Two days later,
Mrs Obiora: That’s my daughter. You will always make me proud. I hope you have learnt your lesson though!
Gabriella : Certainly! I am so glad, mum. Dad called me early this morning. He’s so happy.
Mrs Obiora: Indeed we all are. We remain profoundly proud of you. Keep studying hard and God will crown your efforts with success! Make sure you study for the next exam at the state level, alright?
Gabriella: Aire captain!
Mrs Obiora: Make sure you eat well and take care of yourself. Love you!
Gabriella: You too mum!
(The phone conversation ends as Ethan stares at her with an appraising eye)
Ethan: Was that your mum?
Gabriella: Yes…Urmmm so these are the books you read while you were in your second year?…But…I…I…
Ethan: These should do for now. I could also get you some other books and materials that will help you prepare for the competition also.
Gabriella: You need not worry. Just give me a list of them and I’ll get my dad to buy them for me….Ehhh have you seen Ijeoma around?
Ethan: No…I haven’t. That reminds me…I have always wanted to speak to you about something…
Gabriella: Go on.
Ethan: Can you please stop hanging out with Ijeoma, Debby or even Kelechi for now? Those girls don’t seem nice…
Gabriella: Why would you make such a claim? You can’t just assume such uneasy statements about my friends!
Ethan: I know they’re your friends. But mark my words, they don’t wish you well. You should interact with friends that are positive and not followers of negativity!…You might not believe me now because I have no evidence to support my claims but on that day you shall remember I said this to you.
Gabriella : I have heard you…I must go now. (she exits)
Ethan: Even the Lord says that His people perish for lack of knowledge. May God have mercy on us.
(Tunde who has been staring at the door at the entrance comes to sit on the sofa with Ethan)
Tunde: Seriously, Ethan don’t tell me this is you!….I can’t believe this!
Ethan: Have my looks changed or what? Do I look more handsome? Huh?…(he winks)
Tunde: Hahaha… I gave you a week, thinking you’d backslide but I tell you, you still are faithful! My tongue has lost count of the days you have been absent in that club. Or have you forgotten that so many girls have crushes on you in this school?…We know now. The ever handsome guy who has changed tremendously.
Tunde: How did God change you? I can’t believe you could be this spiritual! Oh my eyes cannot behold the wonders of this word! Everyone is bewildered! They can’t seem to accept the fact that Ethan, the “bad nigga” has changed into the “holy saint”…Hahahaha (he does the sign of the cross with his hands frantic on his chest)…But how did this happen?
Ethan: Hmmm…I sook after the Lord- that’s what happened! He saved me from eternal condemnation. You know the bible says in Romans 3 vs 23 ; For all have sinned and cut short of the glory of the Lord. The lord spoke to me and I took a ride in his word- well I still am!
Tunde: Oh…Oh…Oh…This is incredible! That reminds me…What about Gracie? (he smiles mischievously)
Ethan: Urghhh! That….(he pauses) I don’t know. Old things have passed away!
Tunde: Oh so Gracie is now an old thing, right? Hahaha…I’d be glad if she hears that from you.
Ethan: And she has…Let’s just forget about that…How’s your department treating ya?
Tunde: Well as it should…Never been better…Hmmm…When I entered this lounge my eyes couldn’t blink! Oh man, you should have seen the figure I saw some minutes ago, stepping out of the lounge!
Ethan: I know it’s a girl you saw! When will you change and forsake worldly pleasures?
Tunde: When I am old oh!…Even heaven knows this girl I just saw is too pretty to ignore…Ah. Nah!…Nah…Nah…Even on her blouse were imprinted; “Ever gorgeous”…
Ethan: Wait a sec! No kidding right?
Tunde: I am dead serious! That’s what she wore!
Ethan: Hahahaha hahahahahaha!….Omg!…Hahaha.
Tunde: What is so funny? Do I sound foolish?
Ethan: Was the blouse pink?
Tunde: Yes…And she was with a black hand bag.
Ethan: Of course that’s Gabriella! Hahahahaha…She just left. We came here together!
Tunde: Hmmm…Ah ah! (raises an eyebrow) Now I get it! Ethan! Don’t tell me she’s just your friend! Tell me the truth!
Ethan: She’s my junior colleague from the same department. Nothing is going on! You should know by now that I’m not into such things…
Tunde: Then that makes things easier. You can introduce me to her right? Huh?
Ethan: Tunde you’re only wasting your time! She’s a very serious student and not those kind of girls you flirt around with. She might look flashy outwardly but if you look inwards, you’d find out that her heart is made of pure gold…Tunde leave those things aside and be born again.
Tunde: Hmmm…I still can’t believe you’re saying these things to me…Even speaking the scriptures…
Ethan: Being born again, not of the corruptible seed but of the incorruptible, by the word of God which abideth and liveth forever! . I leave those words with you to ponder about…I should be taking my leave now. So long friend!
