Pat headed home with mental pictures of how he would spend the remaining part of such a great day. “Thank God I am now a graduate” he mumbled as he knelt down to say a thank you prayer to God for seeing him through his project defence amidst the intimidating looks and questions from his lecturers. As he ended his prayer he picked up his phone to call his parents and share the good news, but this was cut short as he noticed Tunde and Felix with tears in their eyes; he knew exactly what happened.
Pat, Tunde and Felix were at first just colleagues in the department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan until their second year when Tunde and Felix had accommodation problems and had to put up with Pat. This marked the beginning of their friendship, they were not the kind of friends that would walk together even though they were in the same department but their friendship was one of a kind, each person would know where the other would be at a given time.
Their easygoing nature made them look unserious on the surface but their results always said the opposite to the surprise of their lecturers and classmates. It was so much of a coincidence that people from different homes would meet themselves and just blend into each other the way they did.
* * *
Tunde had stumbled on a contract to write exams for people and get paid for it, he leaped into it without looking, and so did Felix. They tried to persuade Pat to join them; after all it was just a year one exam, they didn’t even have to read for it with their intellectual capabilities, and that it would be their first adventure together but Pat decided not to be part of such an adventure. The duo had proceeded to the exam hall, wrote the exams and were about to submit when Mr. Olamide noticed Tunde and wondered what he was doing in a year one examination hall , he wanted to confront him but decided against it as that would embarrass him before his junior colleagues. As the papers were submitted, Mr. Olamide looked out for Tunde’s script and to his surprise the script Tunde submitted carried a different code from that assigned his class, then he noticed Felix and smelt foul play.They got their pay for the job but they knew something was wrong, even Pat knew but when he confronted them they waved it away as nothing and life went on as usual.
Alarms began to ring in Pat’s head as he his friend’s name on the notice board wanted by the HOD, school had just resumed and everyone especially final students like him came back early to start their projects. He immediately called their attention to the notice board and when they came out of the HOD’s office the look on their faces told him it was not good news – they had been asked to suspend studies pending when their case will be looked into by the Examination malpractice committee and subsequently the school Senate and that could take a year if not years.
Pat blinked to prevent the tears from coming as he remembered that day and wished he could turn back the hands of time; he would have stopped his friends from getting into this whole mess. His heart bled for his friends who would have to seek admission elsewhere and start all over again, he let the tears drop and he knew they would be his friends no matter what happened and with an assuring look he gave each a hug. He knew they would have to go separate ways soon but they would keep the bond.