‘Chibuzor!’ the plump man called again, shifting his enormous glasses to the top of his nose, to catch a better glimpse of the young man.
‘Sir!’ he said, as he jolted up from his reverie, scrambling to his feet.
‘See me after this class.’ Dr Ameen said with a tone of finality in his voice. He pulled back his glasses to his eyes as he turned to the whiteboard and continued scribbling inexplicable formulars. Mark was dumbfounded. He looked around and saw his classmates still peering at him as though he was a newly born.
What Dr Ameen had to say was very simple and straight to the point when they met. If he couldn’t answer his question in class, and couldn’t respond like a sane person would, then something must have been wrong with him.
‘And I don’t care what it is that is wrong with you’ he continued.
‘Just get yourself back into my class, and I believe you know what I mean.’
‘Yessir.’ Mark said, nodding rhythmically.
He was surprised that Dr Ameen had called him to ask, but he wasn’t surprised at the outcome of the concise meeting. Typical. Nobody really cared about what was wrong with him. It wasn’t anyone’s business that he was losing his mum to cancer and he could only watch her slip through his fingers. Everyone still somehow expected him to keep up with that reputation of best student in class, but to him, none of that really mattered anymore. If he was going to fail, he thought, he might as well just go ahead and fail. His mum afterall, was the only reason he had been so studious and excellent in his studies.
‘Please let her just get well. Please!’ he muttered under his breathe as he walked away from his part adviser’s office.
Bosun had written his goals for the semester as usual, and there it was in number 2:
2. Have all As this semester.
That was always his goal for every semester, and somehow, he had managed never to meet it. He read alright, and he attended lectures diligently, still he couldn’t figure out how all his efforts could only earn him average grades that had him stuck in 2-1 for forever. He envied Mark Chibuzor, his brilliant classmate who seemed to have got it all together. He couldn’t comprehend how someone was so relational, lively and at ease, and still maintained his excellent grades. As far as he was concerned, no one was really worth relating with in their class, as they all seemed to have issues. Many times, his classmates made sport of their lecturers as they jeered and jested, many other times, people walked out on lecturers and didn’t even have the courtesy to take excuse. His ill-mannered course mates didn’t deserve his friendship, he concluded. Even if they did, he wasn’t giving it: life was much better being a loner.
‘Maybe if I just read more, focused more on my academics, jotted more in class….just maybe I’ll do better’ he said to himself as he dropped his stack of books on the library table, ready to devour them voraciously. He looked at his watch for a moment, it was 4:30pm.
‘I’m reading till 10!’ he said finally, and flung open his advanced mathematics textbook.
He would have loved to pay for the tutorial, but he knew he would never be chanced to attend. Of what use was spending your money on what you know you can’t enjoy. He sighed.
‘Hey…hey guys! Thermo class has been moved o…, it’s now 5pm to 7 this evening.’ He shouted on top of his voice so everyone could hear.
A fresh round of noise enveloped the class as people began to murmur and protest about the news he had just divulged.
‘If you want to complain, go and meet Dr Ameen o…it’s not my business, he’s the one that fixed the class.’ He said, carrying his books and storming out of class.
He would not attend the class anyway, hence he couldn’t be bothered. He had a meeting he needed to attend, after which he was to see the committee for the departmental convention. Then, as class rep, he was to gather the assignments they had just submitted, and submit them to the appropriate quarters. Then he would go for sound setups in his state association, dash to church for bible study, and hit his bed with tiredness as palpable as the weight of the world. His day was super fixed.
‘Peter!’ he heard a voice that sounded like Lizzy’s. He stopped in his tracks and turned around.
‘Peter, are you coming for the tutorial? The guy said today is the deadline for payment o, cause the tutorial is starting tomorrow evening. There’s no much time left, the test is in five days.’
‘I can’t make the Tutorial, babe. Got a lot on my hands
right now.’ Then he smiled and winked. ‘You fit explain everything to me later na, abi?’
She smiled and turned back towards the class. Peter returned to his walk as he began making a mental picture of the agenda for his next meeting.
Two years later…
Sadness and joy were the blend of the evening as the class concluded their last paper. News had gone round about Bosun’s madness and the fact that he couldn’t show up for exams. They had found him on the floor of the school library, shirtless and passed out, and he had been rushed to the teaching hospital by good-hearted people where he had been confirmed to have lost his mind.
Mark Chibuzor sighed as he looked again at his answer script. Indeed it had been a struggle, and he was only grateful it had almost come to an end. Coincidentally, today was the second year remembrance of his mom’s death which had completely changed his life. He didn’t care that he had fallen drastically from his first class. Afterall, no one cared.
Peter was still racking his brain in devastation. If he submitted this script, it just meant he was sure to have another extra, as he had written virtually nothing. He shifted uneasily in his seat, and heard the invigilator’s shrill voice again.
‘Ten minutes more!’
Fresh goose bumps encircled him. Did they even teach these topics in class? They seemed like Arabic. He suddenly grew very thirsty, his sweat pores jerking alive with fresh releases. No. he couldn’t fail again. He looked round and spotted Lizzy in the distance. Too far, he thought. He looked behind him and saw Mark.
‘Guy! Guy! Abeg you sabi this thing?’ he said whisperingly. ‘Guy?’
‘Youngman.’ He suddenly heard the invigilator say. ‘Stand up!’
It was over. He shut his eyes tightly as he heard the mean invigilator rip his paper into shreds.