“Audience, what do you think?” the quiz master asked rhetorically. The first round had just come to an end and everyone awaited the result. “It’s been an interesting and amazing first round,” he said to the contestants.
The contestants couldn’t hold their anxiety, as they all stood on the toes awaiting the quiz master’s next words. He smiled before he continued, “I would have loved to see all of your faces in the semifinals but” – he sighed – “that’s not possible.”
“Which three among them won’t proceed to the second round?” the quiz master asked yet another rhetorical question, which further puts the anxiety of the contestants on edge. They stole glances of one another as they waited.
“Wow!” He looked down on the digital screen and up at the audience. “The scores are really close. I mean really… really close and definitely th
Ayo listened as the quiz master told Damilola that she had qualified and Francis, disqualified. She and Lateefah were the only ones left and she isn’t so sure if she was faster than the other girl, who seems bright under the cotton she used to cover her hair. It however made her look beautiful. Ayo was anxiously waiting for the quiz master’s next statement, so she could let out the tears that welled up in her eyes, either for joy or sorrow. Then, she heard the quiz master say something she wasn’t expecting to hear. She looked down at her feet and let out a soft smile. As she did this, a tear dropped from her eyes.“You ought to be happy!” the quiz master said. “Given that you were able to remove two of the boys.” He smiled.She smiled back as the audience applauded.“Congratulations to you! Your average response time is 0.83 seconds,” the quiz master said.Ayomide looked in Lateefah’s direction a
“Wow! Unbelievable,” the quiz master said. Ayo’s Olympiad 60 seconds of fame had just ended. “Those last 45 seconds were awesome!” He heaved a sigh to ease the pressure he had felt while reading the questions to Ayo.“Thank you, sir,” Ayo muttered. Her palms were sweaty, so was her forehead. She wiped some off but they seem to be stuck. She regretted not coming with her handkerchief. The applause the audience gave her after, were deafening and sort of eased the tension she felt as she smiled back at them. However, all she hoped was that her awful first 15 seconds doesn’t hinder her qualification. Without a tie break, she thought.“I would say I’ve never seen such before.” The quiz master wiped sweat off his forehead with his handkerchief. “I need to ask. Ayo, what happened in the first fifteen seconds?”Ayo hadn’t expected that question and she wished she could avoid it but she couldn’t. She looked down as she always does and the ‘Just do it’ inscription on her Nik
“Congratulations Ayo,” Oreoluwa said and extended a hand for a shake as Ayo walked into the backstage room of Ace studios, the venue of the Mathematics Olympiad.Ayo refused the hand and hugged him instead. “Thanks for those kind words, Ore. I will never forget.”“Oh! So sweet,” Perfect said as she walked past them to the stage. It was her turn in the senior category semifinals.“Good luck!” Ayo and Oreoluwa said after her. She waved at them without turning back.“Oreoluwa!” Damilola called. She had been watching the duo for a while and didn’t want to interrupt the moment.“Yes!” Oreoluwa turned to identify the owner of the voice that called.“Nice speech out there,” Damilola said, moving towards them. She extended her left hand and hurriedly changed it to her right. “Oh! Sorry. I’m a left-hander.”He took the hand gladly. &ldqu
“See you later. I want to speak to Ore.” That was the last statement Funmi uttered to the duo of Ayo and Anu before she left them in the middle of the backstage room where she met them. She walked up to Oreoluwa as she’d said she would but not because she actually wanted to talk to him or have a conversation of any sort. She had said so to excuse herself from the conversation Ayo and her friend were having. Here, she was behind Oreoluwa and unable to say anything.“I guess she is from your school.” Damilola pointed behind Oreoluwa to alert him of the intruder that had joined.Oreoluwa looked behind and found a depressed Funmi. “Yes, she is.”“I guess I would leave you two to talk then.” Damilola left them there by cutting her conversation with Oreoluwa short.“What’s wrong with you?” Oreoluwa demanded from Funmi.“I’m… fine,” she said. Her arms folded a
As soon as Oreoluwa exited the room, Funmi wiped her tears and faced Ayo squarely.“I’m listening,” Ayo urged.“At first” – Funmi sighed and rested her back on the wall behind. She used her palm to cover her face in frustration – “Oh! My God! I don’t know how to begin.”“Just tell me the important details.”“Okay, I think I can do that!” She sat up and rested each elbow on her thighs, using one hand to support her head. “I helped you because I wanted to… I mean I really picked interest in you on your first day in school and I wanted to get to know you. But…” Her voice trailed off again but she picked up almost immediately. “But when you won the annual math quiz ahead of me. I...” She buried her face in her palms and it took a pat from Ayo for her to regain her confidence. Staring at Ayo, she said, “I began to dislike you an
The following day was a Sunday. Ayo was alone in the study room in their home. She and her family had just returned from church service. Her mom was resting as her pregnancy is now very much visible. Bayo had returned to school after church service that afternoon and her step-dad, who had driven him to the car park, was yet to return.Ayo went over her ordeal of the previous day; qualifying for the Olympiad finals, which was a dream come true for her but not totally fulfilled as she still had a gold medal to win. Meeting Anu, her childhood friend, was another thing she had been excited about. Thinking of Anu, She dashed to her room and ransacked her school uniform where she found the paper Anu had given her. It was just where she left it, in her breast pocket.She brought out her smartphone, which her step-dad gave her as a gift on her last birthday. She had rarely used the phone since then. But today, she was going to use it.“Hello,” –
It’s Saturday evening, a week after the misunderstanding between Ayo and Bukky. Ayo along with Funmi and Oreoluwa just arrived at the Heart City Shopping Mall, where Anu had promised to meet with them. She dialed Anu’s number after a few minutes of waiting, with no sign of her.“Go into the restaurant section. I will meet you there in five minutes.” – Anu had told her over the phone.They walked into the restaurant and found a table near the glass wall that served as a demarcation from the outside. Ayo picked that spot because it would enable her to see everything going on outside. They settled on the seats around the table, leaving an empty for Anu. Before Anu’s arrival, they had ordered chicken fries and began enjoying the meal.True to Anu’s word. Less than five minutes after they had settled, she strolled in, flaunting a pink one hand bag. She had previously seen them while entering the restaurant, so she headed towards them immediately and soon took her seat.