” chill bro, I’m just joking ” he said placing his hand on my shoulder.
” I’m sorry, I just kinda lost it ” I apologised.
” it’s alright, I know how you’re feeling but have you talked to Azeezah because I called her number but it wasn’t reachable ” he asked me. After what happened at the ritual that made her left the party, I couldn’t bring myself to call her.
” no, I haven’t, I just spoilt her last day with us like that and I couldn’t bring myself to call her ” I replied him.
” it’s alright, I will find a way to get in touch with her but you should still try to talk to her no matter what, it wasn’t your fault it happened tho you could have avoided it, but I didn’t know why you didn’t ” he said to me.
” I couldn’t avoid it because if I had try to, then I would have made a mess of myself ” I said to him.
” both of you, are you here to chat ” the instructor suddenly screamed at us.
” go do your thing bro ” I said to Philip as I left him and made for the exit as I took the eyeglasses off my face.
” Benjamin ” I heard a voice called my name like a retired military man,
I paused and turned in a slow motion manner and saw the instructor glaring at me.
” did I ask you to leave ” he screamed at me.
” no sir ” I replied him.
” then where are you going ” he asked me.
” to drink water because I’m thirsty ” I lied.
” then you have to keep on being thirsty until you finish competing ” he said surprising me.
” I don’t understand sir, thought it was a one time stuff ” I said with a perplexed expression .
” I’m giving you a second chance to prove yourself, so get down here and take to the eight spot ” he ordered me.
” thank you sir ” I said excitedly as I joined my opponents that were already at their position. I returned the eyeglasses to my face, ready to utilise the second chance I was given
Philip stole a glance at me and smiled.
” on your spot ” the instructor ordered and everyone of us took to our spot with rapt attention.
” get set ” he screamed and few seconds later the whistle was blown and we all dived into the water.
When I got to the other end, only Philip was there with me.
I had seen the turning on NTA many times so I knew what to do tho not professional about it because I don’t have any experience.
I turned in the water and used my leg against the end to propel myself backward. Philip was already good at it and by the time my turning was completed, he was already few metres ahead of me.
With all my strength, I started swimming and by the time I got to the finishing spot, it was a tie between Philip and me.
I smiled as I got out of the water.
I could see that the instructor was also satisfied with my performance.
” that was great ” Philip said as he came over to where I was standing as water was dripping down from our body.
” thanks ” I appreciated him smiling.
” I knew you had the potential ” he said smiling.
” now I’ve got to up my game because a real challenge is finally here ” he added still smiling and he was hundred percent serene about it.
He didn’t looked anyway bothered or angry that I might be the champion of the school.
” looks like we’ll be the one representing the school in the competition ” I said to him.
” yeah, it look like that but we still have to place top two in the final challenge first ” he said.
” try to make sure you display this kind of performance again and we’ll be the winner, you’ve got to win because nothing else will make me happy than seeing the two of us going to represent the school, sharing the honour with no class ” he said it more like a prep talk by a coach before an important football match.
” I’ll try not to disappoint you ” I said and the instructor asked the nine of us to gather again for the final challenge.
I fist bump with him before we all took to our position. After the usual call from the instructor, the whistle was blown and we all dived into the water. Philip and I like we did before got to end first and this time I made sure to be swift with my turning, almost at same speed with Philip but he was better than me. It was a tie between us again when we got to the finishing spot.
We embraced each other happily when we got out of the water.
The instructor asked me to give him my full name and I did.
He asked Philip and I to see him before going home.
” let’s go and clean up ” Philip said to me as he led me to a room on the floor where many white towels were hung on a hanger . We both pick one each and dried our body.
He showed me another hanger which was empty.
” that’s where we hang used towel so that another person won’t use it ” he said and we both hung the towel we used. He showed me to a board which looked like the one we got our eyeglasses from and he told me that it’s the spot where they return used eyeglasses. We both dropped the eyeglasses on it before we exited the room.
” you still need to be tutor in swimming, you’re great with speed but you still need skills and polishing ” he said to me as we started descending.” if you want, I can teach you ” he offered.
” I’ll like that ” I said to him.
” maybe we can use the swimming pool at your place ” he said and paused as I turned to look at him.
” are you sure you’re only coming for tutoring or you’ve got a hidden motive lurking behind your offer ” I said glaring at him.
” the main motive is grooming you and anything that follow is the grace of God ” he said smiling mischievously as he left me and continued walking.
” where’s the school pitch located ” I said catching up with him.
” it’s not that far ” he replied.” I even got something to ask you ” he said with a serious countenance.
” what’s that ” l asked him.
” what’s Happy like at home ” he asked.
” I don’t understand ” I replied him.
” what I mean is that is she the naughty type or the semi gentle girl she is at school ” he explicated himself.
” I don’t know ” I replied him.
” why are you behaving like this na, help your bro in need ” he said as he wrapped his arm around my neck.
” thought she was your queen, why can’t you ask her yourself ” I asked him.
” that girl is a witch ” Philip said and for a few moment I forgot who Philip was and almost got angry for calling her a witch but when I remembered who he was, I was cool.
” and why will you call your queen a witch ” I asked him.
” in this school, I’ve got many girls throwing themselves at me, some are even begging me to date them because they all love me but you see that girl that called herself Happiness, I’ve tried everything to get her as my girl but she won’t budge ” he replied me.
” the only thing she always insist on is that we should just be friends or do you know if she has a boyfriend, maybe not staying in this country because with all my findings, I’m sure she’s single ” he added and I scoffed.
