As dawn breaks, the sun climbs steadily out of the sky, smiling on the world. Still early, the birds are yet to begin their songs and children are still in dreamland.
But I'm no longer a child. And I'm about to take a big step in my life.
Three days ago, I had gotten admission to study my dream course Electrical Engineering in my dream school, the University of Nigeria Nsukka.
As expected, the news had been met with great joy from friends and family. Seeing as I had been seeking this admission for the past year.
Since I left secondary school, I had to watch my mates go off to higher Institutions and coming back with glorious tales of how much fun school could be.
This year, I swore never to be a listener anymore, but to be the storyteller. So I doubled my reading, upped my game, and aced all tests. And the University had no choice but to offer me admission.
I wanted to begin my screening on time, so the next few days had been occupied with getting all my documents and luggage ready. My mom bought foodstuffs and beverages for me. They were so much I wondered how I would fit them all into my bag.
"I know how you eat," she told me when I complained. "I give you two weeks, and you'll finish it all."
Last night, while I had been unable to sleep due to the excitement for the journey that lay ahead, my mother had come into my bedroom. And for over two hours, we had serious talks.
She cautioned me against joining bad gangs while in school, urging me to remember the son of whom I was. I was just an extension of the family there in Nsukka and it was my duty to portray the family in a good light.
"I know mom," I said for the umpteenth time. "I'll make sure I make you proud. I'll be the best student."
"That's what everyone who goes there says. But the environment changes you, it's unavoidable. What you get to choose is if it's going to be a good change or a bad change."
And now, her advice still fresh in my mind, I pull out the handle of my portmanteau. As I bend to pick the bag containing my foodstuffs, she beats me to it.
"I'll see you off." She says, leading the way.
As we open the door to leave, I hear my younger sister's footsteps behind me.
"Brother, where are you going?"
I let out a sigh. I had been hoping I would sneak off while she was sleeping. I don't want to see her cry.
I kneel before her, "hello Angel, I told you I got admission. I'm off to school now."
She wipes her eyes sleepily as she yawns. To her, 'school' meant going in the morning and coming home in the evening. "So I'll see you in the evening."
"No Angel, I'm not coming home today."
It "Then when are you coming?"
"Mummy will tell you," I say, I didn't want to tell her I had no idea how long my trip would take. "I need you to be a good girl for me okay? And be strong for mummy. I'll get you that Barbie doll on my way back."
She smiles, "okay. Come back fast."
"I will," I mutter, getting back to my feet.
"Come on Angel," my Mom takes her by the hand. "Let's see him off together."
We walk out of the house into the street, the sky is bright enough to light our path. As we walk, our feet crunch over the rough ground, we chat amiably.
And suddenly, we're at the bus station. My mum leads the way to the ticket booth. A young man comes and takes the bag from her to the bus I was going to enter.
"So, this is it." She says finally, handing the ticket to me. "You remember everything I told you?"
"Yes, mom." Suddenly, I'm not too keen on getting on the bus. This is going to be my first time living without my family. I will have to make all the decisions and do everything myself. How on earth can I do that?
I can tell she knows what's going through my mind, she caresses my face.
"You'll be fine, my love." She tells me, I instinctively lean into her touch. "I promise."
I feel my eyes begin to water, but I blink them back. Oh, I'm going to miss them so much.
"I love you, mom," I mutter and hug her. It's a long hug, full of love and affection. And when it's over, I feel refreshed and strengthened. I turn to Angel and hug her as well.
"Take care of yourself." My mother says as I turn toward the bus.
"You too mum."
"Bye-bye brother!" Angel cries.
Not wanting to say goodbye, I blow her a kiss.
And I climb aboard.
They stand outside till the bus fills up. Then they wave at me until we pull out of the station.
My heart is racing with fear of the unknown, but also with excitement. I am anxious to see what school life has in store for me.
Gazing through the window, I watch the buildings sail by. And I know without an iota of doubt in my mind.
I'll be fine indeed.
This story is in response to this week's prompt Change. Endeavour to check it out.
Thank you for reading.
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