Dear English Teacher,
I can no longer write a letter since I left Secondary School. I simply forgot how to go about it. In fact, I haven’t written anything long with a pen since I wrote the 450 worded essay in my WAEC. Technology has made me lazy. I now write with keyboards – that of a phone or a laptop. I’m sorry.
In order to remove any doubt about the extent by which I have been swallowed by the abyss of nothingness, I’m no longer sure of where to place the ‘Yours sincerely’ at the end of letters; whether it’s on the left or the right side of the paper. Again, I’m sorry.
I wouldn’t have bothered if all the letters I have to write were directed to you. I would have placed the ‘Yours sincerely’ anywhere knowing that you would understand. You would understand because you always said that writers have the right to write anyhow they desired. But Professor Maye doesn’t think so; at least not in his class.
I think the Professor just finds faults where there are none. He wants to discredit me at the least opportunity. He has made University English a nightmare for me. He calls on me at the least mistake – or what he deems to be a mistake. He says I’m a miserably clumsy writer.
The other day, at the height of his desperation, which happens quite often, he called me out before the whole damn class for using a harmless cliche like “coconut head” in describing a character. My Professor complains a lot; just like my mother.
My mother would walk into the kitchen and call on me and say “Chidi, that jug, the blue one, is not where I left it.” Then she would explode into the typical African mothers rant.
“You want to be like Elijah, eh?”
Elijah is my cousin who for the past one year, jail is what he calls home, just for the sole juvenile mistaking of his abdomen for an impregnable vault for a gun. The Police had caught him with a gun at a friend’s funeral–and rumour has it that he is a member of a cult group. Me, I don’t know. I have never touched a gun in my life. Sometimes, I wonder why my mother is so afraid that I might end up like Elijah. But then, my mother is my mother, and like my Professor, she finds faults everywhere.
I want to write to the Professor. I want to tell him that his course gives me sleepless nights. I want to tell him that it suffocates me. I really want to let him know how his course leaves me hanging like a washed panty left to dry in the bathroom. And to think that he smells like garlic! Who smells like garlic and still finds a way to be mean?
I’m afraid of writing to him. I’m not sure of where to place the ‘Yours sincerely.’ I don’t want him to call on me again. Dear English Teacher, this is where you come in. Help me determine which side to sign-off my letter –left or right?
I know you might be disappointed in me because this letter doesn’t even have an address. No salutation. Just a body. I’m not even sure if it will have a conclusion. Like I said earlier, you’ll understand. Nevertheless, I hope you reply.
I would have loved to sign-off now with the ‘Yours sincerely’ but I don’t know where to place it. For the sake of caution, I will end here.
Follow on Twitter: @ChidiArua