Mulenga awoke the next morning, in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar room and it scared her. She jumped out of bed creating distance between her and the unfamiliar sqaure bed, upon noticing that nothing was chasing her, Mulenga lowered her arms. She paced around the room trying to piece together what happened the previous night. She heard footsteps running around on the other side of the door, which was protecting her from the unknown anarchy of laughing children.
Mulenga stopped pacing long enough to realise she was in a bedroom painted chocolate, her favourite colour. Now that she stopped pacing enough to pay attention, Mulenga noticed more and more about the room. This room is cool she thought to herself as she begun snooping round the drawers of the room. Outside her door, in another room in the collosal school, Marian, Angie and Mayja were all sitted in Marian’s office. Mayja sipped on coffee, every sip contorting his face out of its sleepy unrecognisable demeanor and when his cup was done he stood. As if to air the room of all the suffocating information he had spent the night learning, he walked round the circular office opening window, after window, after window until only the door remain shut.
With Mayja facing the light, Angie could see his tall, toned frame, round eyes but no smile. Just like the last time she saw Mayja, there was no smile, only worry. Marian’s office was shaped like a piece of pie with three sides. She thought the kids would love the idea, plus it gave her full access to the grounds through the window to her left and to her right the door, without needing to stand from her chair. Mulenga stood in front of what appeared to be a mirror, as her guide proceeded to knock calmly on the mirror before opening the door and walking through it. Mulenga stepped half way through the open door, when the writing on the door caught her attention.
“Freedom is discipline: Welcome all” the sign read. Mulenga’s confusion was cut short as her guide began to close the door waking Mulenga to her current situation. “What does that mean?” Mulenga asked Marian. “It’s a famous phrase round here, if you stay long enough I’m certain you’ll figure it out.” Marian smiled. Mayja who was sitting by the window furthest from the two women looked on at Mulenga with sadness in his eyes.
It had been a month since Mulenga had arrived at Chikwendo as she sat in the dinning hall trying to avoid everyone, staring only at her breakfast as she ate. She kept poking at her eggs, scrambling them in the process. She saw four of the girls from her class get up from their table, and approach her. Mulenga hoped they were walking past, but Kezipe the squad leader stopped right in front of her smiling widely. “Mulenga right. Can we join you?” Kezipe smiled. “Sure, I guess” Mulenga replied with slight apprehension as she moved her books to make space.
The four girls giggled as they settled into their new seats and begun to eat their meals loud with chatter. “So where are you from?” Kezipe made conversation “I’ve been here a month, everyday someone asks me where I am from. Why do you all care so much?” Mulenga asked, rolling her eyes in frustration. Mulenga stood, frustrated by the question but as she turned to leave she found herself surrounded, Kezipe directly in front of her, a light tall boy behind her, a short girl with glasses to the left of Kezipe, and a muscular boy to the right of her.
These four were supported by a gathering crowd of children behind them blocking Mulenga’s path. “If it’s a beating you want, just say please, I’ll oblige you” Mulenga faced the two boys as she said this, throwing her tray of food at Kezipe, before lunging at the light taller of the two boys with a round house kick that caught the boy square in the mouth, sending him flying backwards into the crowd.
Kezipe was covered in Mulenga’s now forgotten breakfast with egg coming out of her ears.
Before Mulenga could attack anyone else, a voice boomed “No fighting, in the cafeteria!” The room went silent as the crowd opened up, to give a tall dark man with a nose bigger than most and blonde hair, room to pass. Wapi stepped through the crowd towards the inner circle. “Everyone else return to your meal, you five follow me” Wapi instructed Mulenga and the gang that attempted to attack her, with the tall light boy clenching his jaw as he followed suit.
Behind closed doors, Wapi sat in his office staring at the five culprits before him waiting for one of them to start talking before he decided on what he wanted to do. “Someone take Moses to the doctor make sure his not suffering any internal injuries.” Wapi spoke concerned for the tall light boy who kept clenching his jaw. “Now all of you out, except Kezipe and Mulenga.” Wapi spoke without looking at the children left before him.
Once the door was shut Wapi offered the two seats. “Kezipe, meet your new bunk mate, Mulenga. Show her around and make her comfortable in her new home.” Wapi passed them a key each engraved “strangers” for their new quarters. “Teach her our ways.” Wapi pointed his pen to the door returning his focus to the paperwork on his table. Outside Wapi’s door Mulenga felt Kezipe eyeing her rather suspiciously, down hall ways as she lead them to their new shared qaurters. She felt the stare as they rearranged the room to suit Kezipe’s needs as she couldn’t sleep unless the beds directly faced the door.
“Why are you staring at me like I’m a thief?” Mulenga huffed out eventually, frustrated with the piercing feeling of someone watching her every move. “Just because I’m from an orphanage, doesn’t mean I’m a thief” Mulenga continued. Kezipe stared at Mulenga as though she had never seen anything so shocking before. “Are you retarded? This entire place is one big orphanage. No one even knew you were an orphan, trust no one cares. We’ve just never seen anyone join in the middle of the year before. Non who got to their keep their earrings either.” Kezipe eyed Mulenga with suspicion inspecting her from head to toe. “I..uh.. didn’t know, everyone here acts proper. I thought you were all rich kids” Mulenga replied.
There was an awkward silence in the room as the two finished rearranging their beds. Mulenga picked the bed on the right side of the room closer to the only two windows. Once the girls had finished settling in, Mulenga walked towards Kezipe’s bed with her arm outstretched. “Hi, I’m Mulenga and I would like a do-over. Also sorry for kicking your friend in the mouth” Mulenga broke the silence. Kezipe smiled at Mulenga. “Friends” Kezipe said shaking Mulenga’s outstretched hand.