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PEER GROUP INFLUENCE
I thought it was all a dream until I found myself in the court room, the day Olu and I were to be judged. The case started at exactly 9am immediately the judge entered the court room. I could see the anxiety and fear in my mum’s face when I looked at her direction, the pain of losing her only son. For the first time in months, I prayed to God silently in my heart for forgiveness and for him to show me mercy. When it was exactly 12 o’clock, the judge called for a break of 30 minutes and after the break, judgment will be pronounced. The lawyer was so hard-faced and his eye balls were so red like someone under the influence of hard drugs. The strands of his hairs were showing under his wing and I guessed he was in his late fifties. I had little to worry about because my lawyer had defended me so well but not withstanding, throughout the break, I was praying to God and promising him that if I could I be free from this mess, I would change for the better. After the break, everybody was already seated and waiting eagerly for the judge to come in. When the judge finally came in, everywhere became silent as a graveyard. I was feeling so hot from inside despite the fact that there was an air conditioner in the courtroom. No one could resist the eagerness any longer and they began to murmur, which resulted into a noise in the court room and one of the police officers ordered everyone to be silent and the court room became silent again.
My name is Nelson Raymond. I don’t like the name Raymond. I prefer Ray, because it sounds unique and short. I am the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson. My dad is one of the cream of the society and a well acclaimed politician while my mum lectures at the at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA).I grew up being extremely loved by my parents and
have always loved them too. All my life, I have always lived a rich life. I am presently in my late seventeens and I will be resuming in my new school today. Dad has little or no time for me, but, don’t think he doesn’t love me or does his duties as a father. He does them and I believe he is the best father in the world. Dad always says one thing which baffles me, `you are old enough to take care of yourself son’. Each time I ask him what the statement implies, he kept telling me `you will one day understand’. But to me, it seem as though I might meet my waterloo one day because dad never says anything without a terrible meaning. Mummy is a busy woman who only has time for her lectures and whenever she gets home, she complains of being tired and will tell me we are going to converse the following day but she would have left the house before I woke up. There are questions I feel I should ask my parents but they seldom have the time for such things.
Although we are just three in the family, yet we lived in a nine bedroom- duplex at Alagbaka Akure. Money was never an issue in my family; we had our meals regularly at times get tired of them. All I can think of now is being in my new school already but I have to wait for my dad because my driver has travelled and dad doesn’t want me to drive at my age. Behind me came a voice and I knew it was dad, `Raymond, have you taken your breakfast? I replied by saying yes, he then asked me again if I have cleaned my sandals and bag. This time around, I know he was looking for an excuse to be late but doesn’t want to be obvious. Thirty minutes later, dad came out of the sitting room and asked if I was ready and I nodded in affirmation. We both got out of the house and his driver opened the door of his car for us to enter but I decided to
sit at the front seat, the gate keeper opened the gate and the driver sped off.
`Here we are son, this is your new school’ daddy said as we both alighted from the car. When we got to the school gate, a woman in a dark red suit asked if I was among the newly admitte
transferees and dad replied in affirmation. We were ushered into the proprietor’s office. The proprietor gave us a warm welcome and he could even guess my dad’s name even at a sight and this made me realized how popular my dad is. The proprietor asked a boy to take me to sss2 which was to be my new class and she asked me to come to the school hall by 12 noon for the annual orientation of newly admitted students. I was taken to my class and my seat was on the third seat on the first row. On entering the class, my class teacher asked for my name which I told her and she introduced me to the class members. I could see the expression on the faces of my class members as some were grinning ear to ear and I guessed it was a sign of acceptance. Some of them even whispered my name to say `hi’ but it soon became a noise in the class that the class teacher had to tell everyone to kneel down right in front of their seat but I was exempted.
At break time, the principal sent for me and I was asked to go to the school hall .On getting to the hall, I was given a book on which was written` the school’s prospectus’ and I knew what it meant because I had a similar book too while I was still in my former school, Greater Future International College. A couple of minutes after all the new students had settled down, the school counselor stepped out and she distributed us into groups to make the orientation programme easier. Each group was handed over to a teacher to show the students the nooks and crannies of the school but before our release, the school’s proprietor came out to emphasize on some of the offences highly prohibited in the school which was already in the school’s prospectus. Some of these were: no bullying of junior students, no usage of electric gadgets while in school, no goofing around of students when ought to be in their classroom and lastly, the use of hard drugs in school which shall attract expulsion .The fourth rule was so emphasize
that it started to baffle me, even though I knew I was not into any illegal drug act and would
never. We were taken out of the hall by the teachers attached to us. We walked around the school compound and we were even taken to the outside environment of the school, we were shown several white houses in case of usage, the laboratories and the school field.
