The gentle spray from the waterfall calmly landed on my face with an instant cool that was beyond sensational. The water now calm from the violent fall had a pattern like ripples that glistened from the approaching sunset. “Picture perfect,” I muttered, toasting to the heavens and sipping on the bartender's special. At that moment, a meat-scented aroma attacked my gut, making it restless, confirming the grill was done. After having spent the day on the highway with my Dad’s wallet somewhat dented thanks to the traffic cops that found fault with his flawless car; this was indeed a perfect end to the day.
This getaway was Dad’s way of sending me off to college after a lengthy journey trying to prove myself academically fit. Conventional classes never really tickled my fancy. I rather preferred to dodge classes playing with my laptop, one of the many gifts tossed my way that I actually used. After all, who needed to earn anything with a father like mine?
Born with a silver spoon in my mouth didn’t come close to illustrating the wealth I was born into. With a driver at my disposal and credit at the push of a button, why on earth would I need to attend class? I came to believe that the only reason for me to attend school was just so my Dad could also say “Oh my son is in this team now and chair of that club,” when he and his partners bragged about their children on the golf course. As always I was light years from the truth but who cares? Having persuaded myself I was right, I raped the internet all day from a cubicle in the boy’s bathroom, self-convinced that I was quite smart.
Being the younger of two boys, I saw the business empire my brother had and put it up against my father's and figured “Hmm, look at Tim and look at Dad, I wonder how much mine will be worth?” I simply thought being my father’s child inevitably meant I could have all that I craved. Unfortunately for me, Mother Nature was blatantly making it clear that I didn’t belong in high school anymore. The beard and the deep voice attracted the ladies alright, and that just shot my ego further into orbit, but that didn’t cover the occasional “Excuse me, Sir” from parents who’d lost their way to the admin and saw me as a teacher .
The school principal on the other hand wouldn’t dare dream of ejecting me from the system. Father’s hefty donations in addition to timeously settling my fees kept him listed top in the district to the envy of many, since that meant development, development and more development. Inasmuch as he was now having an internal morality joust between a good name and fame, he had long lost to fame – which was quite a pity.
In the midst of all this, a new girl moved to my school, which was quite unexpected considering that in the final year a move could potentially jeopardise college entry.
She was a goddess, her mere presence sent waves down my spine, and her smile stupefied me and made me a slave to her beauty: Anita drove me crazy!
As always I figured my outward charm and posh lifestyle meant I was a shoo-in, but to my dismay she wasn’t a superficial girl. She was the type of girl who valued intellect, the first ever sapiosexual I’d ever seen. Thanks to my “class” in the cubicle, I had read about these types of people and how to win them over. I knew it was only a matter of time before she found out that I was the stream clown, the spoilt kid who strategically stayed in school coz of rich daddy, but I had a plan.
We got talking and I conveniently became her study partner. To my luck termly reports were never publicly displayed but despite that, I would have raised eyebrows had I been exempted given the nature of my class participation on the rare occasions that I did attend. With Anita now in the picture, I was a regular and it became strange to see me absent. This final motivation I'd received was unfortunately not enough to process years of cumulative knowledge. Finals were fast approaching, and here unlike many other schools, one had to qualify to sit for a national exam, one of the principals genius inventions. He figured only the ones that qualified would sit for the exams, thus saving the school a lot of embarrassment and keeping the cred high. Those of us who didn’t make it would have an extra year where our conscience would, as they assumed, haunt the genius into us.
Being aware of this reality I had to make a plan, our future together at varsity was on the line! Granted this “our” was a work in progress, but what better way to prove myself as the complete package than this? I quickly remembered from cubicle 101 that one could “hack” into a school file and manipulate results to their favour. I had no time to second guess, even if I did what were the odds I would change?
With my laptop fully charged, I got cracking and in no time I had made the list. It was one of those victories before the victory, going home with a letter that said I was in. I told my dad and he reacted in a way that I never expected. It’s like he knew what it meant to be in the list, which I highly doubted. He sat me down and said…
“Sonny, you’ve made me proud, this letter proves my boy is going to varsity, I’ve been waiting for this day for a while now, finally I know you have it in you, I was beginning to worry but I guess everything has its time. And speaking about time this weekend is that time.”
Shell-shocked, paralysed, bamboozled: you name it I was all that in an instant. “He actually cares? This weekend? What is this?” All these thoughts rushed through my mind but I had to keep it together.
The weekend came and we left.
As I sipped the bartender’s special, Dad came to sit next to me. We got chatting about how long the journey was and I quizzed him as to why the driver didn’t do his job and why he opted to drive, to which he responded “Father and son time.” Guilt, within all its fury, was causing a major turbulence in that place that was supposed to be warm and fuzzy at the mention of father-son bonding. The meaty whiff in the air made it no simpler.
“Son I want you to enjoy your weekend so I’ll be brief and we can get some rest while my message simmers.”
He placed a briefcase on his lap, opened it and started:
“I believe you have admired your brother’s success quite a lot, you see, before your mother passed on we had agreed that when you both were set for varsity, we would show you the wealth we set aside for you, the shares in your names and current balance that has been accumulating in your savings.
Your brother had his moment, we showed him before he sat for his finals, and he passed extremely convincingly." He laughed. "Once he received his results he signed for his share and went to varsity with a vision to be better than me, and now it’s your turn.”
Dad picked up a few papers and was preparing to show me what had been waiting for me. Stretching his hand towards me, he was cut short by a phone call that rang on his private cell phone. Because it was his private line meant for emergencies and restricted contact, he couldn’t ignore it. He put the briefcase aside and stood up, pacing a few steps from the chair.
“Hallo… Principal Marks, how are you?”
I could hear every world from the conversation thanks to the serenity of our environment. The principal was the bearer of bad news. He explained how there had been breach in the security of school records and that it had been traced to a computer that belonged to me. Further investigations showed that I had been absent from class at that time as the register circulated and I was nowhere to be found. My father turned and looked at me. He just stood there, non-responsive to the principal's subsequent statement that I was expelled with immediate effect, and that due to the rarity of the matter the ministry was involved.
“He can forget registering in any school for the next three years, let alone consider varsity. I just thought I should let you know before you found out from the newspapers.”
A corpse had more life than what my father showed at that moment. The phone dropped from his hands with a loud thud. In trying to impress a girl I couldn’t even call mine, I has crushed years of my father’s business. My deliberate neglect for the privileges I enjoyed were exposed in a matter of minutes. By the morning, the whole country would know what I tried to hide from one person. My father fell to his knees with tear-filled eyes, full of anger but above all failure. Failure to raise his child as promised to his late wife. He clenched his fists and pounded the ground shouting...
“Prince, have you no values…”