Hi guys!! Yet another set of milestones to celebrate- 70,000 views and a new domain name- http://www.kenikodjo.com! Yep, we are making it ‘so much big’ and it is all thanks to you guys! Every blogger deserves readers like you. You are super awesome! This week, I am venturing into unchartered waters. I have never been to Interco before and I know very little about sports, unless you are counting my ‘dutiful’ affiliation to FC Barcelona.(Yeah mehn, I have a jersey and all!) 😀
I am sure you are thinking, ‘Keni, this is not why we are here.’ On that note, let me shut up and allow you to enjoy the story. Happy reading!!
Curtis frowned at the bucket one more time and then kicked it. The soapy water spilled over the terrazzo floor.
That damned K Beck boy!
The pungent smell of bodily waste hit him once again and he groaned aloud. He had never scrubbed- not for a single day in his life. His father’s influence had saved from the strenuous work portions. He still hasn’t held a cutlass ever since he got to school and the only time he carried a bucket was when he had to take a bath. And yet, thanks to K Beck, he had blisters from scrubbing and mopping.
If I smell Parazone one more time, I am sure I will puke. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I am the one who got beaten. All for his beloved Akpene. What kind of name is that anyway?
Curtis decided to take yet another break. He had taken one every 10 minutes since he started, because he could not stand the conflicting smells. He sniffed in the burst of fresh air the moment he stepped out of the downs. Taking a cursory glance at the second Liberty downs, he stopped in his tracks. He turned a second time and there was K Beck giving Akpene a peck right before his very eyes. He smiled to himself. This information could come in handy, seeing as Akpene had broken two rules from the Code of Conduct- Rule 57: No crossing over and Rule 64: Intimacy is prohibited among students.
Don’t rush it, Curtis. Revenge is sweetest when you bide your time.
Akpene was stunned.
It wasn’t that she had not imagined this in her mind a number of times. No, she didn’t imagine that it would happen in front of the Liberty downs. What amazed her most was how much she enjoyed it. It felt like her whole body had been set on fire. She blurted the first thing that came to her mind, ‘Wait, what are you doing?’ and instantly wished that she could scoop the words back into her mouth.
K Beck immediately felt uneasy.
‘I am sorry. Too soon? I ruined everything, didn’t I?’
‘No, it is ok. You don’t see me running, do you?’
‘Well, that could be because you are paralyzed with fear. I know I shouldn’t have. I just-‘
‘Kwamena, it’s fine. We are fine.’
‘Does that mean I can do it again?’, he asked with a mischievous smile on his face.
The siren blurred and it was Akpene’s time to smile.
‘The term saved by the bell has never been more appropriate. See you later!’
K Beck waited until she was out of sight before punching the air with an air of victory.
Lawrence, the sports prefect, shook K Beck one more time, jostling him out of his sleep.
‘Welbeck! Wake up! Time for training!’
This was the hardest part of the entire process.
Waking up in the mornings.
He sighed, pulled himself out of bed and headed out into the cold to warm up with a few jumping jacks on the football field.
Interco was in a week’s time.
This meant that he was either training, in class or asleep. He had very little time to do anything else and Akpene was worried that he was not studying enough. She had promised to copy his notes for the period that he would be away. That was his favourite thing about training for interco- having her fuss over him. There were times when he would exaggerate the pains he had from training, just to have her offer to massage his ankles or accompany him to the sick bay. The extra food was always a plus. The sports team always had extra portions of food. He always saved the fresh bread for Akpene because he knew she liked bread.
The sports guys were treated like precious stones, more especially the star players. They were excused from chores so they could train. The teachers were softer on them and more lenient with deadlines for submission of assignments. Gagert always hosted the team for dinner in her house before they left and encouraged them to lift the Capital High flag high. The whole school would cheer for them as the bus left the school compound, with people shouting out the name of their favourite players. Being in the sports team was attractive, which would explain why a lot of the boys had applied to join the team. For the first three weeks, Lawrence would subject the team to a lot of strenuous exercises. He called it the ‘weeding out phase’. By the end of the second week, most of the ‘claim to fame’ guys would have opted out of the group.
Interco usually lasted a whole week. This year, Capital High was competing in three different disciplines – relay races, basketball and football. K Beck was both a defender in the football team and a shooter for the basketball team. The players were at the El-Wak stadium throughout the week but Gagert usually allowed some students to go and cheer the team on Thursday and Friday.
Now, getting on the list to go and watch Interco was a different ball game altogether. It was a strictly ‘who you know and who you are’ affair. Trouble causers had no place on the list. The PE teacher, Mr Amissah, took special delight in removing all those who did not take PE seriously that term from the list. Any senior who had a score to settle with a guy from another school made sure his name was on the list. Some of them just went to scout for ‘fresh meat’- the pretty Form 1 girls from other schools. The school daughters of the prefects and Capital High’s most powerful got first dibs among the juniors. Those who did not belong to that group had to lobby to get on the list. Arku Korsah, one of the form one boys, was desperate to go for Interco this year because he had promised his JSS girlfriend that she would see him at Interco. He started his lobbying early, dutifully bringing Lawrence a tin of milk or sardine every other day, along with a gentle ‘Senior Lawrenzo, make you no forget oo!’ Lawrence did not intend to put his name on the list but somehow he felt bad about ‘bouncing’ him outright, so he gave him one last impossible task.
‘Arku Korsah, you try waa. E lef one last thing.’
‘Oh ok. What dat?’