The day soon came to an end and different parents were coming in to pick up their wards while some students were entering into the school luxurious bus to be taken to their houses. Mine was not an exemption. I sighted mum’s car coming towards the school. On seeing my mum, I ran up to her and hugged her like we haven’t met in centuries. We got home quite late because we had to go for shopping on our way home as we are short of some basic house hold materials. At home mum called me and asked about my new school which she guessed I would love, `it seems you were in my mind for you to have ask such question because I was about to give you the full gist when you asked’, I said and we both busted into laughter. I told mum about the orientation that took place in the school, the beauty and standard of the school especially in place of discipline. We both talked endlessly that we soon fall asleep on the sofa. The next day, I woke up early and got dressed so that mum would drop me in school. Even though I was still late, but I was pardoned.
The name of my school is Bashford College at Alagbaka Akure. It is painted in white colour, it has three gates with two security men attached to each, the school fence is very high, the floors are inter-locked, and there are several buildings in the school which are well structured
and plastered with marbles. The school also has a lot of flowers in it, a very large hall, an E-library, a standard computer laboratory, a field for football and hockey, a basketball, tennis and volleyball court. The students are smartly dressed in their blue suit and suede shoes. My school is a very beautiful one. The class activities for the day started as usual and it was fulfilled. When it
was time for break, two students came to meet me in the classroom. On seeing them, I guessed they are going to be my new friends. We exchanged pleasantries and introduced ourselves to each other. One was Rolland and the other was Olive. Rolland was a tall boy with very dark hairs. His face was round shaped, he was light skinned and cool faced. Olive was a light complexioned girl with an average height. Her eyeballs were deeply sunk into their sockets. Her dimples together with her smile often make people refer to her as the `Monalisa’ of our time. We soon got along with each other within a couple of minutes. The bell for break over was soon rung and we went to settle down on our seats. I could not stop thinking about how friendly my new friends are until I discovered the day was over. The three of us walked together to the school gate to wait for our parents. At first sight, Rolland and Olive seemed to be above board, if only I had known they were only trying to pull the wools over my eyes.
Not quiet long after we have been waiting for our parents, my driver pulled up and I bid Rolland and Olive goodbye. As soon as I got home, I took my lunch and had my bath. I attended to my assignments and later went to watch television in the sitting room.
Dad came home later in the night and he said he wanted to have a chat with me. We both went to the mini sitting room to have our discussion. As dad would always start a serious conversation with me, he said,`remember,you are old enough to take care of yourself son’ and I nodded in affirmation. He further continue by saying`Raymond, I want you to be careful in the choice of friends you make as the influence of friends in one’s life may lead to one’s success and may also lead to one’s downfall at the same time’. When he said this, I wondered if he knew I made new friends, though I decided not to inform him. He then ended his words by saying`to before warned is to before harmed’. We said goodnight to each other and we went to bed.
The following day, I got dressed for school and I was dropped at school by my driver. On
getting to school, I sighted Rolland and Olive on the walk way, I quickly alighted from the car to catch up with them. ‘Good morning guys’, I greeted in a scary voice,` oh my God! you scared us Ray. Olive said as she was holding her chest and breathing heavily. We all laughed politely. Olive and Rolland lived close to each other so they could easily come to school together. We all went to the classroom and went through our assignments to check our mistakes in order to make necessary corrections. About 20 minutes after, the school assembly soon commenced and we dispersed into our various classrooms after the assembly.
Suddenly at break time, Rolland and Olive came to meet me in a quite frightful manner, Rolland’s voice was cracked and Olive was sweating profusely, I began to smell a rat. They asked me to follow them to a place, but I found this unusual of them I demanded to know the place I was about to be taken to but they persuaded me to follow them quietly, which I did. Unknown to me, they were taking me to the back of the school farm, on getting there, I was greatly astonished. I saw three hard faced boys and two girls speaking in slangs like touts. On the floor were different hard drugs like cocaine, Indian hemp, remains of smoked cigarettes, marijuana and I wondered if all these were consumed by them. I couldn’t close my mouth and I wished the ground could open and swallow me up. Aside Rolland and Olive , I saw a girl occupied with smoking and she was slapping her head really hard. Rolland even took up a cigarette and gave it to one of the boys to light it up for him. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that it was really happening but I knew dad’s words were coming to pass.
