Tera stared at the green coloured wall clock for the umpteenth time. She couldn’t wait for the class to end,Math classes made her feel startled and uncomfortable; Hence,they were her least favourite. After leaning forward on her seat and fidgeting with her cuticles,she yawned for the fifth time in thirty five minutes,and tried to avoid Mr Nduka’s glare. He was a stout looking bachelor in his late thirties,with a funny accent and an egg shaped head.
” When will it be six now? Or is something wrong with my glasses? ” She asked herself as she cleaned her recommended,red rimmed spectacles with a sheet of facial wipes and tapped her feet lightly .
” Tera! What are you thinking of? Can’t you hear that Mr Nduka is speaking to you? ” Her best and only friend, Mark whispered to her slowly after stretching his neck towards her ears so she could hear him clearly.
” Tera Olagunju ! Tera Olagunju !! ” The outdated looking teacher yelled aloud for the fourth time.
” So…..Sorry Sir,I was lost in my deep thoughts. ” She stammered whilst itching the fat corn rows on her head.
” Really? What thoughts? Could it be that you were trying to find the solution to the equation on the electronic board? ” He enquired,amidst the laughs and jeers of her class mates.
” No Sir..I wasn’t thinking about the equation…” She replied with a rather low voice. She looked astonished to say the least.
” Tell that to the marines… Tera! To the board !! ” He vociferated and stared right at her.
She reluctantly adjusted the rims of her glasses,and walked briskly to the front of the class room. After collecting the marker from her teacher,she stared at the unfamiliar equation that was before her.
” Shebi he wants me to solve,ehn…I will solve for him now…” She said to herself and began to write random nonsense on the electronic board .
” I’m done Sir, ” She yelled confidently,and headed right back to her seat.
” You’re done with what? Even a twelve year old knows that pie is either 3.14 or 22 over 7.. Why is yours 30.2? When will you get serious? Do you want to rewrite Jamb next year? ” He enquired with a disappointed look on his face.
” Who can solve this? ” He asked the entire class. Alas! Virtually everyone in the class raised their hands up.
” Marilyn? Please show this un-serious student how its done. ” He said to the lanky girl seated on the front row. She stood up eagerly,and cat walked to the front of the class. As expected,Marilyn solved it in less than five minutes.
” Clap for her! ” Mr Nduka commanded his students who obeyed promptly.
” I suggest you meet Marilyn for special lessons as soon as we’re done. Your refusal to do this will earn you two weeks of detention. Have I made myself clear? ”
” But Sir…I’m busy at home and also in church…besides,my parents may not permit me to… ”
” I’m sick and tired of your excuses Tera,I refuse to rescind my decision. ” The teacher chipped in immediately without even permitting her to round off her statement.
” I’m sorry Sir. I can’t teach Tera,its pointless. She’s quite slow..” Marilyn’s statement was supported by a friend of hers who raised up her palms and made a high five gesture which was accepted by her(Marilyn).
” Tera isn’t slow…don’t say that.. What was the high five for Bisi? Are you in your right frame of mind? ” The man responded reasonably as he motioned towards the dark girl’s locker and scolded her for several minutes.
Whilst he was doing this,the remaining students were making jittery comments and laughing aloud. He rose up and walked back to the front of the class where he once was.
” Where is Tera? ” He asked after realising that her seat was now empty,and she wasn’t in the class anymore.
” She walked out of the class Sir ” Yemi,the Jamb lesson prefect replied with a loud guffaw.
” Really? Why didn’t you inform me? What’s funny about that? Aren’t you too old to have a pencil stuck by the side of your ear? Come on, remove it now! ” The man ordered and resumed his teaching thereafter.
Mark rang the doorbell thrice and waited patiently for someone to open the door. He literally ran down to Tera’s house as soon as the Jamb lesson was over.
” Good evening Mark.” The seven year old lad greeted him briefly and ran back to his room without even bothering to shut the door.
” Christopher!! Is that how to receive visitors? You and these video games of yours . ” Sisi affirmed with a tired look on her face. She was cleaning off her hands on a napkin and walking towards the sitting room after exiting the kitchen the instant she heard the bell ring.
” Ahh….its you Mark.. ” She added after realising he was the one who rang the bell.
” Good evening Sisi.. Is Tera home? ” He enquired and shared a few pleasantries with the huge and quite nice maid.
” Yes oh… She came back quite early from lesson today sha,did something happen? ” She asked with an inquisitive look on her face.
” Nothing happened,” Mark responded as he climbed the white flight of stairs leading to Tera’s room hurriedly.
