I stood at the headmaster’s door very anxious. I went back and forth as I had my hands in my mouth chewing my nails. My colleague had been in there for about thirty minutes. I wondered what was going on in the office. “What was happening to his case?” I asked myself. As I turn from the door, I heard the sound of the door opening. It was my colleague Brobbey. He had this weird smile on his face, then he quickly switched to a nice one. I knew what had happened. His sheet was clean. He wouldn’t be expelled. I asked Brobbey, “Do you think I have a chance?”
“I don’t know. Just have faith,” Brobbey said and walked back to the classroom.
Deep inside I was panicking, but just by looking at my face you would think I was okay.
“Next.” That is the headmaster’s voice. It made my insides tremble-it translated into sweat on my face and fear inside of me.
I knocked the door and went in shaking like I was cold. He stared at the sheet on his table. I stretched my neck to have a glimpse of what was before him.
He turned from the sheet. For a moment it seemed as if he did not notice my presence. Here I thought I was in the midst of being sent away for good. Before I was admitted 2 years back, I remember how hard it had been for my mum. She sold her textiles and borrowed from the bank. She will be disappointed when she hears I joined my friends to skip exams.
“Are you Samuel?” He asked as he removed his glasses from his face. Soon our eyes locked.
“Yes, I am Samuel.”
“To start with, your fees have been paid.” The headmaster said.
I knew my mother had paid it, and so I felt sorry for her. I wanted to beat myself for being irresponsible.
“I will not talk much. Your grandfather just left.”
“I wondered what it was that had brought him here,” I said to myself.
He said I should repeat you. You know the penalty for your actions. I have decided to keep you here for five years instead of four.
“You are now regarded as a first year student. Call me your class rep.” He held my report, and he clipped it to his board. When he did that he took your situation very serious.
I was respected among the junior students. So staying in class with my juniors will be embarrassing. The next day it was all rumoured that I had failed my exams so I had repeated. This made me feel more uneasy on campus.
We were on break. I went home, and my grandfather was reclining in his lazy chair. As I saw him ahead me I frowned. I didn’t greet him. I went past him as if he was a stranger to me. “He delighted in my downfall,” I said to myself.
I never had a clue why he wanted me to stay on campus for five years. I had told him a year ago that I would rather be a drop out than be repeated. He probably wanted me to drop out. I despised him even till the day of his death.
Five years later after my grandfather was deceased and I had completed my course, I had a bitter argument with my mother. I seemed to curse the day my parents named me after him. I went on and on. “He hasn’t done anything better for this family. He was an educationist but failed to educate his own children. He is such a greedy and avarice father!”
“Don’t say that to your deceased grandfather! May his soul rest in perfect peace,” my mum said.
“Why would you people respect the dead so much, even if he was a murderer?” I said.
“You have changed. This school thing has changed you completely,” mum said.
“I’m still myself. I simply cannot love him because of his wickedness.” I said.
“Let me clarify this. He sent me to school, but I dropped out myself. Beatrice got pregnant on the way.”
“Mum it wasn’t too late. He should have sent you to school.” I said.
“Samuel, what has your grandfather done to you for you to hate him so much?” my mum asked.
“Can you believe he came to my school and asked the headmaster to repeat me?” I asked.
“Did you asked him yourself why it was that he came to your school?” mum asked.
“Why would I if it was obvious?” I retorted.
“Nothing is obvious in this world. That becomes clear when you delve into it. He came to pay your fees.”
I had this bite in my heart the moment I heard it. I pretended that I was not listening.
“The headmaster was very certain he were a bad influence to the other students. For that the headmaster thought you must be expelled. He pleaded on your behalf, and said he believed in you that you could be better.”
This time I got so angry with myself. When he was bedridden he asked to talk to me, but I had refused. I never saw him until I was told he was no more. I only saw his corpse that was useless, and even if I knew he was alive I wouldn’t have spoken to him.
How I wished time could tick backwards so I could apologize for my grudge against him. Time wasn’t a friend on my side. Till then I regretted ever being ignorant for his considerate attitude. I had surpassed every student in my grade in class after I had been repeated. It wasn’t a curse as I had thought earlier.
Oh time if only I could alter you. He died knowing I hated him. He saved me.