My love for football transcends beyond a mere hobby, it is a religion, and Chelsea is my God, it was football that made me fast for three days hoping it would help Chelsea win the Champions League, it was football that made blood gush from my leg like water from a faulty tap, it was football that made Baba litter my back with scars, nothing would ever separate me from football, maybe death. I have an exam tomorrow on Eng 201, but Chelsea play tonight, I can’t sacrifice my match for a simple course like an introduction to poetry.
Chelsea ended up losing the match, defeat was a bitter pill I wasn’t ready to swallow, the defeat deflated my jolly mood, I couldn’t read, I tried but images of Mikel’s empty-net miss keeps ringing in my head. I call Dayo.
” Hello, Dayo. How far?”
” I do oo, guy, you don prepare for the exam?”
” I no fit read, this Chelsea match de affect me. How far I de your back tomorrow, for the exam.”
“No wahala, goodnight.”
” Na you try a pass, goodnight. “
Our examination was scheduled to take place at the Steven Achema hall, it was the largest hall in the school, they usually spaced us in the hall like plants, so it was hard to communicate, but I was an expert at coded communication in the hall, so it won’t be a big deal.
” Okay, students, go in and pick a seat and begin when I say so, ” the dean of our faculty said.
He was a strict man, he had a way of catching people who cheat, he would appear at your side like a spirit without noticing his movement. There is a statement he always makes.
” Don’t say nobody saw you say you saw nobody.”
He said that when he was in the mood, to catch people involved in exam malpractice. I wonder what he gained from reporting students to the school authorities, I heard they gave lecturers who caught people cheating a bag of rice and a gallon of palm oil, I don’t know if it is true.
” You may begin.”
Tick! Tock! I could hear the beat of the wall clock hung in the left-wing of the hall, the hall drowned in silence, I didn’t bother racking my brain for answers because I knew it was empty.
I remembered what our principal in secondary school always told us:
” Read! So that on the day of the exam you won’t be counting ceilings.”
Well, now I am busy counting ceilings.
” Rukayat! Rukayat!” I said in a housed tone.
Rukayat’s sit was close to mine, I barely knew her but I was desperate for answers.
” Why are you calling me? I don’t want trouble.”
” Please what is the answer to number one?”
” The answer is there.”
” In your head.”
I turned to Dayo, I knew he wouldn’t disappoint me. .
” Dayo, how far? Help me with answers now.”
Dayo brings out a squeezed piece of paper from his pocket and flings it to me. I was happy, I was going to escape carry over. I open to see what is written on it.
“Why you no read.”
Tears were welling up in my eyes, football was going to make me carry over a course and Dayo betrayed me, I was about to put the piece of paper in my pocket, when I felt a tap on my shoulder, I turn around to see the dean of our faculty smiling with so much joy, revealing his gap tooth.
” Thank you for the bag of rice. “