Two days went by with Esther not hearing a word from the disclinary Panel. By the fourth day she was worried sick. Why have they not called her to the administrative office? They didn’t delay in calling her for a hearing. The situation perplexed her, but there was no one to express her concerns to, no one was on the brink of expulsion like her.
She felt like a black sheep in a school of thousands.
Although she still attended classes regularly, she was mostly absent minded.
She either drifts asleep in class due to lack of sufficient sleep the previous night or her mind finds a way to wander and fixate on irrelevant trivialities.
She had stood up for the remainder of a class once, when the lecturer caught her snoozing away.
“You would be out of this school in a few months, why waste the short time you have sleeping? remain standing until the class is over”
The lecturer had chastised her.
While standing she had stared at him with full concentration, but only her body was present in the classroom, her mind was miles away.
By the fifth day, she went to class with her newly embraced apathetic attitude.
That morning she wore a baggy jean, black plain top and flip-flop as opposed to her usual fashionable outfits and outstanding shoes.
That afternoon during a period recess, Esther rested her head on the table for a quick nap, but her nap was cut short when someone banged the table. Esther raised her head and saw a mischievous looking face smiling down at her. It was Chidinma, a fellow coursemate.
“Why are you sleeping? And why do you look like you’re homeless” Chidinma’s gaze scrutinized her from head to toe. Esther ignored her and Chidinma turned to face Anita who was seated beside Esther. They chatted briefly till Chidinma’s gaze turned to Esther again.
“You’ve not heard back from the panel, how sad” Chidinma said in a smarmy tone
Esther gave her a confused look wondering how she knew about that.
“The whole school knows” Chidinma read her look and answered
“Thanks for letting us know, you can go now” Anita interjected
Chidinma rolled her eyes as she walked away.
“Don’t worry” Anita said as she hugged Esther close.
An hour later the course representative stood in front of the class and notified them the class for that afternoon was cancelled.
The course members cheered and applauded in response, happy to hear the news.
Esther and Anita got up to leave, on their way out Esther’s name was called loudly from the crowd of students. She turned her head and saw the course representative running towards her.
“You’re wanted at the administrative office” He announced to her when he caught up with her
“What?” Esther asked, she heard him the first time, but she needed to hear it a second time to be certain she heard right.
He repeated his statement to her.
“Ok, thank you…”
The weather was warm, but she suddenly felt chilly.
The moment was here. She had anticipated it and had dreaded it at the same time.
She stood frozen on the spot, unable to move till Anita placed her hand on her shoulder.
“I’m….wanted at…..” Esther stammered to her
“Yes, I heard him…I know you’re scared. I am too” Anita had never seen her friend this way. She wished she had a way of helping of friend, but her hands were tied.
“I have to go there right now….” Esther’s voice was shaky. Emotions she had never felt before flowed through her.
She panicked as she turned to leave
“Wait, I’ll go with you” Anita suggested
Esther knew she needed her, so she nodded her head in response.
Outside, they hailed a cab and they got down in front of the administrative office.
She stared at the building for a moment, her legs feeling like they were glued to the ground beneath her. Her mouth felt dry and she swallowed hard.
Esther had an instant strong urge to pee as they made their way to the office.
Anita wouldn’t be allowed into the office with her, so she sat on a bench near by to wait for her.
An ill tempered receptionist met Esther at the door, asking what she was there for.
“I was asked to come here for a letter” Esther explained
“What’s your name?” The receptionist asked. Her voice sounded hoarse, she must have done a lot of shouting.
“Esther Coker” Esther replied
“Wait here” The receptionist lifted up a bunch of files on her desk, beneath the files was a small key. She opened a cupboard with the key and brought out a white envelope. She closed back the cupboard and handed the white envelope to Esther. Her heart skipped immediately.
“Thank you” Esther managed to say and turned to leave. She met Anita who jumped up from the bench when she saw her.
She noticed the white envelope with Esther and wanted to know if she had opened it.
“No, I wouldn’t want to break down in this office.. so I’ll open it when we get back to the hostel” Esther’s voice was void of emotions
“Break down? Don’t joke please” Anita grabbed her hand as they walked away from the office.
Anita hailed another cab, which dropped them in front of the hostel.
On getting to their room Anita shut the door firmly behind them so no one would come to intrude.
Two hours passed and Esther couldn’t bring herself to open the letter.
She felt a painful pang in her chest and incessantly fought back the tears forming in her eyes.
While Anita was busy with something, Esther slowly opened the letter, a shudder of fear running through her.
She gasped when she saw the content of the letter. Her whole body stiffened as her mouth flew agape.