MY TEACHER’S WARNING
I couldn’t stop thinking about what I saw in school earlier. All my life, I haven’t heard of marijuana but I only hear about them. I sat inside my room, I needed to ask somebody a question but who was I going to ask? Mum seldom answers my questions and dad was not always at home so I decided to report the incident that happened in the school to my class teacher.
It was a Friday morning, everywhere looked so good but I had a bad notion about the day ahead. I got up from the bed, got prepared for school and my driver took me to the school. While we were in the car, I told Mr. Williams -my driver that I wanted to ask him a question and he said I should go ahead. I asked that has he ever been into any hard drug group and he said no! I also asked him the influence of hard drug group but who was he to answer this question, he was only a stark illiterate, so I tried to end the discussion there. On getting to the school, the first person I sighted was Rolland, and Olive was just a few metres away from him. I thought of avoiding them that morning but am sure to end up bumping into them so I was in a state of dilemma. At a very far distance, olive could easily identify me so she informed Rolland of my arrival and they both came to get my bag and we greeted each other, but I guess the day was not going to be good for me. ‘show me your friend and I will tell you who you are’, this proverb began to ring in my ear and I thought of breaking my relationship with Rolland and Olivebecause I know they might really succeed in initiating me into their illegal group but I decided to see my class teacher, although not to report them but to ask her the question that bothers me which was that ‘HOW CAN I PREVENT DRUG ABUSE’’.
As if my civic teacher knew what was happening, the topic we had for that day was
‘DRUG ABUSE’ .She started her teaching by defining drug abuse and she defined it as the usage of illicit drugs without doctor’s prescription or the taking of drugs without medical advice which causes a change in a person’s behavior leading to legal interpersonal problems. She furthered her teaching by giving examples of drugs being abused and they were: steroids, stimulants such as amphetanuos,methamphetamines, cocaine and lots more and also barbiturates, antidepressants, nitrous oxide, alcohol, hallucinogens, inhalants, narcotics such as cocaine, morphine and heroine,tobacco and cannabis. Among all these drugs, the most common ones mostly abused by students are cocaine, Indian hemp, marijuana, cigarette and alcohol.My friends were into all these. The teacher then continued by asking us if we had heard of the prevention of drug abuse and most of the class members replied by saying no!She said in other to prevent drug abuse, one has to avoid bad friends in other not to be initiated, report any known person or group engaging in drug abuse to the counsellors, teachers and parents. I lacked it because my mum was a very busy woman while my dad was serious minded politician who was only concerned about his never-ending political ambition even at the expense of his family issues but he only tells me I’m old enough to take care of myself. The teacher ended her teaching there, but a lot of students were touched by what she said.
The bell for breaktime was rung so Rolland and Olive came up to me and they told me to follow them to where I was taken to the previous day. At first, I was stuck with my guns but I couldn’t help but gave into their views after they succeeded in convincing me and they made so much pleas. ‘seeing is believing’, I couldn’t tell the expression on my face when I got to the back of the school farm only to see the triple of what I saw the previous day. There were lots of cocaine piles, cigarettes and even alcohol so I swore never to follow Rolland Olive there anymore. All the time we were there I noticed I and Olive were the only one not taking the
Moreover, she looked pale and sad and I decided that I was going to walk up with her later. After the school’s closing bell had been rung, I quickly ran up to Olive and demanded to know the cause of her sad face and she tried to open up to me. ‘Rome was not built in a day, she said slowly, she said she was touched by the Civic teacher’s teaching and wants to turn a new leaf. She said we should see our teachers for more enlightenment on drug abuse and I gave into her views. When we got to our Civic teacher’s office, she told us to feel free to say anything to her. We started by asking her for more ways by which we could prevent drug abuse. She said she was going to talk like a counsellor, to enable our easy understanding. She said the ways by which drug abuse could be prevented was: through the avoidance of secret\cult groups, the engagement of oneself in one thing or the other to avoid being idle as an ‘idle man is the devil’s workshop’.
I noticed Olive’s mood throughout the counsel, I felt she was really touched. Olive came up to me and said she was not going to be involved in any form of drug abuse anymore because she had been counselled. Deep inside of me, I was happy for Olive for her courageous act. Unknowing to me she was only handing it over to me. ’We forgot to ask for the consequences of drug abuse’ said Olive as we headed for the woman again to ask for the consequences of drug abuse and she said they are: Mental disorder, untimely death, damage future, emotional instability and imprisonment.
