For most Nigerian 16year olds, the fast approaching High school final year exams,both internal and external, is what should occupy their mind space.
Apart from the exams they begin to think along these lines..
what school do I go next?
What path do I tread from here on?…
In september 2009, I resumed a new school session. This was the beginning of the end of my six year journey at the Life forte International High school Ibadan.
I had just concluded some major Mathematics and English lessons back home over the summer ,to ensure I excelled at the upcoming October/November cambridge o’level examinations. You won’t believe my parents took it upon themselves to coach me in ‘exam handwriting’… Yes it was that bad.
You can expect that I came to school excited especially as I was to move into a new hostel with less students and it exclusive to final year students and few A’level students.
As the school session went on, examination lessons intensified and being a school prefect I had to learn how to balance my time to ensure I read my books and still took care of my duties.
The school administration was very thoughtful and helped organise extra revision sessions for us even when the rest of the students had gone home on their mid term.
During this break or so, I received a call from my mum requesting that I write a tribute to my grandfather because our family had decided to celebrate his birthday sometime in december.
I thought it a bit odd because his birthday was in August but I went ahead with the tribute. Shortly before the study period school had fixed for us, I wrote him a tribute. I said all I thought about my wonderful grandfather, recounting the memories I noticed I shed a few tears and quickly stopped myself I thought it quite awkward and so I stopped myself before anyone noticed. I remembered how he seemed to have changed so much when I saw him the summer of that same year. I felt it must be what we all know as old age. I remember that I prayed for him on October the 20th in one of the school’s empty class rooms. We had formed the habit of turning classrooms,which had been emptied by the students on their mid term break, into personal study spaces.
Around this period though exams had been on for a while and would end soon. So I brace up , study and finish off exams while I basically count down to christmas holiday.
I remember mummy saying something about celebrating Daddy’s 50th birthday properly when we’re home, well it should be a fun christmas. I remember writing the internal exams that november and enjoying most of my papers because they seemed so similar to the cambridge exams concluded shortly before the internal exams kicked off. I found myself counting the days till the term vacation.
On one of the evenings which must have been close to the end of exams, an old friend of mine called Edak and I were in the hostel reception. A movie titled ‘Why I Wore Red Lipstick For My Mastectomy’ was showing on the television.
Edak explained the movie to me apparently she had watched it and the main Character , a woman, had breast cancer.
She had to surgically loose her bosoms! How awful I thought.
Even though she did, her husband saw her as beautiful. She wore red lipstick on the day of the surgery to remind herself that she was still female and all. I couldn’t imagine what she was going through.
I grasped the concept but I was so worried at the thought of having to do such a thing. At that stage in every young girls life, that’s when visits to under wear stores and sections either begin or become more frequent. And so, such a movie was far from wonderful for me being 16 and all.
I had never mentioned it but I felt I had breast lumps. After seeing the movie my mind brought back the thoughts which I had pushed aside as imagination.
Lumps. Definitely scary and Possibly cancerous?
But no, I refused to give them thought. Maybe my mind was just being as dramatic as its owner.
Its possible the my mind was playing tricks because we lost a fellow student to an ailment that started from what seemed to be harmless lumps. She had even taken the lumps out but died later on.
I pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind.
School vacated finally in the first week december. I walk into the gate of my home and right infront of the house are ‘pyramids of tiny packets’. In my mind I think ‘oh maybe souvenirs for daddys 50th’. I walk into the main door and I see even more souvenirs. My mum and her youngest sister are seated in the sitting room. I greet them, I’m welcomed warmly. I inquire about the many souvenirs as they exchange glances… glances pregnant with meaning. My mums expression gives off an attempt to avoid being a bad news bearer. Her eyes don’t meet mine and she let’s out “Grand daddy… Grand daddy has slept”.
* * *
Pls join me tomorrow as I continue with my 2010 story.
I’ve decided not to rush because the seriousness would be down played if I rush the story or I’m not meticulous enough with its narration…