“Tife!!! Mrs Davies called. She rose up from the chair slowly due to the sharp pain around her waist. “How many times did I call you?” she said on entering Tife’s room. Tife is the only child of Mr and Mrs Davies. “I am sorry ma, I didn’t hear you” Tife replied.
Tife’s mum adjusted her eye glass properly to see the name of the caller. “Oh! It is Mrs Badejo,” she said, feeling a bit anxious as she picked the call. Mrs Badejo is Tife’s English teacher in school.
“Hello ma. Good afternoon ma. How is the family?” Mrs Badejo asked. “We are fine, thank you and your kids?” Tife’s mum replied. “They are fine, I called to inform you that Tife would be repeating primary 6 if care is not taken, reason being that he has not been doing well in English and the news flying around school is that other teachers are complaining of how poor he is doing in his other subjects as well”
On hearing this, Mrs Davies felt heart broken. Her heart skipped a beat then she turned and stared at Tife with so much pain in her heart. “But ma, how have you been helping him as the English teacher?” she asked, in an attempt to mute Mrs Badejo who was still reporting Tife’s poor performance in school. Then Mrs Badejo replied, “I have tried, the maths teacher has tried, the phonetics teacher has tried and virtually every single teacher of your child has tried yet he doesn’t seem to be improving”
“Ma, would you accept my candid advice seriously?” Mrs Badejo asked. Mrs Davies regained her calm to an extent as her ears really itched to hear this candid advice from Tife’s teacher. “Yes, Go on” she replied. “Go spiritual, that’s the truth I can say to you. Your son’s case might be spiritual. Your village members might be after his success in life. Who knows? it could be that old woman in your husband’s family” Mrs Badejo voiced out.
There was a dead silence for about 10 seconds, immediately Tife’s teacher said what she said. With so much disgust for the teacher, Tife’s mum replied saying, “I should do what? go spiritual for my only child, is that really your “candid” advice, from a teacher and mother like you? then go and trash it into the bin. I can’t buy that. Never!”
“No problem ma. I am sorry if I said something wrong. I was just stating my opinion” Mrs Badejo commented. Then, Mrs Davies hung up the phone on her out of disgust.
Mrs Davies sat down beside her son, on his bed. She said to her son with teary eyes, “Tife, _ose ọkọ mi_ (Thank you my beloved) tell me the truth, why don’t you do well in school despite all the efforts of your teachers and my support as your mother? are we too harsh on you? why don’t you still grab things that are very easy to grab without stress? your performance in school has not been impressive. I hope you realise that you are in primary 6 and you will be taking your common entrance exams in 6 months time?
“Yes ma, I know. Mum, I am trying my best but the more I try to concentrate and study my books, the more difficult it becomes, I don’t understand the reason for that. Mum haven’t you noticed I read aloud? it’s because I want to really read but because I find it difficult, I practice reading aloud to see if I can read with ease. Most of the time, I forget what I read and I don’t find it easy trying to remember. I feel like I am a block head,” Tife said as he bursted into tears.
His mum held back the tears that would have rolled down her cheek in order to comfort her son. She held Tife’s hands and said “You are smart, you are Intelligent, you are brilliant, you have a brain and you are the best. Never make anyone, not even your classmates or teachers, make you feel otherwise. Always remember what I have called you and know that mum and dad love you okay?”
Tife hugs his mum and says, “Yes mum. Thank you so much, I love you and I promise to always make you and dad happy”
“God bless you my child,” Mrs Davies commented.
“That reminds me, the cloth I was calling you to bring for me in your room, where is it?” she asked. “You mean this one?” Tife said, pointing to the orange dress lying on the couch in his room.” Yes that’s it _ose ọkọ mi_ (Thank you my beloved), she replied.
To be continued…
University of Lagos, Lagos State, NIGERIA