On hearing the consequences of drug abuse, Olive said she was more determined to overcome the drug addiction. Hadn’t been I could see a glimpse of my future; I would have dropped hard drug right there. The bell for closing time was rung, Rolland came to me, he said he had dropped a gift in my bag and I wondered if I was celebrating anything but I soon thanked him. My driver came to pick me and we went home. At home, I decided to see the gift Rolland
claimed to have presented to me. I was very shocked to find out it was a pile of cocaine, I thought of reporting but I decided to let it remain a skeleton inside my cup board since dad had always said that I was old enough to take care of myself. I couldn’t resist the temptation in me to take the drug and I took it to the toilet. It was a cocaine pile. When I inhaled it at first, I almost became mad because I wasn’t exposed to such act. Dad suspected that something smelled like a narcotic drug in the house but he had the mindset that no one could engage in such act in the house so he did not search thoroughly for it.
Two days later, it was a Sunday, I had to go to school that day because all SS2 class members had been told by the school authority to meet on Sunday to enable us to prepare for our upcoming Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination. I got to school as usual and I met Rolland and Olive sitting metres apart in the class room so I was astonished at this. I went to Olive to ask her about the reasons for what she was doing because I knew that Rolland won’t do such a thing. She said she was beginning to set little stores by their friendship to enable her achieve her aim of being a freed addict. I was amazed to hear this and I felt she was beginning to be a changed person while I was beginning to be the bad person who might ruin his own future.
Friends whom would destroy you would definitely pretend to love you. Such was the case of Rolland, he tries satisfying my desires and wants, such as telling us to meet and him obeying at ease. Gradually, I got addicted to hard drugs and it led me into other bad acts like truancy as I do skip classes regularly, then another one was theft as I would always steal my dad’s money in order to buy hard drugs such as Indian hemp, cigarettes, cocaine and lots more. Moreover, my academic performance deteriorated. Olive on the other hand was freed from the illicit act and my academic performance ‘paled into insignificance when compared to others even though I once used to be ‘the live wire at any gathering’.
Although Olive faced a lot of challenges before, she was freed, from the addiction. She
said she had to lock herself up when she feels like taking the drugs, she said she couldn’t read for nights and here exam was fast approaching and most especially, she was threatened and beaten by Rolland’s gang because she wanted to evict their group but she didn’t mind the hardship. Everything soon went away for her after a couple of weeks and she was now balanced so she could study very hard for the upcoming exams.
Three months later, my Unified examination was fast approaching and I knew what it meant as I had not been studying. I didn’t know my fate for the exam because there wasn’t room for cheating as the school hall was fully installed with CCTV cameras to ensure a well conducted examination free and void from all forms of examination malpractice.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF MY IMMORAL ACT
A young vibrant man dressed in dark suit with matching Italian shoe, whose eyes was shining like that of the sun, and whose moustache was tinted grey was our invigilator. He advised us that during the course of the exam, we must not whisper, no exchange of exam booklet because we all knew what we could actually face since CCTV cameras were installed in the hall. He told us that we must obey all the rules guiding the exam such as: Do not open the examination booklet unless you are being told by the invigilator to do so, do not pick more than one answer amidst others. After reading it out to us, he told us to write our examination numbers and pin on the question paper which we wrote. Few minutes later, he asked us to start. On hearing the word ‘start’, it was like when a bombshell dropped into my heart. My heart started to pond, and at the same time, I was in the state of dilemma, I was confused because I couldn’t ask or cheat, I was looking like a hungry man ready to devour anything. Then I remembered what my dad told me three weeks to the exam, when he said I should ‘strike the iron while it is hot’. He told me that there was no other key to success aside reading but I turned deaf ears to what he said, all the while I was lost in thought, I didn’t know that our invigilator has been staring at me, my mind was far away from what was happening in the hall. What brought me back was when somebody who I later got to know that was Olive sneezed irritably behind me, as I looked back, I saw Olive smiling with her dimples being obvious, I was still looking at her because she didn’t even know that I was actually facing her when our invigilator whom somebody told me his name was master Dolapo tapped me and said ‘young man, why are you facing back? Is everything alright with you?’ I looked at him and I said yes. I faced my front and I saw that he was looking
into my answer paper and he muttered under his breath ‘is everything okay with him? If everything is okay, why is his answer paper still blank?’ I am someone who has a kind of ear that can pick words mumbled in a low tone or far distance, immediately he said that, I realized my paper was still blank and we had a little more minute to spend. I started to weep within me. I saw everybody writing, the last straw broke on the camel’s back when Mr.Dotun said we should start submitting, I looked at my paper, I looked at his face as I stood up with the paper trembling in my hand and I submitted to him. Immediately I submitted, the look on his face could tell how unhappy he was. He told me to see him before going home. I went to him, he asked me series of question but I refused to open up, well, who knows maybe if I had opened up then, my life will not later end up shattered.
