IF WISHES WERE HORSES.
The term “if wishes were horses” came to mind as I moved along the aisle towards the front of the classroom.
I bent my head in shame, only daring to take a glance at the headmaster who was holding a big caning stick.
“You all have failed to pay your school fees within the stipulated time, so therefore you will receive four strokes of the cane each and be sent home”, he said.
The announcement sent chills up my spine and I was trembling, so was the other six students beside me. Being caned by Mr.Adetunji was every student’s nightmare, and here we were, getting four strokes at once.
I snapped out of my reverie as I heard Abibat howling, already sprawled on the floor just after the first lash. I made up my mind to escape, no way was I going to be caned like a thief.
I inched closer and closer to the window which was made of wood and was open to allow for proper ventilation.
“Next!”, Mr. Adetunji roared calling for his next victim. In that same instant, I jumped through the window and landed face first on the hard concrete floor outside sustaining a slight gash over my left eyebrow.
“Bring that boy back here!!”, I heard the headmaster giving instructions and didn’t wait to see if anyone followed his instructions before making a mad dash for the bushes.
I ran for a long while, my athletic prowess honed from practice put to good use. I finally stopped to examine my surroundings convinced I had outrun everyone.
I had several tiny bruises on my body and they stung.
I rested in the bush awhile, convinced that my captors will head to my home to lay ambush for me. I climbed a mango tree, plucked and ate some, soon I slept off.
I woke up as dusk approached, and I quickly got down and hurried home.
I saw my father from afar with a Stern look on his face and tried to make a clean getaway into the house before he saw me.
“Where do you think you’re going to, Kunle?”, he said using that calm voice that usually indicated he was angry, very angry.
“Your headmaster reported what you did today, and I am deeply ashamed, I raised you better than that”. he said looking at me sadly.
“I’m sorry Papa, that man is really wicked, I couldn’t take the beating” I said trying to look horrified.
“You will go back to school tomorrow and receive your caning for being a truant, I will also give you your school fees”.
“No Papa!, No!!. I don’t want to go to school, I want to help you on the farm like other boys and go fishing. They don’t teach us anything in school”, I argued trying to win my father to my point of view.
He shook his head sadly, with a smile and said. “Kunle, I want a life better than mine for you and your sisters, and education is the key to getting that. You can be a farmer or a fisherman if you wish, but it is my duty as a father to make sure you’re an educated one”.
“But Papa!–” I tried to argue again but he cut me off.
“Go inside and tidy up, you look like you need a bath”, he said dismissing me.
I went along grudgingly, none too happy about the caning I was to receive the next day.
I did go to school the next day, and the day after that. I went to school till I graduated from medical school. A Doctor.
I stood over my Father’s grave, filled with grief. My Father who gave his all for me, pushed me even when I didn’t want to move had died six months before I could get my degree.
If wishes were horses, I’ll have my Father here with me, to see me today, all he labored for.
Daddy, I got my degree today, and I wish you were alive to share the joy with me.