“My name is Akachukwu Peter, I’m 15years and I was in Jss3 in my former school, I’m supposed to be going to SS1 now..”

She blinked severally as she looked up from the register

“Miss Peter, your name isn’t registered yet but it can be, there’s still time. Your father only came to make enquiry on Monday and said he will be coming with you yesterday, that’s Tuesday, unfortunately we didn’t see you untill today. Where’s your father..”

“, He’s in his workshop. He told me that he had already done everything required and even brought back this form, which I already filled in…”
I stretched out the paper work towards.

She glanced through it and heaved.

“This is the school requirements form for new students, it cost only 1k and that’s the only money your father paid yesterday. He promised to bring it along with you to make payment for your registration…”

I was speechless as I stood there staring at the Woman.
Why then did my father said he had done everything required and asked me to go to school that I will be given uniform and books.

I wasn’t expecting this kind of outcome and I feel really disappointed.

“… you’ve to go and bring your father to come and properly register you if you want to be part of the students here. this is first term and three weeks is gone already, you need to hurry so that you can catch up with the other students..”

“Okay ma, thank you. I will be back tomorrow..”

It was already break time as the break bell rang, students were out of the class.

I saw some of them that use to be my classmates back then before I traveled to the city.
Some were in Ss2 and others in Ss1.

My headmaster back then in my elementary, who thought I was too intelligent to be in primary 4 and he made me and six others student from my class to take the exam with primary 5 pupil and I passed it all, we even beat some of the pupils in primary 5.

I had to skip my supposed class then to be in primary 5 with only three of my classmates who passed the exam too, the other three went back to primary 4 because they didn’t do too well

Coming to the city in my Jss2, I didn’t know what awaits me.
My Aunty made me repeat class when I newly came.
She had said her daughter, Nunu most be higher than me in everything, which includes class.
I went to a different School, which wasn’t too far from the house.
It wasn’t all local but standard.
The fees wasn’t much compared to her children’s school fees that was way huge.

I was still very grateful for their kindness, atleast sending me to school and all that they did.
I hold no fault against them except that they almost endangered my life, making me misérâble but for the sake of Molly, I forgive them all.
My uncle, Aunty, Austin and offcourse Nunu, I hold no sin against them.

I still don’t know how to look past what Lambert did
He could have succeeded in taking advantage of me and nothing will be done.
It will be swept under the carpet and everyone will move on like nothing happened.

Anytime I think of how he kept pressing my brëâst and tapping my buttøcks, i felt cold, goosebumps all over, then anger will come to settle in.

I escaped him by chance but I’m afraid not everyone will be able to do so.

“Aka! Aka..” I heard somebody screaming my name as I was almost getting to the school gate

“…hey! I have been shouting your name but it seems your mind traveled outside your body, maybe to America..”
Buchi began to chuckle loudly

I laughed out too at his last statement

He used to be my classmate.
He was among the pupils that passed the primary 5 exam and we both skipped primary 4
Buchi, Sarah, Nonso and I are the only selected students then that passed our exam with flying color.

Buchi and Sarah are my very close friends.
Immediately he heard I was back, he came visiting with Sarah who happens to be his cousin.
They have visited twice and wanted me to fill them in about my school in the big city.

“Hey Buchi, you’re out for break..”

“Yeah.. obviously. When will you be starting.. tomorrow or Monday..?

“Hmm, I don’t know but I guess Monday. I thought my father did the registration and I was asked to come in person and maybe to finalise any sign in but the principal said I should come with my father to properly register before I can get started with class works..”

“Ooh! I see. I was happy seeing you in school and thought you’ve registered..”

“… what class will you be in? Ss2 right?

“I’m not sure, I guess it will be Ss1. We won’t be in the same class unfortunately but atleast we will be in the same school..”

Sarah and others came running to meet us
They all had different questions

I also saw my two junior brothers. They came dragging me to buy something for them.
I gave them the small change I collected from my mother in the morning.

We sat by the school gate talking untill the break was over, the bell rang signalling them to go back to the class

I had to also take my leave as they waved me goodbye.

I went straight to my father’s workshop but he was not around.

I went to meet mother, close to the market side were she sells vegetable leaves.

My sister was there with her.

