Chapter Three

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***

That week passed by and soon it was the weekend. Great!
As expected, I got a positive letter from the university. I was granted the scholarship. A three year scholarship to precise!

Yes, I was going to finish and graduate with the school taking care of my education.

My mother and I were so happy!
It was a dream come true, and to be honest, I knew I'd be taken.
From junior high, I'd always been an 'A+' student. My lowest mark was a 'B-', no kidding. I might have been poor but I was very intelligent. God had blessed me with that along with my drawing skills.

In two weeks, I was gonna have to travel back to Manhattan with my stuff, to settle in the campus's dormitories. I was so excited. But at the same time, I was sad to leave my friends, my love and most especially, my mom.

**
The Friday before the Saturday I was to travel, I sat in the living room with my mother.

"I'll miss you so much my darling. Places will quite be lonely around here without you around." my mom told me that night.

"I'll miss you too, momma. But don't worry, I promise to come visit often. Every weekend."

"That'll be great."

"Yeah. And I'll try to find a little job that would fit into my school timetable. So I make a little money which I would hand over to you the days I come visiting."

I looked at her eyes water.

"Thank you, my dear. What would you do?"

"I don't know yet. But don't worry, I'll find something decent to do."

"Okay, my love. Please as you go, concentrate on your studies. Do not join bad friends. Don't try to act like the people you'll meet there. Remember they're from a different world. They're rich, we aren't. Their parents paid their fees, you are on scholarship. Stay true to yourself."

"I promise, momma. You know me."

She smiled and wiped away some tears.

"Yes, I know you. Be careful honey. Peer pressure is strong."

"I'll be careful."

"And avoid fights and quarrels. I know you're always involved in those but please, for the sake of this opportunity, do not ruin it. Else you might be dismissed."

"I'll avoid them, momma."

"Good."
-
For the rest of that day, I had a good time with my friends. Yazz, king, Davey, yazz's bother and my other friends. We hanged out as a group and had fun one last time. I felt awful leaving them, but I'd be back every weekend.

*
Saturday arrived. I got my only travelling bag, full of all my clothes, little belongings and shoes.
Yazz and my mother accompanied me to the subway.
I kissed them one last time before boarding the train.

**
I reached Manhattan that afternoon. I got a cab and headed for Greenwill.
While we drove through Manhattan, I admired the people and other places. This was going to be my town for a while. I was really gonna miss Brownsville.

*
We soon reached Greenwill. I was in awe! It was just as I'd imagined it.
A big classy university with a huge campus, perfect dormitories and clean streets. It was gonna be fun.

The taxi dropped me at the entrance of the administrative building. I paid and got out.

It seemed to be the reopening day. Yup, I was now a Greenwill freshman!
I got my heavy bag and managed to make my way into the administrative building.
There was a main table with a woman sitting behind it. And also, a long line of students in front of the table. I read the sign on her table, it said:

'All freshmen here.'

I kept my bag aside and joined the line.
I waited patiently. Luckily the line was moving a little fast.
I looked around at the other students. Yup, I was odd alright.
Both the guys and girls looked expensive or well bred. You could tell from the brand of shoes they had and from their bags (for the girls).
Most boys had stylish shoes like yeezys, Reebok and all the rest. I didn't know all those names because I wasn't at all interested in things I could not afford. Most had Rolex and Ice watches on. If I wasn't there to study, I would probably think of how to steal and resell them.

As for the girls, extravagant. Not all but most of em.
Short squirts, make up, designer shoes and clothes, little diamond earrings and blah blah blah. Good for them. I was okay in my old vans and ripped jeans. I was into my own vintage fashion.

"Next." the woman said.

I was already at the table.

"Good afternoon, ma'am." I greeted. The lady looked at me from above her glasses. She frowned a little. The look she had on wasn't a pleasant one.

"Let me guess..." she started, "...you're on scholarship."

"Uh, yeah."

She scoffed.

"It's evident." she said sarcastically, looking at my clothes. "You're from?" she asked, dryly.

I looked at her. Wow. Surely one of those empty heads that worshipped only the rich.

"Brownsville." I replied with the same dry tone.

"Hm! Sign here and get a copy of the school map from these files."

I tried my best not to say something mean.
Silently, I signed and got a map.

"You're name."

"Harlem Rahim."

"Harlem. What a name." She said, searching through another file.

People mostly had the same reaction on hearing my name. Normal. Harlem is the name of one of the most ghetto or dangerous towns in New York.
But my dad had a reason behind that name and I wasn't gonna allow anyone to judge me through it.

"Here. Your room number and other information. Use the map to locate the girl dormitories."

I took the file from her.

"Thanks."

I left the line and made my way towards my bag. I felt some of the other students looking at me. I ignored them and left the building.

*

I finally found the girls' dormitory building. I was on the third floor. Luckily, we had elevators. The campus was really beautiful.

I reached my floor. To my surprise, I met both boys and girls in the hallway. Apparently it wasn't forbidden for boys to visit the girls' dormitory and vice versa.
Some boys had come to help other girls to pack in and others just came to visit their friends. The dormitories were mixed with freshman to senior year girls.

I found my room number, 28.
I dropped my bag and got the key from my pocket. I opened the door and got in.

The rooms were beautiful! My room was as big as our living room back in Brownsville. And plus, it was a room for one person.

There was a little arranged bed at the corner, a reading table, a TV, a little fridge and a one person shower. The toilets were probably outside.

There was also a little drawer. I closed the door behind me. I felt all excited.
It was now time for me to pack my clothes into the drawer.
This was a good beginning.

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