When I woke up this morning, I was almost certain today had to be my last day in the NYSC camp.
The girl who woke me up, however, most likely believed that I had just spent my last night on earth. By the time I finally woke up and said ‘Huh?’, I could tell by the way she frantically shook me that she was getting scared.
‘Huh?’ I said
‘Boro, it’s 4:10′ she replied.
She didn’t need to say more. I had overslept. We only just met each other three days ago and we could already vibe on one-liners and sighs. Why not? We had both gone through the rigors of this NYSC Orientation Camp of a thing…for 4 days.
I lifted my body from the bed and legit collapsed back. It was like a dream – the pain I felt in my chest. I tried again, this time, lifting my chest like a chest of treasured jewels. It was still there. The sharpest pain ever. I still don’t know how I got through this morning.
I can see a lot of people rolling their eyes at me and at my exaggeration of how bad the NYSC camp is. I don’t even care. Fam! I think it’s a miracle I’m still alive.
I lied in the first line of this article though. The moment I knew I couldn’t spend another full day in this place was during my platoon duty. I was in the sanitation team. I was wearing two white tops (one long sleeved under one short sleeved) because of my severe chest pain. And was burning up with a fever at the same time. And was sweeping grasses and thinking ‘who sweeps grasses with broom??‘ And was wearing an already shredding nylon glove on my left hand.
Somewhere in between picking faded pieces of paper and sweeping stones, I decided that if I was going to die, it had to be in a cool way.
But wait, I lied about that being the moment I decided to leave my NYSC camp. Sorry. The main moment was after this sanitation I spoke about – when we had to queue up to fill and sign the ‘Book of Life’
I stood on the queue with wobbly legs that threatened to give way beneath me. I stood like that for hours unending.
I am definitely painting NYSC camp in a light more terrible than it really is. EVERYONE (except one person) has told me that it’ll get better and fun.
But today, I thought of the fun I have when I sleep on a bed of more than 6inches. I thought of the crazy fun I enjoy when I wake up without chest pain. I fantasized about the joy of not losing your voice to pain. And gingered by this, I marched straight to the clinic armed with the longest exeat application letter my Platoon Officer ever saw (she was like O_O why is this so long? Me: it has all the reasons I have to leave camp, ma). It didn’t take anything for the medical people to see that I needed to leave. They recommended a 17day exeat and the secretariat granted it.
Tomorrow, I leave!
I’m almost sure camp will get better. And much more interesting. I may be missing a great opportunity to meet beautiful people. I may be missing many laughs as I go home.
And I confess that I feel a little bit disappointed in myself. Because with all the things I survived this year (post coming up in December), I did not think that stress this small should break me down.
But my throat and chest and legs and appetite and head are thanking me profusely for this decision I made. And I choose to be happy with those who are happy.
(Pardon the not-up-to-my-standard article. I just want to sleep for a long time.)
By the way, Sarah and I had the most romantic discussion about my decision to leave her in camp.
Me: (goes to meet Sarah on her bed and says in a soft voice) How do you feel about my leaving?
Sarah: (smiling sadly) You already know how I feel.