brought.
Numbers were called one after the other until hers was called. She was about to collect It when Captain Jude spoke up.
“Don’t give her that card. Give it to me.”
Adanna was dumbfounded. She felt like screaming ‘are you kidding me right now?’ She hated this captain. He was egoistic, proud, wicked, power abusive and there was no doubt in her heart that he was a big first too.
She tried hard not to hiss and went to stand at one side. Everyone got their ID cards and left, leaving Adanna and the captain. He looked at her up and down, although, Adanna wasn’t looking at him. She was looking everywhere but at him.
Adanna was already so tired so she walked briskly towards him “Sir I bought the shorts as you ordered.” She pleaded.
“Why are you wearing jungle boots? It is not part of the uniform.”
Adanna was confused. Jungle boots isn’t part of the uniform? “But?”
He raised a hand to silence her and spoke with irritation in his voice. “Jungle boots should be worn with your khaki and white tennis should be worn with your white shirt and shorts.”
“Is that clear?”
“I said is that clear?”
“Why is it clear?”
Adanna was so annoyed but she replied “Because it is clear sir.”
Captain Jude accessed her again “Why is it because it is clear.”
“Because it is very clear.”
He got off his stick and started walking away with her ID card in his hand. “Follow me.”
He kept walking and catching corpers who were not doubling up from point A to B as he had instructed earlier. Adanna followed him, trying to meet up with his pace, despite how she was feeling. She was feeling dizzy and her vision blurred a bit. She stopped walking and took time to refocus her sight.
“Corper!” She heard the captain address her but his voice sounded a distance away. “Corper!”
She could feel eyes on her “Corper!” another command but it sounded like rushing wind in her ears and everywhere went black.
To be continued…