Class of Dullards

Knock! Knock!! Knock!!! 

This was the sound Ayo heard from her sleep. She stood up reluctantly and realized she had slept off without even reading the book with her. The book which was not soaked with her sweat. She still couldn’t believe she fell asleep, as she stood up reluctantly to open the door. Ayo was one who had always loved reading and had never fallen asleep while doing what she loved best. But everything had dramatically changed since the death of her father. Sleeping was now her regular habit and she loved it. It helps to ease the painful memories she felt. Especially that one Sunday when the death of her father hit her like a hurricane. Loneliness was also one of the reasons she took to sleeping on days like this. On that day, she had also slept in class but blamed it on the constant staring of her classmates.

“Ayo, are you in there?” Bukky shouted. “Or did I come to the wrong apartment?”

Just then the door creaked open and Ayo’s sleepy face peered out.

“Oh! It’s you?” Ayo said and opened the door for her new best friend to come in.

“No, it’s not me. It’s my ancestors,” Bukky teased.

“Haba! It’s a rhetorical question.” Ayo tried explaining what rhetorical means to Bukky but was cut off by the latter.

“Rhetorical ko, It’s a foolish question. You saw me and you are still asking.” She tried to sound just like Ayo, “Oh! It’s you?” – she rolled her eyes – “Didn’t I tell you I was coming?”

“You did,” Ayo surrendered. She doesn’t have the strength to argue further. Besides she was sure she wouldn't win.

The two girls strolled into the apartment and Ayo closed the door behind them while Bukky hurriedly brought out her English textbook and notebook from inside the bag she brought along.

After settling down, Ayo read out the comprehension passage from the textbook while Bukky listened or Ayo assumed she was. When it was time to begin answering the questions to the passage, Ayo faced difficulty and Bukky was of no help. It was as though she never listened to the passage. Ayo, then decided the passage be read one more time. “You should read the passage while I listen.” She said.

“You’ve read it! Why should I?

“We couldn’t answer the question. So, we read again for better understanding.”

“What happen to your own mouth that you cannot read it?” Bukky asked with sarcasm in her voice.

“I read it already. Fresh pair of eyes are needed.”

“It’s not only pair, you will see dozen. Are you reading or not?”

“Okay, I’ll read!” Ayo sighed. “Once upon a time, there was a village…”

“See!” Bukky interrupted. “Don’t read again. It can make somebody to sleep. Let’s just answer.”

Ayo agreed and began answering the questions to the best of her knowledge. All Bukky did was observe and talk at intervals. At the end, she copied not-so-correct answers.

Even after the assignment, Bukky refused to go home and Ayo wouldn’t even want her to. They started discussing, with Bukky doing most of the talking and Ayo providing listening ears and a nodding head at intervals, to show she was following. Other times, she'd laugh until tears rolled down her eyes.

“You mean she farted while the teacher was flogging her?” Ayo looked at Bukky, quizzically.

“I’m telling you and her fat smells like rotten egg.” Bukky squeezed her face. “The teacher had to run out of the class.

Ayo couldn’t help but laugh now, water flowing down her cheeks. “That class is really funny,” she commented, after having a good laugh. She can’t remember when she last did that.

“We have been like that since Basic 4. Then, the class was not divided,” Bukky explained. 

“You mean split into arms,” Ayo corrected. She was beginning to get infuriated with Bukky’s grammar.

“Whatever!”

Ayo sighed.

“But since we got to Basic 6, the class population increase and they divide the class into two arms, A and B. That was when things changed.”

“Changed as how?” Ayo asked, not minding the English this time around. “That class I know is still a funny one.”

“No, not in that way,” Bukky replied. “Class 6A was progressing academically while 6B academic performance was deteriorating.”

“And you were in?”

“6B.” Bukky answered without feeling ashamed. “I was in 6B. We were always full of life, making noise, not willing to learn, disturbing the whole school. The headmistress was not happy with us nor was our class teacher. She scolded us and threatened to repeat anyone who fails the common entrance examination.”

Ayo simply nodded her head to show that she was listening.

“After the common entrance,” Bukky continued. “All the pupils in 6A performed excellently while those of us in 6B were lucky to have passed with just a few marks above the pass mark.”

“So you are saying pupils in 6B are now in JS 1B.”

“All but two.” Bukky held out 2 fingers. “Only 24 of us passed and were promoted to JS 1B due to the low performance. We were regarded as the dullards while 6A, the brilliant ones.”

“That shouldn’t be,” Ayo sympathized, even though Bukky did not feel bad.

“All the other students in our class are new intakes which means they didn’t do well in their entrance exam also,” Bukky explained further. “And you are one of them.”

“Yes, I am.” Ayo looked away. She always did that if she felt she did something wrong or was shy. “I did badly in my entrance exam.”

“No offence but JS 1B is a class full of dullards.”

“No worries dear.” Ayo smiled. “As long as it is a class full of laughter and fun.” She grinned. “As long as it will make one forget sorrows, I’m okay with it.”

“You’re right, my friend,” Bukky responded happily.

It was about 7 O’clock in the evening before Bukky left for her house. Ayo was lonely once again. Her stomach didn’t help matters also as it rumbles and hums to the ticking of the wall clock. She, however, silently prayed her mom comes back before she sleeps off.

Ayo was just about to sleep when her mother returned from work. She was happy not only because her mom was back but because she brought along her favourite food, fried rice and chicken. They ate the food together in silence. After eating, they went inside the bedroom, laid on the bed, said a short prayer and prepared to sleep.

“Mom, thanks for paying my transport fee,” Ayo said just before she closed her eyes and slept off.

‘Thank Mr. Badmus, little did you know that he even bought the food we just ate. He is God sent,’ Mrs. Cole thought and slept off afterwards.

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