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Monday, October 10, 2016

The Struggle: A Story - part 2

Written by: Emelogu Godswill Chimaihe

Part II

The next year, you are not sure whether to ask for money to register again or to forget about this university business altogether. By the way Charlie has just opened a sports betting shop and he splashes money around time now. Not as if he is more intelligent.

You remember how intelligent you used to be. Then you remember the day things fell apart. The day they gave a home work, how you excitedly gave it your all. You remember how your teacher; the man you all called Mr. Do-Good would call you out in front of the class and embarrass you. How while he graded others, all he could write on your script was "Don’t try to show that you know more than your teacher". Now, you remember how this event sapped all academic energy from you and how you just felt that it was useless studying so hard again.

You summon courage to ask for the money to register again for SSCE. This time, Daby had just told you that there is this uncle who owns a Miracle Centre and he had just passed all his subjects in Alphas. You can’t bring yourself to tell your dad that you need the money for Miracle Centre. You need to pass but you know the moral standard your dad requires.

You begin to stalk your dads every other step, hoping for an opportune moment to ask him. Yet, every time as you come close to telling him, your brain would format and you would forget all your rehearsed lines. Finally, your dad notices that you are always tensed around him and decides to ask you. You tell him. He is disappointed, but this time, all your rehearsals didn’t leave you.

You convince him that there is not going to be exam malpractice there. It is just someone who has a gentlemen agreement with WAEC that his school would be graded correctly. Your dad agrees but is still skeptical. You are so joyous that today, you took just about twenty minutes to finish the chores you normally used about two lazy hours to complete.

You register for WAEC and JAMB. Everything seems to be going on well.
The journey to AHOADA in Port Harcourt for the exam was on sea. There was a mixture of youthful excitement borne out of your spirit of adventure and that of fear. There was no life jacket. Only a dugout boat that has an engine.

This boat looks old and rickety. It has a space that seems to be for maximum of twelve people but they expect thirty of you to board this boat for a four hours journey on the high sea. To compound your woes, you dad wasn’t aware that this was taking you to Ahoada. You told him on assumption that it was going to be at Port Harcourt.
The boat driver goes about his business with no degree of excitement. He must be used to this routine; you thought to yourself. A look at him as he took one last puff on the cigarette in his mouth, you are even scared as he distractedly lights another one with the last spark of fire on the one he just finished.

He is also guzzling on a bottle of rum. You can’t believe your eyes. He notices your scared stare, approaches you and tells, you know why they call that schnapps SEAMANS AROMATIC SCHNAPPS? You didn’t answer him but he continues anyway. It is because it is good for the sea; he said to you.

This pep talk doesn’t make you feel better, it made no sense at all. In fact, you have started to doubt his sanity, and here you are, about to board an unstable boat driven for four hours on a high sea by a scary looking daredevil who was about finishing the fifth stick of cigarette even as a few people around had started talking about sea pirates and militants.

You are convinced that today is your last. This could be why you have not passed WAEC. You curse Daby in your mind for not telling you when he registered his so you could register and go together.

When the Jamb result was published, you had scored 285, you couldn’t believe your eyes. Your WAEC result just came out today and you are running home. So excited to the extent that you could have been knocked down by vehicles severally because you didn’t care; it was just you and the world now. You couldn’t eat. You are sure that dad would even buy you the PS 2 you have dreamt of. By the way, he destroyed your PS 1 after you failed last year.

You basically stare at the clock every five minutes and curse whenever you see that the time isn’t 5pm yet. You are tempted to go and wind the clock forward, believing that this would change every other chronometer in the world. What the hell happened to 5pm today? It seemed to be lost in a distant horizon, paddled to your time zone by an old and rickety rafter.

You have tried to sleep and you would wake up after every five minutes with the exact believe that 5pm is finally here. You would curse again when you just see that the time is just 3pm. Only if your phone didn’t fall inside the water earlier today, you could have called home to break the news. Finally, 5pm came and they didn’t waste time in showing up at the gate. You happily announce your result, they were happy too and everyone celebrates.

You finally have a shot at going to the university.

You applied to study Petrochemical Engineering at the university and the day they published the result, Jane had called you to tell you she has checked online and she was giving admission. Jane, the sweet blonde who sat beside you in the Post UTME hall. You had quickly dismissed her as a dull brain.

She was surely beautiful with those gap teeth running parallel from top to bottom of her incisor. Her lips were wet and red and those eyes were pure and were as white as holiness. She wore a braid of mixed colours; blue and black and she wore a fragrance that you were convinced permeated the whole block. She was golden and petit. Her hips were well formed and gave her strides an elegant rhythm.

Yet, you noticed that she wasn’t writing much. You check her answer script and most of her Mathematical calculations were sick. You even helped her solve some of them in the hall and you still remember those eyes when she shot them at you, parted those lips to mutter a seductive thank you. You had collected her contact hence forth and had since maintained communication and have virtually become buddies. If Jane could get admission, you too can.

You dash off to the Café to check your status!

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