Jolly Friends

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 with one of her numerous mathematical problems, when she saw Bayo, who was leaning on the railings on the second floor. She had previously gone to Funmi but the latter said she was busy and Mr. Dammy, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found. Thankfully, she had seen her last resort.

“Senior Bayo!” she called when she got close to him. “Good afternoon.”

“Afternoon Ayomide.” He shifted his attention to her. “Another problem right?”

“Yes,” Ayo replied. “Sorry to bother you.”

“Oh! It’s nothing” – he collected the textbook from her – “anything for my little sister.” He joked while she smiled. He studied the question for a while and started writing on a piece of paper, Ayo had given to him along with the textbook. He was explaining to her while solving but Ayo’s mind was far away. Her mind drifted to the first time she went to meet him for assistance on a mathematics problem.

That fateful day, a day after Mr. Dammy told her she would be representing JSS 1B in the coming mathematics quiz, Bukky had persuaded her to go to Bayo for assistance if she was going to do well in the quiz. She had agreed after much persuasion, owing to the fact that Bukky had told her Bayo won the just concluded mathematics competition organized by Olympic Foods in conjunction with the State Government tagged, ‘Mathematics Olympiad’. Bukky had also told her, he won the mathematics quiz organized in the school for 3 consecutive times right from JS 1 to 3. ‘He is a genius’, Bukky had stated. Ayo had even gone to the school’s hall of fame to confirm and to her suspicion, Bukky was right. He was indeed a genius. Ever since, they became closer. Their relationship was like that of siblings. Bukky wasn’t left out in the friendship, as she was the one who brought them closer. The trio became jolly friends.

* * * * * * * *

“She is not here yet,” was the first thing Bayo said when he entered Mrs. Cole's sitting room. “That lazy girl!” he was referring to Bukola.

“Is that how to greet?” Ayo frowned.

“That’s no way” – Mrs. Cole came out from the bedroom having heard Bayo’s voice – “to talk to your senior.”

“I’m only teasing him!” Ayo protested

“Good afternoon, Ma!” Bayo said while bending a little, to show respect. “Don’t mind, Ayo.”

“Okay then! How are you?”

“I’m fine ma,” he responded.

“How about your Dad?” 

“He’s fine.” He sat down on a chair. “He said he would be here by 3 PM to pick you up.”

“Alright then, just what I wanted to know,” She smiled and left.

“Since Bukky is not here yet, we have to wait,” Bayo suggested after Mrs. Cole had left.

“Of course, we have to,” Ayo replied.

“Do you think you can win this competition?” Bayo asked all of a sudden.

“Yes, she can!” Bukky answered as she joined them in the sitting room. “Infact she will. Don’t doubt her.”

“Your English have improved.”

“Has improved!” Bukky corrected and the other two laughed.

“He was just testing you and you fell for it!” Ayo laughed again and this time, she held her stomach. “But senior Bayo, that's unfair!”

“Whatever!” Bukky hissed. “What I know is Ayo will win.”

“What makes you think so?” Bayo queried, after having a good laugh.

“What else?” Bukky opened both palms and stretched her hands outwards. “I believe in her.”

“That’s not reason enough,” Bayo probed further.

Ayo just watched as they talked about her as though she was not present in the room. “You both realize I’m right here with you.” She waved her hands. 

“You know nothing.” Bayo waved. “Those students in JS 3 are geniuses when it comes to solving math problems. Especially that short boy” – he bit his fingertips – “What’s his name again o?”

“Oh! Emmanuel. That one?” Bukky pointed a finger. “He’s just a walk over.” She hissed. “I heard he’s one of those representing the school in the Mathematics Olympiad coming January.”

“Yes, that’s true,” Bayo replied. “It’s because you don’t know him, that’s why you are talking like this. He has won the Annual Mathematics Quiz twice already and this year, he’s aiming to win it for the third time just like I did.” He grinned. 

“That’s because he has not competed with Ayo,” Bukky boasted. “Just wait and see how Ayo will win that fish head”

“Can we study, please?” Ayo felt irritated. “Senior Bayo, you should know that Bukky will not stop discussing this issue unless you do.”

“Okay, I give in. Let’s study,” Bayo agreed. He knew quite alright that Bukky won’t give up no matter what he said to prove her wrong. She could argue all-day.

“Finally!” Ayo sighed. “Somebody decides to have sense.”

“So you mean I don’t have sense abi?” Bukky hit Ayo playfully. “Look at the person I’m supporting sef. Nonsense pikin.”

Bayo couldn’t help but laugh. The three of them burst into a roar of laughter.

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