|A story of skipped heartbeats|
Then, they would ask for the list of noisemakers. If there were none, all of us in the class, from A-E would receive punishment. They always came in their numbers with enough canes to go round. I swear; they always spared Chinyereugo, and maybe one or two other people related to them somehow.
Our first year passed. I was still admiring her, taking my time, waiting for the perfect time to approach her, getting jealous of the guys she talked to – people like my good friend, Chinagorom who would never tell me what he did to earn Chinyereugo’s attention. She always smiled back at him, and hit him at the back of his head playfully if she was close enough. It was as though they had some mysterious connection.
I think our second year in school was pretty much the same as the first year. I never found the perfect occasion to make the move. In the third year, I was moved from class E to class B – I don’t know why, but I think it was related to my academic performance. JS 3 was an exam class, junior WAEC we called it even though the exam had nothing to do with WAEC. The State Education Management Board, SEMB, was responsible for it.
In my year 3, something spectacular happened.
There was a qualifying test for a candidate to represent the junior secondary in Cowbell Mathematics Competition. The exam was thrown open to everybody in JS 2 and 3. I passed the first stage. Then the second stage came, and my good friend and I aced it. We were to represent the entire junior secondary of the school in the competition.
My friend, Chinagorom was already well known in the school as a sharp chap. His parents were both reputable teachers in the Special Science School, an exclusive senior secondary school for science-inclined students in the state. I was relatively unknown. So, when the principal brought us up to the podium during assembly to make example of us as s.e.r.i.o.u.s students who would represent the school, I could see many pairs of eyes staring up at me like who-is- this-one. I was thrilled all the same, only disappointed that I could find Chinyerugo in the sea of heads at the assembly.
However, being praised by the principal during assembly wasn’t the spectacular thing I was talking about. It was the fact that for the first time, after that elevation at the assembly, Chinyereugo looked me in the face and talked to me. She congratulated me for making it through the qualifying stage of the competition and wished me well in the main competition at Awka. From then on, she seemed to pay some attention to me, or maybe I was imagined it. I was no longer in her blind spot when she came around Chinagorom and me.
...to be continued.