He knocked at her door severally and there was no answer. It was a wood panelled white door adorned with stickers of pink butterflies and there was a bold sign hanging on her door which read, ” BUSY! DO NOT DISTURB !! ”
” Tera! Its me. I’m so sorry about what happened today…. Are you fine? Of course I know you’re not….Please open up..You’re breaking your bestie’s heart ” He asserted with a low voice.
” Go away Mark..I’m too ridiculous..too retarded to be your besty..we’ve been besties since we were kids and what have I caused you? Nothing but pain and humiliation ” She responded in a loud and shaky voice.
” What’s wrong with your voice? Are you crying? Please open up….I’m with your favourite,and its melting ” He replied and laughed quietly.
She opened the door as soon as she heard it. She was clothed in a pair of pink three quarter shorts,and an over sized blue t-shirt.
” Where is it? You left it in the freezer right? ” She asked with a look of excitement and expectation on her beautiful face.
” I was just kidding dearie..I lied…Don’t blame me,I’m sure you wouldn’t have opened the door for me if I hadn’t told you I brought chocolate chip ice cream ” The handsome young man replied.
” Oh!! So unfair!!! ” She complained and tickled his sides lightly.
Tera was a beautiful,nerdy looking seventeen year old girl who had a lengthy golden brown hair,and a uniquely pointed nose on her dark skinned face. She always had issues fitting into the status quo due to her odd outfits and crazy sense of humour. She graduated from high school a year earlier,but was yet to gain entry into any university. Her Father insisted that she was too young to travel out to the United Kingdom for her collegiate education so,he encouraged her to stay home for a year. Although she’s smarter than she gets credit for,Tera hardly ever successfully partakes in any academic activity.
An extremely nice and beautiful person,her plump features emphasised on her ” ajebor background ” which included large cheeks and profound dimples. Unfortunately,her mode of dressing did nothing to enhance her lovely figure. Her outfits were most monotonous and boring,they ranged from over sized carribean skirts,to plain t-shirts and baggy jean trousers. People often found it difficult to believe that her father was one of the Directors of The Potter Ministries,the top-most church in the African region at the time. She was often mistaken for the daughter of a Deeper Life Pastor or several other churches which were against certain dress codes for females.
Her mother had tried all her possible best to overhaul Tera’s way of life,but this was to no avail. Her carefree and childish attitude made her the odd ball in whatever gathering she found herself,this greatly fuelled her low self esteem and inferiority complex. Her younger brother and only sibling called her ” The giant teddy bear,” a name she was utmostly,and most definitely proud of.
The discussion of the two friends was interrupted by a knock on her door.
” Good evening Ma,” Mark greeted the instant Mrs Olagunju walked into Tera’s rather large room.
” Good evening Dear.. I would love to see you as soon as you’re done with Tera,” She added and smiled briefly at them both before exiting the beautiful room.
” Why does she want to see me? Did you do something wrong again? You seem to be getting more infamous by the hour young lady. ” Mark added and stared right into her bespectacled eyes.
” I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She replied with a mischievous look supported by a raised eyebrow and bounced playfully on the poofy chair which she was seated on.
Mark headed straight to the Kitchen after Tera urged him to meet with her mum whilst she was still in there so she could stand by the door and eavesdrop on their conversation.
” Ahh! So soon?..I hope you don’t think I’m about to scold you? Or why did you come down barely twenty minutes after I asked to see you? ” The clever woman asked as stirred her pot of soup carefully.
” No Ma,I was done with Tera already.”
” Okay Dear..Your Maths teacher called me earlier on today. Apparently,Tera messed up as usual when she was asked to solve a simple equation.”
” Not really Ma,it wasn’t so simple.”
” Quit bluffing Mark,stop trying to cover up for your friend’s misgivings. Have you spoken to her like I asked you to? What’s her problem? Why is she so lazy and unserious? ” The beautiful woman asked with a look of concern on her face and both arms akimbo.
” Tera just needs time Ma. I’ve been talking to her about it,she’ll change very soon. I can assure you ” He responded with a bright smile.
” Are you sure she won’t fail the upcoming Jamb and IGCSE exams? ”
” No Ma,she won’t. I’ll become her tutor,and Marilyn would also help out as from tomorrow ”
” Thanks Dear! I know I can count on you. Please send my regards to your parents ” She rejoined,and hugged the young man briefly.
” I’m done with him ! Tera Olagunju, the teddy bear ninja !! Quit hiding behind the kitchen door and come and help me taste this soup ” The woman yelled as she motioned towards the kitchen door.
Tera fell down due to her surprisal at her mother’s utterances and itched her head nervously. Mark laughed out loud and stretched forth his hand to pull her up from the tiled floor where she fell to.