First Day, Big Change.
After switching primary schools, I didn’t have close friends like Junior and MB anymore. My second primary made me change a lot.
I became more introverted, more self-conscious and less dependent on others. I hardly forged any friendship that lasted after primary school, nor do I miss most of my classmates.
I registered for secondary school later than most of my peers. I think that is where my late coming attitude started. Though I am still working to change that.
On the first day of junior secondary school, which was about day thirty to fifty for most other students, my class teacher walked me into a class of over a hundred students, (this is a Lagos State public secondary school) asked me to find myself a seat and walked away.
This was the biggest change I had witnessed in my life. With no idea what I was to do next, I went from seat to seat, looking for which chair had less than three people on it, until I came upon the seat of Tinu.
I was tired at this point and just needed to rest. She was alone on the chair and her back was turned to me. Without asking her permission, I sank into the chair and heaved a sigh of relief.
Jolted out of the conversation she was having with the occupant of the seat next to hers, she turned around immediately and asked me to stand up from her chair. For reasons I still can’t fathom I didn’t bother arguing. I stood up immediately.
Looking back now, I can’t help wondering if it was her tone, or the glare in her eyes as she spoke, or the mischievous smile that crept into her lips as she finished those words, or the spellbinding beauty of her eyes, or a combination of my hunger and tiredness that made me comply. Because on any other day, I would have argued with her, and explain to her that the chairs were properties of the government, to which me and her have equal right.
Just as I got on my feet, she looked me straight in my eyes and told me “sit down”.
I was reluctant to.
“You should have told me first before sitting here” she continued.
“Sorry, I was tired and your back was turned” I replied her.
“What if I had an infectious disease, you would have contacted it by sitting next to me”.
“If you had an infectious disease, you wouldn’t be in class”.
“Hmmnnn. Maybe. Maybe not.”
“Are you or are you not sitting anymore?” She continued.
Finally, I sat. Heaving a big sigh of relief.
“Are you a new student?” She asked me.
“Yes I am, I just resumed today.”
“What?” I asked.
“You will write note, your hand will almost bend.” She replied.
I should have taken her words more seriously. Indeed, I did write loads of notes. First to catch up, secondly, to keep up.
Thankfully, I and Tinu became good friends and she did help me out a lot with my note writing. I would have ended up skipping the notes for classes I had missed. They were that much and I was that lazy.
If that was all I benefited from being a friend and a seatmate with Tinu, then truly she was a friend for that season.
After break-time on my first day, Tinu’s other seatmate finally joined us. His name was Hezekiah.
Hezekiah was a couple of years older than us, but it seems he was the one least aware of that. He was super friendly, helpful and generous. I think he actually treated me nice from the get-go because Tinu had “vetted” me.
Over the years, he will go on to treat me like a younger brother, while treating Tinu occasionally as a younger sister and on other occasions as a love interest.
This ever-present change in their relationship constantly affected the dynamic of our joint relationship and seating arrangement. Sometimes, they wanted to be so next to each other, I would expect them to merge into one. Other times, they’ll be at each other’s throat and I’ll have to be the buffer, to prevent them from exchanging punches.
Before the end of the first term, to me and Hezekiah, Tinu was “one of the guys”. We were a close-knit band. Not quite like I, MB and Junior, but a big change-up from every friendship I have had since then.