I wrote this under the pavilion in front of my faculty during my sign out. It is four years already, wheeew! Everything feels surreal, I am a finalist already? I signed out on monday?
OMG! The memories of the first exam I ever wrote in school are coming back in trickles, I can remember what I felt during the sign out was a bit similar to what I felt that day as I marched into the ARTS LECTURE THEATRE clutching my course form feverishly like a weapon whose potency I doubt. My stomach churned, my palms sweated, my heart threatened to burst out of my chest.
As I sat waiting for the question and answer papers, my eyes swept round the hall, I saw my course mates bent over, some praying others with red eyes staring into nothing. I saw some 400 level students sitting for the course and my chest thumped harder – What if this becomes my fate too in 400? What if I don’t pass this course too? Did I even read hard enough? How do they answer University questions? Am I actually in 100 level in a university? I was lost in thought as waves after waves of questions flood my mind. The voice of the invigilator brought me back, white and black sat before me, the known and the unknown. I stared back, unsure of what to put down, where to start, how to start. My anus twitch in preparation to release what I know would be a foul-smelling bomb but I stopped myself, what if God makes me fail this course if I pollute the air? The funny yet pretty face of Mrs Ogunbanwo crept into my mind, her voice floats from a place so far away yet so close into my ears
” kawutar, don’t let them copy you”
” Bertolt Brecht was the one who now came to…. ”
” Buy me Pomo 100 naira with 50 naira rice and beans”
It was an unusual miracle but that did it. The spell broke and I began to write. Oh dear nonsense and jargon, superfluous expression, the need to impress… Write write write!
How can I forget the tense atmosphere as I and the rest tried to crack the puzzle Afolayan called poetry? How were we supposed to know Festus Iyayi was the one whom Afo was referring to in his poem and not Mandela?
How can I forget the dance of sweet sorrow I did in my room when I saw E in both of Afo’s courses? Or the jubilation that accompanied the D grade Iya Aliyu bestowed upon me? How can I forget Tosin’s epic fall during Mama Olujide’s syntax exam? Who knew what made the chair gave way under her, could it be the pressure from the 3 tough questions we were asked to answer out of 5 tougher ones? Or the double shock when we realized we had to answer all because we all failed WOEFULLY in the test?
I can’t just throw the night rehearsals and stench of PFA theatre toilet away. The songs we sing till amateur singers like me lose their voice, or the way I switch from Soprano to Alto to Tenor and then back to alto like a chameleon? Or the presentations where I chew my lips for fear of messing up the perfect alto keys of others?
All that is about to become memories, I mean real memories, I wouldn’t see the structures that remind me of them again, I can’t go back to sleep on my bed at compound D, room 8 in Trunil hostel to relieve the memories of it hard comfort in hundred level because the portals would never let me in. And I don’t think the new bed owner would take it lightly when she sees a stranger napping on her bed. How I yearn for PFA presentations, the night rehearsals, Afolayan’s bounteous smiles and “oh yeses” Mama Olujide’s stories, Alabi’s puns… Abubakar’s dances and facial expressions. All that is about to be over. I can’t go on. My heart is breaking, my fingers would cooperate no longer. My eyes are getting misty already…