Day 5

A Proud Moment…

I actually feel bad writing this post. 19 years on this crappy planet and no achievement worthy of blogging about. I think I’m just gonna skip today and not post anything. *about to shut down laptop* *hears the fans screaming “Wana, don’t!” in the background* *turns back and sees @tweetmeistar and @kemmiiii crying in the stands* Oh well…. I’ll tell you a story… *insert rapturous ovation and loud cheers*

While you all sit down on the comfy Vitafoam mattress I have managed to borrow from their head-office (I know the General Manager on a personal basis… We used to roll tires together back then in Okokomaiko), let me ready my time-travelling machine for our journey back to the past, because we are going 12 years back in time…

June 1999:

It’s the end of my third year in Primary school. Yours truly is once again announced as the best student in his whole class. As I walk up to the podium to receive my prize, I look around and smile back at Momsie, who is sitting among the crowd and waves back at me. I am familiar with the whole routine, having won the prize before. I just stand at the edge of the stage, waiting for the MC to finish displaying his oratory ability and call me up. Finally, he does. I walk up to him, shake hands and collect the prize, a bunch of textbooks for the next year. As I walk down from the podium, my eyes roam around and lock on to a frowning face in the far corner. The face belongs to Ogechi Inyam (Funny how I still remember her name), the second-best student in my class. I smile happily as I walk past her and into the arms of my Mum.

September 1999 – June 2000:

It’s the beginning of a new class, Primary 4. Everybody expects me to once again to be top of the class. Ogechi and I are seat-partners, and we become very good friends. We battle to anwer questions in class and develop a very fun rivalry. As usual, My percentage at the end of the 1st term is higher than hers.  In the 2nd term, I notice a renewed vigour in Ogechi. She now completes her assignments and classwork faster and better than I do. She answers questions in class before I have even thought about how to go about the problem. At the end of the 2nd term, a shocker awaits me: Ogechi and I finish on the same percentage. I am shocked. Ogechi walks up to me and says “The prize is mine this year”.

As the third term resumes, I notice everybody is beginning to refer to Ogechi for help with questions. She is the new “Class Brain”. This really pisses me, and I stop talking with most of my classmates. I change seats, and go sit with a friend at the back of the class. Ogechi notices this and asks me what was wrong, but I ignore her and ask her to stay away from me. At the end of the 3rd term, a greater shock awaits me: Ogechi’s percentage exceeds mine by a wide margin, and she claims the prize for the best student. I am devastated. I am extremely angry, and I refuse to attend the Speech & Prize ceremony.

September 2000 – June 2001:

We resume for Primary 5, and things heat up pretty quickly.  My best friends in my fourth year, in an attempt to “ginger” me up, begin to tease about how I’m messing up because a girl beat me to a prize, with emphasis on the “girl”. This gets me back going and I move back to the front of the class with Ogechi. She’s surprised and happy and joins the teasing too. Our class teacher notices our rivalry and informs the headmistress, Mrs. Dibia (How come I remember all these names? Maltina really is good for the body…) and some of the teachers. This intensifies our rivalry, and the fact that this was my last year in Primary school (I was writing Common Entrance that year) added to it.

The 1st term ends, and Ogechi is top again. This sends my morale down the drain, but my friends are quick to pick me up and I begin to read and practice questions with an energy I never knew I possessed. I begin to skip the break-time football matches. I also take my home lessons with more seriousness than ever before. At the end of the 2nd term, I top the class. My friends are extremely happy but I remain reserved, as the prize I aiming for hadn’t been won yet. Ogechi surprisingly takes it in good stride, and says she “allowed me come top so I wouldn’t feel bad”.  Most of the other teachers feel the same way, and say Ogechi will come out top in the end.

At the beginning of the 3rd term, the headmistress talks about the rivalry in front of the whole school. She says she is impressed and urges other students to take after us. Back in the classroom, things are as heated as ever between me and Ogechi. At the end of the 3rd term, our class teacher, while sharing the report cards, puts mine and Ogechi’s at the bottom of the stack. After giving everybody else theirs’, she hands us our report booklets at the same time. I scream in joy, and Ogechi runs out of the class. I was the best student once again. (This still remains to date, my proudest moment ever)

On the Speech & Prize giving day, before the event starts, I run into Ogechi and we talk. She apologizes for acting the way she did and congratulates me on winning the prize. After the ceremony, my mom and I take a picture with Ogechi and her parents. And so I close the chapter on my life at Command Children’s School, Ikeja, with the words of Mrs Dibia ringing in my head “He’s one of the best students we have ever produced…”

Steven Spielberg’s Note: This story is purely fictional. Any relationship to person or persons, dead or alive, drunk or sober, male or female, gay or straight, Oracle-ish or Odina-ish, is purely coincidental and not intended.

And so we come to the end of our story. Thank you for reading and see you tomorrow. Haneefah, please stand up o! I have to return that mattress.