The Hope of Ancestors
The pregnant clouds outside kept out the sunlight. The morning was bleak and the sky overcast. It was not surprising when the clouds gave birth to heavy droplets of water which hit against the rusty zinc. Clink! Clink! The weather outside opposed my mood, yet I was happy. It was the morning my ancestors and my generation had waited for. I was the one. I was to recover lost hope although the weather demanded laziness; I was in the mood to work. I was joyful, hopeful and felt the strength that would enable me to move mountains. Generations had fought before the fight I was to fight to bring back respect and hope to my family. “Honey, will I pass?” I asked my wife, who was still half asleep on the bed beside me. “Yes, of course you must,” she replied. It was one of those precocious flairs. I had developed as a result of my humble beginning: I could weather the weather whatever it was, whether I liked it or not. Could I do it this morning?
I arrived at the examination centre early that morning. I sat and watched my “opponents.” The examination began. Everything was anxious except me – I was confident. I knew that I should pass; I must. Throughout the five hours that the exam lasted everyone looked into the eye of whomever they could. In those eyes was the look of dare. Those examinations decided your destiny, your fate. So in that room friends became enemies. Only one person would get through to study law; one of about seventy persons. I fought the battle with the papers. I demanded that post. Duty demanded it. It was like salvation to the sinner. It was like food to the starving man. Poverty was nothing anyone desired. You could be free yet incarcerated because of poverty. That exam was the verdict. The post was for the person who wanted it the most. Ting-a-ling-a-ling! The bell signaled the end of the battle. I had fought it well.
Two months later, I sat in my living room. The result would be communicated via the telephone. It was the day of reckoning. Who wanted it more? I sat with the phone in my hand. My heart was beating: thump! I thought my wife could hear it. My children sat with my wife and I on the bed. The phone was to ring anytime now. There was a deafening silence. We were all nervous. Instead of rain today however, the sun blazed in the blue skies above. It was element weather. Was it signifying success or was it failure? I did not know, we did not know. All they knew and I know was that our life depended on it. I suddenly remembered the vows I had made on my wedding day. If I failed, would we have to get a divorce?” For better or worse…! I was nervous. Ring! Ring! The phone rang once. It rang again. That was it.