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. Before her father’s death, she had never fallen asleep while reading before. Everything had changed since her father died, she has taken to sleeping more than ever to ease the painful memories and gradually it became an habit. Even that day she 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’, she thought.
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 friend to come in.
“No, its 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 of by the latter.
“Rhetorical ko, it’s a foolish question. You saw me and you are still asking Oh! It’s you? Didn’t I tell you I was coming?”
“You did”, Ayo surrendered. She doesn’t have the strength to argue further.
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, both girls began answering the questions to the assignment having read the passage even though they had little difficult with reading of the passage. Actually it was Ayo who did the reading and answering of the questions to the best of her knowledge
. All Bukky did was observe and talk at intervals. At the end, she copied Ayo’s work.
Ever 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.
“You mean she farted while the teacher was flogging her”, Ayo asked, her eyes bulging out of their sockets in disbelieve.
“I’m telling you and her fat smells like rotten egg”, Bukky replied her. “The teacher ran 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 last she did that.
“We have been like that since Basic 4. Then, the class was not divided into two arms”, Bukky explained. “But since we got to Basic 6, the class population increased and the class was had two arms, A and B. That was when things changed”.
“Changed as how?” Ayo asked. “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.
Ayo simply nodded her head to show that she was listening.
“After the common entrance”, Bukky continued. “All the pupils in 6A performed excellently well while those of us in 6B were lucky to have passed with just few marks above the pass mark”.
“So you are saying pupils in 6B are now in JS 1B”, Ayomide asked inquisitively.
“Actually all but two. 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”.
“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”, she concluded.
“Yes I am. I did badly in my entrance exam”
“No offence but JS 1B is a class full of dullards”
“No worries dear. As long as it is a class full of laughter and fun”, Ayo said with a smiling face. “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. She was hungry and didn’t know what to eat. She 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 together, 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.
* * * *
Meanwhile, Mr. Badmus got home minutes after he dropped Mrs. Cole off at her house. He found his son reading a book in his room. Bayo was so engrossed that he didn’t notice his father come into the room.
“Bayo”, Mr. Badmus called.
“Ah! Daddy you are back? Welcome sir”, he greeted without even turning to look at his father who was standing by the door.
“Yes I’m back 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 said glancing at the wall clock in his bedroom
“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.
“Yes you are sorry”, Bayo said. “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 PM everyday”. Bayo has now dropped the book he was reading and faced his father with tears in his eyes.
Five years ago Boy’s mother had tripped and somersaulted from the top of the staircase with 4 months pregnancy. 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 arrive that night, she was barely alive. He immediately took her to the nearest hospital. 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 happened that night and made a promise to the little boy to never stay out late past 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, things have not been the same.
“Dad, I’m sorry to say but in this past few weeks, It’s like you are someone else”, Bayo said. “It’s like you don’t care about me anymore”.
‘That’s not true son. 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?” he said still crying.
“How do you mean son?” his father asked and placed a hand on Bayo’s shoulder.
“Remarry! Dad, remarry. Then I will believe you really care. I need a mother and you need a wife. Please dad listen to me”.
Mr. Badmus was surprised by Bayo’s request. He was lost for words. He misses Bayo’s mom every now and then. ‘Do I need to remarry?’ he asked himself. His mind drifted to Esther Cole then he instantly knew what he wanted.
“I will do as you say, son”, he comforted his son.
Bayo wiped his tears and let out a smile. He was happy that his father agreed with him.
To be continued…