She was sitting in the cyber cafe and tapping her foot as she waited for the page to open. She was about to start biting her nonexistent nails when the page opened. Tears filmed her eyes as the effect of what she had just seen sunk in, she had passed her WASSCE
She quickly closed the page and hurried out of the cafe, she didn't even log out her cafe time credit. When she got home, she noisily opened the door and shouted at the top of her lungs "I passed!"
"Zenobia the neighbours do not need to have their ear drums burst by your screaming" Her mother was smiling as she said this and she had her arms open to hug her youngest daughter.
"Your father and siblings will be so proud of you, I know I am! You deserve to have a chicken killed for tasty pepper soup for you" Her voice was laced with pride and joy at her daughter's achievement, she was the first child to pass the exam at one sitting of all her children.
"Call your father and tell him the good news" Zenobia skipped to the study where the land phone was kept to dial her father in Europe and tell him she had jumped over the first major hurdle to her dream of getting a PhD before she was twenty seven to surpass the record of her favourite columnist Reuben Abati.
As her daughter called her father and all her friends to broadcast her result, her mother was pensive as she planned the weekly menu for the home. She was happy her daughter had passed her exams but she was distressed because it meant she would soon be separated from her youngest child. Her husband insisted that all their children would have their university education outside Africa, to "broaden their horizons" he claimed but she felt it was just to punish her for refusing to relocate to Europe to join him when he got the job offer that offered him an opportunity to head the nerve centre of an important European corporation. The job entailed long hours and plenty travelling, she knew relocating to a strange country to join a frequently absent husband was going to be a death kneel on their marriage. He didn't forgive her for not coming to join him and their marriage languished.
She didn't notice when her daughter walked in and sat beside her on the sofa. She was surprised when Zen started stroking her palms, she looked at her in surprise.
"Mum I have something to tell you, I do not intend to get my first degree outside Africa. I'll get it here and may probably get my masters or PhD in Europe but for now I want to get to know my roots better before I get uprooted"
Charity Oko had never been prouder of her daughter, she tried to remind her of the possibility of lecturer strikes, lack of access to quality educational facilities but her daughter did not budge. She quickly gave up trying, her daughter was the third most stubborn person on earth. The second position went to her "beloved" husband and the ultimate winner was a gorgeous young pharmacist she had known in a previous life.
She was still smiling when she went to bed.