The gun weighed heavily in his hand, he felt the coldness from his fingers through to his spine but wasn’t what was on his mind. His head was throbbing, he was deep in thought, he was deliberating; “this is what she would have wanted, or would she”? He was about to make a life-changing decision.
He tried to concentrate on the task at hand. The muzzle of the gun was pointed at the fore head of his hostage who knelt before him with his eyes pleading, he looked into his eyes and he could see them pleading for mercy. “Should I or shouldn’t I? Can I or can’t I? She would have wanted this or not?” His eyes became fuzzy, and he flashbacked to where it all began.
it all started when he was in SS2 during a math test; Mark Taiwo fondly called Tee.A by friends was fidgeting, on a normal day the question was cheap for him but last night instead of reading he had been busy with Football Manager, his friend who introduced him to the game warned him that it was addictive and that he shouldn’t play it unless he was absolutely free, he turned a deaf ear and played it till around 3 AM before he dozed off. He looked around the class, most of his classmates had their head bent over the table with their pens scribbling on the papers, to his left was Shade Ademola; she was brilliant but not better than him at his best since he had an Hobson’s choice he grudgingly asked her a question, she looked at him frowned and continued with her test without answering him being a proud person he didn’t ask her again. When the test result came out Mark failed as expected and Shade passed, from that moment he started keeping his distance.
The teacher was writing on the board fuming, the students had a way with teachers to make them do what they want and he had fallen for their tricks easily. He looked back at the class what he saw made him angrier the first two rows were occupied by the serious minded students mostly girls beyond that the class was in disarray, most of the students especially the boys had paired up as much as three on a table even though it wasn’t allowed but he didn’t have any problem with that. What infuriated him was that they weren’t writing and he was stressing himself to write on the board,”what audacity!” Still he held his temper in check he looked around the class again; some were talking nosily, some reading sport newspaper, others playing games on their phones he shook his head. They had their WAEC exams in less than 3 months and they were showing a nonchalant attitude, he sighed, the teachers had been told to treat them with an iron hand but he was a new teacher and he had heard stories about them so had no option but to keep his feelings bottled up, a wrong move could send him out of the school, he turned back to the board an continued writing.
Meanwhile, as the teacher turned back to write on the board, two boys who sat at the same table talking oblivious of the teacher’s fury.
“You know Shade likes you” Segun informed his friend Mark their friendship had waxed strongly over the past weeks due to shared interests, Segun was the sort of friend Mark liked, he had an easy going personality even though it seemed she had a permanent scowl. He pondered what his friend had said he hadn’t talked to her since the test incident even though they had the same group of friends. “He didn’t have a girlfriend but he won’t mind having one after all it had more pros than cons”, he thought, but he didn’t tell Segun this because he wanted to be sure he was serious.
”How do you know” he asked
“Don’t you noticed the way she looks at you”
“Which way is that” Marko replied with a mocking voice
“You know now the way girls look at guys they like” Segun said with an annoyed tone slightly upset with Marko for mocking him.
“Na you know o” Mark said with a laugh as they changed the topic to football as they made a half- hearted attempt to write what the teacher was writing on the board.
Mark lay down on his bed reading the controversial book; Da Vinci Code, if his parents had seen him do such. They would have him fed to the sharks but then they were not home, they hardly were. His father was Top Management Executive in a leading telecommunication company and he looked like one with his robust body and bulging stomach. He saw his father every other week to collect his allowance, it was always the same routine with his father Chief Tope Taiwo, he’ll be in the living room either watching football or working on his laptop Mark would stand before him trying to read his face to gauge his mood, but his father had learned not show emotions he once told Mark that it makes you look weak. Mark would stand in front like a fresh faced lawyer standing before the chief justice to present his case; he would have to account for every single kobo he spent before he can have the next week’s allowance. Thinking about phantom text books notes and calculators he had accounted for, he chuckled inwardly but still he had memorable memory with his dad like when they watch football together or talking about general issues when they but have time but it isn’t as frequent as they both would like.
His mother; Toyosi Taiwo is a top socialite in Lagos she is always found in the celebrity pages of newspaper and magazines she wears designers clothes that are copied by others. She has an hour glass shape with a pinched face and a radiant dark skin maintained by top range beauty anti-aging products which makes her look in her early 40’s rather than her middle 50’s age, since most parties in Lagos are during the weekends, the remainder of her week are spent in her shop where she sells beauty products. Despite her “busy” schedule, she has time for her children; she judiciously attends Open Days and P.T.A Meetings and so on.
Mark organizes his thoughts, he rises up from his bed to pick up his Commerce textbook after all WAEC was close, but his mind wasn’t on Commerce, his mind was pondering on the Da Vinci Code; “would they find the grail?” He reaches for the novel after all WAEC was still far away and he’s an “efiwe”, as he tries and succeeds in ignoring the guilt he felt.