I went home and I didn’t talk with anybody, who would I have talked with? dad or mum? trust me, they weren’t around, I couldn’t eat and all I could think of was to get a hemp and inhale it to cool my spine and get over everything that happened but I couldn’t forget because smoking wasn’t an option and will forever not be an option. When mom returned, she only asked about why I was behaving strangely, all I could say was that it was well.
The exam continued for another consecutive week, as much as I tried to read, I couldn’t just concentrate and it happened that throughout the course of the exam, I couldn’t because I couldn’t just concentrate and it happened that throughout the course of the exam, I didn’t write anything including the civic exam which everybody thought to be the simplest of all the subjects. On the last day of the exam after were done and everybody was rejoicing, I just went outside the hall and I was walking, I noticed somebody was following me, I looked back and saw Olive running towards me. I said, ‘hey! Why are you running after me?’ she said she wants to talk with me, I told her I was busy and I wasn’t in the mood to talk, as much as she tried to talk to me, I
didn’t even bulge, I walked out on her. I went to the place where I do stay whenever am sad, my hideout, the school garden. I sat down and I started crying, but I was helpless. What could I have done for the next two weeks, I didn’t see Olive in school.
I summoned up courage and I went to ask Rolland about the whereabouts of Olive. What Rolland said made me shed tears, what do you think could have happened to her? he asked, immediately he said that, I knew there was fire on the mountain, he said she has left. She relocated the day we finished our exams, she left, why? I asked Rolland ‘what happened, did her mother pass away?’ I asked him again. He replied saying ‘no’ that her father was transferred from Akure to Abuja. Immediately, I remembered that she asked me to wait on the day of our final exam, ‘was that what she wanted to tell me that day?’ I asked myself, ‘what have I done to myself?’ I asked myself again. ‘Oh my God! help me and save me, who knows if she had better things to tell me? who knows? What have I done to myself? I couldn’t stop blaming myself.
The day we have been waiting for came, the proprietor, in person of Mr. Adeolu, a disciplinarian to the core said that the result of the previous exam was out and only few failed. He said the result would be posted round the school and I knew I was in for a big trouble as I would lose all my fans as a footballer being one of the best footballers in the whole of the school, as people would not want to associate themselves with a failure.
The result was posted, lo and behold! I failed woefully but I wasn’t the only one. Olive had the best result, I cried out my eyes. Olive of all people nobody expected such grade from her. before I became a drug addict, I used to be the live wire at any gathering, even when it comes to comparing our result, my result compared to that of Olive’s were two parallel lines that can never meet, but Olive emerged as the best student with the best result. Those that failed including myself were called out on the assembly, nobody had ever failed in my school but one of the top
notch schools in Ondo state, where brilliant, intelligent and moral students were being raised from. We were greatly embarrassed, disgraced and abused. People said that I tarnished the image of my father which concurred to. My fans were all embarrassed, they said that how can a blind man lead the blind.
I got home that day to receive the most embarrassment of my life. I was intimidated both in school and at home. My parents talked to me, I had out of nine subjects six F9s, two E8s and one D7. I was banned from using my phone till further notice; I became a shadow of myself. My world was crashing, who would help me rebuild and mould it? Everything about me changed totally, it was like my world was crumbling. For some days, I couldn’t go to school because I was busy smoking all kinds of things. I lied to myself that I wasn’t a failure, that I could still become somebody in life even with me being a drug addict.
Three days later, I resumed school; unknown to me that mom had been monitoring me. When I went to school, mom ransacked my room and the cat was let out of the bag. On getting to school, I buried my shame, I went to the football field to play football, although I was first ridiculed but I was later allowed, we started playing. All of a sudden, I discovered that a pain was coming from my chest and my chest began to ache, before I could call for help, I blacked out. I wouldn’t know how I left school, I got to the hospital but all I knew was that the skeleton in my cupboard had been exposed. ‘All days are for the thief and one day is for the owner’. Not until then did the meaning of those word occurred to me. Everything I did was exposed. It did not only end there but one of my kidneys was damaged.
My mother started wailing in the ward, I haven’t seen mum shed tears before not until that day. Mom began to lecture me about the effects of drug abuse, which are: damage in one’s mental health-mental disorder, untimely death, damage of one’s lungs and liver and public
nuisance amidst others.
