Dear David A,
It is 2012 again so this is a cool pose. Another is the peace sign. You thought it would be cool to press your tie down the middle. It is 2012 so “cool” is still a cool word.
Everyone at Preston calls you “David A”. There are too many Davids. You need (new) nicknames fast, none of your weird choices slap special. In 2013 you will find “The real McCoy” in a dictionary and all your problems will be solved.
The boys calls you “Headie Guerro” because your head is massive. Oh, your head used to worry you for a while. The jests used to hurt. So you sharpened your mouth for venomous responses. Now you have a reputation.
Of course, “David A” is not just a name, it is the chorus of a song. “David A! David A! David A!” It is 2012 so you are still a rapper, the school’s best. Everyone likes your song, 500 students sing your name. It is madness. It feels good. Your group has just dropped an EP that the school sponsored. Every student will get a copy alongside their result sheet.
In SS2, you were the Duty Prefect. They gave you the award of “Strictest Prefect” — an actual certificate that made you chuckle at night.
You already love talking. Until recently, you were the sports correspondent for the Thursday news. You would be missing from the morning assembly until it was your turn to speak. You would sneak into the open rotunda and startle everyone with your loud voice.
You also like to listen. You secretly enjoy the many sermons. You like the proprietor’s words but you are too much of an SS3 rebel to admit it. You consider him profound, visionary, coordinated. His attention to detail is bemusing. You know you will never forget him. You do not know that you will live the rest of your life determined to “repay” him. You like your teachers too. You never sleep in class, even Economics’.
It is June 2012 so you have just written UTME. You do not understand the use. You think IGSCE is the all-important. In that JAMB form, you filled ABUAD instead of the OAU your father instructed. You do not know that you have made the first major mistake of your life. You do not know what OAU is, you have never heard of it. You will find out.
It is 2012 and life feels good, right. Ignorance is bliss.
On 21st July 2012, you will graduate. The tailor will flop with your VS jacket. You will discover that your new blackberry is locked. You will begin to cry when your friends leave campus for the last time, one after the other, in their buses. You will go home and cry a lot more. You will be convinced that the worst has happened.
No. Akure will break you. The inhibitive illiteracy, the Yoruba hypocrisy. You will attend UTME lessons and the redundancy of the environment will kill your confidence. You will become obsessed with the exam. You will score a 282 in 2013 and still feel discontent.
Your parents will lose all their money. The poverty will mount an indelible storey in your head, you will live the rest of your life seeking options and never trusting money. The toxicity at home will be almost tangible. Many times, you will try to run away, you will want to die.
For two years, your choir mistress will bully you so you will hate church. You will sit in your room with the keyboard and write for redemption. You will write 50 songs that no one will listen to.
You will realize that Preston shielded you, from the real Nigeria, from these people that ain’t shit. You will lose yourself, find yourself and lose yourself again.
Finally, you will gain admission into OAU in 2013 but the strike will keep you home for a year. You will beg ASUU, your torturers, to stop. You will resume in July 2014 with so much relief only to be sent back home after two weeks. The strikes will not stop, but neither will your will.
You will force a sense of purpose, and gratitude. Your power of three will guide you —will, words and options.
In 2019, you will finally graduate. You will not know how to share the news on Facebook because everyone would be surprised that you are just graduating Uni. It would be 7 years after all.
But do not worry, David. It is only 2012 and the naivety of your smile still melts hearts. Your smile will stay, your Prestonian values too. Till 3005. Great!