Teaching, Playwrights and Burgers

He reached the plank and emerged from the water. As he hoisted himself out of the water, with his hands flattened on the wood, he turned his head towards her direction.

She could tell that he was looking at her. Her heart began to pound like crazy. Should she leave now before he got completely out of the water? For some reason, she couldn’t seem to move. She was riveted to the spot.

After climbing out of the water, he stood there for a while, letting the breeze dry his skin, watching her. How long had she been there, he wondered. Was she waiting for someone? Should he go over there and talk to her? Would she run away before he got over there? After all he was a perfect stranger and she looked like a schoolgirl. If he approached her, would she get the wrong idea?

He walked over to where his clothes were and put them on. Taking up his towel, he dried his skin. After he was done, he put the towel down, took up his toweling robe and put it on. Backing her, he removed his swimming trunk. He pulled on his underwear and pants before taking off the robe. He put on his shirt, socks and shoes. After combing his fingers through his hair, he picked up his swimming trunk and robe and started towards the parking lot.

As he approached her, he saw that she was very young, possibly in her late teens. She was thin but also very pretty. Their eyes met and instead of walking past her to get to his car, he stopped. “Hello.”

“Sannu.”

“Do you speak English?”

She nodded. “Yes.”

“Do you come here often?”

“Yes.”

“Do you live near here?”

“No. I live in Garki 2. I take the bus from there to the city center and then, I walk here.”

“You walk here? How long does that take?”

“Almost two hours.”

He looked at her, taken aback. “Isn’t there a bus that you can take?”

“No, but there are taxis which come here. I don’t have money for a taxi.”

“So, when you leave here, you will walk back to the center?”

“Yes and then, take the bus home.”

“I guess you’re too young to drive?”

“No. I’m 18. I will probably get a driver’s license after I graduate from university and get a job working as a teacher.”

“You want to be a teacher?”

“Yes.”

“That’s great. Are you still in school?”

“No. I graduated this year from school. I’m in my first year at the University of Abuja.”

“What’s your area of study?”

“Education. I want to be a teacher.”

“A teacher?”

“Yes. Nigeria needs more female teachers for girls.”

“It makes sense that girls would feel more comfortable with female teachers than with male teachers.”

“Yes, it does and that’s why I want to be a teacher. After I graduate from the university, I will be required to go for a one-year compulsory youth service. Students who graduate with an education degree in one of the universities in Nigeria will have the opportunity to teach senior secondary schools during their mandatory National Youth Service.”

“That’s fantastic. I have a sister who is a teacher. She teaches high school students and loves it. Before she graduated from university, she used to give private tutoring lessons. It was a great way for her to practice her skills and to get experience. And sometimes, she used to volunteer to teach at summer schools. Have you thought of teaching people you know, like friends, former classmates, family?”

“No. How do I teach them?”

“Maybe you can help them with homework or teach them subjects they find hard to understand.”

She considered that for a moment. “I guess I can do that.”

“When I said hello to you, you replied in a different language. Which language was that?”

“Hausa.”

“Do many Nigerians speak it?”

“Yes. Many speak it in their homes.”

“Would you be interested in teaching me Hausa?”

She stared at him. Was he serious? He appeared to be. “You want me to teach you how to speak Hausa?”

“Yes. I’d like to learn how to speak and write it. Would you be willing to teach me?”

“Yes.” It would give her the opportunity of seeing him again.

“Good. Would weekends work for you?”

“Yes.”

“I’m leaving now. Would you like a lift to the center?”

“Yes, thanks.”

“Splendid. We’ll talk more about our little arrangement in the car.”

She nodded.

“What is your name, by the way?”

“Abebi.”

He held out his hand. “Abebi, it’s nice to meet you. My name is Becket.”

As she shook his hand, she asked, “Like Samuel Beckett, the writer?”

“No, like Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury. It was my mother’s idea.”

iStock Photo

The expression on his face made her smile. “Thomas Becket was a good man, a martyr.”

“I suppose he was. Have you ever read Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett?”

“Yes.”

“Did you like it?”

“I found it very interesting.”

“Most people still haven’t figured out what the play is about.”

“It’s about the meaninglessness of life.”

“Yes, it is. It’s not your traditional kind of play. Some people find it difficult to read but I didn’t mind it.”

“Have you ever heard of Wole Soyinka?”

“Yes. He’s a Nigerian playwright and a Nobel Prize for Literature. I’ve read most of his plays.”

“I’ve read The Road, the Lion and the Jewel and The Trials of Brother Jero.”

“Do you mind if we continued this conversation over supper?”

She shook her head and followed him to his car.

They went to Argungu, a restaurant, situated by the Jabi Lake Water Front, at the Jabi Lake Mall. Over Shawarma burgers, fries and soft drinks, they talked about Wole Soyinka, other playwrights, his move to Abuja and her first year at university. Three hours later, they left the restaurant and he gave her a lift home. He gave her a business card. “Call me and let me know when you’re available for my first teaching lesson,” he said.

“I will,” she promised.

He winked and smiled at her before he got out of the car to open her door. “Goodnight, Abebi,” he said as she stepped out.

She smiled shyly up at him. “Goodnight, Becket.”

He closed the door and walked round to the driver’s side. He looked at her again before he got in and drove off. She watched the car until it disappeared from view.

As she walked towards the entrance of the apartment building she shared with her mother, she thought of how much she was looking forward to seeing Becket again.

Sources: Car Mart; Super Prof; University of Abuja Admission Guide; Statista; Thought Co.; Burger Meal; Encyclopedia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: