The long awaited night finally came. The hall was saturated with shouting and dancing, as the students injected the atmosphere with euphoria, coupled with the sensational jams emanating from the office of the DJ at the top right corner of the stage. It was a night indeed!
Everything was just perfect and the graduation ceremony was going to be the best so far, as dignitaries were invited and awards were going to be given the best students in their respective fields, alongside so many opportunities and mouthwatering incentives—this was happening for the very first time!
In spite of all the blissful moments, I seemed to be the only odd person in the midst of over 900 students who graced the occasion. The more I tried to conceal and ignore the thoughts, the more the feeling of shame and regret kept growing stronger and stronger. It was very obvious that I won’t come first in class again.
Being the most intelligent and well known student in the school, I knew that I would be despised and dismayed that night; I would lose my reputation and I don’t know how parents would feel, after all the stress I went through. I knew I had made the greatest mistake of my life, when I mistakenly submitted my scripts to the wrong folder, in course of writing the promotional exams—I did that twice!
Jude was obviously going to have it all, this time. He had bragged so much about how he was going to bring me down. Even when I had studied so hard, taken extra classes, skipped meals; all in a bid to protect my fame, Jude seemed to wax stronger, each passing day. And his non-stop bragging was beginning to piss me off.
I was so immersed in my thoughts, that I didn’t notice all the events that took place at the ceremony. I was brought to the fore at the voice of Mr Stephen, our vice principal (the principal went for an emergency summit, earlier that day).
“Ladies and gentlemen!” His commanding tone made my heart skip. “I believe Mrs Rita has already given you the briefings, so I will just go straight to the point.” The noise in the hall was beginning to reduce as he was strategically capturing their interest.
“As we all know,” he continued, “this event which we have painstakingly organized will imprint some names on gold tonight and history will be re-written!” At this point, all the students cheered and the shouts grew again but I wasn’t there. I just sat quietly, thinking of my mistakes and how to quickly regain my position, immediately after everything was over.
Mum and Dad were sitted four rows behind me, with little Prisca. I decided to take a quick peek and immediately I turned, our eyes met and they smiled. The guilt and pain in me hindered my dimples; I just faked a little grin.
“Now, it’s time to announce the winners,” Mr Stephen now said, turning to the board members and muttering words, which may seem like an instruction.
“Just like Mrs Rita explained earlier, this year’s best students will go home with lots of goodies.” Speaking with a charming grin, he called on the sponsors, addressed the stewards and ordered them to get the awards.
Good heavens! The awards were dazzling! I was surely going to miss this. I started wallowing in pain and my heart became heavy. It was actually the first of its kind and I hated myself for making such an expensive mistake.
Jude was seated at the front row, smiling mischievously, just to get the attention of everyone. It was so obvious to me, that he was going to go home with everything. At a point, I had to just let go of everything because I couldn’t just change it. I decided to brighten up a bit, but when the VC started announcing the winners, spikes started forming in my chest, as I felt so uneasy.
I had to bow my head, to avoid unnecessary attention and before I could say, “Jack Robinson,” the VC had already reached our category and he paused.
“Are the Elites here?” That was our identity. We were fondly called that, by our English teacher after a heated debate in class one Monday morning.
“Please can they all rise up on their feet.” On hearing that, I quivered, as a cold shudder gripped my feet. I felt a bit uneasy and after struggling to get up, I bowed my head, staring at the beautifully stained tiles on the floor.
“I called you all to state a little error which affected some of you and stole your marks.” After he said that, I could no longer bear the heaviness inside of me. It was as though all eyes were on me. Jude, on his end, never stopped grinning from ear to ear, smiling like one who had killed a tiger for the king.
As Mr Stephen was about to continue, a steward rushed in with a piece of paper in her hand and whispered something into his ear. He frowned a bit, nodded and continued his speech.
“So before we continue, there’s a new update and it had been confirmed that the whole members of the Elites Club were affected by the error and some results were affected too—” At that point, there was an uproar in the hall. All the students started muttering words which couldn’t be heard or understood. I was never bothered. It was already obvious that I would still fail, come what may. Jude’s confidence was just too strong; I felt out of place. It was as though he had already seen the results—afterall, his mum was the teacher assigned to oversee the affairs of our class.
Thoughts which enveloped me were disrupted by the shouts and claps that grew surprisingly, with all eyes staring happily at me.
“Is she here? Is Enoh Obed here?” the VP queried, peering into the crowd and searching for me. I never knew what was going on. This thing sure, was getting into my head.
Immediately I heard my name, I became startled. I had to pause a bit and the claps were beginning to die down slowly. People around me were beginning to give me signs and congratulating me. I was puzzled.
“Enoh Obed, if you’re here, please come to the stage now. Your presence is highly needed.”
Then it all came back to me. I was so dumbfounded, as I shakily walked to the podium. My vision was almost clouded with uncontrollable tears, flowing gracefully, down my cheeks.
I couldn’t just hold it.
When I looked at Jude’s face, I just couldn’t understand the expression but it was quite funny; his mouth wide open, with his rumpled forehead. I just steered my glance away, looking for mum and dad.
I peered into the crowd, searching for them and not too long, I saw them and this time, my smile was charming, right from my bowels. I could hear them say, “You did it again!” with a thumbs up.
It was such an amazing moment and yes, I did it again!