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Monday, October 10, 2016

The Struggle: A Story part 3

Written by: Emelogu Godswill Chimaihe

Part III
You are perplexed and excited. From a distance, you can see outlines of the signpost of the café. You think you can make out the italics that formed the name of the café; you have wondered why they chose to use Gratias instead of Gracias. As if it was by design, every bike that sped past you was carrying a passenger.

The distance to the café was about a thousand meters and today, it appeared to be double the distance. You run, you walk a bit and you run again. By now, your heart is beating faster than that of an antelope that just escaped the hunter’s assassination.

A thunder clap could be heard roaring across the sky. It should be raining in a short time from now but you are undeterred by the seeming annoyance of the gathering clouds. By your pace, you could easily have competed for Nigeria during the last Olympics and could have given Usain Bolt a run for his money. In few seconds, you are inside the café and just about now, the rain begins to drop in a rhythm and then graduates into a rapturous orchestra.

You dash to the café manager’s desk, panting and simultaneously trying to catch your breath.

Excuse me sir, I want to check my admission status, you manage to mumble.
He doesn't seem to share in your excitement because in the midst of a busy business day, the rain had just begun and had caused the satellite to go offline. You can’t check your result; at least not until the rain stops.

As you sit there waiting for a miracle to happen, you join the rain in the rhythmic rendition of a patterned shower. You play with the sound of the rain in your mind. You close one ear, slowly opens and closes it again repeatedly to your own rhythm and this helps calm you down and forget the tension. After two hours of continued shower that made you believe the showers of blessings dad has always talked about, the rain was done and the network was up again.

There you were, faced with the reality of two possible futuristic outcome; gain admission or not. The latter is the case. Though you got to the University's, cut off mark, they didn't deem it fit to give you admission. You are dejected. You insist the café guy double checks; he might have made a mistake in your registration number but he was not having any of that.

People have prevailed on him to double check. They were having a pity on you because all over you were the handwriting of gloom and dejection. Whatever it is that troubled you deserved a double check! Again, it says the same thing.

This is the closest you've gotten in gaining admission and everything seemed to be going on well. What could have gone wrong? The school promised during the Post UTME that admission was on merit. You scored more than Jane in Jamb and Screening exams.

Your legs seem not to be able to carry you out of the café. By now, people have adopted your story and are seriously drawing comparison to different experiences they've had (some of them could be pure fictions and exaggerations). They claim to know how you feel but you are sure that no one on earth has felt what you are made to feel but the unfairness of the university. Jane calls you to know what’s up and you distractedly glare at your phone, heave a heavy sigh and put the phone back into your pocket.

By now, your stomach is churning in anger and sheer despicableness. You can’t understand the reason you didn't get a placement.

You have had your good days with education, the good old days saw you top your class, then you lost it, you regained it again and now they are making you lose interest again.

You get home and fall asleep. A sleep triggered by depression. You sleep so hard that when your parents returned, they honked at the gate for several minutes before you could wake.

That shiny baritone voice didn't respond correctly to your greetings of welcome daddy. Rather, it said "Chris, you've been sleeping again, that was why you failed SSCE for three years”. You are disgusted that your father would refer to nasty events from your past.

Your blood pumps with so much pressure and you begin to feel that you will burst open. Your face registers displeasure. Your dad removes his glasses, (the glasses you've always called the professor because it makes your father look like a professor) fixes his guess at you and asks you

“What is your disgust? Didn't you fail thrice?"

Your muscle stiffens and you wish you could punch him in the face. He walks majestically pass you and walks into his house. Your mum notices that you are troubled. She gives you that popular stare, you try to unfix your eyes, and she walks close to you and asks if you are well. You want to say you are OK but you say you are not OK instead.

You start crying as you tell her how you met the cut-off and yet wasn't given admission. She places her hands on your shoulder, just as she did when you were young. She tells you that everything is going to be alright.

She promises to talk to your dad about it to, explain this thing to him. One large stone has been lifted off your neck, but a bigger one was left hanging. How would your dad perceive this news?

As she goes about making dinner, she won’t tell you if they've discussed it. Your dad naturally would have been in the sitting room by 6pm to catch the news. But today, he is not out. You have a mixed feeling of fear and anxiety. Your stomach is completely caged by anxiety and you won’t have a meal.

You begin to hope that you had the superpowers of Merlin, you could get your mum to say if they have discussed it or not. You know that this is not your fault but you hate disappointing your dad. But you are sure she has told your dad.

Your mum goes about her duty and pays you no attention. She tries to tell you about her work today, you respond by default and truthfully. You don't even hear much she is saying apart from the sounds of a feminine voice. You are by now completely lost in thoughts and by now, her voice had faded into an echoed oblivion and your thoughts are lost for the time.

You can’t seem to understand why your world is taking this turn. Four years was already OK to completely a degree programme. You are beginning to think you would never go to a university. Your little sister was already in SS1 and would soon meet you here.

Your elder sister is getting married next year and it seemed that everyone's life was going very well for them. In the nick of time, when you were very close to Avalon, your mum shouts your name for the umpteenth time.

She had been calling you all this while but the distance your thoughts had travelled was a barrier. You are startled; shaken back into reality and the gloominess of your pitiable condition.
"Go to your dad’s room and call him to dinner; your mum says".

Your heart misses a bit, then bits twice at a time. Adrenaline pumps and all your fears are brought into reality. You are going to face your dad again and explain to him all over again that you are going to stay at home for another one year.

You ask her if she can’t call him by herself. She is taken aback by your sudden headiness and effrontery. She was not having your malarkey and twaddle. She gives you those sharp visual rebuke and you are now certain that you are having this faceoff with your dad tonight.

As you make to knock on his door, he opens the door himself and there you are, facing your worst night mare for the day.

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