I started crying because, already, I have met my waterloo, ‘what would happen to me?’, I asked myself what would happen to my education was actually what came to my mind. Poor me, I couldn’t have thought that I could actually have a future. ‘What would happen to me now? will I actually survive this since one of my kidneys has been damaged already?
IN THE WEB OF ADDITION
The day dad came to visit me at the hospital; all hell broke loose that day, it rained throughout the night and as a result was very cold in the morning. I was sleeping when my dad behaved like a perfect man and a loving father by allowing me to sleep up to my satisfaction. Immediately, I woke up and turned, I saw that figure; it took me some minutes for me to actually convince myself that it was dad because I never expected his august visit. With all boldness, I looked up, lo and behold, it was my dad. The first thing that my father said to me was that ‘are you aware that one of your kidneys has been damaged?’, his words that morning sent cold shivers into my bone marrow, I wept bitterly because all his words were just adding salt to my injury. Dad said a lot of things, he said I had tarnished his image and that of his family, dad even threatened to disown me. At last! dad finally said what I had expected him to say all day along because my story of being a drug addict became a headline on the news. At that point, mum couldn’t bear it any longer, she started to weep and I knew that for mum to had cried, she was heartbroken because mum rarely cries. Dad left the ward angrily which made the atmosphere of the room become more tensed because mum and I could only stare at each other. After staying in the hospital for more than three consecutive weeks, I was discharged and mum took me home. I could have spent more time in the hospital if I had undergone a kidney transplant but unfortunately, dad didn’t even bother to listen to the doctor’s persuasion alongside mum’s. Dad knew that mom had the money to help me get another kidney so he threatened to end up the marriage with mum and also freeze their joint bank account. ‘How on earth could a father who
claimed to had loved his only son joke with his son’s life?’, that was my thought all day long.
When I confronted my dad, he told me that the last thing he could do for me was to agree to my kidney transplant because he wanted me to learn my lessons in a hard way. I became the shadow of myself when I returned from the hospital. I became so thin and pale as if I was being denied my daily meals.
The following week, I resumed schooling. The news of my return soon spread like a wildfire in the harmattan. I noticed that even though the students were happy of my return, nobody came to embrace me. They were only staring and whispering some words which I knew that it pertained to me. However, it didn’t bother me because I had already prepared my mind for anything that may come my way that morning. Even mom was surprised when she saw me all dressed up for school, she even advised me to build my wall so high, that nothing whatever it may be would be unable to penetrate through it. I nodded my head and waved her goodbye and that was how I prepared my mind and I came to school. All along, I didn’t know somebody was following me until the person stopped me and said ‘hi’ to me. I was surprised, I looked back and I saw a guy in black hood on top of the school uniform, he spoke eloquently and smiled a lot.
Olu was the guy I met that day and I will not forever curse the day I met him because he appeared to me in form of a gentle dove but I didn’t know that I was playing with fire, when I met Olu, his face looked familiar but I couldn’t just figure out where I had met him. Olu started coming to my class to advise me, he played with me, and within a short period of time, we became very close.
There was a day I was walking with Olu, I saw Rolland whom I had been avoiding all these while, he walked pass us immediately I saw him, Olu saw the discomfort on my face and
he asked me why I looked like that but I told him not to bother, that I was okay. He laughed mischievously and I started to suspect him but later discarded the thought I had about him. Four days later, I discovered that Olu and Rolland were close pals but it was too late. Students in my class didn’t talk with me, dad was yet to forgive me and I was yet to undergo my kidney transplant. Isn’t my story so pathetic? Who will save me? I said aloud. Almost immediately, Rolland and Olu replied and said ‘you can sure save yourself by putting your past behind you and living life the way it comes, because a person has only one life to live and that person must live it to the fullest’. I went home all sad, mom wasn’t around, because as at that time, she had travelled, and dad was yet to return from work. Even if he had returned, would he had given me the opportunity to express myself? I had my nap, woke up around 4pm in the evening.
Home was boring so I decided to visit Olu. As I was about entering, I could hear some people arguing about something I wasn’t sure about. As I entered, I saw them smoking cigarette, sniffing cocaine and other hard drugs. I tried turning back but Olu said ‘my friend, you are depressed, you need drug in your life to be able to forget your past’. That was where I started to get it wrong. I said to myself. ‘One of my kidneys is damaged already, I have to enjoy my life before I kick the bucket because I have a very short period of time to spend on earth, as my health deteriorates everyday’. I resumed back smoking, just to make myself high. My parents never knew that I had started smoking again. My friendship with the duo became stronger day by day. I was ruining my life day by day. We started smoking in the school which totally ruined me. The day of judgment soon came.
