We were all in the class- a group of unrelated students from different primary schools in this classroom who had come to one junior high school. Some people were anxious and still uncomfortable. Other people were laughing their heads off or staring at things. The class teacher walked in, introduced himself and asked everybody to do same.
There was Sharon. Moses. Was someone called Thalia? Kwame … Judith… Mary… Theophilus… Michael… Another Kwame…. all the way to the boy sitting in the last corner.
Then next, the teacher announced that to start with anything, there had to be a class prefect. Everybody looked at the next person. He looked around the classroom. “You there, the one with the storybook sitting in the middle. How about you becoming the class prefect?”
She stood up. It was the girl from earlier. The girl with the immaculate uniform that was resting directly on her knees with the neatly plaited rows of cornrows on her head. The girl with the chocolate complexion who seemed a little stiff and only smiled a little. She said nothing, only looked around.
“Well, now that the class prefect issue has been settled, who wants to be the cupboard monitor? We need two people, a boy and a girl.” A couple of people volunteered, we voted and got the two cupboard monitors.
That girl who was the class prefect, she experienced a lot. When books could not be found, everybody would blame the class prefect and cupboard monitors. “The class is noisy!” Everybody would look at the class prefect and she would have to shout till her voice run hoarse just to keep the class in order. Sometimes she would make a list of noisemakers and make new enemies.
That girl who was the class prefect, she must have had a lot of patience. “The classroom is dirty!” The teachers would call the class prefect and sometimes, she had to go round the classroom picking up all that litter.
The girl who was the class prefect. She must have been very smart. The teachers used to pick on her to answer every question and she had to know most of the answers to the teachers’ questions.
That girl who was the class prefect. She must have had a lot of endurance. The day that Ali got sick and was throwing up in the classroom, Mrs. Jude walked in and wrinkled her nose and said, “Class prefect, put the class in order.” After Ali was taken to the sick bay, that girl cleaned his mess. And even later, she washed his clothes and nursed him until his parents could come for him.
That girl who was the class prefect. She must have had magic because all the boys fell in love with her and some two boys even fought over her. It was the way she walked and the way she accepted her responsibilities and the way she was just awesome.
That girl who was the class prefect, I thought I would ask her out. I thought I had the right moment but then I saw her with Ali and I knew that I had lost. The spark must have happened the day that Ali was sick and Mrs. Jude had said, “Class prefect.”
That girl who was the class prefect, we were very loyal to her. I had to watch this celestial creature every weekday knowing that she would never be mine.