It was September again. It was drizzling again. Students were back again. Teachers were frustrated again. It was resumption day. The time was past two pm, barely seven hours into the start of a new academic year and teachers were already fed up by the presence of their students and their parents. Students could be seen moving around in different locations trying to get a new hostel placement. Teachers in charge of that chore and checking in of students looked like they would rather be anywhere else. The students themselves however seemed not to notice their teachers’ obvious unhappiness at being saddled with them once more and looked quite pleased to be back.
Amaka looked on seemingly lost as a group of laughing girls walked past her. She glanced down at the piece of paper in her hand dejectedly frowning at the scrabbled handwriting with the name of the hostel she had just been assigned to. Lady Frances Hostel. How on earth was she going to find it ? She had been trying for over five minutes to get directions from other students but each one she had met so far had either been too busy to pay attention to her or had given her a vague description that left her more confused. For a while she considered going back to the woman who had given her the paper for directions but immediately deep sixed that line of thought as it came to her. The woman, a stout, scowling figure had barely glanced at her before grunting out, “Class ?” to which Amaka had hastily replied and then grunting again, “New ?”. It had taken Amaka some time to understand the woman was asking if she was a new student and her delay had earned her a dirty look from the woman which Amaka was not eager to receive again. +
She was lost in thought and didn’t notice she was obstructing someone’s path until a rude voice from behind her snapped, “Excuse me”. She turned around to see a girl glaring at her impatiently. “I’m sorry,” she said as she moved her things out of the way with some effort and the girl passed.
Amaka looked around miserably once more. Was it just her or were people just being unnecessarily rude today ? She wished her Aunt and Uncle had stayed longer to help her sort things out but they had a meeting to attend and were already late. She couldn’t blame them. They were both very nice and would have stayed if they could. But she could help feeling dejected at the moment.After what seemed like ages, she was finally able to find someone kind enough to help her locate her hostel. Several hours later, she was done packing and the last thought on her mind before she closed her exhausted eyes to sleep was what the next day in AMSS would be like for her. +
“Good morning sir,” SSS2D class chorused as the mathematics teacher entered the class.
“Good morning, you may sit down,” Mr. Samson said amiably and Amaka rolled her eyes and kept a straight face as most of the girls began giggling and adjusting skirts which needed no adjusting before taking their seats. It was quite obvious that most of them had a crush on Mr. samsonn. he was a new corper and was extremely good looking. h6e was tall and dark with striking thick black hair that he wore in a decent Afro. He had highly defined cheekbones and intense eyes that seemed to see through you.
Mathematics class was always interesting as most of the girls who were keen on impressing the young corper raised their hands frantically in a haste to answer his questions.
“Hey, you over there,” Mr. Samson called out pointing in the direction of Amaka.
“Me?” she asked unsurely pointing at herself.
“Yes, you. Stand up.” She rose obediently. “You haven’t contributed to anything we have been doing. What’s your name?”
“Amaka Uchendu, sir.”
“Well, Amaka answer this question,” he replied pointing at a mathematical problem on the board.
Amaka stared blankly at the board and felt the heat of several pairs of eyes on her. She hadn’t been paying attention to the lesson and racked her head for a solution but not seemed to be forthcoming.
“Um… Ehm..” she fumbled.
“Yes? We are waiting,” Mr. Samson quipped.
“Um,” she said nervously and cleared her throat, face burning in embarrassment.
A murmur rose among the class and some students began to giggle amongst themselves as her inability to answer the question.
“Sit down and see me after this class,” Mr. Samson said dismissing her.
“SSS2D, can you guys please just shut up? You make a hell of noise,” a stout boy named Damilola shouted on top of his voice.
“I swear, it’s like they placed a curse on you guys to always be a nuisance to other people,” another student named MaryAnn supported.”And so what? If you don’t like the noise, leave the class abeg.” A random voice shouted from behind and was given a loud cheer from majority of the class.
It was night prep and as usual the students of SSS2D were creating a ruckus. Amaka looked around nervously. The class was getting rowdier and it was becoming almost impossible to concentrate.
“Who is that idiot speaking? Show your face and stop being a coward,” Damilola retorted.
“It is your mother that is a coward,” the voice answered back and the class cheered once more.
“If you know your mother gave birth to you properly, show your face and repeat that stupid statement,” Damilola replied bitterly and the class cheered again. It was obvious that a fight might break out and they eagerly anticipated the entertainment.
The owner of the voice who had insulted Damilola stood up and the class went wild as the boy walked over to where Damilola sat.
“Damilola, it is me Tayo and I’m telling you that your mother is the coward not…” He didn’t get the chance to complete his sentence as Damilola stood up furiously and punched him square on his mouth which immediately began to bleed.
