“This is it!” I thought to myself as I laid down on my bed. I’ve failed. I was clad in a pair of black leggings and a brown cardigan. My feet were not covered, the trembled. My body trembled, it was a conductor, allowing electric current zap in and out. The room was warm enough with the green curtains and the windows shut.

I had an exam tomorrow. Legal Method. The letters all felt like magical symbols. The sentence were witch spells written in Latin. I couldn’t get my head around it. And the fever wasn’t helping. I got up, flipped one or two pages, I didn’t need the devil to tell me I was deceiving myself. But I pressed on. I wanted to come out from the hall smiling. I tried turning the Latin spells to English proverbs. I tried making sense out of all the notes and jots I had made in class, the text book was worst. It was like a private letter from one professor to another. I tried so hard that I was unaware when sleep came.

I woke up around 6am by some grace and bundled to school, but of course not forgetting to fix my face. I can’t be sick and on top still look like a witch. The exam was by 9am. I had time to read some more and also listen to my friends discuss and dissect the course. I was distraught, it was clear that they were on a whole different level. It felt as if I hadn’t been attending class. Although now the fever felt part of me. As if my body has always been this hot. As if my body occasionally trembled. But I had to take the exam no matter what. I tried to suppress my illness by laughing and talking but what’s on is on.

And so, the papers were shared. I was too tired to think, my comfort was my friends. I was surrounded –we had earlier set a formation. I stared at the paper trying to recall what I studied but unfortunately, I knew either the A or B’s of different questions. That’s the worst thing that can happen to anyone in an exam hall. I answered up to two questions out of the five. And that was it, I gave up. My head was on fire, like there was something boiling in it and my neck the tripod. My eyes were red. I wanted to stand up and leave. But my friend held my hand and showed me her paper. She was down to her last question,

“Copy and go and rest, you hear? You should have stayed at home” she chipped in concerned.

I smiled, this is how friendship should be. I began. My eyes roamed her pages. My neck stretched and stretched till it arched and right when I was about to complete the third question. I received a heavy knock on my head. The invigilator had used the bundle of left over answer sheet on my head.

“Just look at how you’re disgracing yourself. Your mates will be at night reading, you will be in your boyfriend’s house cooking for the idiot that can’t even pay your bride price”. He shouted so loud that everyone in the hall heard him. And as if encouraged by the level of attention he had drawn, he continued

“I know your kind, you’re coming for an exam and you wear make-up? Just look at how hopeless you are. Common exam you can’t even write. God wasted his time on you. You’re just fine for nothing. All you know is to wear make-up and dress up, and come to Instagram and be answering ‘Slay Queen’ useless set of people”

Somehow I stopped listening to him. I was in a different world. I was in my head. It was all white. I was frustrated, I was angry and I wanted to explode. I don’t know what it was, fever or anger. But I stood up looked at him dead in the eye –If looks could kill he would be six feet below –and walked away leaving my paper for him. Some useless elements whispered ‘say sorry’, this and that. I just smiled and walked out –yeah I did a bit of cat-work. I flaunted what God gave me. (Shebi he said I am fine for nothing? Lemme carry my fine and be going). As I walked I read their thoughts “fine girl without brain”. “Slay queen with a slayed brain”. No Problem, let the birds have their worm.

On my sick bed now recovering. I am mad, angry. Yeah I acted tough then. But deep down those words from the invigilator cut me. Just one look at me, and I  he judged me, he couldn’t see beyond the pretty face.  It pained me more giving how hard I prepared for the exam in my condition. Maybe this beauty is a burden.

A voice in me keeps asking me why I am still in this law department. Why I even bother reading, when my mates…and just then I murder the thought. I am not my mate. I am me.

Sylvie
sylviaugoma@gmail.com

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