The third term examination always put pressure on students, but this time, it was cancelled. The ministry for education decided that student in ss2 should seat for mock examination as their promotion exam to ss3. It came as a surprise everybody had prepared for the exam, I was going through my notes, we had English language that morning. Suddenly the vice principal showed up telling us to follow her, everybody was stunned as we followed her under the big almond tree, we saw other ss2 student waiting anxiously, probably she called us last. Everybody gathered forming a large circle in which she was in the middle. Mrs. Adama began and everybody kept quiet hoping to hear good news.
Unfortunately, your exam as been cancelled and you are up to a new system, you all be the first set to witness this, the ministry of education have decided that you write a mock exam as your promotional examination which simply means you won’t need to write any mock exams once in ss3. Everybody mouth fell agape, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, several murmurs started between the student’s but the V.P’s voice brought them back and they kept their ear hoping to hear more. The mock examination is starting in September 9, 2017 so you have up to two-three months to prepare don’t waste your time, now that there is more time to read. Let every single bit of distraction get away from you, no one knows where the questions are coming from, but probably it won’t be any easy task, that is all I have to say.
The Vice principal left us, leaving us to our own fate, as all her words try to assimilate, someone tapped me, it was Suleiman Abdul my closest friend . Ooh Suleiman how far, what are you trying to do? He fired ignoring my greetings. Nothing, I replied. Good I thought you were thinking what others were thinking. What is that? I asked, looking anxious, most of our class mates are planning to apply for the upcoming GCE (General Certificate Examination) He replied, it’s their choice I said. I had also been about GCE too; it would be interesting writing it.
I couldn’t believe u were the only students now under the tree; we have been talking for some minutes. Let go back into the class, I heard Suleiman saying, already heading towards our classroom, I followed him not minding my thought I was also planning on doing GCE I wondered what Suleiman was thinking as I stared at his blanked face, I couldn’t read any expression so I let go of my thoughts too.
As we entered the class everybody was murmuring about the topic, Abigail Adenike ran to my desk asking same question Suleiman asked earlier, I ignored her saying I don’t know, she looked at me in a sought of way that told me she was angry, I looked away, I don’t have time for your silly behavior time, I said in my mind.
Back at home, I told my dad the latest news in school, all he told me was to read and prepare well for the exam, he never talked about GCE and since my Dads words were final, my hopes of doing GCE drowned like titanic. Christian was the only son of Mr. Samuel, his mother died at child birth, he was taking care of by his aunt, but when he was six, he went to live with his Father.
Mr. Samuel was a bicycle repairer, he repaired faulty bicycles. Christian had also learned how to repair bicycles from his father, which he did at school to get little pocket money. They lived in a one room self contain, in a two- storey building; the room had a small size bed, an old rug, television, radio, and some cooking utensils. Several photos hung on the wall. One of his mum and dad on their wedding day, One of him and his dad at the previous Christmas and another of only him on his graduation day in primary six.
On Friday was vacation day and also the, the ss1 students had their last paper. Christian sat one of the big almond tree in St. Davis private school, there were several brick chairs under the tree. He was going through his Civic note which was the first paper in their mock examination. Abigail appeared beside him, but he didn’t notice, she tapped him, we still have time to read, she said frowning her face, he looked up at her, I know but since there is nothing to do it’s not bad reading from now, he replied smiling. You got me angry the other day; she said ignoring his answer, ooh I am really sorry my head was full at that time due to what the VP said. Before she could say anymore thing, Kazeem Oluwadamilare was standing right at her front. Kazeem seem to like Abigail but he couldn’t tell her, he hated seeing her talking to Christian. Look who we have here, he said grinning, so what were you two planning, he asked smiling. Planning to kill you, Abigail teased, he laughed loudly and said, I am not the type of guy you could kill so easily, won’t you say something Mr. Gentle he asked looking straight into Christian eyes, Christian just stared at, he could see in eyes something that said that he was angry. Christian stood up smiling at Abigail, I think I’ll use the toilet, I’ll be right back, he said without waiting for an answer, he sprinted off, leaving the two of them behind.
Though Kazeem was in SS1 he didn’t want to fight over a girl. Abigail was not his girl friend, but she seem to like him more than Kazeem, but Kazeem knew her at junior secondary school when she didn’t know Christian. Christian had been watching Kazeem he knew what he wanted, Christian knew Kazeem didn’t love Abigail, all he has for Abigail was infatuation, Christian knew he wanted to use her, then dump her, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell Abigail without her getting annoyed, her hot temper was one big problem to handle, but someday he would tell her before the worse happened, he thought.
The bell rang breaking the deadly silence, Sulieman and Christian were busy marking “SS1” scripts at Mr. Chike’s office, Mr. Chike taught Biology but was very lazy, he always wanted students to mark his scripts. It has been a long time since I saw him mark our scripts by himself, Christian thought. All SS1 students were rushing rapidly to the gate with great joy, it was the end of the third term and the vacation was a very long one. Abigail appeared at the window of Mr. Chike’s office, she called at me, telling me she was going home, I persuaded her to wait but she told me she couldn’t, so I gave up. As she left, David my other friend ran into the office, Mr. Chike was surprised at him, what was chasing you, he yelled, nothing I just wanted to check if Christian was here. David replied trying to catch his breath, Mr. Chike looked at him then went back to the news paper he was reading. David ran to my side, still breathing heavily, I thought you guys had gone home, I wanted to tell you that we could create a study group for ourselves. Christian looked at Suleiman who stared back at him, that a bright idea, Christian said, where would be the venue? Suleiman asked, putting his red biro in his mouth, you could use my place, David said smiling, my mum would be glad to have you. Okay it is agreed we start when, Christian put in arranging stacks of scripts. Tomorrow will be fine, David said, no problem Christian and Suleiman replied simultaneously.