” I don’t think she’s taken, maybe she also love you but doesn’t want to display it ” I said trying hard not to laugh because it was kinda funny to me.
” and per your first question, she’s the same at home as she is at school ” I added offering reply to his first question.
” or you can help me to get her since the two of you stay together ” he said looking pitiable.
” I can try but I’m not promising ” I said to him.
” hope you didn’t start developing any form of attachment towards her after what happened yesterday ” he asked me.
” what ” I exclaimed as the event that occurred at the ritual replayed in my head.
” no, that’s not possible ” I said with spite portraying in my voice.
” do you hate her ” he asked staring at me with a surprised countenance.
” no, why will I hate her but she’s not my type ” I said to cover my track as it’s now a must to hide the fact that we’re partially siblings after what happened between the two of us at the ritual.
” a bonus for me ” he said smiling.
” but why are we barefooted ” I asked him as I started feeling my feet getting heated up.
” because I forgot to ask us get our boots inside the locker and I don’t feel like going to go get it again ” he replied me.” and we’re here ” he said pointing at the pitch.
I couldn’t help but think how rich Mr Popoola was to be able to build everything I was seeing inside the school.
The pitch was a standard one with seats for spectators surrounding it, it even had cover to protect the spectators from sun or rain.
It was a football pitch with green grass covering every aspect of it.
Outside the rectangle for football was the lane for the athletes drawn.
It was a permanent lane unlike my former school where we’re always coerced into bringing sawdust or remnant of panel beaters white substance in order to be able to draw lane for running during inter-house sport competition.
The pitch had the structure which made it seemed like a big pit was created and it was deposited inside it.
The spectators stand was at the upper level and we had to descend through a staircase in order to get down into the pitch.
” are you fast ” he asked me as we walked down to join the rest of the students on the field.
” I think so” I replied him.
” please be fast, Mohammed is my only headache here because we have almost the same speed but if you can be fast enough to beat him, then it’s a plus for our class as you’ll be the school fastest runner ” he said to me .
Even if I’m not fast enough, I was ready to push my speed to the highest since I’ll be going against Mohammed.
” alright bro ” I said.
” but why is no one running ” I asked him as every students on the pitch were either in group talking while some were warming up.
” because we’ve got to wait for other sports to end so that all our athletes who are also involve in bi sport like us will be able to join us “he replied me
” but don’t worry, everyone should be through in the next twenty minutes ” he added.
” guess who’s the best runner among the girls ” he asked smiling.
” Happy ” I muttered.
” you’re right ” he said smiling.
” she’s a hare among the girls, no one come close to her ” he added.
” is she here ” I asked so that I’ll know how to avoid her.
” no, she’s also a table tennis player and they’re yet to be through ” he replied me .
” because of the upcoming competition, everyone is grooming their best players so as to prepare for the worst because as I heard, it’s not going to be easy ” he added.
” is football also among the sport that’s enlisted in the competition ” I asked him.
” yeah and you have to do everything to get into the school team and even try to oust Mohammed, he’s the school best player ” he replied.
” but why do you hate Mohammed so much ” I couldn’t help but ask him because it looked like he hated him more than I do.
” that piece of garbage always try to form like he’s the son of Bill Gate, the idiot was even rated second best student in ss2 when everyone knew that he doesn’t come close to my Happy and Gina, and he’s really a headache, that idiot used to be the second best to Azeez who was the school team number nine but with the departure of Azeez, the idiot was the team main striker and but if you can show to the team coach that you’re good, you can kick him back to the second spot that he deserve. ” he said and kicked the grass to show the level at which he’s got Mohammed in his mind. But what Philip doesn’t know was that I wasn’t a striker, my style of play is like that of Messi, I’m a playmaker but also proficient in goal scoring and my speed also help me on the pitch and I was also a great dribbler but that should be enough to kick Mohammed aside just like Messi does without been a striker.
” let’s warm up because we’re going to start running once the coach get here and today is the selection of runners that are going to represent the school in both senior and junior aspect ” he said and I smiled.
My timing was perfect, I could get the chance to participate in the competition both for swimming, football and running which I was sure no one come close to me unlike swimming.
We started doing different kind of activities to warm ourselves up while we discussed.
Truth be told, Philip was an awesome guy, funny, humble and nice. My first impression about him was wrong.
We were still warming up when I saw Happy coming towards our direction.
” and here comes my queen ” Philip said as he was the first to see her coming.
” did you get selected as the school representative for table tennis ” Philip asked her as she got to where we were.
I continued warming up pretending as if I didn’t see her.
” yeah, Gina and I got selected for senior as usual ” she replied him.
” I trust you, just like your emir and Ben will also be representing the school in swimming competition “he said to her excitedly.
” wow ” she exclaimed. I knew it wasn’t for Philip but me. ” congratulations Ben ” she said but I feigned to be engrossed in my warm up and couldn’t hear what she said.
” he’s taking the warm up more serious than anyone ” Philip said in an humorous manner.
” can you spare us some minutes ” she said to Philip.
” yeah, but I got my eye on the two of you ” Philip said before he left us.
” hey ” Happy said as she stood in front of me.
” hi ” I said as I didn’t stop what I was doing.
” it seems like you’re avoiding me ” she said.
” I don’t think so ” I replied as I switched to press up.
” I think you are ” she said as she squatted so that she could continued talking to me.
” I’m not ” I said.
” then let’s talk about what happened yesterday ” she said and I paused what I was doing and stood up.
” what do we have to talk about it ” I asked her.
” everything ” she said staring deep into my eye.