Break Of Dawn

Secondary School was fun but life in the hostel was not funny. It was like a jungle where the senior students had (in a way) the right to make life miserable for the junior students. We needed to survive so we had to device a way of doing so.

The Teachers' quarters was a 'no go area' for students except you were a 'day student' or except you were permitted by a Teacher to be there. Most students had at least a Teacher who their parents handed them over to but somehow, some of us had two . One was always around while the other was not always around. Since the other was not always around, we would sneak into his house after dinner to cool off till the next morning since the seniors have made hostel life unbearable for us. On this special day,we (as usual) agreed to take our dinner( porridge beans)to his house and soak it with garri. There was a problem. Moving from the school dinning that evening was not going to be so easy since if one is caught by any prefect, the punishment would not be a simple one. The dinning hall was a big one and we sit according to our classes, the boys on this role and the girls in the other;I was in JSS 1. As a rule, no student leaves the hall before the end of dinner except your reasons were strong enough. We were looking for ourselves and making communication with our eyes and the minutes progressed.

Before long, the first person moved swiftly away,the second followed. It was as though they have made it in life. I needed to act fast. I quickly placed my food my food in my bag and hung it. Then I advanced towards the door. I needed to leave. I allowed them finish the usual dinning song "Some have food but cannot eat. Some can eat but have no food. We have food and we can eat. Glory be to God on high." I only managed to get to the exit door when I heard "Come hear!". I stopped. " where are you going? " I turned and starred at her,thinking of the excuse to give. She was the deputy dinning prefect. The dinning prefect was a male and was coming behind. I was scared and confused. "Leave him alone", The prefect said. " He is my guy" he added. I was happy and ran away. I was not sure I knew the dinning prefect personally but wondered why he allowed me go.While I cannot remember how long I wondered, I am sure it did not take so long since I had other important things to think about.

I continued my journey and arrived in the teacher's house in a short while. We were about five and we were waiting for the remaining two students. We turned on the ceiling fan and congratulated ourselves for making it down to the quarters. The Teacher had piles of small size foams in his house and we took one foam each, dressed it with our wrappers. We went ahead to bring out our beans and those who brought extra beans added more to our plates. It was interesting. We waited for the other two and we were complete, we brought out garri, Milo, milk,sugar and started eating. Atleast ,the hostel stress was not for us that night. Among us were two persons in SS1,two in JS3 and three of us in JS1. After eating to our satisfaction, we dived our beds and started sleeping. At the break of dawn,one of us, a close friend of mine started coughing and wheezing. He was an asthmatic but forgot to carry his inhaler from the hostel. As the seconds progressed, the cough, wheezing worsened. He also complained of chest tightness. We were all scared. The two students in SS1 brought out a paper and wrote. We were not there when he died. Then they handed over the paper to him to sign. He agreed and wanted to sign even as he was gasping. They didn't want any trouble should anything bad happen to him. Those of us in JS1 revolted since he was our classmate.

After some seconds, I decided to follow him to the other Teacher's house to pick his spare inhaler. We stepped out and started walking so fast. Halfway our journey, a Dog started chasing us. Once we noticed the Dog was coming after us, we started running. I was shocked to see my friend over take me while I was left behind with the Dog's mouth close to my heel. I shouted and cried for help even as I ran as fast as I could. That night, we scampered until we got to the Teacher's door. We stopped and laughed at ourselves for a while then his cough and wheezing became worse again. We started banging on the Teacher's door several times. After a while, he parted his curtain who was outside and when he was sure who we were, he carefully opened the door and was going to flog us but when he heard my friend coughing and wheezing, he took us inside and brought the spare inhaler. Once the spare inhaler was handed over to him, my friend tool some puffs and was okay. When he was fully revived, we started laughing at ourselves again. He reminded me of the Dog while I reminded him how he almost signed the paper.

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