The next day Mark was in class looking at the teacher absent mindedly, the teacher was experienced so the student antics didn’t affect him, he was talking about a former student who had failed his SSCE woefully, it was a well-known story but when the teacher started, it was hard for him to stop, and when he did he decided to give an impromptu class work the teacher allowed the students to pair up due lack of adequate textbooks but after noticing that friends were pairing up he decided to rectify the situation.
“No, no, no” he shouted as the students halted their movements
“We are doing this my way’ he ordered
“Seun join Jennifer”
“Jerry move to Fatima seat”
“Obinna join damilola”
Mark go shade’s seat he continued oblivious of the malice between them
The whole class froze in shock and anticipation wondering what would happen next they all knew of the grudge between the two of them. Mark could feel the eyes piercing his body waiting for the slight movement of defiance, some had started whispering and predicting his next action they knew he was capable of defying the teacher after what seemed like the second coming of Christ all he said was
“Yes sir” he knew this was a teacher he couldn’t take on. All eyes trailed his movements as he carried his chair to her side.
The tension diffused as the students concentrated on the class work, Mark was able think more clearly but his mid kept going back to what Segun had said about Shade and he kept stealing glances at her until she caught him, for a split second their eyes met, Mark felt an instant connection, for that brief second it felt like only two of them existed and for the first time he really saw her with her unblemished dark skin, her oval face and the most bewitching dark eyes that showed so much love, he finally believed in the love at first sight expression, he finally severed the connection though painfully the remainder of the class passed without anymoreextraordinary connections though he had to exercise his mental strength to resist the temptation of looking at her one more time. As soon as the class ended, he hurried back to his seat, any second later would have raised eyebrows, but he couldn’t get her out of his head.
Mark being a commercial student had more free periods than those in the science class, he had no other lesson for the day so he brought out the sports newspaper he had been dying to read he looked around his class some of his classmates were busy doing their homework, he never did his in school he felt it is called homework for a reason. Some boys noticed he had brought out the newspaper but they didn’t ask because he usually passed it to them when he was through. He looked around the class again though scanty, the students had nothing to do, he noticed Segun wasn’t in class he must had walked out when he was engrossed with the newspaper, he remembered him saying something about going to art class, Mark despised going there, he didn’t like most people in the class, he looked around his class again and after noticing the dull atmosphere he changed his mind.
As he entered the class he knew he hadn’t made the wrong choice the whole class was bubbling, the girls were talking in loud voices and giggling loudly, the boys weren’t left out. A minority few were reading, Segun was in a yabbing contest but he didn’t bother disturbing him He saw one of his friends in the class reading a novel, he knew she wouldn’t mind him interfering so he joined her. Nike was a tall thin girl who wore glasses had the girl next door look that attracted Mark; they had known each other since their younger years. After sitting and exchanging pleasantries, Nike started talking about the gossips and juicy news that had been going around recently that she had been dying to tell him after ranting of a few minutes she noticed he wasn’t listening then she tried tracing his line of sight and she noticed he was staring at shade who had just entered the class.
“Who are you looking at” she asked abruptly
“Huh” he said as he spun his head to look at her with a puzzling look
“You were looking at Shade” she said adamantly
“No!” he denied
“Stop lying” she tried pressing him to submission
Mark pondered for a moment the pros and cons of telling Nike the truth, he decided to come clean
“So what if am looking at her “he finally admitted
‘Ooh so she’s the girl on your mind now’
‘I was just looking at her’
She knew Mark was stubborn and wouldn’t admit but she knew how to push his buttons
‘Well am just asking because I know her boyfriend would be jealous’
‘Who’s her boyfriend’ he asked as quickly as it registered
‘I thought you weren’t interested’ she managed to say before bursting into laughter
‘I’m just curious’
‘Okay let stop beating the bush do you like her or not’ she asked seriously
Mark pondered for a bit, he knew his next word could make or mar him he turned to look at Shade she was laughing heartily at someone’s joke, he suppressed a simile as his heart fluttered “so maybe I do” is it bad??” he said
“No” she exclaimed loudly she had always had a crush on him that lasted a long time she had always dropped hints but he never noticed, she finally resigned to her faith
‘Just be careful’ she cautioned
‘I hear you’ Mark replied, but his mind was already somewhere else his eyes were fixed on shade who was unaware of his growing interest
It was a free period when Shade brought out her math’s textbook she had assignment to do, suddenly she felt a chair being placed near her
“Seun I have always told………..” she stopped mid-sentence when she turned her head and saw a grinning Mark
“Oh I didn’t know it was you she sounded flustered, she had thought it was someone else
‘I didn’t mean to startle you. You were deep in thoughts I didn’t want to interrupt’
‘Ok I don’t mean to be rude, but why are here?”
“ I came to ask to be my girlfriend” he replied without missing a beat
“what?” she shouted loudly
other students looked in their direction trying to find out what was happening, since Tee. A sat down beside her they have been the topic of discussion
“Well that wasn’t the response I expected”
“Are you serious” her voice was still at a high pitch
“Keep your voice down they are looking at us” he advised