The weeks gradually flew into months and soon, the year was
over. Clara and her father had spent the Christmas holidays alone except for
occasional visits from Rose Lily’s aunt. Clara wondered when Mommy would come
home with her siblings because the house was quite lonely without them. Her
routine was the same as always; wake up, do some chores, have breakfast, pay
Rose Lily a quick visit and head out with her dad to tutorial classes. She hadn’t
told him anything of her joining the art class and she hated to think of his
reaction when he found out. She had even dreamt that he flew into a rage when he
found out that she had enrolled herself in arts class. Clara enjoyed
her arts class immensely, it was so much fun and to top it all, the performance
club was better, as it helped her work on her talent and show it off more
often. Oliver had proved to be a good friend too and within the past few weeks
they had slowly become friends, he took her to his brother’s studio and he was
so impressed with her voice.

Now, as class ended, she exhaled deeply and closed her
books. It was going to be a long day, she thought. It was a Monday and Mondays
at daddy’s clinic was always filled to the brim, Clara was preparing herself
for the long wait as daddy didn’t let her go home without him anymore. The new
year held sweet promises and she promised to make this year better for her than
the last.

“Happy new year!”  A
voice said from behind.

Clara turned back and smiled, it was Oliver.

“Hey! How are you? Happy new year to you too. When did you
get back from your trip?” Clara asked with a huge smile.

“Yesterday and it sucks that I had to resume today.
Thankfully, I have less than a week to go.” Oliver said.

Clara smiled, she was going to miss Oliver, his exams were over and done with late last year and he was due to resume school in the
Spring, at one of the universities in Scotland.

“Ready to abandon naija huh?” She smiled.

“You bet….” Oliver smiled at her.

“I can’t believe we’ve resumed already…it was just
yesterday that we had our Christmas break.” Clara whined.

“I know right? How are things with you? I tried chatting you
on BBM from my village but the network was crappy.”

“I didn’t even recharge sef….I made better use of my
pocket money.” Clara smiled.

“Really? You saved your pocket money?” Oliver asked her with
raised eyebrows.

“Yup…I want to get myself a guitar. I was thinking and I
figured that great musicians can play at least one instrument so…”

“Why don’t you ask your dad….he can afford it.”

Clara looked at him and said.

“He doesn’t even know I’m in arts class…”

“What?” Oliver gawked at her.

“I know right?”

“How would you hide such thing from your dad? That’s risky
business.”

“I failed science class in school and that’s why I’m here,
re-sitting the WAEC exams, so, I decided to start on a fresh page and even Rose
thought it’s a good idea…”

“So you lied to your dad?” Oliver looked at her
disapprovingly.

“It’s not really a lie…it’s a….”

“If he were my dad, you’ll eat fire when he finds out.”
Oliver said.

“My dad doesn’t want me to be in the arts but that’s who I
am and where I belong.” Clara said emotionally.

“Look, not many dads want their kids in the arts, it’s just
of recent that things have started looking up in the arts that parents consider
it. Most parents would rather their kids do science or social sciences and get their degrees after which they do
whatever with their lives afterwards.”

“Well…I…”

“Look, you have to tell him the truth.”

“He’ll kill me…”

“It’s better he kills you now than later when he finds
out…he might not trust you again.”

“He never trusted me before…” Clara started.

“Let’s leave this issue…it’s making you tensed…” Oliver
started.

Clara smiled at him in gratitude.

“Remember that we have a big show for the fifteenth and all
parents are invited.” Oliver said.

Clara remembered, infact she had spent the whole holiday
working on her song for the performance as she was the lead singer.

The tutorial lesson had a tradition of doing a Christmas
party and fun fiesta for the season but since the Christmas celebrations seemed
to overwhelm a lot of people, they moved theirs till the new year.

“You bet!” She smiled.

********

Kendra wasn’t in the mood to go to school, she was having a
huge headache and her holiday had been boring. What had seemed to have been a
minor fight between her parents had somehow found them living at her aunt’s
mercy. The once jovial household had become a kind of war zone as her aunt
Dumebi’s husband kept nagging over their prolonged stay and Zika was already beginning
to quarrel and fight with her aunt’s twin sons.

The house was too cramped for everyone
as one of the maids resigned before Christmas due to the workload and the other
one looked like she was at her wits end. Kendra didn’t understand why her
mother wasn’t in a hurry to end the feud, she had spoken to her dad a number of
times on the phone and he had never asked about her mother. 

