“My daughter, this school that I had no opportunity to attend ehn!
You must attend it and I mean it”. These words of my dad sank into me;
It brought smiles to my face each time it echoed in me. Mum and dad gave me the best
of everything. I attended a high – brow primary school and maintained
high grades all through.”
I nurtured the dream of becoming a lawyer and one of the editors of “The New York Times” because I had a flair of writing. I also craved to float various businesses and become a business tycoon. At times, I would just close my eyes and dream, do nothing but dream. My dreams knew no bounds.
Getting into Junior Secondary School Two, I calculated how many years more to spend in secondary school and how many awaited me in the University. One day, when mum caught me lost in imagination, she told me that it was no crime to dream but that I should learn to do what I ought to do now so that I don’t pile up work for the future. Quoting her verbatim – “What’s most important to you now is studies, I beg, study o o so that you can be the lawyer that you want to be”. “Yes ma’am”, I replied.
As I topped my class in senior secondary school two, Festus followed by being second in class. This brought us close .He became not just my study – mate but a close friend. I was free to go anywhere with Festus as long as it was in the name of academics. We attended the same tutorial classes, educational programmes and the rest of it. I was welcome in his family and so was he in mine.
Festus one day invited me for a routine programme. I told my mum and dad about it and off I went with Festus. Festus asked that we checked up his home before passing on, that he had forgotten something. Music blared, into the air as we neared his home, the door opened and what I saw beat my imagination. All my classmates and friends were in his house and they chorused “Happy Birthday” as we walked in. it sure wasn’t my birthday so it must be Festus’, I said in a low tone. All got and Festus confessed that were not embarking on any programme, that he was sure his ploy would get me to attend his birthday party unlike a direct invitation.
Bearing in mind also that his parents were not around, just himself and his elder brothers that would return late, he knew I would frown at that. Well, all the same, I was at his party. He introduced me as his girlfriend. I was stunned but I just played along. The party soon “climaxed” and his guests in no time got themselves into pairs of a boy and a girl.
In the heat of the party, Festus took me up to his room. We were up there for sometime, we got to talk and crack a lot of jokes. Right there, Festus made love to me. I couldn’t resist because I was high in emotion which was a very costly mistake on my part.
Few months to my WAEC, I felt a great fear for the first time in my life. Ihad some uncertainties whirl up in me. “Could it be that I’m pregnant?” i asked myself. I went for a test with Festus; fainted on hearing the doctor blurt, “You are pregnant.”
How was I to survive this trauma? I pondered between sobs. I got expelled from school, dad didn’t even want to set his eyes on me, my friends kept away from me and dad kept sounding it into my ears that I failed myself and the family.
When I was due for delivery and the few months after, my mum was all I had until my baby seven months old and not even my mum was there for me anymore. My dad told my mum to cease being around me, that I had chosen to be an adult and should be left alone. All they did was stash money into my account. Though I was provided with money, I felt rejected, stigmatizes and very much a failure like my dad had termed me.
I decided to buy a Popcorn – Making machine with the money in my account. While students were in school, I spent the time making and packing the popcorns for sale to the students when they would be on their way home.
The school I attended was remote from where I lived. I almost peed in my pants the day I saw one of my juniors in school drop by to buy some popcorn from me. My environ was no route home for any of my school mates as far as I knew. This student did not only drop by that once but made it a habit. I got over the shock and soon got used to seeing her. Then one day, she got into a talk with me. “Senior”, she called. I know of your being expelled from school but it’s over three years now. Why didn’t you go back to school? At this point, going back to school was the least on my mind. I had totally given up on education. I couldn’t imagine myself going back to school again. I thanked her for her concern and told her not to bother about me and that was the last I saw of her.
A year later, I received a message from Janet the junior student who once cared about me. Her note was long; in fact, it was an epistle, ever resounding in my memory. It read “it is never too late to get back on your feet academically, you could have started the journey two years back if you had wanted to. There is nobody killing you but you, there is nobody failing you but you.
Get started and be through with it once and for all. Senior, achieving academic excellence would even endear you to your loved ones including your father. It is true that you have wasted years and can’t get them back, but utilize the time you have now. Senior Rita, believe me, you can make it….with love from Janet”.
I could neither hold back the stream of tears that flowed down my cheek, nor control the burning sensation in my heart. “I can make it”, I affirmatively said it again “Yes, I can make it” for if I had cared to go back to school three years back, I would have been my second year in the University now. “It is not too late” ,I said to myself. I made up my mind there and then to take WAEC and then write JAMB exams.
“Thank you” and an ear – deafening ‘thank you’ goes to Janet from the depth of my heart. I have just been handed over my admission into the University.