“Ado, I don’t want to see you for 7 months,! Dooshima said over the phone. “You know how I feel about those white garment churches, and yet you took me to one!” Ado heaved a sigh. It was 2 weeks after they had gone to his Aunt’s and Dooshima still refused to see him. Ado thought he’d give her a breather. As he was about to say goodbye, he asked “But Dosh, did you ask your Mum about what Aunty said?” She was slow to answer. “Yes. She repeated what your Aunt said”. Dooshima went silent.
“Okay, so Dosh, tell me why you are still angry with me?
The line went dead.
After a few weeks, one of Dooshima’ s course mate and friend Tinu, who also had a carryover in Mr. Frank’s course came into the amphitheater looking very excited. She stood on the aisle leading to the up step and looked into the crowd for Dooshima’ s face. She spotted Dooshima seated somewhere in the middle, near where she usually sat, and walked up the stairs in a haste. Dooshima’ s eyes widened as Tinu drew nearer. Her eye brows were raised in a “what’s up? fashion. Luckily there was a free seat beside Dooshima. Between Tinu, her bag, buttocks, books and several toes Tinu stepped on, nothing was going to stop her from getting to Dooshima. She collapsed on the seat next to Dooshima, huffing and puffing. She managed to spurt out “I have the sweetest gist for you! First, crazy Frankenstein did what he has never done before-he put up our test scores on the notice board and …” Dooshima’ s face lit up “And what Tinu, tell me?”
“Well” said Tinu, “almost all of us who were carrying over…..”
“Tinu, spill this thing out now, and stop giving me the gist like this! said Dooshima
Tinu coughed, held her breath and then said “Almost all of us who have carry overs, passed this his test time! Big testimony!” she said with a huge smile, hugging Dooshima.
Dooshima breathed a sigh of relief! It felt like having had a boil on your buttocks for weeks that refused to ripen and then one day, it softens and bursts and you didn’t even know when it burst, but you are basking in the relief.
One of their course mates sitting behind the two girls, saw their reaction of and wanted to know what the good news was. Before long, heads were bobbing up and down in excitement. This was a rare case of good news travelling pretty fast!
Mr Frank walked into the class in his usual manner. He had a scoff always on his face, one hand was in his pocket and the other was carrying his notes. As if on cue, students began to clap and then they all said in unison “Thank you Sir!” He did not expect such a reaction. He had never experienced it before. He had to face the board for some minutes to regain his composure, amidst whistles and screams. Before he began, he called out names of some students, and asked that they see him after class. Dooshima and Tinu’s names were called.
Tinu was first to get her stuff together so she could catch up with Mr. Frank. Dooshima was almost panting, trying to keep up with Tinu’s pace. They and other students followed Mr. Frank’s footsteps, without getting too close. They didn’t want the man to get upset, in fact whatever he did going forward would be forgiven. The picture was funny, it was like a Hen with her many chicks behind her. The students stopped when he stopped and moved when he moved. Eventually, he opened his door, went in and locked it. Nobody was sure what to do. They had been standing for about 10 minutes, when Dooshima decided that she wasn’t ready to remain standing until Frankenstein was ready to see them. After all, he was the one that had asked to see them.
Dooshima knocked softly at first. There was no answer. She knocked harder. She then heard the lock turn and stood back. Frankenstein opened the door and said “When I asked you people to see me did I say that I can”t take a breather in my own office again?
Dooshima was about to reply but Frankenstein said to her gruffly “Arrange your colleagues alphabetically, let them come into my office one by one. As your punishment you will come into my office last, for being the freedom fighter!” He stepped back into the office, turned back to look at a perplexed Dooshima, and said “Send the first person in, I’m set!
Apart from Dooshima, two other students were left. Tinu and one Usman. It was days like this that you wished your name was Abiola, Amaka or Anabel Tinu, thought. As Tinu stepped in, she said to Dooshima “Sorry babe, I won’t be able to wait for you oh! I have another class in 30 minutes and I want to hurry and sort of something in my room” Dooshima nodded.
Tinu came out, then Usman. Dooshima was next. She was angry that her meetings with Frankenstein were unpleasant so far. He looked up as he approached his desk. “Ahhh!”, he said Our freedom fighter is here. Sit down” He was writing something down.
“Sir, I’m okay. I will stand
Mr. Frank: I’m sure you would like to, but I insist.
Dooshima sat down pouting.
“You are wondering what does Frankenstein wants with you?”
It was a wonder how he knew that, that was the nickname students gave him. Dooshima couldn’t help but laugh. He laughed too and said
“Yes, I know that’s what you guys call me!”They laughed some more.
He looked at her and said “I actually needed to see you in person to apologize for a frosty meeting the other day. It was after my second chat with your eh…. Adokiye, that I remembered who he was. He is a jolly good fellow! My type of guy! Dooshima didn’t know how to react, should she smile and be nice or keep a straight face?
See Frankenstein talking like a human being oh! Even apologizing.. hmmm, she thought. She wanted to see where all this was going. She smiled the way the British do, it was a quick wide fake smile.
Frank went on “there is something I need to show you. When is your next class?
It’s at 4,00pm Sir, she replied.
“Okay that”s fine, I’ll be quick. Shut the door and don’t look at me like that, I don’t do such things
Dooshima’ s head is full of alarm bells. She looks at the space in front of his table suspiciously but still shuts the door without locking it. She returns to find Mr. Frank digging into a pile of what looks like Examination answer sheets. He seems to find what he is looking for and then hands it over to her.
“Here, he says (stretching out his hand to show the name on the answer sheet) whose answer sheet is that? He asked
Dooshima says, It’s mine, Sir!
“Okay, so what’s the score on it?
Dooshima turns the answer sheet to the last page and says “15”
“So, goes Frank, 15 is the same score you had in your test last year, and the year before that. If I had not done this….”.He brings out another answer sheet from his drawer. It had her name and exam number on it. He continues.”then you would have failed like you’ve been failing in the past. So, I had to do it as a favor to our mutual friend. He takes her original answer script from her and begins to rip it into bits.
Dooshima is in shock.
Because of you, he went on many of your colleagues benefitted from my benevolence.
Your name is Dooshima isn’t it? I’d like to show you something else. Sadly, we would have to drive there. You can open the door now. I would like you to come with me. You need to see it. He spoke with much confidence as if he didn’t expect her to decline.
Dooshima is quiet. The visions of her graduation day were forming in her mind. Was she ready to end the vision? She looks down at the floor and says “Okay”. He gets up and begins to clear his desk saying to her “My car is parked in the car park behind the buttery, it’s a maroon colored forerunner. He hands her the keys of the car.
Tinu shrugged her shoulders “Dooshima, me I don’t know oh, I was surprised when I saw you in Frankenstein’s car on my way to lecture. This story of you being a reincarnation of his late wife, I don’t get it sha! Just be careful”
Dooshima: Really Tinu, the resemblance is uncanny! He showed me her photographs!
Tinu: So, you look like his wife and that’s why you have been failing his course. Isn’t that a good reason to have given you a pass mark right from the beginning?
Dooshima: He said he didn’t see me until this semester
Tinu: Well girl my own is, just be careful! You know how lecturers use female students just for amusement. Don’t fall oh!
Dooshima: Fall, how? I have no plans to be involved with Frankenstein. We are only friends.
Tinu: Okay oh, said the spider to the fly!
Dooshima: You and your dirty mind! See you later Tinu, Ado’s coming to pick me up soon!
To be continued.