S for Secret Admirer

If I hadn’t been looking her way, I wouldn’t have noticed. But I was; and I did. She was writing furiously on her answer sheet, her face barely inches away from the paper. Intense. That’s the word I’d use to describe her. Well, and my feelings for her. Every now and then, she’d look towards the floor for a brief moment, and then resume writing furiously. I caught on quickly. She was copying answers from something. I smiled. It was funny because she was the girl’s prefect and she had just finished advising us (during the school’s morning devotion) on cheating during examinations.

I wrote briefly in my answer booklet and shifted my focus back her. She was still looking down and writing. Maybe the pressures on her were too much. She had a lot to prove after all. These teachers (and the students also) always expected the best from the people they put in charge. I used to see her, weeks before the *WASSCE begun, learning late into the night. I was always up late too, but I never learned. My guys and I would sit in any empty classroom available and talk about the things we wanted to do after the WASSCE. I was going to release a rap mixtape and become a star. Rasta had a long list of girls in the school he wanted to deflower. Legacy was going to find a way of beating the Supabet system, or any sports betting system for that matter (we all agreed he could do it, since he was naturally gifted with numbers.)

Sometimes she’d see us loitering about in the classroom and warn us to leave ‘if we weren’t prepared to spend the time learning’. And we’d remind her (never as nicely as she) that she was elected to be prefect over GIRLS and had no power over us. Which, technically, wasn’t even true. But hey, we didn’t see why we had to take orders from her when our teachers themselves couldn’t control us.

I looked around and almost immediately noticed one of the invigilator also watching her. As if to be sure she was breaking some kind of law before approaching. Apparently he also figured out her game, because he started to walk her way, a slow smile appearing on his lips. Invigilators in my school always got a kick out of making someone a scapegoat for exam malpractice. Not her, I said to myself.

“WASSCE be shit!” I said out loud, my gaze fixed straight on my paper. In the silent hall, my voice boomed like a canon. I wasn’t looking, but I swear I could hear a bone crack as the invigilator who was approaching the love of my life turned his heard sharply towards the direction from where the noise came. There was a ripple of giggles and chuckles in the hall, that turned into a low murmur as students seized the opportunity to get answers from their neighbours.

“SILENCE!” The invigilator roared, and there was immediate silence. He knew it was no use asking who passed the comment, because nobody would own up. But he doubled his vigilance, his eyes never leaving the area I was seated in; where the noise had come from. He forgot about her completely, and I smiled. My little plan had worked.

 

*WASSCE – West African Senior School Certificate Examination

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