‘Ampadu airs out her brassiere every day after school. I want you to go and remove it from her drying line and bring it to me.’
‘A-a-ampadu? House mistress Ampadu?’
‘Which other Ampadu do you know? E go be problem?’
‘Oh naah. No problem. When do you want it?’
Lawrence was practically dozing off behind his GAST textbook that night when Arku Korsah walked into his prefect’s room, practically breathless. In his hand was a brassiere.
‘I bring am. My name dey the list top now?’
Lawrence was speechless. He looked at him and shook his head.
Classic case of things we do for love.
Lawrence had no intention of verifying whether or not it was actually Ampadu’s bra or not. The dead set determination in the boy’s eyes made him believe that if he had asked him to walk up to Gagert and slap her for a slot on the list, he would have done it.
Once you got on the list, you instantly became popular. People would bribe you to hand over a letter to one girl or another, to pass on a message to some guy or to come back with a message from someone. Dressing for Interco was another ball game altogether. The neatest and shortest skirts, the whitest shirts and the latest shoes suddenly emerged from their hiding places. Conrad was tasked to iron his school father’s interco shirt and he ended up burning it. Needless to say, he was kicked off the list and his school father had to settle for a not as white shirt for the competition. Ms. Ampadu made it a point to inspect the boys’ finger nails and make sure that the girls did not have make up on their faces. The final struggle was getting into a nice bus. Two buses transported the students to the stadium- Ewurakua and Old Jerry. Ewurakua was a relatively newer bus and most of the seniors wanted to sit in that one, because of the air conditioner and the more comfortable seats. Old Jerry had been there, way before K Beck’s eldest brother came to Capital High. The form ones could care less about which bus they sat in, because they would inevitably end up at the same destination.
Whenever they got to the stadium, they would have to file out nicely in two lines, under the eagle eye supervision of Ms Ampadu and Mr Amissah. There were tents allocated for each school and each student was to remain under the tent and cheer for his or her team. That was the plan in theory. However, in reality, that only lasted for the first two hours of the day. The cheering got dimmer as the game progressed and the seniors would move to the back of the tent to go and chat with their friends. Those from single sex schools had a hard time focusing on the game, since it had been so long since they had feasted their eyes on people of the opposite sex. Another exciting thing was meeting their lai momos from JSS. Capital High’s football team was putting up a good fight but their defense did not stop Okuapeman from scoring yet another goal. K Beck winced. The rivalry was real and he could already hear the taunts in his mind’s ear.
‘We have scored you! We have put pepper in your eyes!’
At the end of Thursday, the spirits of the Capital High team had been dampened. They had come in second in the football tournament and third in the relay races competition. K Beck missed Akpene sourly. He could hardly wait for the whole thing to be over so that he could go back to a normal life. On Friday morning, Denise developed a tummy ache. This meant that she could not go for the last day of Interco. She asked Akpene if she would like to go.
Akpene looked at her with her eyes widened.
‘Yes. Isn’t your boyfriend playing?’
‘He is not my boyfriend.’
‘Whatever he is to you,he is playing. Maybe seeing you would give him some extra vim to score.’
And that is how Akpene ended up at Interco on Friday even though she did not stand a chance of making it onto the list. She was overwhelmed by the different faces and the different songs. The atmosphere was charged. It was like a big reunion- people were catching up with their friends from other schools. She looked out for K Beck. She had not told him that she was coming and she was looking forward to surprising him. She spotted him in the distance, with a white face towel sprawled over his shoulder. She smiled and started to make her way towards him.
She stopped in her tracks when a girl from Aggrey Memorial threw herself into his arms.
‘Kwamena Welbeck! I thought that was you. I have missed you.’
‘Kwansima! Boarding school looks good on you.’
‘I notice you didn’t say you had missed me too.’
‘I missed you, baby girl. I am not playing against your school today so cheer for me, okay?’
‘Will do. When you go back to school, don’t be a stranger. Look for me- for old times’ sake.’
‘I will. Take care, hun!’
Baby girl. Missed you. Cheer for me. Take care.
Akpene felt her stomach turning.
You are overreacting. There is nothing to it. He is just being nice. But why did the girl hug him? Is that not against school rules? Why is her voice so piercing?
She was so lost in thought that she didn’t see him walking towards her.
‘Yes, I did. All the best in your game.’
K Beck didn’t have a chance to ask her why she was being cold because his coach signalled for him to come back to the court. Throughout the game, she kept looking back at the Kwansima girl and wondering why K Beck had never called her Baby Girl.
Maybe it is because I am not as pretty as she is.
The idea of K Beck giving any other girl attention was so alien to her that she felt a pit in her stomach. The game was getting heated. Both the Capital High and St. Augustine’s teams were doing their very best. The stakes were high! It was a tie: 87-87. On the spur of the moment, K Beck stole the ball from the St. Augustine’s point guard and raced for the hoop leaving the Augustine boys tailing him. He stopped at the 3 point arc and sank a swoosh. Those who were actually watching the game applauded. His team mate charged by K-Beck’s feat stole an in-house pass but was quickly cornered at the touch line. K-Beck availed himself for a pass, faked a shot and drove in for a lay-up shot.
When he made that final jump shot, Akpene and the whole of Capital High screamed in unison. Akpene probably shouted the loudest, waving her hands in the air, her insecurities drowned by the burst of pride that filled her heart. Thanks to K Beck, they were the Basketball Champions for 2013. She pushed her many questions to the back of her mind and joined in the chanting.
K Beck! K Beck! K Beck! K Beck!
See you next week..