The First-Class Exam

by - April 29, 2017

Chronicles of Paulinus

At the far end of the bar was Ladi, my friend best described as a partner in crime. He was waving at me as I stood in the entrance darting my eyes across the place in search of him. His face glimmered with smile when i strode to meet him. It was a free day in school, or so we presumed. We had been sniffing through the pages of books for the past four days and today, we decided to hang out - 'to cool the brain’. He was sitting with his girlfriend who was calmly seeping a class of Smirnoff Ice. She took a peek at me and pretended not to have seen me.

“Guy how far”, I threw my hand to him for a handshake.
His hand was wet from the glass of chilled drink he has been consuming. I turned to give her, her own dose of the greetings but she seemed to be giving me a cold shoulder, so I simply sat. My expression was blank as I waited for him to make the order. I had earlier told him that he’ll foot the bills which he gladly accepted. The girl took a sip from her glass cup and it wet her lips. She glanced at me to know if I was looking at her, but I was too quick to pin my eyes on the ground as if I was meditating. She flicked her tongue across her lips to dry it. Meanwhile, Ladi was busy whispering something into her ear. His lips seemed to be permanently parted in a good-humoured smile.
I drew closer and rested my elbow on the plastic table, “guy na like this I go stay dey look you?”
His eyes flicked as he turned towards me as if he just saw me “heeii abeg my guy sorry.” He raised his hand high and signalled the waiter.
The waiter immediately stomped towards our direction. He wore an oversized body with beady eyes. this one don finish the whole drinks for this place. He crouched by my side to take my order.
“Heineken please.”
“Anything else sir, we have isi ewu, roasted fish, fried meat and other extras”, he said.
“Don’t worry I’ll get back to you if I need anything else,” I plastered a smile on my face.
He trod off. The girl was leaning on Ladi’s shoulder. Her eyes mistakenly bored into me and I threw my eyes to the ceiling. I didn’t like the way she behaved. She was too artificial. She wore a giant nail and her hair rested don to her waist. Her face was a mirage of many colours – the eyelids, the eyelashes. The glow on her wet lips invited a kiss. It was boring to me since she didn’t allow me and Ladi to have our normal guys’ talk.

By now I have taken about five bottles. My normal gage is two but I wanted to ‘show off’, I would rather look like a neophyte in the drinking kingdom. My eyelids drooped and I was becoming tipsy. I had to go to save myself the shame of being tagged a staggering drunkard.
“Guy thank you make I go jack small for tomorrows exams,” we exchanged a weak handshake.
“Okay na my guy we go see for lounge.”
I threw a wave at the girl and a faint, transient wistful smile lightened her brooding face. I immediately wobbled away from the bar.
I got to the hostel and was feeling very tipsy. It dawned on me that tomorrow’s exam would be tough. I had not read a word for that exam and my heart melted into my stomach. I had to study and I must pass the exam. There is no room for a carryover this semester. I swayed as I made my way to my study. I could hardly see the print on the book. My eyes sways across the pages, my head spun and I emitted an endless belch.

The electric light went off and I had to use my lantern. I used my phone light to get to my lantern and lit it. Now I had to struggle between my dwindling lantern and my drooping eyelids. I glued my eyes on the book and was making a transient migration between dreamy world and reality. Before I could know it, saliva was drooling down my book. My limb froze in weakness. I would wake up in the middle of my nap and immediately took gulped a lump of water. I filled a bowl with water and dipped my two legs into it while I struggled to read.

The next place I found myself was very strange but enjoyable. I was reading and at the same time swimming in the water. I couldn’t see what I was reading but I held the book to my face. I was swimming until the water dried up. It was then I woke up and saw myself spread like eagle, the water in my bowl has poured on the ground where I comfortably swam.

The exam was slated for 7am and the time was 6:45am. I immediately dashed to the bathroom to take my bathe. Unfortunately, there was a long queue to the bathroom and there was no way they could listen to anything I had to say. I drew back to my room with a quickness of a kite swooping over a chick. I cleaned my body in with my wet towel and zoomed off to school. It was just a fifteen minutes walk. I know I would be late if I walked so I trotted. My heart bounced on my chest. A thunderous echo of thought swelled my mind. I hope to make it. How am I going to write this exam I didn’t read anything? I’m not prepared, oh God help me here. I was getting closer to the hall when I saw the invigilator already sharing some booklets. Worst of it all, he was Mr Kojo, a man with ferocious anger and unkindly gusto for maintaining order and discipline. How can I escape this man, I must pass this exam. I could feel my heart throbbing to jump out of my mouth. A taste of adrenalin soured my mouth.   

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