He could hear distant voices singing a hymn he knew very well; such angelic voices, who owned them? ‘It could be the school choir’, he thought, ‘or the choir at church’. He traced the voices to the singers and then all of a sudden, a ceiling fan popped into view just overhead……It looked familiar, very familiar, and then he realized that the fan he was staring at was the one in his room and the voices he heard was just a dream.
David sat up in his double bed with his hands clutched on his forehead, he turned to look at the time, and 7:15 am stared back at him from the alarm clock on the bedside table. He had overslept and this was the first day of resumption of the new term.
Worst of all, he was now a prefect and he needed to be in school on time; he could vividly remember the day he was appointed the social prefect, a smile came to his face. He never really wanted a post but he was too popular to avoid one.
“Enough of the daydreaming”, he said to himself as he got out of bed, he looked at the ceiling fan again which was spinning lazily, he turned on the lights and sighed.
“NEPA and their low voltage”, he said and prodded towards the bathroom.
He brushed, had his bath, dressed up and headed for the kitchen. A half closed microwave greeted him as he opened the door, apparently, his brother had just left for work, leaving the kitchen in a mess; two dirty dishes were in the sink, the chop board was on the counter with particles of chopped onions all over it. Luckily for him, his brother had prepared noodles and had left some for him in the pot on the cooker. He ate hurriedly, grabbed his school bag, locked the front and back doors and headed for school.
He arrived at Jordans High School by 7.45 am, the morning devotion was still ongoing, his eyes searched the devotion ground for the principal, but he was not in sight. He quickly slipped into the prefects’ stand.
“David, you’re late, what happened?” asked Judith, the health prefect, a very tall and slender girl with broad shoulders
“I wasn’t feeling too fine”, David replied in a whisper, “Where’s sir. P?” he asked
“You’re in luck, he isn’t around, the proprietress called the senior staff for a meeting “, She replied and saw the troubled look on his face.
She laughed,” nobody died, nothing to worry about, just some emergency meeting”.
Essien the school’s senior prefect was in charge of the devotion this morning; he welcomed the students back from holidays.
“Hope you had a good time, welcome back to school” he said to the students
Essien was perhaps the tallest student in school, although, Judith and Tony the class captain could battle him for that title. Essien was already 6ft at sixteen, he had big eyes and a much matured face; you could say he looked older than his age. He instructed the school to sing the school anthem, there will be no drums today as the principal had the keys to where the drums where kept.
“Jordans High School
A school destined
To train our young minds
With knowledge and morals…”
The students sang it with it such enthusiasm which showed how much they missed school; David thought to himself, ‘did he really miss school?’ A little, and he had so many reasons why he felt uninterested but yet excited.
The voices of the students reminded him of the dream he had, he tried remembering the song, but he had forgotten. When the devotion was over, the students marched to their classes while singing
“O my home (x4)
When shall I see my home?
When shall I see my native land?
I will never forget my home”
A tall figure appeared just beside David startling him. It was Tony,
“Bro”, he said, “What’s up?”
Before David could reply, the whole class started badgering him with questions. He was soon lost in the throng because everyone seemed to tower over him.
“Where on Earth did you come from?” asked Naomi, his deputy, dark, short, plump but very attractive girl who had the deepest dimples, David has ever seen.
“I ...” David started to say but was silenced by another batch of questions.
“Yeah Dave you just disappeared during the holidays, did you travel?” Tony asked
“Fifteen messages on Whatsapp and no reply, you missed a lot during the holidays”, said another. David rubbed his neck as he stared at these towering figures, unable to give them a satisfying answer. David wasn’t among tallest guys in class, he was just 5ft 6in in height, but boy, was he popular.
He got admitted into Jordans High School in SS1 and the following week, more than half of the school’s population knew his name.
He was muscular and of an athletic build, he had slight bow-legs, something his ex-girlfriend, Chidinma (an ex senior) constantly complained about, but David knew she secretly liked it.
The ability to socialize earned David the social prefect post and the nick name ‘Mr. Popular’.
David managed to escape from his classmates; the school had to be in order as most of the teachers had gone for the meeting. He found Essien talking with a tall girl he had never seen before. The girl turned and walked towards the principal’s office. David walked towards Essien,
“My man”, he hailed,
“Mr. Popular” Essien turned and smiled “Welcome back from exile”
David laughed, “Not how it seems”
“You know, I came over to your house, your mom told me you hadn’t travelled and you were around, yet no phone calls”, Essien said rather crossly.
“Sorry bro, I just wanted some space during the holidays, but don’t worry I’ll explain everything better.” David replied
They both walked back to their classes, the senior staffs had started returning, and it wasn’t too long when lessons started in earnest.
Jordans High School was in a class of its own; the students were known for their academic and sporting prowess and had teachers who knew their onions and were ready to support the students in whatever way they could.
The school building was a three storey erected in a large ‘L’ shape. Each storey had five classrooms able to contain at least twenty students and each classroom had two exits.
The junior classes had three arms while the senior classes had two each; for science and arts. The staffrooms and devotion hall were on the ground floor while the workshops and laboratories were separate buildings littered across the school grounds. The school also had a large football field, on which football teams train only after an express permission granted by the principal.
Students from other schools claimed that they had siblings and friends in Jordans just to earn respect; the school was in fact a force in town.