In 2014 when I was writing NECO in one Private School in Zaria; few candidates registered for Literature in English. I was late to the venue, because of my distance to the school. Anyone who knows Zaria could tell the distance from Gyellesu to Wusasa. So only single chair was left, and I sat waiting for the papers to be distributed.
Another lady came in, and the only chair she could sit on, was the chair I was on. She looked at me from head to toe before she could sit down. I was a Comrade then, dressing somehow presentable, so imagine her impression.
When the papers were shared, she started writing. She was answering question on Purples Hibiscus, which seemed to be the only novel she read. I didn’t start writing until when she was done answering the question.
I began to write, and since I read almost all the prescribed novels, I have almost all the answers to the questions. It’s literally clear that I was the only student who was writing at the hall. So this lady who couldn’t talk to me even though we were sitting on the same chair and who sat on the edge of the chair and who couldn’t face the class, now talked to me in a calm, serene and melodious voice and asked “did you read the other novels” I answered in the affirmative and she told me to please “open” for her, which I gladly did.
The supervisor who noticed that no one was writing except me, and there was no “help” from the school, asked me to accommodate everyone, and I soon become a king in the midst of other candidates.
Soon after the exams, I was trying to left the hall and headed home, when this lady came by and thanked me and confessed that when she saw me she thought I knew no books. And from that day, anytime we met, the kind of respect she would shower is indescribable.
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
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Thanks for this piece