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Ah, when campus ceases to be a home for education and turns into the luxurious palace of all evil then… Oh, hold up. I do tend to forget my manners, please, allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Phillis. Worry not about my second name because trust me, all you need is that one name, to find me in a crowd.

I happen to be the school president at one university I shall not mention and right now, I am seated in my one-bedroom house, my four friends and (one) boyfriend beside me. Normally, this would be that occasion where we discuss politics, play games or drink but ladies and gentlemen, today, is definitely not that day.

Let’s start at the very beginning. Eric, Janet, Joy, Wafula and my boyfriend Tony. These are my friends. What the people at campus call, “Her inner circle” or, “Deep state.” Eric and Janet are what the netizens call couple goals. Joy and Wafula are more like friends with benefits, uhm…no, I like to think that they are in an open relationship and then there is Tony and I, we believe in the traditional kind of relationship or is it courtship? Anyway, he is my dzaddy … – ooh- …well, maybe it’s not so traditional after all.

Moving on swiftly. The six of us have been a team for five years and today is the first day that I have seen such gloomy faces. Today’s mood started when Eric texted the rest of us that we need to meet up urgently. Now, the last time we had urgent meetings as friends, Joy was in ICU. So, when Eric called for the meeting, we all rushed to my house and five minutes later there we were laughing and making fun of each other. At least the five of us were, Eric was not. He was leaning on the wall near the door, eyes closed.

                                                               “Eric, you look cloudy today.” Tony said to him, and Janet added,

                                                               “What could be that bad babe?”

The Eric we know would have rewarded his bae with a smile but this one did not. He instead blurted out,


Now ladies and gentlemen, shit was about to get real. Janet stood slowly and walked towards Eric.

                                                                “Babe, what has Syphilis done?”



Janet repeated coldly.  She was mad. The room went silent as we waited for Eric to explain and just when we thought he wouldn’t, he looked at Janet, eyes red.

                                                                   “I have secondary syphilis.”

Janet froze. It was terrible but I still didn’t understand why they wouldn’t have talked about it just the two of them, so I was about to open my mouth and say so but stopped when Joy, Wafula and Tony stood and in unison shouted,


Ok, maybe it was a matter that concerned the rest of them… Wait…the rest of them? That would only happen if…

                                                                      “I’m sorry, what does that have to do with all of you?” I turn to look at Tony,

                                                                       “…and with you Tony?”

Everyone went silent. Tony avoided my gaze, a look of pain on his face and I knew. Even without being told I knew. My circle. The Circle of Phillis had everyone in it sleeping with each other. Well, everyone except me. If Eric had syphilis, then everyone, including me, might have the disease. I shoot Tony a glare.

                                                                     “Nani alicheza nje. Who slept with someone outside this circle?”

Eric asked softly and I found myself bursting into laughter, tears streaming down my cheeks.

                                                                     “Are you all kidding me right now?” I asked coldly.

The five of them looked at each other and shook their heads. They knew. They all knew that they alternated in warming each other’s beds. I was painfully loyal only to be rewarded with syphilis and friends whom I don’t think I know anymore.

                                                                         “Si Phillis. We all know that. It’s not me either. I’ve only slept with Janet and Joy.”

Tony said softly and I felt like smacking his face but didn’t have the energy for that. I sat quietly and watched as Eric, Joy, Janet, Wafula and Tony went back and forth on who went sleeping around out of this circle of friends and felt like hurling everything that I had eaten before. I patiently waited for them to keep quiet, or for someone to speak up but fifteen minutes later, they were still arguing. I inhaled deeply and shouted,

                                                                          “Shut up all of you.”

After calming down, I closed my eyes and said softly,

                                                                           “Are there other things that I should know of? …ah…we should all know of? It’s time to spill. Everyone better start talking.”

Fellow human beings, that is how, two hours later, we are sitting quietly in my living room, not knowing what to say to each other. and I can’t help but think repeatedly that, ah, when campus ceases to be a home for education and turns into the luxurious palace of all evil then the devil and his offspring could be the very people you would lay your life down for.

Sigh. Suddenly, I find that I have no strength to share more with you, but before I allow my thoughts to rest, I have to tell you, that I can’t help but wonder what the campus paper will write if it is ever found out that the faithful president and her inner circle might all be suffering from syphilis. Do you think they will name it, “Circle of si-philis”?  I don’t know, but if I was the journalist, I probably would have.

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