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 reaction.
“Yes I’m back” – Mr. Badmus strolled into the room – “and if you could just put that book aside and greet me properly, I would be pleased.”
“You always came back before 8 PM.” Bayo glanced at the wall clock in his bedroom. “This is past 10. Why would I welcome you properly? You know I’m all alone in this big house and remember your promise.”
“I’m sorry, son,” Mr. Badmus apologized. “The traffic was just too much,” he lied. The truth was that he had waited on Mrs. Cole at the office and also took her to a restaurant on their way home. He had wanted to treat her to a nice dinner. If not that she refused, he would have been late than he was. Thinking about it now, he was glad she refused the treat and had only agreed on take away.
“Yes, you are sorry.” Bayo dropped the book on his reading desk. “Of course! You are! I should have known you would say that. That was the same thing you said when mummy died. You promised me you will always be there for me, you would always be home before 8.” He turned to look at his father with tears in his eyes but his father was quiet and seemed worried too.
Five years ago Bayo’s mother had tripped and somersaulted from the top of the staircase. The father, Mr. Badmus was not back from work at the time of the incident. He was still at work as late as 11 PM that horrible night. Bayo, a 10-year old at the time, couldn’t help his mother, and so she bled out profusely without any help. By the time Mr. Badmus arrived home that night, she was barely alive. He immediately took her to the nearest hospital but it was already too late. Due to the amount of blood she had lost that night, she gave up the ghost while lying on the hospital bed. Her last few words were ‘take care of my son, Peter’. Mr. Badmus blamed himself for what had happened that night and had made a promise to the little boy to never stay out later than 8 PM. Ever since, he had lived with guilt and managed to fulfill his promise to his son but Esther Cole had walked into his life, at a time he hadn’t expected. And that had changed everything. Nothing remains the same, again.
“Dad, I’m sorry to say but in the past few weeks” – Bayo shook his head – “It’s like you are someone else.” He looked at his father’s face. “It’s like you don’t care about me anymore.”
“That’s not true, son and you know that. I do care!” Mr. Badmus protested, moving closer to his son.
“Don’t even tell me that dad! You don’t care about yourself, how would you care about me?”
“How do you mean Bayo?” Mr. Badmus placed a hand on Bayo's shoulder. “What are you driving at?”
“Remarry!” He wiped his tears. “Dad, remarry. Then I will believe you really care. I need a mother and you need a wife to take care of you. Please, dad! Listen to me, this once.”
Mr. Badmus was surprised by Bayo’s request. He was lost for words. He misses Bayo’s mom every now and then and agrees with Bayo, partially. ‘Do I need to remarry?’ he asked himself. His mind drifted to Esther Cole, then he instantly knew what he wanted or at least, what he thought he needed. ‘A woman to care for him.’
“I will think about your request.”
“I don’t want you to think about it, Dad! Just say yes and I'll be glad.”
“You do know I can't just say yes.” Mr. Badmus carefully selected his next words. “I mean, I can't just come across any lady on the street and ask her to marry me! That will be ridiculous!”
“Not just any lady?” Bayo rolled his eyes. “What about Mrs. Cole.” He noticed his father's countenance change, as he struggled with words but none came. “Your colleague at work! Ayo's Mum.”
“Stop already! She’s just my secretary.”
“Seriously?” Bayo forced himself to laugh. He didn't expect his Dad to deny such an act. Still yet, he pushed on. “She came by our school today and she asked me to take care of her daughter for her.”
“So?” Mr. Badmus shrugged. “It’s just a friendly gesture, since you happen to be older than her daughter?”
“Good point! But I wonder how she knew me.”
Mr. Badmus went quiet again. He already knew where the conversation was heading to but he didn’t want to concede.
“She came by the house thrice” – he held out three fingers to show how true his words were – “in the past two weeks!”
“On business issues.”
“You used to say we should never miss business with pleasure. Business stays at the office where it belongs and…”
“Enjoy the comfort of your home for pleasure.”
“Exactly, Dad!” Bayo smiled. His father smiled back. That, in his mind, meant acceptance. So, he stood up and threw his arm around his father's neck. He was almost as tall as his father, who was of average height. He had taken after his late mother. “I'm almost as tall as you!” he exclaimed.
His father laughed. “You take after your mother.”
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
How time flies? It’s been two years since the annual mathematics quiz held in Nightingale Academy. Ayo was now in JSS 3 while Bayo had already graduated from the secondary school, having passed his S.S.C.E in flying colours.Both Ayo and Bayo now lived in the same apartment under the roof of Mr. Badmus, though in separate rooms. She had been his stepsister for more than a year now, ever since Mr. Badmus proposed marriage to Esther, Mrs. Cole, of which she gladly accepted. After all, it is all she ever wanted. She is in love with him and ready to be with him for the rest of her life. Six months after he proposed, they got married and ever since they have lived together, tightening the bond between Bayo and Ayo. Mrs. Cole had now become Mrs. Badmus and she liked it.The school had just resumed back for the second term in the 2017/2018 academic session, in January. It was yet to decide which six students would represent them in the coming season of Mathematics Olymp