Olumide’s mother and her son gained access to the VP’s office at exactly 9:23 am. And immediately the mother sat down, the VP quickly sent a student to call a girl named Akinwande Oyinkansola in SS1H. Shortly, Oyinkansola arrived and curtsied before them in salutation.
The VP asked her to explain what had transpired between her and Olumide. After hearing from Oyinkansola, the old woman asked if they had ever met before.
“No, ma,” She shook her head and curtsied again, “I don’t know him. I have never set my eyes on him.”
When the VP asked Olumide to speak he raised an argument. He claimed that Oyinkansola shared same features with a certain girl he knew in SS1. The VP wanted to send for the student he was talking about, but dismissed the idea. He brought out a blue file from his drawer and asked Olumide to write a statement.
Thus, If Oyinkansola was assaulted in school Olumide would be held as a suspect and withdrawn from school.
A similar incident happened to a JSS2 girl five years back, the VP explained to the woman. She was assaulted by five boys. The only person she could identify among them was a JSS3 boy who had forced her to a collapsed building behind the school. The rest of the boys had veiled their faces. The incident had happened after the school hour. On that fateful day, the security men had failed to survey the school. After all the conspirators were later arrested and prosecuted, the security men were also sacked.
The woman sighed laboriously, and pleaded with VP concerning the legal statement. She reproached Olumide, barking and scowling at him in a way that provoked the VP. Nevertheless, Olumide eventually left a statement.
To avoid the legal process, he must be suspended from school for three months for the alleged sexual harassment.
When Olumide entered the class all eyes pinned to his body like he was a suspected murderer. His female classmates stared at him the most and with terror glinting in their eyes. The teacher had left the class since the first period was over. So, they were awaiting the next teacher.
Banji was so fulfilled at the consequence of the plan. As Olumide walked past him, Banji buried his face in his desk to hide the irresistible smile that just graced his cheeks. Even if Oyinkansola wouldn’t accept him, he thought, at least he had saved her from a great danger. He imagined how conscience would haunt him if he had joined them and the operation was carried out as planned. He remembered his father’s favourite adage. “Oko ti a’ba somo’pe ni’n so mani.” The proverb suggested that whatever we do, either good or bad, would catch up with us someday.
Now Olumide frowned to conceal his guilty feeling. A tide of remorse burnt through his entire being . He was baffled as to how the ring had lost its potency, but that was not very important to him. He was indirectly charged with the responsibility to protect Oyinkansola against incident related to sexual assault. He had to be her watchdog in school. Otherwise, he would be the one to face the penalty.
During the long break, Banji decided to write Oyinkansola a love letter, but there was no way he could do that when he was being surrounded by his classmates who were busy playing pranks. He thought Oyinkansola was a very strict girl for the way she had reacted to Olumide’s action. He thought letter-writing would be the best way to communicate his feeling to her, and there was no ink left in his pen. He then excused himself from his friends and headed for a stationery stall close to the science laboratory.
On getting there, he decided to buy a BIC biro. The woman told him the price had been inflated to five naira from four naira fifty-kobo. His face distorted in disappointment because he had budgeted the money for another thing. Eleganza brand was less in price, but the ink blotted a lot. He didn’t want to borrow a pen from anyone. He believed if another person’s pen was used to write a letter it might turn a bad luck (the girl might not accept). That was the belief shared by majority of the boys.
He reluctantly dipped his hand in his left pocket for five naira coins, but they were no longer naira. They were dimes…the archaic currency! His heart flew off in devastation. Who must have replaced the money? He checked the remaining three naira in the other pocket. Those ones were intact. He remembered he had taken a nap over his desk when the commerce teacher had refused to come to class.
“Oh, my God!” He finally lamented to the woman, “they have replaced the five naira coins in my pocket.”
“How come nah?” The woman asked with her strong Igbo accent.
“I can’t just say,” he said as he showed her the replaced coins. He wished the woman could have mercy on him and sell the pen to him on credit, “the remaining money I have is for my transport fare.” He said with distress written all over him.
“I wonder if you can….” he began, but his voice trailed off in anguish. He had not been patronizing the woman’s stall, so she never recognized him as a customer.
“What is that?” asked the woman, puzzled.
Before Banji could continue his statement a familiar voice sounded beside him. It was Oyinkansola. She wanted to buy a universe math-set and onward exercise book. Banji felt cold wind gush into his veins under the hot weather.
“I…I…mean,” he stammered, trying to hide the subject of the stolen money, “I wonder if this brand of Bic is still many in your store. So, I will come and buy it later.”