The only thing that
kept Kendra sane in these times was the love she had for her boyfriend James. 

She loved him with all her heart and they had both bonded before the New
Year as they had had sex for the first time. She was so happy that her first time was with a boy who
understood her through and through.

As her mother dropped off Zika and Emerald at their school
and swerved the car towards the opposite side of the road, heading to her
school, she said.

“I wish I could sit this week out…” Kendra said.

“Why? Today is Tuesday, I let you sit yesterday out….” Her
mother said.

“I really don’t feel like going to school…” Kendra said.

“Why? Don’t you miss your friends?”

Kendra wanted to blurt out that she had no friends, and the
only friend she had was James and he was still at Kaduna with his dad, spending
the holidays but she didn’t say it.

“What’s up with you and dad? Are we going to live in aunt Dumebi’s house all through this year as well?”

Her mother exhaled deeply, she could tell that her mom was
also tired of living with her sister.

“I dunno….I’m paying your dad a visit at his clinic today
though…”

“Really?” Kendra asked with eyes filled with hope.

“Yea but we have to talk about your upkeep and school fees
for your siblings as well.”

Kendra’s face fell.

“So, no hope for a reconciliation?” Kendra asked sadly.

“Well…I don’t know yet, this is our first time, speaking
to each other face to face after last year…” Her mother trailed off.

Kendra could see that her mother also wanted to end the feud
and go home.

“What of the ultimatum? The fact that Clara is still in the
house….I thought you said, you’d only return if she’s gone.”

Her mother shrugged.

“Clara can stay…” Her mom said resignedly. “Besides, her mother’s family is not interested in taking her….because they’ve never paid her visit since she started living with us.”

Kendra looked at her mom in surprise, part of the reasons
she hadn’t reached out to Clara since they left was because she didn’t want it
to look like she was taking sides with the enemy. She exhaled and looked out the
window, she had wanted to call her sister over the holidays to know how she and daddy were
spending their time and she made up her mind to do so once she was through from school.

Once her mom dropped her off at school, Kendra alighted and
waved.

*********

James and Raymond were at the terminal, they had journeyed
two hours to Abuja from Kaduna with their parents in order to board the flight
back to Lagos. The boys had both had fun with their dad as they had enjoyed the
holiday at Kaduna.

James was pressing his phone and was concentrating so much
that Raymond sneaked a peek. He quickly caught a glimpse of what his brother was
sending and froze.

“James! How could you?” Raymond asked in shock.

“Mind your own business!” James hissed and moved away from
him.

Raymond’s mouth was agape as he watched his brother type
into his phone. What he was doing was so cruel and Ray couldn’t believe it. He
wished he could quickly tell daddy before they left but daddy was so engrossed
with his conversation with mommy that he couldn’t butt in. Raymond stood up and
walked over to stand before his brother.

“James! That is so wrong!”

“It’s all a game and the last time I checked, I didn’t invite
you to play it with me.” James snickered.

“A game? With her feelings? She really likes you and is this
how you pay her back? You’re cruel!”

:”Well…at the end of the day, I get my four thousand naira….hahaha…”
James laughed.

********

Kendra was seated in class, the mock exams result was out
and the class teacher was handing over report cards and exam
sheets to everyone. Kendra patiently waited for hers and when she received it, she blinked
in surprise. Her highest score was fifty-seven. She couldn’t believe her eyes
and she almost screamed in frustration. Her class teacher stood before her and said.

“I was surprised too when I saw the result…” The class
teacher said and walked away.

The students turned to look at her and Kendra blinked back
the tears. She scanned through her result, she had failed Maths, English,
Biology, Chemistry and barely passed the rest, she almost died.

As soon as the teacher left the class, she heard some kind
of giggle and looked up to see some of the boys in her class pass across a
phone and gasp. Soon, Emeka turned to her in disgust and said,

“You are pathetic Kendra!”

Kendra looked at him, wondering what he was talking about.

The other boys peered closely at what seemed to be video and
made loud demeaning noises with their mouths.

“She’s a slut….” They whispered amongst themselves.

To be continued tomorrow…..

8 COMMENTS

  1. if you see how I gasped when I read the part that she slept with him> How did she get it wrong? mentally smart but not emotionally smart. Clara would most probably not have fallen for this. So James made a video of her and she failed her exams, sigh. I feel for her.

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