I and my other two friends have become so high that we didn’t even know what was happening. All I recalled was that we were on top of a girl and the girl was extremely screaming.
Before I knew what we had done, we had raped the girl. She was crying and I recalled the event of what had happened. We were only drinking and the little girl ran in and even when she saw us, she started running and screaming but we soon stopped her. It happened in the school compound in an abandoned building meant to be the staff quarters. Although, she collided with Rolland and who was at the other end of the wall, he dragged her and we rubbished her. The girl stood up and said she was going to deal with us. Before we could beg her then probably threaten her, she was gone. We left the place immediately hoping that she won’t be able to find us but we were only fooling ourselves, because the incident actually remained green in her memory so she could identify us.
The next morning, after the assembly, an emergency bell was rung and everybody gathered on the assembly ground ‘our school being a private school and a prestigious one, things like these are not supposed to happen’. Was what our proprietor said, she said that a parent came to report that her daughter was raped by some boys and the fortunate part is that she could recognize the boys. ‘How on earth could she be able to recognize us’ was all I could mutter, my murmur landed me into trouble because there was a teacher beside me, she called the girl and said, was I part of them? The girl whose name was Ada nodded in affirmation. I was asked to call out my other accomplices which I did and the principal summoned her parent and informed them of what we had done. My mum slapped me hard on my face when I confessed that I was into drugs. Well, we faced the consequences of our actions because we were given indefinite suspension by the school. The girl’s parent said that they will deal with us and I knew that if I should go home, mum would skin me alive, so I stayed in the school throughout. I had to lie to Rolland and Olu to go that my driver will be the one to pick me today. I switched off my phone and slept off. Around 6pm, I didn’t know how the security man got to know I was there but he
came and sent me away. I had no choice than to go home. I sneaked into my room to find my mother waiting for me on my bed ‘where are you coming from?’ she asked. I wasn’t even afraid, I said where I was coming from wasn’t her business and she said ‘Ray, are you talking to me?’ I replied, ‘how many of us are inside this room?’. Mum gave me a thunderous slap that landed me down on my butts and I fell to the ground like a log of wood.
Too late to cry
I manage to escape from mum’s grip and i ran into the sitting room only to discover that someone was knocking on our door ‘ who is there? ‘ I asked the person replied a friend” ‘ what are you doing here by this time of the night’ because the time was around 10: 00pm. I summoned up courage and as I open the door as I saw the mother of the girl we raped and two police officers, she said that’s one of the boys who raped my daughter and I shouted from outside, mom l’m being arrested’. Mum came running like she was being chased by a masquerade, she asked who wants to arrest you” that night, I was arrested but a forth night earlier, I visited the hospital and the doctor ran a checkup test on me , the doctor told me that I have a few time to spend and that was part of the things that made me to misbehave, it was when I got to the police station that I saw that Olu has been detained.
It was Olu who told me that Rolland escaped but wrote a letter down for me to read, I repeated after him,” a letter?” I asked he said yes. I said where the letter is, and he said it is with one of the officers that arrested them. Mom has running helter and shelter just to make one go back home but it was futile, dad behaved as if he doesn’t know me, the following day an officer came to give me an envelope saying that he thinks a friend of mine wants to pass across a message to me . I thanked him, immediately when I noticed that he was out of sight, I opened the seal and saw his letters, what was inscribed on it was “ To you”
I know I have wronged you so much but l’m deeply sorry, I know I led you into all this but hope you find a place in your heart to forgive me. The day I told you that Olive had left, she dropped a letter for you but I failed to deliver it to you l’m sorry, please forgive me. The letter is in the second envelope.
Immediately I heard of olive, I couldn’t help but opened the second envelope, I opened it and I wept my eyes out. Olive wrote in her letter that she know that I would have become another person entirely before I start to read this letter’” because she knows that Rolland won’t give me on time ‘but she had no choice than to give Rolland since he was her last option. If only I had waited to hear her out that day after the exams, maybe all that happened would have been prevented. All I could do now is just to bite my fingers in regret and utter the word ‘ Had I know: I was still weeping and lamenting what has befallen me when a police officer came around to inform me that I have some visitors waiting for me. When I came out of the cell, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw my dad and mum waiting for me , I was shocked to see dad of all people. Mum came to hug me as we both burst into fresh tears, what surprised me most was when I saw dad also crying because over since I was a child, I had never seen him cry and I came to the realization that I had really disappointing my parents but it was too late to cry when the head is off. Immediately, I started begging for forgiveness from my parents for all the pains and troubles I had caused them. My parents forgave me and also blamed themselves for lacking in their responsibilities. My parents promised to make it up to me and dad promised to get me a competent lawyer who will be able to defend me in the court of law so as to get myself out of the mess I got myself into.
