Diamonds they say are forever, so are great memories.
An encounter I recall about school quite vividly was the party my class had during extension, in form five, just before the October/November WAEC exams.
While other students enjoyed the company of family, form five students had to stay back in school to endure more classes. The boys were camped in Tiger House.
The long hours of classwork began to take its toll and we all needed a breather. So the ‘happening’ guys decided to throw a ‘parry’. It was common knowledge that the school authorities did not condone such activity so it became an ‘under G’ move.
The stage was set. Saturday night, well ironed clothes, polished shoes and a few spurts of “Bref” body spray and I was rearing to go. The small dining hall which was the venue was dimly lit at about 11pm, low music playing while we gathered outside the hall in small groups, with great expectations. The ‘chicks’ needed little invitation to the gig but guys literally needed Visas to enter the arena, with the organisers positioned at the main door like immigration officials, and so the night began.
Picture a young man’s dream come true.. music, drinks and anticipating the moment of a slow dance. Nothing felt quite as exquisite as the moment to shed off my innocence, but it was not to be.
While walking on air, lost somewhere in space, I had a rude awakening when someone suddenly raised an alarm. A.O, RSM.. they’re coming! People began to scamper to safety in different directions. Out through the door went my dreams and I through the window, running as quickly as I could, I stumbled across the rough terrain in darkness, past the huge gas cylinder, Flying Horse house reservoir and into my bed I flew. Sweating profusely and panting I quickly hid underneath my blanket.
About an hour later, the A.O walked into the dormitory, along with the RSM and some soldiers, calling for everyone to gather in the centre of the hostel. He addressed us thus.. “You all had the audacity to have a night party without notifying me? If you know that you attended the party, I know all of you, just come out here”. I froze, engulfed in cold sweat, my heart rattling with the intensity of a diesel engined car. In my trepidation, as I was about to step out, a voice from behind me warned me not to. I was confused. This was set to be the longest night ever recorded. It seemed that time stood still.
After a little while, the AO showed a piece of paper and then made another call, his voice was now threatening. Again as I was about to take a step to join the 2nd batch, the voice again, now familiar, repeated “don’t go”! The AO then separated the two batches. A 3rd batch was set apart after he read the names.
I could scarcely believe my name wasn’t called. The rest of us were told to go back to sleep. I must’ve passed out the moment I hit the sac. I was awoken by the shrieks of my poor mates as they ‘sweated’ to the lashes of “koboko”. I passed out again.
It was a pitiful sight at sunrise, with many guys nursing the welts on their backs with “Dettol” soaked cotton wool. It was a gory site.
In my reprieve, I asked the face behind the voice why I was spared a taste of hell and then he reminded me of my altercation with one of the party organisers the previous day and that my name was removed from the list. I felt like I had an encounter with the supernatural. For the second time within a day, I walked on air.
Such memories of my school experience have provided me with an occasional escape from the realities of the present.
Together we shall win!
Dayo Oduwole. C88.