Seconds became minute, minutes became hour, hours turned to day, days rolled to week, our class became more lively and noisy, the new comers started to cope with us, I got to know that Joel was a brilliant student as well and he was my main competitor then apart from other silent competitors (Joe and Quazeem), Joel and I became good friends, Bukola and I would sit and talk for long which I would make her laugh her lungs out, Deborah and I were now very very close like kerosene and stove, I would spend most of my pleasure time laughing out loud with her since I was not used to playing football in school so that I won’t sweat and stain my school uniform (as per neat boy #wink). Taiwo too became freer with me, some friends have started saying I was dating Deborah which I knew too well that ‘chief’ David started the rumour though he knew the truth that the girl and I were just friends.
It was on Friday after about three weeks of resumption, they announced in the morning that they wanted to assign the real timekeeper and must be from SS1, I have been hearing it earlier that anybody that is assigned as the timekeeper in SS1 has 90% chance of being the senior prefect boy in SS3. “Can it be me?” I silently asked myself without a response and I immediately changed my mind and took my mind to something else. We got to the class, Mathematics teacher entered, (my best subject) the topic “set” was introduced to us which we found interesting at first but the story changed as time went on due to the complexity of the topic, the class went fine, Joel and Kayode were the sound students in the class that morning as I was just looking quietly and assimilating as it was hot. Quazeem too was an enthusiast in term of Mathematics while we all have one silent Mathematician (Joe), but most people didn’t notice due to his silence and that was the opportunity and the priority I had over him as he was a bit better than I was at Mathematics.
Mr Iroko (the Maths teacher) finished teaching, he gave assignment and left the class, I did the assignment and kept my note immediately, other classes held well but Joel and I did not enjoy most of the classes that day, they would send for us time to time from staff-room, interviewed us at random, the female teachers would examine our body as if we were carrying hard drugs.
Silent rumour everywhere;
“Joel and Henry are going to be the next head boy and the assistant,
“But do you think Joel that just joined us will defeat Henry?
“Can’t you see that Joel is brilliant too? And the other thing Joel will use is his body, he’s taller and hugger than Henry, Henry can’t control anybody with that stature of his,
“Anybody that wants to win should win after all it is not head boy post yet, it’s still timekeeper which is just about 90% or less assurance,
“Why is Azeez not among self? Is he not brilliant too?
They won’t just check other departments, let’s wait and see how things will go”
That was the series of questions, arguments, complaints, and discussions among the students that day, David would ask me every time I returned to the class;
“Henry, are you leading Joel?” Which I would respond, “I don’t know”.
The time came, the closing bell was jingled, after everything, the principal came, notified us what what was about to happen, all SS1 students were eager to know, SS2 and three were waiting to see the newly discovered talents among the new comers.
“Good afternoon once more” the principal greeted. “Good afternoon sir” we echoed in response, he continued;
“It’s not that these students we’re about to call out are the best in their classes, but the school has concluded that they are the ones that are capable of having the posts. The first person I will call out will be our assistant timekeeper while the second person will be our timekeeper, they will be helping eachother in carrying out the assignment. The first name here as the assistant timekeeper… (the principal has not pronounced any name when my heart started beating faster as if it wanted to jump out of my chest, I started talking to myself;
“What is it self? Is it presidential post! I was not scared since morning and now is the right time? Henry, you need to calm down joo” I placed my left palm on my chest to feel the heartbeat and to calm the beating and the principal continued)
…is Williams Henry Opeyemi, SS 1A, Science Department” some students shouted “ehhhhhh!…” to show their happiness while some faces were neutral (not that happy and not sad) my heartbeats came back to normal immediately as the result has been heard, and I put on my smiling face as I climbed up to stand,
“Chai!!! See heads!!! I don die!” I exclaimed in my mind as I saw numerous students, and the principal continued
“…and the timekeeper for this session is Adewale Joel Johnbull, SS 1A, Science Department” some set of students shouted and jumped up to show their gladness and some faces still remained neutral as usual.
Joel climbed up with big grin on his face exposing his white set of teeth on the black teeth-gum. “…these are the timekeeper and the assistant, the posts can still be withdrawn from them if they go against the school rules and regulations” principal said,
“God forbid” I responded in my mind.
“…obey them and listen to them”[/B] the principal concluded and handed the microphone over to Joel, he greeted, said some other things and ended with thank you. He returned the mic to one of the teachers while I was just standing, looking and smiling. The teacher dismissed the school, Joel and I had a handshake and jumped down, I went to carry my bag, Dave came to meet me with pity and unhappy face when even me was not unhappy,
“Come-on! Change that face” I said and smiled, I was looking for my dear friend, Deborah, when a tiny voice called me from the crowd,
“Opeyemi!!!” I looked back and saw her among the crowd struggling to find her way out, I used hand to demonstrate “come”. She survived at last, we crossed the main field and headed home, Deborah got to where she would depart and I was feeling like not leaving her or like following her, she waved goodnight and Dave and I continued…
I got home, told my mom about the post, called my sister and told her too on phone, my sister showed some happiness before she said “why are you not the timekeeper?” I hanged up.