Nothing else mattered .The thought of any other place aside home sounded beautiful. Home, which was where he was never reckoned with, for being a no do-gooder who has written UTME four consecutive times while his younger sister, was already in her third year in one of the prestigious universities around.
‘You can as well rule out going to school if you don’t make it this time around’. He remembers his father muttered as he handed him the money to procure the form. ‘My money will do much good in my pockets’ he added. He knew he wasn’t the most brilliant person around, far from it, but he sure knows how to give his best. Perhaps his best wasn’t good enough. At least, it’s all over now.
‘This journey seems too far’ he wonders. Oh yes he was traveling with his father, that has to be why. They never agree. They are like water and fire or better still, cat and rat. They can’t live in harmony. One will have to give way to the other and always, he has to be the one who gives way. He is too high-handed, way too strict for his liking. He seems all too perfect a man who also wants perfection while he was the boy whom perfection was a quality he was never bestowed.
The car slowed down as it was about entering the gates, he peeped. Boldly written on the gates are the words ‘University of Ani’, which were beautifully adorned with bright colors. He smiled, ‘Here at last’ he thought to himself. He leaned back; his rush of excitement couldn’t be hidden as the car zoomed past the gates. Awoken from his euphoric state was the voice of his father ringing firmly. ‘Akin, remember the son of whom you are’. ‘Don’t join bad gangs, bad company corrupts good manners, and be careful’ he added. ‘Yes sir’ he managed to reply. They came to a halt in front of a big hall. He alighted with his luggage and bid his father farewell. The car zooms off. Heavily laddened with luggage on both hands, he takes his first steps into a new life. A new world.
“Gbam! Gbam!! Gbam!!!” It was like a distant sound, crying for help from a very faraway island, and all he could do was listen and offer no help. He tried to raise a muscle but all was to no avail. The thought of moving his hand filled him, but something pulled him back and made that impossible, something more powerful than he thought. More powerful than he is. “Gbam! Gbam!! Gbam!!!” he heard once more, but this time it was no more faint or distant. It was near. It was inside his head. It was as loud and vibrant as if an atilogu dance perfomance was going on up there.
He couldn’t take it any longer so he knew he had to stand up or lose his sanity to this persistent sound. The knock has now officially interrupted his beautiful sleep. His hangover slumber. He struggled and almost fell right back to the bed.”How did i get home?”,”How did yesterday play out?” These were the questions that plagued his weary mind as he made for the door. The journey to the door seems endless. He trampled over the sea of clothing that lay helpless on the floor and almost tripped over. He managed to gather himself together and brave the last strides of the journey like a warrior would. He turned the knob over and the sight that met him was jaw-dropping.
He couldn’t believe his saggy eyes. He robbed them again to get a better visual. But the sight stood there rock solid. It didn’t evaporate, it didn’t disappear. It just stood there staring like a menace. It was as if his mind was playing a trick on him, a devilish trick at that. No, this was the least on the to-see list. The end was near.
He already knew he was in soup. A very hot soup at that. The words of his father, “Remember the son of whom you are, Do not join bad gangs” played repeatedly in his head. He could only imagine his response to all these. What he would think of him. He had never for once been proud of him. Never been pleased with him. This would even make him more displeased. He had once scolded him for getting an eighty-nine A+ grade in an examination in which his sister got a perfect score of 99.”Aren’t they your mates that got 99/100? Do they have two heads?” were his exact words. He had stayed up so late reading, all in a bid to impress him. He felt so bad afterwards that he just stopped bothering himself on trying to impress him. But he also doesn’t want to disappoint him totally.
“See as this otondo dey look us. Lie down flat for there” coupled with two thunderous slaps sent him back to reality from his state of daydreaming. The whole world immediately lost her colors. Lost all her noise. It went silent, dead silent. Total darkness replaced light. The world must have stopped existing for a century or two, or so it seems. Then they came rushing back, different colors all at once, adorned with beautiful bright stars. It looked more like the American flag.
The looks on their faces leaves much to be desired. They look ready for a riot, no for a war. Machetes and guns were the ornaments that graced their cold-blooded hands. ‘But I didn’t kill anyone’ he thought to himself, because that should be the only reason anyone should come with all these weaponry or except if he had stolen ballot boxes.”Oya lie down flat” One of them added and started beating him with a machete. He cried and begged, and begged and cried but all fell on deaf ears. Perhaps they’ve had their fill of beating him, or they just grew completely tired of beating him all of a sudden. He didn’t know, but they stopped.
“Shebi na because you fine,na why you dey follow De Kappo drag babe!” he thundered. ‘If you no want make we spoil your fine boy, make we no ever see you with Cassandra again” he added as they stormed out. What he heard made his head spin. He almost went crazy. He knew she’ll be trouble, but this much trouble?! No!! But Cassandra was nothing more than a friend. Yes, a friend with benefits.
It all happened fast. So fast that he couldn’t wrap his head around the tale of how they met any longer. He had jumped out of bed that fateful morning, firstly to snooze his alarm. Then it rang again, loudly this time around that he had to switch it of totally. He took a glance at his wrist watch and the time staring at him was 7:15 am. He knew he had to rush or else he would be on a queue throughout the better part of the day. He made for the door and did all he had to do in one full swoop. It must have taken less than a second.
On getting there, what he had secretly prayed and hoped for in the corners of his heart, not to happen what was happening. He felt like he could fall down and die. Like he had wasted his time and will obviously waste more of it. Sea of heads laid siege in front of him battling for supremacy. They looked more like a group of ants whose sight is a cube of sugar. It evidently won’t be enough and it’s as sure as hell they would have to fight for that sweet taste. Young and naivety was color plainly plastered on their fore-heads. All wanting the same thing. The same price. To make payments for their acceptance and tuitions. To be confirmed a student of higher learning.
He joined the endless long queue and it moved as fast and swiftly as a snail would. He waits patiently and his patience almost ran out. He knew he will have to endure or come back another day to go through the same process. Minutes looked like hours, and hours like decades, and decades more like centuries, and finally it was almost his turn. Only one person was standing in between it. He was about birthing a sigh of relief when “excuse me, excuse me” cut him short. Standing beside him was this towering figured man accompanied by a beautiful young lady. “Good morning chief, good morning Sir” the clerk stammered as he collected money from him. He wanted to protest but he was a Chief and she was too beautiful to fight. So he just stood there and sulked. She is Cassandra.