He yelled in rage and was about to throw a punch when a friend of Damilola’s hit him from behind.
That was when chaos broke out as people began to take sides and soon the fight became a free for all event.
Amaka screamed and ducked as a shoe aimed at someone else narrowly missed her head.
“Hey, let’s get out of here,” someone behind her spoke and holding her arm, let her out of the class pushing their way through the hyped crowd who were hurling insults at each other.
Finally, they were out in the open air and she found herself facing a boy who seemed to be from her class.
“Thank you,” she mumbled awkwardly embarrassed by her earlier display of weakness.
“You are welcome,” he replied and flashed her a smile offering his hand for a shake. “My name is Miebaka.”
“Oh,” she said and paused for a while undecidedly before taking his hand.
“You didn’t tell me your name,” he commented.
“Sorry, my name is Amaka,” she answered.
“I know,” he said and she gaved him a confused look. “Don’t mind me, I’m joking,” he laughed and she smiled.
A yell from afar made her turn worriedly to look at the class they had just left.”Do you think we should call someone, like a teacher, to stop the fight? ” She asked innocently and he broke into laughter.
“What’s funny? Why are you laughing?” she queried.
“Sorry, sorry,” he apologized. “I forgot you are a new student.”
“I don’t understand,” she frowned in confusion.
“Okay, I’ll explain. It’s really nothing. Just that you mentioned to call someone. There is no-one to call. Actually, there are people to call but nobody will listen to you. Fighting is a normal thing in this school so don’t bother trying to report. You won’t even be taken seriously.”
“Well, what if someone gets hurt?”
“It simply means one less student to deal with. Look, nobody is willing to pull themself out of their comfort zone. By this I’m referring to the staff especially the teachers. As long as the situation doesn’t disturb them, they won’t bother to make a move. They only act concerned if the principal is around and he isn’t so don’t bother yourself,” Miebaka said with a shrug. “Look let’s leave here. It’s best if we just go to our hostels, I guess they are open.”
“Well, okay,” Amaka replied. “Goodnight.”
“Wait,” he said.”I’ll walk you to your hostel.”
“I don’t know,”she paused uncertainly.
“Well, I guess it’s fine,” she agreed and he flashed her another smile.
“Nothing can reduce gravity of this act of flagrant indiscipline,” the principal of Archibald Memorial secondary School said in a very stern voice that commanded respect and silence from the students.
The principal, Mr. Adetunde Gbenga was a short stocky man in his late forties. He was well known for his deep resounding voice and no-nonsense character. This was one of the reasons he had been appointed by the board to run the school. With balding head and famous for his usual outfit of jumpsuits and dark rimmed glasses, he had been nicknamed colo by the students after the colonial masters because they felt he was old fashioned. But no student had ever dared to call him that to his hearing as he was a very fearsome man. And although he was barely present in school, a threat with his name attached was enough to make students behave.
“This school is owned by Higher Grace Ministries and as such is a Christian school. We don’t tolerate indiscipline here and if you don’t like it, you are free to leave. What does this display of unculturedness say about you?” Mr. Adetunde continued shaking his fist in anger towards line of SSS2 students. He had heard about the fight from a junior student earlier that morning. “I expect you all to have a bee in your bonnet about moral rectitude but unfortunately, the reverse is the case.”
“Abeg, colo leave us make we go. Dis your talk don dey tire person,” a tall boy from SSS3 class muttered in pidgin English under his breath.
“I swear, make dis man free us na,” someone else complained and immediately a murmur of approval rose from other students who had heard him.
“What is that racket all about?” Mr. Adetunde barked and at once the assembly became quiet again. “Anyway, you can all return to your classes but you will hearing from me soon.”
“Okay, that will be all for today. Any questions?” Mr. Sari, the government teacher said rounding up with his class for the day.
Amaka glanced at the clock nervously. It was five minutes to the next class which was Mathematics. She remembered that Mr. Samson had asked her to see him after the previous class and she hadn’t done that.
“No questions?” Mr. Sarki asked and was answered by unamious chorus of “No questions!”
“Okay, no problem. Just ensure that you all submit your assignment before Friday,” he picked his books from a desk in the front column and left the class.
Amaka glanced at the clock again. It was now four minutes to Mathematics class and she prayed that Mr. Samson would not remember he had asked her to see him, or better still, not make an appearance in class for his lesson.
To her disappointment, barely five minutes after the departure of the government teacher, Mr. Samson entered the class. After the customary greeting, he began the lesson for the day.
She gave a silent sigh of relief. It seemed he had forgotten all about her. About twenty minutes into the class, he received a call and excused himself. After some time, he returned and completed the topic he had been teaching.
“By the way,” he asked suddenly. “Where is that girl I asked to see me yesterday?” Amaka felt her heart give a painful lurch.