AN UNEXPECTED PRIVILEGE.
My name is Folarin George. I am a Part 3 student of the department of History, Obafemi Awolowo University. I am a Christian. And I will be eighteen years old in two months time.
When I woke up on that Tuesday morning, I did not know I had just woken up to a day that would change my life forever. It seemed like a normal day and I started it normally. I woke up up around 7am, stretched my body and sat up. I turned to the wall and checked the many sticky notes glued to my wall for the one holding my timetable. I checked how my day was going to go and I cursed silently. It was going to be a tiring day. I had classes from 8am to 5pm, nonstop. And then I had Bible Study by 7pm. I sighed and got up.
As usual, my roommate, Stephen had left the room. Stephen was a medical student and had his life centered around three things; eating, sleeping and reading. Such a horrible way to live life. He would leave the room before I woke up and come back while I was already snoring. There was a time I did not see Stephen for a whole week. The only sign that made me knoe he was still alive was the fact that I would see dirty clothes on his bed and his shoes would be littered everywhere. For a complete week, I did not see him. He would have left when I woke up and at night, when I tried to stay awake to see him come back from his night readings, I always failed. When I could no longer take it, I asked one if my friends in Medicine Part 3, Stephen’s class, how their class would go that day. Then I went there to see Stephen, to make sure he was still alive. There he was in the lecture theatre, his head buried in books while his mates were chatting, waiting for the lecturer. I walked closer to him and called his name. He saw me and smiled. He walked down to where I was and hugged me. Then I noticed that he had shaved his horrible beard. I shook my head. My roommate had shaved his beard and I did not know. I walked away. Later that day, he would come early to the room and apologize for his absence, giving stupid reasons and excuses.
He was gone this morning too. I looked around our small room and yawned. I was still thinking about the long day before me when my phone rang. It could be only one person; my dad. Dad always called early in the morning before he went to work or late in the night when he got back. So I picked the phone from the table and was surprised when I saw the name calling: Esther Dept. That was what I used to save the person. I could not put a face on the name. Why would anyone from the department call from this early? I picked the call and did the usual.
“Esther dear, how are you?”
“Awwwnnn, you remember me?” She said over the phone and because I am the son of my father, I remembered her immediately. Her voice was the key
“Of course, why won’t I?” I smiled to myself ad I picked my toothbrush and toothpaste from the window.
“Well, I just wanted to congratulate you. I don’t know… I feel like it’s me, George. I’m so happy for you, George.”
“I’m sorry I don’t get. What’s up, Esther?”
“Haven’t you heard? You are part of the five students selected for the HOD’s class.”
I opened my mouth and closed it back. I did not know what to say. How could I be part of something I didn’t even remember planning to be part of. Then I remembered I was on the phone. “Whao! Thanks Esther. I’m glad you were the one who broke the news.”
“Yes, George. I wanted to be the first to tell you,” she said and I could imagine her hugging herself and blushing.
“Okay then. See you by 8am.” And then the call ended.
Every year, the HOD of History department, Obafemi Awolowo University taught a course to only five students in Part 3. While we were rounding up our second semester in Part 2, we all wrote the exam that would qualify us to be in the HOD’s class. I could still remember that period vividly. I did not know there was any exam until my class rep called me to ask if I would take the exam. And I asked which exam that was and he had to explain. I did not want to write it because I did not want to be any special class. I did not understand why they could not make the class open to everybody if it was so important a class? I could see people reading and studying hard when I got to exam hall that day and somehow, I knew they were all going to fail. You don’t pass your HOD’s exam by reading your lecturers’ notes. So I did not read anything. Since I did not even want to be in the class, I did not see the need. I was ready to be part of those who would fail and have to pick a normal course. But then, I saw the questions that day and I was disappointed. They were too simple. The first asked us to give a brief history of racism. The second asked us to explain how the Atlantic Slave Trade is the reason Africa is a backward continent. The third asked us to support or oppose the motion that Industrial Revolution and Colonialism was the reason the Whites ended the Atlantic Slave Trade. And we were to answer all. I was done within 3hours. I submitted and walked out of the hall.
One of the reasons why so many people wanted to make the HOD’s class was because there were certain privileges that came with it. One was that it was a 5unit course, the only five unit course in History department. Also, it was a known truth that any one who made the HOD’s class always graduated with a first class. The reasons were obvious. It was the HOD’s class. He was the only professor in the department. His course was the only 5unit course in our department. And he was going to take us three courses in our final year. How then would you, his special student not get a first class eventually?
I got to class that day and was welcomed by some reproachful eyes. It was as though I was the one who prevented every other person from making the list. I did not give a damn. I had hardly taken my seat when our class rep walked up to me, knocked on the table to get my attention and said,
“The HOD wants to see you, now.”
I sighed and got up. “Pls where is his office?” I asked because in all honesty, I did not know his office. The class rep shot me an “angry bird” look and I knew at that moment that I had made some enemies by making this special list. I walked out of the class and was about asking around for the HOD’s when I saw Esther. She ran towards me and threw herself on me. I did not expect it so I felt cold. But then, I embraced her and then pushed back a little as though I wanted to look on her beautiful face.
“Esther! How’re you doing?” I asked with a fake grin glued to my face. She was beaming and immediately she answered my question, I wished I had not asked. She began telling how her whole holiday went and all about her family. I found a smart way to cut her in and asked for the HOD’s office. She showed me the way and I was there in a jiffy.
I gazed on the golden plate by the door which read, PROF. BADERO S.O. and I knocked.
I pushed the door open and found myself in a large room with three sofas and a glass round table. There was an ugly flower vase on the table. That was one of the first things I noticed in the room and I made up my mind at that moment that I would not like this room. I did not.
There were humans in the room, I had just decided not to notice them. There were two girls sitting on a sofa and two boys sitting on the sofa opposite them. Few seconds after I entered, one of the boys shouted, “We are complete, sir.”
And from a door behind the girls’ sofa which I had not noticed, the HOD came in. He was a thick man with a huge round face and a pair of thin rectangular glasses hanging loosely on his fat nose. He was neither fat nor thin; a little bit plump. He wore a white shirt and a black trouser with a rainbow tie. He – thankfully – did not have a pot belly. His eyes behind the glasses looked round the room and then he cleared his throat.
“Ah-ehm, okay. Let’s get started,” he said and immediately he did so, I decided in my heart that I was not going to like this man and that I had made a very great mistake passing his special exam. But then, he had already taken a seat on the small sofa closest to the door from which he came in. And then we started.
Forgive me. This was supposed to be out yesterday but things didn’t go as planned. Désolé. And also, that picture is temporary. Yeah, I know it’s creepy. Let me know what you think in the comments.