“BUS 111!” cried the invigilator. Business Administration students scattered all over the ground came forward, some enthusiastically, some still trying to cram a few more lines, others looking nearly indifferent.
“My guy, abeg I dey your side.”
Ayo turned up his nose and without looking behind him to know who owned the voice, he replied, “guy, you dey on your own o.”
“Ayo abeg, I no know anything for this course, na your guy Jeff o.”
Before Jeff could say another word Ayo hissed and moved to the next line. That was when he spotted her. Jet black hair packed in a tight ponytail, tight green and black striped dress, tight calf-high gladiator sandals; everything was tight and in all the right places – perfection. He couldn’t help but stare.
“Dude move na.” “Wetin dey do this one.” “Someone should push him joor.” Pissed off voices came from behind Ayo until he got a not so gentle push from behind. He almost didn’t notice, he just allowed his legs to carry him forward, covering the three or four spaces he’d left in front of him. He watched her as she disappeared into the large hall. Almost immediately his brain switched from “mumu” mode to “rush” mode. Luckily, there was just one person in front of him now.
He said a quiet amen to his short exam prayer. It was a wonder he could even concentrate for the two minutes it took him to make supplication; he hadn’t seen Oge since he got in the hall and she was still very much in his head. Taking a deep breath, he set out to fill out the front page of his answer booklet. MATRIC NO. _______ DEPARTMENT_______ COURSE CODE_______ “Hey Ayo.” Ayo rolled his eyes as he looked behind him to see who had called.
It was at times like this that his brain took forever to process information. He could see alright, but who was he looking at, how come he hadn’t seen her before, the seat behind him had been empty when he’d taken his seat, so how… “Uhmm Ayo, hope you write fast cos I’ll use your answers.” Damn, that smile was threatening to melt him to one mishy-mashy puddle of ‘ode’. Ayo had been staring wide-eyed before he gave a quick nod and turned back to his answer booklet. It took his brain about a minute to recover. “Oge wants me to help her cheat!” He said to himself. Suddenly he felt miserable. He couldn’t cheat; it wasn’t right, he had principles and he couldn’t let them go just like that.
Thirty minutes into the exam and all was going well, Oge seemed to have forgotten about her request; Ayo started to relax.
Ten minutes later – “Ayo, Ayo.” Oge whispered. Ayo’s heart skipped a beat, maybe two. “Shit.” He said to himself. He looked at his work; he was already on his last question. He nodded discreetly. “Ayo!” Oge repeated through clenched teeth. Ayo knew he was in for it. Why couldn’t he just forget the girl and go hand in his paper; at least he was about ninety percent through already.
“Ayo, under.” She wanted him to pass his answer booklet under her desk. Curse the stupid hall, there were too many students in such a small hall so the seats were too close together. He could think of a dozen other things that had led to his present dilemma but he couldn’t think of a single reasonable solution; there was no escaping this.
He nervously scanned the hall to see if any invigilators were looking his way. Slowly, he removed the sheet from his desk and held it behind him. His heart was racing now and his hands were sweaty and shaking. Ayo spotted one of the invigilators walking briskly toward him; he was pointing. “Hey you! Get up now!” Ayo froze, his feet glued to the ground; how would he explain… “You I said!” The man yelled again as he aggressively tapped the girl sitting next to Ayo. Ayo hadn’t noticed she was copying directly from her albino thighs. He watched as the girl was led away – she was facing the panel for sure. “Panel.” That word echoed in Ayo’s head. Then came Oge’s whisper again, she sounded desperate this time. “What is wrong with this girl, didn’t she see that I almost got caught?” Thought Ayo. He noticed all attention was turned to the albino girl so he quickly passed his answer booklet to Oge.
Ayo had managed to submit his paper and exit the exam hall twenty minutes before the exam was over. He waited outside until he heard the noise in the hall made by students rushing to submit their papers at the last minute. He got up from the concrete slab he had been sitting on. He scanned the swarm of students for Oge. Finally he spotted her. This was his chance to get to talk to her and possibly get her phone number, after all she owed him one.
“Umm, hi Oge.” His heart would not stop racing, nonetheless he put on what he thought was his best smile.
“Hi.” She replied with a faint smile.
“Err, hope the paper was fine.”
“It was okay.”
“Erm, cool, so..uh…I was wondering…I mean, can I get your number?”
Oge’s face went from bored to amused to a ‘what is this guy doing’ look on her face. Looking behind Ayo like she was looking at something or someone, she said, “Thanks for your help Ayo, I’ve got to go.”
He wanted to say something more but didn’t know what. He watched her go to a guy who planted a kiss on her cheek and led her to his car – BOYFRIEND. He didn’t know what he was feeling at that moment, jealousy? That was just silly, it wasn’t like he wanted to be her boyfriend or anything…oh whatever. Ayo adjusted his glasses and headed out to his hostel. He would console himself later with dreams of Oge.