After staying in the cell for two days, dad came with a woman who introduced herself as Barrister Brown. Brown? I asked and she replied ‘ yes’’ that name sounds familiar’, but before I could say any other thing, dad interrupted and said she would be the one defending me in the court of law. Before they left, she asked me a series of questions and I answered.
I thought all was a dream until I found myself in the court room the day Olu and I were to be judged. The case started exactly 9am immediately the judge entered the courtroom. I could
see the anxiety and fear in my mum’s face when I looked at her direction, pain of losing her only son. For the first time in Months, I prayed to God silently in my heart for forgiveness and for him to show me mercy. When it was 12:0’clock, the judge called for a break of 30 minutes and after the break, judgement will be pronounced. I had tittle to worry about because my lawyer had defended me so well but not withstanding, throughout the break, I was praying to God and promising him that if I could be free from this mess, I would changed for the better. After the break, everybody was already seated and waiting eagerly for the judge to come in. When the judge finally came in, everywhere became silent as a graveyard. I was feeling so hot from inside despite the fact that there was an Air conditioner in the court room. When the judge finally pronounced his judgment, Olu was found guilty of drug and rape and he was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour. On hearing this, there was an up roar in the court room and my heart began to pound, but my lawyer gave me a look and I can see an assurance of victory boldly written on that face. The judge called my name and again the room became tensed, I stared at the judge and the last thing I heard was ‘not guilty’ before I blacked out. Immediately, I was rushed to the hospital and on getting there, it was discovered that I fainted because of the kidney problem I had and if care is not taken, I might lose my life. Now my parents know how precious I am to them and could do anything to save me. The only option was to carry out a kidney transplant which will cost millions of naira but my parents will just do anything to make sure I live. With the help of Barrister Brown and Dr. Joe, I was found a donor and the surgery was carried out almost immediately after my parents had spent millions of naira,
I woke up the following day and saw my parents, Dr. Joe and Barrister Brown in the room. My mum’s joy knew no bounds when I opened my eyes. The first word that came out of my mouth was Olive nobody in the room understood me, all I wanted now is to speak with olive and
also ask for forgiveness. I remembered her phone number and address was on the letter she wrote to me and I begged my parents to get me the letter. All the while the scenario was going on, Barrister Brown was staring at me and suddenly she asked ‘ Ray, which Olive are you talking about and how is she related to you ?’ out of curiosity, I answered her saying Olive is my friend in Bachford college before she relocated and that her full name was Olive Brown. Barrister Brown exclaimed ‘what? It was then she revealed that olive was her child. The room was silent until I broke the silence, begging Barrister Brown to help me bring Olive and after much persuasion, she obliged. That day she travelled back to Abuja with a promise to be back the next day with olive. I couldn’t sleep throughout the night, I was reminiscing on my past and only wish I could turn back the hands of time, I would have made so many things right. Only if I had listened to my teacher’s advice, only if I had obeyed olive’s warning, all this wouldn’t have happened. My mind also went to Olu and Rolland and all I could do just to ask God to forgive them, I was thinking about everything until I surrendered to the goddess of sleep.
It was around 10.0’clock when I woke up in the morning and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw olive sitting by my side with my parents and Barrister Brown sitting in my front. I couldn’t hold back the tears and with a shaky voice, I managed to call ‘olive’. We both hugged each other and after that, she asked me what went wrong and how I landed in the hospital. My parents got to know everything that happened as I begin to explain. I told them how I was lured into hard drug and wish I had listened to Olive when she backed out from the group. I was crying profusely by row and the other also joined in to cry with me and at the same time to console me. Olive also narrated what happened after she relocated to Abuja. On getting to Abuja, she tried to reach me but all to no avail and because she had the best result in SS 2 before relocating, she sat for WAEC, NECO and JAMB and she made all her papers. Now Olive was in 200 level in the
University. I broke into another round of tears but Olive consoled me and said I can still put back the process of my life and start a fresh, she said ‘ Ray, when there is life, there is hope’ but within me, I knew it was finished because I didn’t know where to start from. Even after being assured by my parents that all will be well, I know I will have to live with the stigma all my life. I wish I had not been ‘ENTANGLED’ with bad friends in the world of hard drug and drug abuse, but now it’s too late.