The Young and The Lively.
"With fire in her blood, with proudness in her eyes, with innocent beauty in her poise, and youthful exuberance in her sprint. Her lips with their confident twist; The perfect refreshment to a young man's parched soul. She is the young woman."
I finish knotting my tie ( Finally! ), and turn to my full length mirror. In my black suit and purple check skirt, I look like a normal school kid ( Sort of ). But to me, I was more than that. You see, this suit, this black suit was a symbol of something big; some might say huge. It meant that I was now a sixth former at the Prestigious Harold S. Gray Classical School, Lagos. The thought left an exciting taste in my tongue and a giddiness in my belly. I felt like I was on top of the world! This was my dream.
Ever since I got into The Harold S. Gray Classical School at the age of 10, I've eagerly awaited this day. Wait! What where you thinking? That I was one of those teenage heroine's in coming of age books, that move to a new school and things start going wrong? No, love. . . Right here, Lagos, Nigeria is my home; my turf, you know. I was born and bred here; Ain't nobody going nowhere.
I snap out of my reverie and look at my reflection again. For a rich kid, I look like a sorry mess and being a sixth former doesn't help. Wait! I know you were thinking it. But No! I'm not some poor Cinderella waiting for Prince charming, I'm a princess; A not-so-pretty one. It's not my fault actually, Puberty has just not been kind to me. I mean it hits other girls and they look like movie stars, with banging bodies, and pretty, matured looking faces. It hit me, and it's like I had an accident; a bad one. My face was okay, cute even, with big, innocent looking eyes. And my complexion was beautifully black, I had skipped acne. But the rest of my body; Unflattering fat everywhere. Ugh! I look down on my semi pot belly, and shake my head ( So not attractive ). I grab my bag and run downstairs to the dining room.
Our dining room is a picture of pure Elegance, thanks to my mum's awesome taste. She is sitting on one of the expensive, high back, mahogany chairs, eating a fruit salad and looking at her phone, with a serious expression. She looks up as I come in, and her face quickly takes on a perfect annoyed expression. She is good with expressions like that ( I honestly feel like I'm using that word a lot ).
"Elvira! My God! Your first day as a sixth former and you are already running late, and did you comb through that unruly hair of yours?" She says all in one breath, taking in my look with a sharp mother's eye.
I sigh out loud.
"Good morning Mom. I combed my hair, and I'm sorry I overslept." I show her my low cut afro hair. She looks somehow satisfied.
"Don't tell me sorry. Eat your food." And she turns back to her phone and fruit salad. I go to the table and take a slice of bread, then I take 2 more ( It's going to be a long day at school ). I butter them as I sit down. As I eat, I glance at my father's seat at the head of the table. He is not around again today. These days, he goes out very early and doesn't come back till late. My mum, on the other hand, didn't used to be around this much. She is an actress, a Nollywood actress and was always travelling. Seeing her at home almost all the time now was very unsettling, but not as disturbing as not seeing my dad. I have this sinking feeling that all is not well. I glance at my mom's ever young serious face. What was going on? I reach for another slice of bread.
"You are 16 for God's sake Elvira. How much fatter do you want to get?"
My mother's voice slices through the tense air. My hand quickly recoils, as though it had been burnt.
"You are late. Get going."
I get up, feeling hurt. And rush out of the house. The driver was waiting downstairs, next to the car I used for school runs. I grumble a "good morning" and enter the car. My shape was a sore spot for me. I don't mind it much personally ( I like to think I just look matured ), but when someone else points it out in an insulting manner, it gets to me. But today is a special day. I brighten up. I won't let my mom spoil it, she was obviously in a bad mood. The ride to school is quick, uneventful, same old Eko ( If you know, you know ).
Entering the school compound, the last threads of bad vibes fade away. The Harold S. Gray Classical School, Lagos a.k.a The Gray school ( I don't know why they call it that, maybe because there is Gray in the school name or because majority of the school buildings are painted Gray ), is home away from home for me. The truth is, my own home isn't much of a home anyway. I come down from the car, feeling big and proud. I look up at the school's imposing structure ( Seriously, my school is freaking huge ). The Gray school was a British international School built at the end of the Civil war to cater for expatriates ( By that, they mean British tourists ) and rich Nigerians who could afford it, named after the first expatriate principal in charge of the school, Sir Harold S. Gray. I've heard that introduction so many times since Grade 7, that I can practically recite it in my sleep. "Rich Nigerians" is "Elite Nigerians" in the actual introduction.
And Here I was, a sixth former, a senior student at this... this awesome school. I smiled broadly, and started going inside the school building, glancing around, looking for. . .
A pair of cold, damp hands cover my eyes from behind. I know the owner of both; the tinkling voice and the damp hands. She is just the one I was looking for.
"Rosie Baby!" I reply, laughingly.
She laughs out aloud, with that loud tinkling voice of hers, and releases me.
"Babe, wats up na*?" she puts her hand around my neck and smiles broadly.
Mary-Rose Kashamodupe Sandayo, daughter of popular OAP, Adunni Sandayo. Rosie is my very good friend ( Not exactly best friends, we are not that close ). We were a perfect contrast. She was one of those girls that Puberty must have taken a liking to; Fair, tall, pretty. Next to her, I was just a mess. But I didn't mind. Me and Rosie were a team, always looking out for each other.
