Tafida, a tall young man in his late twenties walked into the lecture theatre while a lecture was going on. He knew that he was late, but it wasn’t his really his fault and thanks to the stupid traffic in town! Since there was a main door at the rear, he quickly slipped into a seat closer to the door before the male lecturer who was writing a sentence on the board could turn around. Unlike other students in the lecture auditorium, Tafida was different. He carried himself with such swag that most of the other students didn’t have and he had a unique dress sense but all these was mostly he had grown up abroad and had lived most of his life there. He had a tattoo of his late mother’s name under his wrist and few other insignificant tattoos hidden under his clothes. He had a passion for painting but it was only a hobby.
He hardly mingled with anyone besides his twin sister, Tabitha and a long-time friend, Linus. He preferred stay under the radar by keeping his circle small but despite this, it didn’t stop most girls from noticing him. Tafida knew that he could get just any girl he wanted but he had his preferences and he just hadn’t found that lady yet especially because he was not interested in anything that had to do with love or commitment for the time being.
Being the infamous black sheep of his family, Tafida had travelled down to Nigeria a few years ago without his father’s consent and he had come down to Nigeria for two purposes. One, was to experience life in his true country of origin while the other was to also study a course of his choice even though he was already a graduate of Law and also had a Master’s degree. Tafida had done all the necessary things he needed to do to get admission into the university and after much effort in one of Nigeria’s prestigious universities, he was now in his final year. Although, Tafida knew that the school had resumed from the holiday break two weeks ago, this was the first lecture he was attending this semester. Tafida was rebellious, resilient and could be daring most times. He was always at loggerhead with his father and had gone against his father wishes so many times that the old man had given up on him and had left him to have his way. He had made sure that no one, not even students or lecturers knew his true identity because he didn’t want any preferential treatment since his father was not only wealthy but was popular.
Tafida quietly scrutinized the lecture theatre and the other students now and since he was sitting at the rear, he could see almost everyone clearly. He had six students sitting on his row of seats, two of which were discussing football and bet naija. He saw three friends who looked more like expired Slay-queens secretly taking several pictures on Snapchat and a chubby lady was secretly receiving a call under the desk, telling whoever that was on the line to call her back since she was in the lecture theatre. It was obvious that only a few students paid attention to the ongoing lecture while the others were either bored, distracted or nonchalant.
Soon, the lecturer’s time elapsed and he bid the students goodbye and left the lecture theatre. Immediately he stepped out, the theatre erupted into a noisy one as the students finally began to gist aloud, chat on social media, laugh aloud and some guys moved to different seats to gist with other students. After what felt like ten minutes of serious noise, a male student suddenly dashed into the theatre announced after sighting a familiar car.
“The witch is on her broom!”
Suddenly, some the students quickly scrambled to their normal seats and sat down quietly. Those who were busy with their phones, quickly switched them off and slipped them into their bags or pockets, while those who had on earphones quickly pulled them off. Those who were wearing beanies or baseball hats either removed their beanies or turned their hats forward in a decent manner. Some of the girls having on more than a pair of earrings quickly took them off, those who were on sleeveless, quickly fetched their jackets or kimonos and slipped them, the girls who had long braids or waist-length hair extensions immediately wrapped them up in a bun or packed them with a rubber band away from their faces while those who had their sunshades on quickly removed them. Tafida watched all of them in confusion wondering what was going on and before he knew it, the once noisy theatre was now as quiet as a grave.
Soon, a woman with her natural hair packed in a tight bun and pulled away from her pretty face catwalked through one of the side doors and ascended the podium. The woman looked so serious that Tafida wondered if she ever smiled but it was obvious that she was a lecturer. He watched a female student who was carrying the lecturer’s handbag and books in her arms, placed them carefully on a desk on the podium before she left to take her seat in the front row.
“Good afternoon Dr. Suleiman!” The class chorused in unison. Tafida watched the woman clear her throat then begin to scan the theatre in scrutiny as if looking for any odd thing she didn’t tolerate in her class. When she was satisfied with what she saw, she began with her usual introduction cliche.
“Good afternoon students, like you all know, I’m Dr. Suleiman. You all know my rules and regulations and most importantly, you all know what little tolerance I have for any form of distractions in my class. Anyway, today, we are going to be talking on the history of the American Literature and our first text to be treated will be The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and in our next class, we’ll move on to The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and I’ll advice you all get the other literary texts such as Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and Moby Dick by Herman Melville.” She instructed.
As Yvonne began her lecture, Tafida began to wonder what was so scary about her that made her students so afraid of her. To him, all he saw was a simple good-looking woman in a pair of glasses and clad in a fitted ash suit and trousers that not only revealed her curves but also matched with a yellow inner blouse and shoes. She looked simple, too serious but attractive all the same. Soon he was snapped out of his thoughts when a phone began to ring in class.
