“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.