Eniola opened his eyes after an elongated sleep and he saw that without switching on the fluorescent bulb, the room had become brighter as a result of the ray of the early morning sun that pierced through the curtain.
“What!” He hollered in surprise. He knew he’d woken up late. He got up swiftly and dashed to the bathroom. It was a Monday morning and his second week in Ilorin. He was a 100 level student. He just secured admission to study law in University of Ilorin. In his first week when he just arrived, he’d resided with Idris, his elder brother’s friend. Idris was a 300 level student and he resided off-campus. But now, Eniola had secured an accommodation in an area not quite far from that of Idris. He’d wanted convenience and privacy. It was his first time to be in a place far away from home, and he considered it as a start of his new experience.
The coldness of the water could be felt deeply inside his skin as he streamed it incessantly over his body. He whiffed the redolence of the red Close-up toothpaste and it reminded him of his childhood. Those days, if his mother put the red toothpaste on his tooth-brush, he would childishly lick it and afterward sucked the tooth-brush as though it was a lollipop.
It didn’t take him much time to dress up. He picked up a small mirror on the table and glanced at it just to be sure that his tie was well knotted. He looked classy in his white shirt and black trousers. He was a boy of seventeen years old, lanky and dark-complexioned, with prominent eyes and thick bushy eyebrows.
When he looked at his wristwatch, it was fifteen minutes to eight. Without hesitancy, he hastened out of the room almost colliding with the door.
At the main road, there was a heavy traffic. His ears could not avoid the sounds of the vehicles and the noises of other road users. He looked at his wristwatch once again – it was four minutes to eight.
“Oh my God! The lecture will start by eight,” he soliloquised despondently. Only if he could turn to an eagle that he would get to the lecture room before that time. Nevertheless, he joined other students to struggle for cab that would convey them to the campus.
The lecture had commenced at the time he got to the campus. Some of his colleagues were outside the lecture room while the class was going on. Rather than making inquiry to know why, he audaciously entered the lecture room. He hadn’t taken more than two steps when he heard the thundering voice of the lecturer. “Mr Late comer! Kindly step out please…”
He got out shamefully and timidity engulfed him from head to toe. He couldn’t escape the sight of his colleagues outside. Some of them were now murmuring and he didn’t need to be told that they were making fun of him. He walked tardily to another side and leaned against the wall. He’d just missed a lecture and he felt downcast.
He began to have nostalgic memories of his secondary school days, especially his final year. He was the labour prefect then and he used to get to school early in the morning before eight o’clock. He and some other prefects used to stay by the school gate to instruct the late comers to kneel down when the assembly had commenced. After the assembly, they either mobilised them to carry out the punishment of cutting grasses or instructed them to pick the pieces of papers and junks that littered the ground. He normally spearheaded these activities because he was bold and outspoken. He was one of the exceptional students and he never missed classes. His name used to resound in the ears of his juniors – he was the most popular prefect.
“Except with a reasonable reason, a serious student will never come late to school,” he’d told his juniors.
Before he graduated, he noticed that many of them had acquired the habit of getting early to school.
Now that he’d become a university student, the truth was finally dawned on him that his mother was his backbone all those periods. She normally came to his room every morning to wake him up to prepare for school. He found it difficult to wake up early, probably because his mother had implicitly turned it to her own duty. Moreover, she normally made sure his breakfast was ready before he left for school. She detested her children go out of the house with empty stomach. Eniola had found this to be interesting as he used to eat his breakfast joyously before leaving for school.
He was now far away from his mother and his home in Lagos – no more cosset. I think it is high time I talked some serious sense into my head, he concluded in his mind.