Chronicles of Jangalla boy - Part 5

"I never came first again after that term"

My extra lessons teacher was an extremely brilliant man. I know they say do not speak ill of the dead but that has nothing to do with my assessment of his brilliance. He had a very pronounced impact on my life and had every right to show me off as evidence of his hardwork after i beat Evelyn to the 1st position in the 2nd term examination. But there was a lot that was down to me. And my desire to win Evelyn’s heart.

Junior was a rich kid and was always the center of attraction for a lot of us because of the goodies he always brought to school. His bag was always filled with assorted snacks of all sorts and everyone wanted to be his friend so they could participate in the bounty he freely handed out. I was no different. Until he made a move on my babe at least. I was also certain i couldn’t compete with him in that aspect. He was way ahead of me. But he didnt have my mind. I could compete there and hope by God that Evelyn was more interested in brains than biscuits.

So i gave it my all. I put everything into my studies while i blanked everyone and everything. Even my love for football had to take a back seat. I was involved in warfare here and anything else was collateral damage.

I won that battle. I came first. I even got to say my first few words to Evelyn during the break as in response to her coming 2nd after switching lessons she moved back to my lesson and we indeed shared a few words. I am not sure now but i can swear she even smiled at me one day while i was not looking. But as i was not looking it is difficult to be definitely certain.

It was with excitement that i therefore resumed school. I dont know what i expected though. I have asked myself that question severally but never been able to answer it conclusively. I didnt expect though to see her on the same seat with Junior sharing snacks and laughs. I didnt expect her not to look up when i walked in triumphantly even though i probably may have made a better impression if i had rode in on the back of a donkey. I didnt expect her not to say a single word to me throughout the day and maybe for the next month but my memory is now a blur. It may be have been for the whole term too.

I never came first again after that term. A year later i left the school without even the courtesy to collect my report card or to find out how well i did. I knew i didnt come first though. Evelyn did! She was the first.

Primary 4 was a breeze. It was also the place where i maybe had my first major academic accomplishment. It was to become routine a few years later but at the time no one had passed the entrance into NNSS from primary 4 before. Results wise i was not even the best in my class anymore but the minute i walked into Primary 4 and saw Junior and Evelyn and sitting together again, i knew i couldnt take this much longer. I had to leave the school.

As i couldnt face my dad and ask for a transfer for school because they stole my girlfriend, i chose the next best thing. Outgrow the school.

I was later told that i had the best result of all the candidates who sat the exam that year by a family friend who worked in the Education Corp of the Navy.

My lesson teacher took all the plaudits. And he deserved it. He was a good man. A very good man. But Evelyn did play her part in that success.

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The Author teaches Control Engineering at the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He is a lover of literature at its elegant finest, a crude musical vocalist, an unrepentant dancer, a sprinter of diminished skills, a fan of Arsenal football club and an encourager.

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