I told her everything that I was told in school
“… papa only paid one thousand naira which was the enquiry form…”

“Your father had said he didn’t have enough money to sort your school registration but he’s hoping to get money soon..”

“Mummy, how can he said he doesn’t have money. I gave him the whole money I returned with, when he changed the dollar it was more than 150k. A hundred dollar is more than fifty thousand Mummy, what did he do with all the money just within one month..”

“He gave me forty thousand to buy foodstuffs for the house. I added the remaining money in my ogu business…”

I stared at my mother waiting for further explanation.
I wasn’t even given a dime from the money, I thought is because he wanted to use it for my school and some other necessary things, like changing the kitchen and bathroom roof zinc, whenever it rains, there’s rain dropping in multiple places in the kitchen.

There’s work to be done in the two bedroom apartment that we live in but we can still be managing until there’s enough.

“What of the remaining money? I finally asked since my Mum didn’t bother explaining further.

“I don’t know, go ask your father..”

“Papa is not in his shop, I was just coming from there..”

“Then wait for him to return, in the meantime stay here with your sister and attend to customers. I want to go and check on Mama Adaobi, I heard she just returned from omugwo, her daughter gave birth and she was gone for about 6 months..”

My mother left, leaving me and my sister in the shop.

Two women came to buy vegetable and requested that it should be cut.

I quickly switched into work mood.
I sliced the vegetables, packed it up after collecting money the customers.

My sister was equally helping in making it fast and easy.

I used to help my mother back then after school before I traveled to the city.

Is nothing new to me, rather is something that’s part of me

My father Only repairs shoe, but hardly make one

He’s comfortable fixing people’s torn shoes, he could have explore and make more money if he can start making new foot wears.

Ever since he left his teaching Job in a primary school because it wasn’t paying much, he decided to start cobbler business, he even borrowed money back then to start but is not going as expected.

My Mother didn’t return back to the shop that day, she must have felt relaxed because I’m there.
As night approached, I started closing up
I saw my brothers coming from the house.

“Mummy said you should close so that you can go home and make dinner. She came back and left again..”

My Mom have this habits of seriously engaging in a conversation with her friends and she can even forget that she haven’t make dinner or attend to other important things.

My father used to complain and that brings misunderstanding between them.

Since I came, I’m practically the one cooking, washing and tidying up the house.

I just want to start school already.

“Hûrry up Aka, I’m very hungry..” Obinna, who’s thirteen years old said.

“How can you be hungry, are you not the one that finished the whole food in the pot? Uzo, my eleven year old brother cut in.

“We both finished it, that food wasn’t even much. I’m still very hungry..”

“Me too, ever since Aka came back we don’t use to eat enough because her mouth is included in every meal. Instead of the large portion we use to get is now divided and is néver okay for me..” Uzo added.

“Is a lie..” Amara, my nine years old sister said in my defense
… Is it not Aka that gave Mummy the money she used in buying plenty food stuffs for the house? Amara continued.

“Com’on stop lying, Aka came back empty handed. She didn’t even buy anything for us. She should go back to where she’s coming from so that we can have enough food and I can go back eating my large quantity. Sharing with two of you is already too much…” Uzo said again.

“If you want dinner ready on time then quit talking rúbbish and come and help me pack..” I said still concentrating on getting every of my mother’s goods properly arranged and packed.

Amara was helping me out but she stopped to talk with my two brothers who thought my coming back was a bad omen for their stomach infrastructure.

Obinna assisted, Uzo didn’t do much. He never stopped complaining of hunger and the little food he ate after coming back from school.

I ignored them and after everything was properly packed up, we went home.

I changed over and started dinner
My mother came back and complained that I cooked too much food, more than the usual.

I only wanted my brothers to have enough since they’re already thinking I’m the one behind their small portion of food.
Everytime I finished cooking, I will call mother to dish out for everyone. That’s how she wants it and she’s the only one that dishes out the food.

That’s why I decided to make much food tonight but she’s complaining that the food was way too much, next time she will have to be measuring out the food by herself.

After my father came back, I waited for him to eat so that I can go and ask him what he did with the whole money I gave him.
I also need to ask him of my school plans.

Is not so loving or warm around here, I thought it will be far better with my family
Maybe I was wrong or maybe it will still get better
I’m still very hopeful.


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