Tunde: (to himself) This world indeed is a mystery! May God give me the grace to comprehend these things.
Frank: I told you! I told you! It’s only a matter of time…And I conquered! Big time…
Ijeoma: Well, I am happy for you! It’s such a shame Gabriella didn’t fail! Why? Why?
Frank: Well as long as I passed her, I don’t give a flying hoot about whether she passed or not.
Ijeoma: I thought you were interested in her failing…Why this sudden withdrawal?
Frank: I never said I wanted her to fail. I only wanted to come out first and nothing else!
Ijeoma: Oh so that’s what you now say, right? Good…This conversation is over then!
Frank: Uh-huh! Not so fast! Ok fine! She’s a necessary evil! I just wanted to sound like a hero…nothing else! She would not make it in the state level…I can bet on that!
Ijeoma: How sure are you? I just can’t watch and let her have all the good things! She has to go down! She has to! (Gabriella enters)
Gabriella: Ijeoma, I have been looking all over the place for you!
Frank: Where else could she have been if not in class?…
Gabriella: You should learn to talk only when you’re asked to!
Ijeoma: Hold on! Hold on! We should not pick up a fight here! Ok? Gabriella, I have been in class.
Gabriella: Lectures are over for today…Besides, you guys were the only ones in this class…(winks)
Frank: Oh poppy cock!
Ijeoma: Frank was just leaving anyway!
Frank :Oh who says I am? Hey runner up! (to Gabriella) How does it feel to be a runner up?
Gabriella: Two marks were deducted from me.
Frank: Oh what’s that smell? – the stink of me not giving a damn about your deducted marks! Anyways, how are you preparing for the next exam?
Gabriella : I don’t know…Anyhow I please.
Frank: Fair enough! Got to go!
Gabriella : Urghhh! How do you cope with Frank? He’s so annoying! He should know I’m not competing with anybody. This is a tertiary institution! He can as well take his kindergarten mind back to high school. He should learn to be reasonable at times as an undergraduate and not act like some stuffed idiotic doll whose mind orientation is insensate and frivolous! (sighs)…Anyways, I hope you have prepared for the exam. It’s in two days time.
Ijeoma: I know right? Could you teach me how to write argumentative essays and even understand syntax better?
Gabriella : Oh yea sure! Ermmm…By the way, Kelechi is a big ingrate! She came to me the other time, trying to apologise.
Ijeoma: So I heard…
Gabriella: Do you know what she said to me? She told me that those marks supposedly deducted from me will finally bring me down to her “level”…
Ijeoma: Oh she said that? Hahahahaha…What did she mean?
Gabriella: I don’t even know…Even if it was meant to be a joke, I certainly didn’t find it funny!
Ijeoma: And you then exclaimed to the bone-headed dog that she’d bring you down to her level and beat you with experience?
Gabriella: Yes…How…How did you know?
Ijeoma: The nicompu told me. She came to me the other day and was making slanders about you. I felt disgusted!
Gabriella: Oh Ethan was right after all! These girls aren’t meant to be trusted….Oh except you!
Ijeoma : You’re my “best friend of life”! ….I will never disappoint you.
Gabriella: Yea…You too…Urhmmm can I ask you a question?
Gabriella : Urhmmm(scratches her head) Do you like Frank? …Or let me put it this way- does he like you?
Ijeoma: Yes…I think so. Why?
Gabriella :Oh nothing! (suddenly recalls something)
Frank: Hello! I have seen this face in my class a certain time…Are you in 100 level?
Frank: Oh that’s nice…Can I sit with you?
Gabriella: No probs…(An awkward silence)
Frank: Hmmm…you are quite stingy with words!
Gabriella: I don’t eat a bowl of alphabet soup and spill it out on “who the world knows”!
Frank: …Urhmmm…sorry…My bad! So urhmmm what’s your name? Mine is Frank.
Frank: Your name is just as cute as you are….Awww…You’re so pretty I’m gonna die!
Gabriella : Ok.
Frank: Just ok?( a silence) Ok. Urhmmm where do you come from?
Frank: Where in Delta?
Frank: To be candid, I really wish there was something between us.
Gabriella: Me too.
Frank: Oh really? Tell me…Like what exactly?
Gabriella: A wall…
Frank : (his jaw drops) Oh come on! I just wanna be a good neighbour!
Gabriella: Like a good neighbour, stay over there! (she points at a building far opposite the faculty)
Frank: Urghhhh! Can you just make me feel like I’m romantic…even in the slightest bit? Please….Haven’t you watched titanic? I swear my favourite character was the guy! Yours?
Gabriella : The iceberg!… (his jaw drops again)…Ok I really gotta go now. I have an appointment. ..Bye!
