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“Badmus, are you okay?”
“Are you sure?”
I nodded in the affirmative.
He continued looking at me for a while before he spoke again.
“In that case, please see me in the staff room during recess.”
“Yes sir,” I replied, before looking away from his penetrative gaze to stare at my toes.
Mr Scouser was too perceptive and caring to be a teacher in a Nigerian school, but maybe his keen eye and concern had something to do with him not being a Nigerian. He was accustomed to me being one of the liveliest in his chemistry class, and throughout this morning’s lesson I had been as unreactive as a soaked match, an absolute anomaly.
His query was expected.
Break time found me sitting uneasily opposite my favorite teacher in the quietness of the almost deserted staff room, worry and concern plainly written all over his reddish pink face.
He started with general chitchat; soccer, movies and music. I knew the approach was meant to make me relax and warm to him, and after that would come the questions. Five minutes after I took my seat, they did.
His tactic worked, well, to an extent. We’ve always been close, but opening up to him still took some doing. He kept on probing, undeterred by my hesitance, until I finally breached.
Leaning forward, I whispered my answer to his question about why I was listless in class this morning.
“I had a dream sir …”
“A dream,” he echoed.
I paused, my face burning with embarrassment as I nodded. Ever the discerning mentor, he clued in almost immediately, awareness lighting up his features.
“Oh! Oh my dear boy, ‘that’ kind of dream eh?”
Again I nodded.
“That’s fine. Now I get it.” He stood up and beckoned. “Come my boy, let’s take a stroll.”
While we walked at a sedate pace inside the school compound he explained wet dreams and why they happened. In his pleasant but firm manner he told me that they’re nature’s way of telling teenage boys that their bodies have experienced certain changes, and that they’ve grown. He explained in gentle tones that it was a signpost pointing towards maturity and adulthood. He took his time and delved into details, even more than my biology teacher had during his reproduction class, answering all my questions in a factual manner.
As we headed back towards the staff room he tapped me on the shoulder and asked one final question.
“Badmus my boy.”
“Sir?” I answered, fascinated by the way his chin wriggled anytime he spoke.
“Wet dreams are just like special movies in which you star alongside your favorite actor, or actress as it is in this case. So, fess up my boy, who was the girl in yours?”
A cold wind blew up my trouser leg.
“Badmus,” he prompted again, “I’m waiting…”
There was a mischievous smile on his face. I shook my head vigorously.
“I’m sorry sir. I can’t tell you.”
And then I ran off in the direction of my class.
I slowed down after a few meters and looked back at him. He was still standing in the same spot, the sun in his dark hair, looking at me with amusement.
I turned and continued running.
Even with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t have told Mr Scouser he was the nocturnal visitor that made me wet my shorts.
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