JONES KWESI TAGBOR
BEHIND THE MASK
I do ponder over this question, “Is man by nature, good or evil?”. Yeah! this is because I’ve come to the realization that, as human as we are, we are very unpredictable. Well, the good book in Isaiah 45:7 says, “I form the light and create the darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the lord do all these things.”
How it all started
I was very fortunate to grow up with my parents. The parental bonding was there between I and my parents and everything around me looked smooth. We lived in an Estate belonging to an oil production company where my dad was a high ranking member. I have two other siblings who are all abroad now. My mother is a devoted Christian and to be honest, she is the one, I can say, is behind the success of our home. We affectionately do refer to her as first lady. When things went tough, she locks herself in the store room and pray for the whole day, sometimes without regular meals. At times, I do get angry at her because some of the things she does pray over could easily be handled by humans, but my mother will still pray to God about it. Truly, not long after her prayers, things do turn into their normalcy. At dawn, she wakes us up and say we should pray. Ah! Those were the most annoying parts of my day. That moment I want to enjoy the better part of my sleep, she will be like “Johnny!!! It’s time for devotion. Hurry up and join us”. Another annoying moment is when she comes to the room and pulls me by the legs forcefully, in times I don’t show up. Her popular saying,: “My son,if you want to succeed in life, then let prayer be your key”. After listening to that, I will have no other option than to follow her.
On Sundays, every member of the church could say that I will become a pastor one day. How wrong they were. Anyway, God does His things mysteriously.
My daddy also learnt to seek the presence of God through my mother. My mother was able to boost my father’s Christian life. He flourished at work as well. As a matter of fact, things were moving on progressively for my family.
Due to this type of home I came from, I looked almost different from my peers. Despite we being rich, I didn’t show off. I dressed as simple as every average person did. I also lived a chaste life.
Academically, I was good so I equally had most of my teachers as my friends during my Junior High School days. My worst position in class was third. I wouldn’t say the class was not very competitive but I was naturally good. My mother always said, my success was due to the divine grace God placed on our home so I shouldn’t be complacent otherwise I will fall. I agreed with her because some people do see their successes as a result of their own hard work forgetting that it was God who gave them the strength.
One interesting thing in life is that, the devil does not like where there are good things, so he will find ways and means to destroy anything good. What happens too is that, he always looks for weaker vessels closer to the main target and the main target here was my mother. This is because she was the one holding the anchor and foundation to the house through her fervent prayers. So once the foundation is broken, there will be easy access to whatever he wants.
I sat for my Basic Education Certificate Examination, BECE, and had aggregate 6 with eight 1s and two 2s. My family, school and church celebrated with me. They were all proud of me. But do you know that not all people who laugh with you actually wish you well? Oh yea! Am telling you if you are not aware. They may laugh with you but beneath them is very horrible. But with God on our side, we shall smile at the storm. The wicked one equally has beautiful ways of getting to it’s targets.
Even though I was offered to study at Adisadel College since it was my first choice, I told my parents that I’ve changed my mind because most of my friends were placed at Asamankese Senior High School so they should make arrangements for me to join them there. I was the only student from my school who had Adisadel so I decided not to go. My mother do listen to me a lot so she was able to convince my daddy. My parents did the necessary arrangements and got my school changed and that was the beginning of my woes.
The first year at the secondary school favoured me well. I maintained my good performance from Junior High school. The seniors and house masters were always around to make sure everything was in order. My partners were equally proud of me. I attained the title, doctor from my parents, after my first term results was released because I was equally a science student.
Things started turning around when I got to my second year. I was no longer a fresher so the supervision from seniors and masters were not as effective as it used to be. To the teachers who were boring, I was mostly, all the time absent from their class. My friends and I will be in the dormitory and play card games. When the house prefect or house master is coming around to inspect the rooms, we quickly go into hiding. We had some coconut tree behind the dorm, at times we will steal the coconut and blame our juniors for the missing coconut. This life was growing gradually. During our worship periods, I attend whenever I feel. Sunday church service was seen as a disturbance to my life. My performance at the end of the first term in the second year, even though was not abysmal, was not the best. My parents queried me about my performance and I took an excuse that the higher we go, the tougher the subjects became. They bought all the necessary text books for me just to help me improve upon my performance. During the second term, my friends persuaded me to vie for the Students Representative Council position as president. I had three close friends; Amos, Eric and Joshua. They helped organize people to join my campaign for the presidency. I went through the vetting process and came out successfully. I was smart looking and the favourite candidate to most of the students and teachers so I easily won the elections.
The lady who won the position of the Girl’s Prefect was this beautiful damsel. I guess God took His time when creating her. She was just too beautiful, fair in complexion and of average height. Anytime she smiles, you could see her beautiful dimple and that touched my soft spot. The name she used as her teaser during campaign was ” Enyonam“. I was not into ladies before that time so stop thinking too far.