Yvonne paused now, her brows knitting together as her gaze scanned the theatre but the ringtone immediately fell silent. “Whose phone was that?” She asked now, her tone, hard. When no one spoke, Yvonne threatened now. “If the culprit doesn’t identify his or herself this minute, I’m leaving the class and I’m sure you all know the consequences.”
As the students began to grumble and murmur amongst themselves, with some angrily stating that the culprit should identify his or herself since they didn’t want to suffer for an offense they didn’t commit, the chubby female student whom Tafida had seen receiving a call under the desk in the previous class tentatively rose to her feet with a finger shyly raised close to her head. “It was my phone, ma.”
Yvonne shot her a glare now. “What part of all phones must be switched off during lectures don’t you understand?” She asked sternly.
“Ma, I thought that I had-” the girl started to explain but Yvonne didn’t let her finish.
“Leave my class.” She ordered.
With fear in her eyes, the girl began to curtsy and plead now. “Ma, I’m very sorry ma, I promise it won’t happen again ma. Ma, please par-” she jabbered on, looking like the world was about to end for her.
“For wasting extra five minutes of my time, you are suspended for three weeks, get out!” Yvonne stated, impatiently glancing down at her wristwatch.
“Ha! Three weeks ma! Mo gbe! (I’m finished!)” The girl suddenly exclaimed, lifting her arms and placing her hands on her head in total despair. “Ma, please, I have carried over this course before. I’m a spillover student simply because of this particular course, ma please don’t let me carry it again! I beg of you ma! All my mates are already serving now, ma. I beg you with the name of God!” She pleaded, completely helpless since no one would dare risk Yvonne’s wrath by begging on her behalf.
“Girl, you are wasting more of my time and my patience is running thin. If you don’t leave now, I might just as well tell the security to see you out!” Yvonne hissed in irritation and impatience. She hated it when students could not just obey simple instructions. This one here was not only testing her patience by delaying her lecture and jarring on her nerves with her incessant begging, she was also making her look bad and Yvonne knew that she was not bad. She was a very good person, after all, that was why she had been chosen to be the H.O.D too.
When the girl still hesitated as if hoping that Yvonne would change her mind and pardon her offence, Yvonne grew more irritated and began to gather her books and this suddenly caused an uproar in class as the other students began to snap or yell at the girl to leave so Yvonne could continue her lecture. They knew that if Yvonne left the class in anger, she would punish them by deliberately setting a test that they were bound to fail; they had heard all these from their seniors who had already graduated. Students had to study extra hard or even pray and fast to score an ordinary C in Yvonne’s course and they sure didn’t want to get on her bad side and get an automatic F. Tafida who felt so sorry for the girl and could not take Yvonne’s harsh attitude anymore, suddenly spoke aloud so that his voice drained all the noise in the hall. “To err is human, to forgive is divine!”
Yvonne froze now with her hands holding a text book. She slowly turned to look at the students over her shoulder then asked, wondering who had had the guts to utter such. “Who said that?” She asked, scanning the seats but nobbody answered because no one wanted to be tagged a snitch. “I said who said that?!” Yvonne snapped now, her temper rising even more.
“I did.” Tafida answered now, rising to his feet and her eyes found him instantly.
Yvonne glared hard at him for a moment then gave her verdict. “The guts! You are forever banned from my class! Now you two, get out!” She pointed at the girl and Tafida then pointed to the rear door which was closest to them.
Knowing that there was simply no hope for her, the girl quietly took her hand bag, turned and left in tears while after staring hard in a daring way at Yvonne for a moment, Tafida slung his bag over his head and across his body then exited the hall without another word. Once they were gone, Yvonne asked the class: “Is there anyone else that’ll like to be a nuisance so that he or she can vacate the class without the slightest hesitation?! I’ve got no time for nonsense today!” When only silence ensued, Yvonne confidently added: “I thought so.” Then she continued her lecture with most of the students glaring down at her but that was the most they could do- glare at her and wish her dead or probably fired from her job.
After the lecture, Yvonne left the class and walked to the parking lot outside the lecture theatre. As she approached, she was surprised to find out that her car which she had parked between two cars had been blocked from behind by another car. Cussing under her breath and looking around for who the owner of the damn car was, she took a closer look at the window and saw someone lounging in the driver’s seat. Angrily, she knocked on the window, eager to unleash. She had knocked a second time without a response and was going to knock a third time when the window finally rolled down and stopped halfway to reveal a man who looked to be in his late twenties.
“Young man, can’t you see that you parked wrongly?” She gestured at her car.
Tafida feigned surprise as he glanced at her car through the windshield. “Oh! I could swear that piece of junk was not there earlier!” He said with a hint of mockery in his tone.
Yvonne gave him a hard look because she could tell he was lying, and had he just called her seven million naira car a piece of junk?! “I’d advise you move your car away now so that I can drive out!” She said imperatively.