"I'm good. How was your holiday?" I ask for conversation sake ( I know how her holiday went; We talk online ).
"Oh. You know how it went na. Oh My God! Incoming!" She exclaims, turning to hide her face. I look forward at what she saw. It was just Olakunle Hernandez, Lagos royalty and one of our most talented students. He looks, dresses and behaves like a Movie Star. Really handsome, from an eminent lineage ( I know. Really Impressive ). Girls fall at his royal feet, but not me. No! Now, I know what you are thinking, ya nasties. This must be the cute, popular guy that later falls in love with her. No! First of all, he may be handsome, but I don't like his vibes ( It's true ). Secondly, he is out of bounds; not because Rosie here, is crushing like a love-sick puppy. But because he has a girlfriend; a pretty, haughty picture of a girlfriend. No girl is going near that guy, I assure you.
"Get out of the way, slow pokes!!"
A small, shrill voice rang out behind us.
Startled, we hastily shift, and a tall venomous figure hiss pass, leaving a trail of heavy smelling, expensive perfume. The Gray School's version of Sharpay from High School Musical ( She is actually as bad, my comparison is accurate ).
The one who had barked us out of the way was Marilyn Adesanya - Cole, as pretty as she was rude. Her mom is popular Lagos Socialite, Lady Nike Adesanya - Cole. She walks around as if she is floating on clouds, her pinched, little lips always up in the air. She probably feels everyone existed to serve her.
As soon as she goes past, walking like a peahen with an excretory problem, The real popular girls walk in. These ones are not as rude, and annoying as Marilyn. They were just two; Best friends for life. The prettiest of them all was the outspoken Georgina Ekwe - Briggs. Intelligent, but just as proud. She can also be rude when she wants to. Her Mom is the controversial, human rights lawyer and coordinator of the NGO "For The Girl Child", Barr Ngozi Ekwe - Briggs. She was the Gray School's Queen Bee, even the almighty Marilyn Adesanya - Cole wanted to be her. And just so you know, she is currently dating Olakunle Hernandez. Yep! She is "the girlfriend". We look on as she stops to talk to Olakunle, Rosie doesn't think much of her ( Not that her opinions matter ).
"What does he even see in her?" Rosie asks, crinkling her face in disgust.
"I wonder. . ." I reply. But I'm not thinking along her line, obviously Gina could do better. Honestly! Word around the school is, she might be appointed Deputy Head of Students. Well deserved, if you ask me, but not with that guy by her side. He is bad rep, and a womanizer ( I know! At his age! Mtchew ). A girl in hijab walks up to her and whispers something. I almost forgot her. She who is seldom talked about.
The soft spoken, highly intelligent Asabe Mukhtar Danladi. Pretty and graceful, she is not as haughty as Gina, nor as rude as Marilyn. But that doesn't mean she is poorer, or of a lower class; Her father is a two time senator. Always on her glasses and hijab, she is the very picture of quiet poise and Elegance ( I admire her actually; her beauty, intelligence. I'm not a lesbian: Disclaimer).
They are the popular girls in school, and everyone else is in. . .
"We are not going to stand here all day talking about all these proud girls, are we? I mean we are running late for classes," Rosie says, hurrying on.
I come to and start moving. She's right. The way I was going, I would miss first class. I glance back at where Gina and Asabe stood, but they had moved on already. I look back to Rosie, and she is already talking to someone at the end of the corridor. I run to catch up. It's Ivie.
Wierd, quiet Ivie had joined us in Grade 7, on a scholarship. She was quite bright, but never really talked much. She was mostly seen with a crime or horror novel. We had become something like friends during IGCSE, as we had offered similar courses. Rosie was closer to her though, she still creeps me out ( I don't know what it is exactly about her. Maybe it's the way she reads books all the time, or the way no one actually knows anything about her ). I don't know, but she totally creeps me out.
"Who? Are you talking to me?"
I look up, and she is looking at me. Oh God! I had thought out loud.
"No. No. Just thinking out loud, you know. How was your holiday na? Didn't hear from you. . ." I attempt a convincing smile.
"I don't have a phone. My holiday was just there. Nothing interesting. I'm sure it wasn't nearly as good as your holiday," she replies shyly.
"No. . . I'm sure everybody's holiday was fine in their own way. Even yours, Ivy." I had taken to calling her by a nickname.
"Anyway, I'm excited for the new school year. We are seniors!!!" Rosie ever the cheerful one, squeals in delight.
"Erm, Rosie dear. It's sixth formers, we are sixth formers," I feel obliged to correct.
"Whatever! We are leaving this school, after the next year. Isn't that exciting!" her happiness is infectious, and soon even Ivy is smiling.
"What class are you guys having now?" Ivy asks.
"Business Studies," Rosie replies. Eww. . . I don't fancy the course.
"History" I reply, feeling important as i say it.
"Seriously? I'm having history too. That means we can go together." Ivy says, smiling modestly. Mhm. What are the odds?
"Aww. . . I'm taking it next year. Okay guys. See y'all." Rosie says, half skipping down the corridor. It's just me and Ivy.
"Okay, sixth former. Are you ready?" I turn to Ivy.
"Yes, ma." Ivy says, saluting. Mhmm. She still creeps me out, but she is okay. I smile, and we head to class together. This year is going to be exciting and interesting, I can feel it. . .