She wore a puzzled look as she gracefully walked past the queue she left behind. On her face, one could read—dejection, rejection, regret, and synonyms closely related to it. The atmosphere was hyper tensed, and we felt hypertension jerking our hearts, like a man who’s about to cum—you know the very feeling of being excited and dejected at the same time.
At this point, where my temperature dropped below 90 degrees, I couldn’t see things in the right angle. I tried to evaluate the level of depression of my parents simultaneously, but I couldn’t find the right theorem. The girl we are looking up to, just left without the right words to describe happiness. What a sad day to be sad! I thought, before stepping into the grave I dug for my self.
“Good morning sir.”
“Good morning.” Dr Ayeni’s (our lecturer) loud voice sounded like a distinct whisper. His still voice somehow reminded me of the way we lured hens, by using our precious rice as baits and saying “kukuruku!” as if we’re about to lose our voice, only for us to strangle them when we get the chance to.
“What’s your matric number?”
I tried to read the expression on his face, but his complicated look didn’t look as if I made or flunked it. The conflict of expressions on face was a joy to hold on to while it lasted, as his eyes rolled over the piece of paper where my fate was clearly written.
“065.” His face slightly brightened to my amusement. “80, A.”
“Sir, please check again, it’s 200301065 sir. Please recheck.” I was totally confused.
“80, A,” he said again
“Sir, I d-idn’t… d-o… the e-xa-m…”
Like they say, “no one wants to beg for food scraps from his mates’ table.” Though I am not a fan of this school of thought, it formed the basis of my determination in my 100 level days. I was able to smuggle the dream of having a first class like other students. Those moments were a joy to hold on to, as we’re eager to wage war against our eyes in night class.
As united as we were, most of us later found true solace in division. This arithmetic was made possible by evaluating our mental capabilities. Those with their so-called high IQ became friends, while we’re left alone to literally beg, to tap from their well of knowledge.
Not that we were not serious, nor unwilling to learn, but nature has its way of getting back to us. I have always wondered whether I have the same brain my classmates have—you know the way you feel when your intentions and determinations are opposite of what you get?
So in a way, I’ve always felt empty, and to this point, lived, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. I practically live in the shadow of my greatest fear, and spend time admiring the brilliance of others. I technically ask for their grades to predict mine, and try my best not to enter their blacklist. In a hard way, I found out that you have to beg for food scraps from your mates’ table, if you have to…
My classmates blinked their eyes in disbelief, when they heard I was the only one who had an A. They refused to believe this belief. They were like:
“How did the dumbest student top the class?”
“Maybe he cheated.”
“I think he’s fortunate.”
Frankly speaking, I am literally the dumbest student in class, and was considered to be far below average. Their reactions didn’t come as a surprise; in fact I expected more. Even my friends were dumbfounded, and were keen to know whatever I cheated or not. They simply know— knew—my ability. It was as bad as the word itself.
Their reactions didn’t make me proud of myself either, but I indeed learnt a few lessons. I decided to quit being the shadow of my former self. My greatest fear was ironically, my greatest strength. It was just a matter of time before I discovered myself. I sighed and said loudly:
“From first class to pass, or pass to first class, is in the palm of my hands.”