“Well, why would I want to do that? I’m actually waiting for someone and I am not moving an inch from this spot till whoever I’m waiting for arrives.” Tafida stated calmly but defiantly, hoping to infuriate her. If anything, this woman deserved to be taught a lesson and he was just the right person for the job.
Yvonne was outraged now. “Young man, do you know who I’m?! Do you have any idea whom you are speaking to?!” Her eyes were literally shooting sparks at his brashness.
“I don’t give two fucks about who you are and I’d shut up and go sit in my car if I were you!” Tafida stated dismissively then simply turned up the volume of his music, leaned his head against the headrest, folded his arms under his chest and ignored her as he slowly nodded his head to the rhythm of the music, ignoring her as if she wasn’t there.
This total disrespect frustrated and infuriated Yvonne the more. Eager to show this impudent student whom she really was and what power she wielded, she dipped her hand into her handbag and pulled out a pen and a small notepad then asked. “What’s your matric number?” She poised the pen over the pad, ready to write.
Tafida slowly turned to give her a an unfazed look. “What could you possibly want my matric number for?” He asked.
“Don’t waste my time, young man, what’s-your-matric-number?!” She grated, her eyes shooting daggers down at him.
Tafida suddenly opened the car door and Yvonne quickly took two steps backwards to avoid being hit by the door as she watched him step down from the car. “Really?!” Tafida cocked a brow at her as he slapped the door close behind him. “You want my matric number, I’ll only give it to you only when you are done explaining to me in just three sentences why you are such a bitch!” He told her, with his eyes boring into hers in an undaunted way.
Yvonne’s eyes grew wide and round now and she stuttered in disbelief. “W…w…what!”
Tafida leaned against his car, slipped his thumbs into his jean pockets then crossed his legs at the ankles. He was way taller than she was and had a rugged and yet calm demeanor. There was something different about him but Yvonne didn’t want to bother herself about figuring that out for now. She wanted to know where this pig got his guts from to call a Senior lecturer a bitch! Only her husband was pardoned for calling her that name and this little fool here was going to rue the day he dared to challenge her.
“What did you just call me?!” She asked in disbelief, eyes narrowed and her head cocked towards him as if she hadn’t heard him right the first time.
“You heard me,” Then he spelt it out boldly. “B-I-T-C-H- a bitch!” Tafida repeated, intentionally pushing her to the wall.
“Now, that’s it!” Yvonne hissed. “Not only are you insolent, you are also daring and obnoxious and I’m calling the school security this minute! You are in big trouble young man!”
“Oh, enough with the damn young man phrase! It’s obvious that you are only in your early thirties and yet you act like one at the brink of her menopause! I’ve got a name and all you have to do is ask!”
Yvonne slowly nodded her head now. It was obvious that this brat was tired of his education and she would happily oblige to bring it to a quick end. “Just hold on!” She told him as she returned the pad and pen to her bag then groped inside her handbag and pulled out her smart phone. As she began to tap on the screen and dial the school security number, Tafida snatched the phone from her hand and also snatched her car keys and she could only stare at him in disbelief, mouth agape. “What are you doing?!” She asked. Who exactly was this guy and why did he have such nerve to do all these? “Oh, now you are going to rob me right here in the open?!” She gestured around with her hands. “You are going to steal my phone and my car?!”
“I might be many things but a thief is definitely not one of them.” Tafida answered, walked towards her car, unlock the driver’s door, threw the phone onto the adjacent seat, locked the door, came back and slapped the key back into her hand.
Yvonne was too shock to say anything. Her voice failed her now and she just couldn’t beginning to wonder where she was to start from in making sure this insolent fool standing in front of her pay for every act of disrespect he had shown towards her. “I’m still taking your matric number!” That was all she could firmly say since her defense which she was trying so hard to portray was beginning to falter.
“You want it, I’ll give it! You are a renowned sadist and you have no idea just how many students wish you dead!” Taking a pen out of his back pocket, he took her free hand and wrote down his matric number on her palm. “You can knock yourself out with whatever you intentions are, but trust me, I’ll be prepared.” He told her boldly, opened the car of his door, got in, closed the door, turned the ignition, reversed and drove off leaving her there staring after him, dumbfounded.
When Yvonne could finally recover from her shock, she stalked over to her car, unlock it, ducked inside, pulled out her phone and straightened up with her arm on the top of the door after dropping her handbag on her seat. She dialed her secretary’s number on speed dial and placed the phone against her ear.
“Veronica.” She said when her secretary’s voice came through. “Look up this matric number for me and print out the student’s profile before I arrive at the office.” Then she read the numbers from her palm. “1500337.” When her secretary had confirmed the matric number, Yvonne ended the call, got into her car, reversed and drove off with her back tires spitting up some gravel. Someone was about to pay dearly this hot afternoon!
To Be Continued…
© Angela Okoduwa