We were the only students remaining in school when we finished marking; the school was as quiet as a grave yard. We should be going Suleiman said backing his bag, don’t forget guys, David said reminding about the study group they had planned earlier on. No problem, Christian replied. You should be going home now it’s late; Mr. Chike hoarse voice filled the room, yes sir we replied, he gave us two hundred naira to share among ourselves for our hard work, we were very happy as we went home we bought snacks, and “Zobo”, it was an interesting evening.
We had parted ways and I was now walking alone, I threw the paper of the snacks in my hand and I watched the cool evening breeze floating it in mid air, it was a very cool evening, you could hear the songs of birds, perching at every nearby tree, the sky was brownish gold, illuminated by the evening sun, it was setting at the east, as if it was entering the ground, Christian liked watching the sun at this time, the rays were now very weak not like the fierce afternoon rays which scorches you, burning through your entire skin. Christian wasn’t surprised seeing his Dad at the gate he knew he was late, he looked at his wrist watch, it was past five; it was time to answer some thorough questioning.
Where are you coming from? His father fired still standing at the gate. F…f…from school, Christian replies stammering, he was standing some meters away from his father. And what were you doing until now? His father fired the second question trying to cool his temper. Mr. Chike our Biology teacher asked us to mark scripts for him, unfortunately we finished late. His father looked at him right into his eyes, hope you aren’t lying to me, yes father I would never do such a thing he replied nervously. Now get inside! His father barked at him, Christian ran inside leaving his father at the gate, he looked back and saw the long wire he had been holding behind him, he thanked his stars his father wasn’t angry.
Later that night he couldn’t tell is father about the study group he and his friends had created, he postponed it to the next morning when everything would be calm and normal.
The next morning Christian woke up to find his father already gone he blamed himself for oversleeping, he decided to go ti his father’s workshop and tell him, then he would from there set out to David’s house. He quickly took his bath, brushed is teeth and ate a light meal of custard and bean cake (Akara), his father’s shop was some miles away from home, he would have to go on foot since his bicycle has been faulty.
After trekking some tiring miles, he finally got to his father’s shop; there were a lot of people waiting patiently to be answered, he was happy but at the same time sad. He left the workshop for David’s house; he would have to tell his father when he returns in the evening. At nine o’ clock, David was already waiting at his gate, the sun was giving it all, so he took shade in a shop that was I front of his house, some minutes later he saw Christian coming from afar and ran to meet him, what’s up, he said stretching is hand for a handshake, I am fine bro, replied Christian also giving out his hand. Where is Suleiman? Christian asked, he is not here yet David replied, suddenly they heard a voice from behind, they turns simultaneously, hey guys, Suleiman called, he was wearing a white T-shirt and a blue jean, he also had a new hair-cut, you are looking splendid boy!, Christian exclaimed, wait! Are you going to a party? David asked with a teasing tone. They all laughed as they walked down to David’s house.
Mr. William was an importer, he was David’s father, his wife Pricilla was a business woman, they were very rich couples but they had only one son, which was David. After so many years without children, giving birth to David was a great joy to them but they didn’t pamper him like other parents would do, David’s father was a strict looking man, he trained his child to accomplish what he could not. David and his friends entered the house; David’s father was watching the morning news since it was a Saturday he didn’t go to work. Good morning sir, Christian and Suleiman chorused, oh my boys good morning, how are you doing, David told me everything, you more than welcome to this house anytime, read well boys. Mr. William said smiling, then he turned his attention back to the news he was watching. David and his friends went into his small room, the room was a typical boys room, a small sized bed lay at one corner, a cupboard, poster of Eminem the famous rapper, Justin bieber and Bruno Mars. Davis loved foreign music so much. Okay guys what should we do today? Suleiman asked, oh I know a new topic in Mathematics, I can teach you guys David said smiling, what topic? Christian asked, “Matrix” David replied, I think I have heard that topic before, Christian said scratching his head, No idea, Suleiman quickly put in. Okay guys it is simple only if you know the logic, it is divided into four parts which are; Addition of matrix, Subtraction of matrix, Multiplication of matrix and Transpose Matrix.
After the lesson, David’s mother gave a delicious meal of jollof rice and fried fish; they ate happily then departed to the various homes. When Christian got home it was past four, his father was not back yet, he looked at his faulty bicycle, and since there was nothing else to do he started repairing it to keep himself busy. Later that night he told his Dad about the study group, his Dad was very happy, then he started; without concentration, determination and dedication one can never attain greatness, I know I made some errors but I had learn my lessons and I know you can never make the mistake I made. I took education for granted in my time, I cursed it, looked at it as a waste of time and energy, whereas it was energy itself, and when I was old enough to experience life, I regretted my dreadful action against education. But you my son will go places, your future is in your hands. Christian father said tapping his son on the shoulder and smiling.