“So, you are not buying it now? What would you do about your replaced four naira coins then?” The woman’s statement sliced through his heart like a razor blade.
He scratched the back of his neck and quickly left the woman’s stall. He had taken a few steps away when he heard….
“Hey, Mr. Disaster!”
It was Oyinkansola’s voice that pierced through his direction. Could she be referring to him? No, she must be calling someone else. He hastened his steps.
“There might be a DISASTER if you wouldn’t listen to me” was resounding through his head like the beat of a talking-drum. With that, his feet slowed down like a vehicle that was out of fuel. He took a backward glance to confirm if she was referring to him.
“Don’t you know yourself again?” Oyinkansola said with a naughty smile, “ehn , you thought I won’t remember your face?”
His feet sank to the spot in wonderment. For a moment he thought he was dreaming. He never believed Oyinkansola could ever tease him.
“Oh, it’s because my name is not Mr. Disaster,” he said as he turned to her, the distance between them, roughly six feet, “my name is Banji.”
“Okay, Mr. Banji. May I know what is wrong with your money?”
“Oh, never mind,” he said dismissively, waving his right hand.
“Okay o,” Oyinkansola said as she walked away from the woman’s stall. She headed towards the opposite direction.
Banji felt courage denying him. He wished to tame that miraculous sun to dry his cloth. He thought this was an opportunity for him to approach her.
Just then the woman called Oyinkansola back for her five naira balance.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” she said to the woman, “use the change to sell for Mr. Disaster.” She motioned to Banji who still rooted to the spot in confusion.
When Banji was about to utter a word she hurried away as if she had springs attached to her legs.
“Hey! Hey! Hey!” Banji ran after her in order to thank her, and most importantly to express his feelings, but Oyinkansola didn’t stop.
When Banji caught up with her, she snubbed “ En, en, en, what is it?”
“I just want to thank you for your kind gesture”
“ Never mind,” she retorted, still walking on.
“And I wish I could know you bet….”
“Oh, hang it there!” She snapped and stared at him as though he was a disgusting element, “Is it a crime to do you guys a favour? Our pastor asked me to help somebody today. So, nothing attached to that! Good day.” She waved insolently across his face and walked off.
Banji shook his head slowly, wondering what a tough girl she was. Was she not the same girl that just exchanged banters with him?
Some days later, Banji was in the classroom fiddling with the pen he had bought with Oyinkansola’s money. It was funny to him that he had to write her a letter with that same biro.
For the past few days, he had decided to give her a break. Besides, he had been pondering on how to compose a creative and breath-taking letter, but couldn’t figure it out. Now he just had the inspiration. It was the first period on Friday morning. The biology teacher had just entered the classroom with a lesson note which had been made so voluminous by merging several notebooks together.
After ruling the board and writing the date, the man began by revising the last topic which was PARTS OF SKELETON. He began to test the students by asking them questions on it. He began from the first row by the window. Some students were unable to answer the questions correctly and they were asked to remain on their feet.
When it was Banji’s turn, fortunately, the teacher asked him the part he had studied quite well. He answered and gave an explanation that really impressed the man. He asked the class to applaud him with a sounding clap.
After testing a certain number of students, the teacher began to scribble the current note on the board. Banji thought of seizing the opportunity to write the letter at the middle of his notebook. For a moment, he bit the butt of his pen, reflecting on the strategic way to start.
I am writing this letter with a golden pen, for you appear to me as a gold.
You might be surprised as to how I get to know your name. You were passing across my classroom the first time I set my eyes on you, it felt as if a rib was missing from my body. I realize that without you, I am incomplete.
I have searched through the dictionary for the words that would best describe how I feel for you, but couldn’t find any. To me, you appear brighter than the sun. The smile that nestles on your dimpled cheeks is more appealing than a full moon at the peak of a mountain. I’m a butterfly that used to recognize ROSE as one of the jewel flowers, but the day I came across a flower named OYINKANSOLA, I realized no flower is more beautiful. Baby, If I decide to analyze your beauty I will end up writing a whole textbook and that might take me a lifetime.
According to your name, HONEY DROPS UPON FORTUNE. You are both the honey and fortune of my life. I don’t know what will become of me if you say NO to me. I may end up committing suicide.
I am resting my golden pen at this juncture. I will be looking forward to a positive reply.
From Banji…the boy you called Mr. Disaster.
He canceled those words at the first paragraph, thinking they were unnecessary. When he wanted to rewrite the letter a hand grabbed the notebook from his desk, and he looked up to see the biology teacher….