‘Could it be Karma or is life playing hide-and-seek?’
Emerald kept wondering as she fixed her gaze on Ukemes face, staring deep into his eyes, wishing he could just wake her up and say ‘It was all a joke’…But deep in his eyes she saw more than the regular lashes and pupils…she saw a black dot on a white background…But despite how clear the white surface was, she rather saw herself deep in the dark spot: An irony of life.
Where to find Smith was not an issue, but what would she tell him? How would she even begin? Would she be bold enough to look into his eyes? What if he snubs and makes mockery of her? But why Smith of all people? Could it be that she was acting a smith already drafted by Smith himself? Could her village people be at work? Why would it be Ukeme (Smiths friend) that opted to assist her and not someone else?
On the other hand, what if she chooses to save her ego, stick to the truth, face the hoodoo and damn the consequences?
‘Stop being foolish Emerald’
A strange voice rang on her head as she returned to sanity
“I can help you talk to Smith, if you want me to”
Ukeme said as he took Emerald’s hand and began rubbing her palm, with a bright smile on his face. Emerald smiled back, slowly pulled her hand, stood up and walked out of Ukeme without a word.
Leaving Ukeme behind like a bad habit, Emerald headed southwards, the perfect spot where men could be found: The Mini Stadium. It was few days to the student week and sporting activities were underway as various departments trained hard to face off with each other. Emerald was convinced that it was the perfect spot to find Smith…Although not the perfect environment to voice her worries.
It didnt take long before Emerald spotted Smith, and as expected, in the company of a battalion of guys who were talking recklessly over a bottle of Hennessy. She knew she needed a better atmosphere but she had barely 72hours to save her face, so she decided to wait until the alcoholic gathering had dismissed.
Smith was rather startled at finding someone resting on the trunk of his BMW as he made his way to the car park at around 7; 14 pm. The sun was gone, far beyond reach. The stars were dressing up to surface as the sky was devoid of brightness. Smith stood for seconds, staring at the strange figure whose face was rested on the car, apparently lost in dreamland.
Tapping her from behind and forcing her into a sudden hysteria, Smith was himself startled at finding Emerald of all people resting on his car. They took minutes staring at each other as one expected the other to speak first.
“Please, Ive already had a stressful day and I’m not prepared to add abuses to my already spoilt day…if I have offended you, forgive me and let me go in peace.”
Smith sounded rather strange as he placed his palms together, humbly supplicating.
“NonoI mean no harmActually, I came to..to….”
Emerald barely found words to complete her statementbut Smith was on hand to assist.
“To give me another test script where I scored two or to introduce me to a private tutor?… Oh, maybe you want to take me on the tutorial yourself.”
For the second time that day, Emerald found her words being clearly misunderstood
“Can you stop being foolish and hear me out?”
Emerald didnt know how those words escaped from her mouth but it was too late to hold them back.
“OhIm sorryPlease forgive memy temper”
It was too late to retract the words….But now she had to confuse the meaning.
“Whatever. I had just two minutes to spare and I think it was worthwhile having you insult me maybe we can continue tomorrow You can Google more insults before then.”
Smith pulled out a bunch of keys from his pocket and turned to pull the car door when Emerald stepped up and grabbed hold of his hand…
“I need your help my entire world is collapsing to an earthquake that has shaken my academic foundation and I risk suicide if you dont help me..”
Smith suddenly calmed like one woken from a deep sleep.
“What could that be? Have you also served a lecturer the same plate of insult you always dish out to me?”
Smiths words sounded thunderous, like one that could shake Emerald off balanceBut she was rather smiling even with a cloud of tears over her eyes.
“Its your turn boo Go on, feed me moreBut it wont hurtYou know why? Because I took a chill pill before coming here just hear me out please. Its very important and urgent. I have a problem with………..”
Smith quickly interrupted before Emerald dropped her words
“With Prof William.An expo in a test script…..”
Emerald was shocked to the marrow as her handbag fell to the floorand all the while, Smith kept laughing sarcastically.
“And how did you get to know? Dont tell me..”
Smith suddenly paused the laughter and took the words from Emeralds lips
“Come off it young lady… Well, maybe you should also ask how I got to know that you are just returning from a lunch date with someone in our department…”
Emerald couldnt take it anymore. The signs were crystal clear that Smith was behind everything and she had an answer to give to the Prof about who wrote the test. She quickly bent down, picked up her bag, turned around and was ready to head to the Profs office.
“Stop being foolish Emerald”
A sudden voice rang on her head with the exact words she heard some minutes earlier. It all appeared like a trance, and she kept wondering what it meant till the voice echoed again
“Ukeme is my friend and he spoke to me on your behalf. The only reason why I am talking to you is because of the respect I have for Ukeme.”
Emerald paused at the sound of Smiths words and turned to face him
“When I heard about it, I was deeply touched and I sincerely wish I could help, but the truth is. Prof William is one lecturer who fears neither God nor the devil. Because of his experience and achievements, he is the only one in this school that has the guts to challenge the VC. Worst yet, he has barely one year left to retire and cannot be threatened with a sack. Going to talk to him would be a waste of time. Im sorry Emerald; I really wish I could help”
Smiths sounded so sincere and caring. In just few seconds he portrayed a totally different outlook from the earlier perception Emerald had about him. She was wrong, for in reality, Smith appeared to be a true opposite of what she thought. Her ego was surely murdered and it was time to resurrect her humility.
“Thanks Smith, I appreciate Sincerely, I am sorry about our previous encounters. Maybe I allowed my ego rule my brain.”
Emerald surely had much to say but she now spoke more in tears than in words as the gates of her sorrow were let open and her eyes rained teardrops as she walked away. Smith moved closer and held her handHis palm was as soft and smooth as she needed.
“There is still a way…..”
With Smiths holding her right hand, Emerald used her left hand to support her pounding heart from breaking off as it seemed like her destiny would be decided by the next statement that would proceed from Smiths mouth.
“Tell the Prof I wrote the test I will hang on the cross for your sake”
…..To be continued…..