My most significant life event
Everyone does possess some revered moments, unforgettable situations that don’t even fade into oblivion even with the patina of age: nostalgic memories. Over ten years have fallen off the calendar but the memories don’t go away, they simply stay in my mind like a mental blur, wood from a shipwreck, firmly lodged in the beach. I can repeat the day over and over again without it even going stale, repeating it as if I have been taught to say by rote and routine. Back in the sands of time, when I reached of school age, my mother said unto me, ”McLeish, tomorrow I’ll enroll you to school.”I couldn’t believe my ears.
I had always envied my older brother, Laughton, whenever I saw him in the morning: coffered to within an inch of his life in his blue school uniform that was ironed to a knife-edge precision. The next day I was to start my formal education. Still, I had yet to come to terms with her words. In me, the words were an ingredient for happiness and a recipe for mocking my cousin who was my age but due to financial strains his mother would enroll him the next year. I wish I knew better the age-old adage, ‘never count your chicks before they hatch’. The next day took long to come, with the precision of spilt molasses.
After a sleepless night, I woke up very early in the morning when the birds were singing the dawn song, their sweet melodies emanating from their golden beaks: with their twittering and chirping, there was a concordant sonic environment. My older school-attending brother had the trend of taking breakfast whilst on his pajamas and I suit his example. My mother served us the breakfast but I was too proud to take it. As my brother took his, I went back to the bedroom and took my new uniform from the wardrobe. Later, when my mother realized that I had not taken mine, she came to the bedroom accompanied by Laughton. My mother took firm hold of my hand, insisting that I must take mine. Unable to overpower her, I adhered to her protocol. We left my brother changing into his school uniform and went to the kitchen take breakfast.
After my breakfast, I run quickly to the bedroom to change into my uniform. Woes betide unto me-it was nowhere to be found. My brother had gone to school. I cried hoarsely and my mother came to my aid. It was she who broke the sad news to me, Laughton had worn my uniform: rather squeezed into my uniform. I cursed my own folly when my mother said that she would postpone my enrolment to the next day. She said her verdict was the next day. After continuous naggings that I attend the first day in home clothes, she hatched a plan. She said that I put on Laughton’s oversize uniform of which I did. Neither Laughton had a belt or I. My mother said that I could strap a string to the short. The idea worked after all. We went to school, a fifteen-minute walk from home. The headmaster threw me a curious glance when he saw me wearing the oversize uniform but my mother explained. After I registered, my mother left for home though after cautioning me, “Take care, McLeish”. I was taken to my new class by the headmaster introducing me to my new class teacher as McLeish. He left me to my new classmates and teacher and I was shown my desk.
Up that time I hadn’t tucked in my shirt .The teacher summoned me in front. When he told to tuck in, I wanted to explain but the words failed me with the stealth of rational thought. When he insisted, I tucked in but unfortunately the oversize short came crumbling down like a house of cards. My classmates laughed and it made me cry. When I got the temerity to meet their gaze, I told them after I had pushed back my short, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”Then teacher came to my aid and soberly piped, “The one who laughs last, laughs the best.”I was told to sit down.”Abraham____ was an American president, “he asked. My classmates superimposed their faces on each other when it was only me who raised a hand. When I was given the green light to answer, I did courageously, “Lincoln!”When they were told to crap for me, they all cried. From that day, I never let anyone defeat me and even at high school, I always emerge the top because I use the adage that was coined by sages, “Never judge a book by its cover.”(Francis, 2005)
Francis, R. (2005). East and West. Greenville: Kessinger Publishing.