My friends who helped in the campaign were appointed to occupy the other higher positions. Amos was the compound overseer, Eric was the house prefect and Joshua because of his love for food, I made him occupy the Dinning Hall prefect position. I won’t say we didn’t work when we took office. We really worked but we took advantage of the position and messed up our own lives. My friends started influencing me to take a girlfriend because they were all in relationships so why won’t the whole school prefect have one? I was a virgin and knew nothing about girlfriend issues. They do influence me to follow them to town in the evenings to have fun. At times, we do go to the clubs and other jamming places. Other times I follow them blindly whiles they gamble at odd places. I thank God for given me speed. There was fight during one of the gambling point and only the fastest survived. It became necessary I get a girlfriend because,from the look of things, I was not being a real man. My friends said I was having the spirit of a woman so I should look sharp and get a girl. Skimming through all the ladies on campus, I saw no lady more beautiful than the Girls Prefect, GP. I told my friends that the GP was my taste.
Amos: Haha, Johnny, I can see you love big things. Anyway, your eyes are good but charley, I don’t think the GP will be best for you.
Eric: Ah! Amos which one is your problem? Why can’t John date the GP? Have you forgotten he is the Senior Prefect, SP, and can get whatever he wants at anytime?
Amos: Hey my friend, that girl who sees herself as a superior over other students like that? I don’t like girls of that character oo. Anyway you kraa your parents are rich so you can easily spend on her. For me, I will always go for the ones most guys will be rejecting. Such girls, they already know that their market is low, they will give you correct Romeo and Juliet moves. Haven’t you heard the Chemistry teacher has something to do with the GP?
Joshua: Ehn! Information minister! So Amos, you know about everybody in this school. Now the Chemistry teacher is having an affair with Enyonam. Man, stop discouraging our guy. SP, I will personally do this move for you. Just give me the go ahead and within a week, she will be yours.
Amos: Look at you. You think this is about asking people to carry pantry bowls. Go try your luck and see how this girl will make you look like a small boy. Charley SP, don’t put your trust in this Dinning hall number nine oo.
Me: Why are you guys behaving as if I can’t approach the girl myself? I will show you people levels. We are getting late for the executive meeting. Let’s get going.
At the meeting, I couldn’t look into Enyonam’s face and she noticed it herself. After the meeting, she came to me whiles sitting alone going through the minutes of the just ended meeting.
“Hello SP! It looks as if you are not feeling very well”, she said with a smile showing her beautiful dimple. “Enyonam I’m fine. Just worried about something which I don’t know how to go about it”, I said to her. “Oh really. What is the problem? I’m your GP and I believe you can share your worries with me. Talk to me because a problem shared is half solved”, she said with a very soft and soothing voice. Seriously speaking, I just couldn’t help it so I just needed to say something to save the situation. “I’ve been thinking of what we can do for the school which will leave a mark from our administration.” I lied. “But you had very good ideas in your manifesto So what else do you want again?” She asked looking straight into my face. I jokingly replied, “Your boyfriend must be very lucky to have you because you are very caring”, she laughed and replied “that’s just me, and I’m not having a boyfriend.” “Oh really? I thought you have one. Why should a beautiful girl like you be single till now?”, I asked. “And Why are you also not having a girlfriend till now?” She asked back. “Because I’m waiting for today to tell you that I want you as my girlfriend.” I said unconsciously. “You must be joking. I’m not interested”. she said and walked out. My three friends were in a distance observing all what was going on. They ran to where I was, in laughter after she left.
Joshua: Hahaha! I thought you said you could do it alone. Have you seen your end?
Me: Oh. I told her what was on my mind but she said she was not interested.
Joshua: My guys, that’s how they behave from the beginning. I wish you know how frustrated she is after not accepting. Give her pressure and soon, she will be yours forever.
Eric: yeah! For the first time this food master has spoken sense.
We all laughed over it.
Since then, all my energies were channeled on winning the GP but she also seemed to be difficult.
One day, the school
counsellor sent for me. I knew it was going to be about my office duties but my expectations were wrong. He said all my teachers are continuously complaining of my dwindling performance. He tried counselling me and to a point, suggested I resign my post or give myself some break and sit up. I assured him not to worry hoping I will bounce back. Personally, I could see that my parents would be worried if I should disappoint them. I made a resolution to have more time with my books. Anytime my mother calls, her last comments was a reminder of prayers. My results this time around was alarming when I brought It home. What happens is that, my friends do wake up at dawn to read but because waking up at home was a worry to me so I decided to have enough sleep at school to compensate the morning devotion times at home. My friends were maintaining their performance while mine was falling.
At home, my parents suggested they would change my school if I don’t improve in my next performance. On the other hand, peer influence was actually eating me up. I started drinking during my last term as the school prefect. A week for us to hand over since we will be preparing for our final exams, Enyonam was celebrating her birthday so I decided to buy her a phone as a gift because she was using a very old phone. I bought her an Infinix Note 3. She was very much pleased with it but rejected it. She said her parents will not be happy seeing her use a phone that they did not buy for her. I did all I could but it didn’t work. On the day of our handing over, she wrote a letter to me, and the contents;
” Hello SP, Thanks for your affection towards me. I equally do feel the same for you but I didn’t want that to interfere with our administrative work that’s why I rejected all your offers. But one thing is for sure, if we are really meant to be together, we will. Take care. Yours in love, GP“.
After reading the letter, I felt some joy within myself. I met her on campus that evening and together with my three friends, we visited the night club to have our first date.
- Do parents care to know about the type of friends their children make when they go to school?
Should parents always do what their children suggest just to make the child happy?
Follow me to the next episode. The story is about to begin.
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