Frank: (to himself) Omg! Who the hell was that?
(Gabriella laughs loudly)
Ijeoma: And what’s amusing you?
Gabriella: Hahaha…It’s nothing…Just a funny old memory!
Ijeoma: Hmmm…care to share?
Gabriella: Hmmm…Later! I have to go to the library now.. See ya later!
Ijeoma: (to herself) Now she’s going to the library….Mtcheeww! What is her problem? Is she the only serious student on earth? Rubbish! (to Gabriella) Wait up! Let’s just walk together. I am going towards the same direction…
(They exit) .
Kelechi: Frank! Frank! Where are you coming from, sweating like that?
Frank: (breathing heavily) Time almost eluded me. I had to rush to the bank before they closed for the day. And you?
Kelechi: You’re breathing like a lion in fierce battle with its prey…Anyways, ermmm can I ask you a question, before I forget?
Kelechi: Urhmmm…If the sentence “Kelechi is the smartest girl in my class” is an irony, what does it mean?
Frank: It’s more like a candid statement to me…
Kelechi :Really? !
Frank: The opposite I mean. The irony there is that Kelechi is the dullest in the class.
Kelechi: Ehhhhh! God forbid! Chineke! So Ijeoma can be this cunny! Ehhhhhhh!
(shakes her head in a rhythmic manner like a lizard with a bone in its throat)
Frank: Hahahahaha! Oh she said that to you? How sad! When did she say this to you?
Kelechi: Last week tuesday.
Frank: What? And you just realised that, huh? Today is thursday. So it took you more than a week to think about that statement? Hahahaha…(to himself) Ijeoma must have been shrewd indeed to mention such a precarious truth to her! Hahahahaha.
Kelechi : I was so ignorant! I will deal with her…I just can’t wait to get a hold of her in school tomorrow. What nonsense!
Frank: Oh poppy cock! (he yawns) lndeed, I have never met such an empty brain in a large head before!
(He says that as an aside as Kelechi takes a turn and disappears into another route)
At the library.
Ethan: Look who we have here!
Gabriella: Good evening, Ethan. It’s such a coincidence that I’m seeing you again today…in the library.
Ethan: Yea…Yea…After abandoning me at the lounge. Yea sure, it’s really good to see you again…So how is your reading going?
Gabriella : It’s fine. I’m trying to study immersely on this topic; “Appositives” .
Ethan: That’s syntax, right?
Gabriella: Yeah…I am just..(sighs)…I’d…I’d really need thorough directions on that day which is just…two days away.
Ehan: Don’t you pray? Or even study your bible?
Gabriella: You won’t understand. I barely know the bible. And I don’t pray regularly. It’s not really in my volition to act in an unorthodox lifestyle or be totally oblivious of these things…The truth is that my parents are not strong christians.
Ethan: Don’t you know that the bible says that without God watching a city, the night watch watcheth in vain? Or have you forgotten that by strength shall no man prevail?
Ethan: You speak of directions…The bible says that we should acknowledge God in all our ways and he will direct our paths. The bible says that the word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths. Why not seek the Lord’s face in this? You need wisdom? Ask in his name and he will do it for you. O the depth of riches in both the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgements and his ways are past finding out!
Gabriella : Ok, ok…Ermmm I barely have time to talk more…Ijeoma is coming in no time. I promised to teach her syntax. And you know I am leaving here by 10 pm tonight…So I have to go out and bring her here.
Ethan: Oh so you now despise these words because of Ijeoma? A girl who has already despised your worth? Huh? Why do you waste so much time on your enemies in pretense of being your friends? I have warned you severally to desist from such evil company but still you are headstrong and so stubborn that you will not heed to my advice! How many times have I talked to you about solitude? A man who follows the crowd goes no further than the crowd but a man who walks alone will discover places that no one has ever been before! Even the bible preaches in line with this. You can only succeed if you dwell in the secret place and think. You can’t think with so much friends around you! Don’t you know that the secret thing about life is found in the secret place? Be wise, Gabriella! I have done much in my little way to help you. Now help yourself. These friends will mislead and hurt you. And you need to put God first in everything you do for without God watching a city, the nightwatch watcheth in vain… My words do not fail. Be wise! I will leave you now…Although I am angry that you have taken me and my words for granted so many times and…You only call when you need something from me…It’s apparent you only care about yourself. If you don’t honour and care for others, how do you expect God to do the same for you? I will stop calling you or even texting you. You need to help yourself this time. You fail to appreciate me or what I do for you. Since it’s unto God I do these things and for the fact that I see a star in you, I won’t stop praying for you but I’ll have to let you be for now…. Good bye!
Gabriella: (In a state of confusion, bows her head on the table and lets out drizzles of tears. But out of pride, she dries her tears and goes back to her reading)
Two weeks later.
The day the results are to be released…
To be continued…