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.
“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.
Mr. Badmus got home a couple of minutes after he dropped Mrs. Cole off at her house. He was late than usual and he knew he had a lot to explain to his son. But on entering the house, he saw no one in the sitting room. It was where his son usually sat to await his arrival. He decided to go to his son’s room to see if he was asleep. He found him reading a book instead. Bayo was so engrossed that he didn’t notice his father, standing at the door to his room. Though, he heard him drive into the compound but he decided not to go and welcome him.“Bayo!” Mr. Badmus called after standing at the entrance for about a minute, realizing that his son hadn’t seen him and probably didn’t hear him come in.“Oh! Daddy, you are back! Welcome sir,” he greeted without much enthusiasm, as he was used to whenever his father returned from work. His father, who was still standing by the door, remains unchanged by his son’s r
It was a Monday morning in Nightingale Academy. The school felt like it was mourning the death of someone, with the downcast look of virtually all the students. They had just completed their Midterm test, the week before and the results were out. Most of them already knew their fate, hence the face. The principal was not impressed either, with the performance. That fateful morning, after usual programs for that morning’s assembly, led by the vice principal, the students were once again vibrant. They chanted the marching in song with glee on their faces, prior to their previous melancholy look.“We are marching to our classesTo receive understandingFor learning is better than ...”They chanted joyfully.“Halt,” the principal commanded. They all stopped marching and singing at the same time. “Where are you marching too! No, tell me! Where are you marching to with dull heads!“Good
After the midterm test, the students of JSS 1B changed academically. Though, it was slow-paced but was worth it. They make less noise also. In addition to their new now turned leaf, they now behaved themselves and listen attentively in class when a teacher is teaching. Ayo wasn’t an exception, she took to her studies like never before especially when she came to know that she would be representing her class in the coming annual mathematics quiz amongst the junior school students. She tried as much as she could to solve any mathematics problem she encountered. If she’s unable to solve any, she either seeks assistance from Mr. Dammy or Bayo. She sometimes goes to Funmi in JSS 1 A, who is also good at solving mathematics problems and was always willing to assist her. Ayo had long swallowed the dislike she had for the class. She thought if she was going to be better, she needed to mingle with the best.During break in school, one afternoon. Ayo was faced
Finally, the day has come, for the much awaited mathematics competition in Nightingale Academy, tagged ‘Annual Mathematics Quiz’. Of all the 6 participating students, only Ayo was visibly nervous before the start of the quiz. She had no idea why. Maybe, it’s because this was her first time participating in a mathematics-only competition or it was because she didn't believe in herself. The prying eyes of the JSS 1 student didn't leave her body too. This added to her anxiety.Ayo was with her classmates when the quiz master finally called on her name. Her body shook with vigour, as she was being invited to the podium. She started to fidget and looked like someone who was terrified.“You can do this, Ayo,” one of Ayo’s classmates encouraged.“Don’t be scared!” another said.“Ayo, don’t put us to shame. Go there and make us proud,” Bukky added.“I believe in you, Ayomid
At the end of the first stage in the quiz competition, Daniel Chisom was disqualified. He left the stage, slowly, while looking at his feet as he walked. As for Adura and Ayo, they went into a tiebreak to know who will progress to the second stage. Ayo was still in her thoughts when the quiz master announced the beginning of the next round. She had felt bad to see Chisom leave but if he hadn’t scored so low, she would have been the one to leave, and that would have been terrifying. So, she braced herself up and looked eager to see what the tie break with Adura will hold.“In this tiebreaker round” – the quiz master pointed to the ground – “the first of you two, to provide a wrong answer, will be disqualified. Is that clear?”“”Yes, sir!” Ayo and Adura said, almost at the same time.At this very moment, every student believed that’s the end for Ayomide Cole except two. Bukky never doubted her and B
The next stage began on a very interesting note. All remaining four contestants were up to the task and none wanted to concede to the other. They all knew, one wrong answer could deny them entry to the next stage. Hence, they all answered correctly to the first set of questions asked.“What do you think about the competition now?” Mr. Dammy asked Mrs. Folarin, who looked rather calm, watching the contestants relentlessly provide correct answers to their questions. He felt it was the right time to close the rift.“I think Ayo would be among the top three finalists” – she nodded her head slowly – “Funmi won’t last any longer than she already has. She’s becoming nervous just like Adura.” She fixed her eyes on the quiz master as he decided on Funmi’s response to the question.“Wrong answer!” he announced.“Geez!” Funmi said, with an American accent. Not that she wanted t
The last stage for the Annual Mathematics Quiz had already begun. The stage which determines the last man standing and hence the winner of the competition. Most of the students were ecstatic about it while only a few were looking blue because their favorite person had been disqualified. Yet, others looked up to Ayo as the new champion. From the look of things, it appears as though she was the only one who deserves the win. However, none of the staff share in this view. Even Mr. Dammy was now hesitant about placing his trust in her because she has gone from being relaxed to scared and this worries him. Every time Ayo was asked a question, he would bite his fingers and would feel his heart almost exploding out his chest.Ayo, likewise, was not in the best of mood. She was uneasy in her seat and felt the need to excuse herself. Nothing more than the competition coming to an abrupt end, would please her. The ecstasy she felt at the start of the competition was
The week after the competition, Examination started in earnest in Nightingale Academy. The students, all of whom have much prepared in one way or the other, weren’t so pleased when the day finally knocked at the door. Students could be seen fidgeting at the entrance of the hall, while others walked gallantly as if they knew what were in the questions.To avoid malpractices of any such, the students were divided in two separate large halls. Each hall, large enough to take more than half of the students at a go, is equipped with a total of 300 chairs and tables. Each seat is far apart from the other. This way, it’s usually very hard for a student to spy another student’s work. Aside from the spacing, students from the same class are usually seated 2 to 4 seats apart from each other. All in the vein to cut malpractice to its barest minimum. Also, in each of the halls, at least there are 5 to 6 teachers present to supervise them, accompanied with a chief invigil