The teachers called us to the staffroom were they congratulated us and told us that we’d made it to St Marcellin’s Secondary school which was believed to be the best school of excellency in town and we didn’t know how to celebrate, Austin being him took a teacher’s water bottle and began throwing it in the air until I indicated for him to stop and he grinned at me in excitement then I told him that we could leave and the teachers asked us to visit the school frequently. I got home and found mom cooking then I took over and asked her to rest, she threw herself on a couch and exhaled loudly then began breathing heavily like she’d just ran a race which got me worried sometime back but I had gotten used to it
Mom: how did it go?
Me: I’ve passed and I’ve been selected to go to St Marcellin’s Secondary School
***She froze upon hearing that***
Me: are you okay mom?
Mom: yes my daughter, ummm…I..am..okay…and congratulations you’ve made me proud
***She smiled widely after saying the last part***
Me: I can’t wait to tell dad
Mom: he’ll be more than glad
I went to sit next to her and grabbed her hands in mine, I really loved that woman with my all
Me: why don’t you call him so that he can at least buy me a little present?
Mom: I wish I could but I’ve run out of…..
I interrupted her
Me: it’s okay, don’t worry
I was a bit disappointed but I couldn’t show it coz stressing her out was the last thing I had on my mind so I faked a smile to hide it and went to finish with the cooking and Monica walked in all dusty which made mom annoyed and started scolding her. We had our lunch and I did the house chores with a little help from Monica then I took out a reed mat and placed it under a tree which was our favourite spot when we were outdoors and I started plating mom’s hair while she taught me a few things I didn’t know of, Monica and I were mom’s best friends so my family was what mattered to me the most I treated my sister like she was my own and my parents as precious jewels especially mom and the love we all had for each other made me feel complete. I was braiding mom’s last cornrow when dad walked in the yard looking very exhausted and Monica ran to him upon seeing him then he picked her up and spun her around, he came to where we were seated and mom greeted him
Me: welcome back daddy, how was your day?
Dad: it was fine my baby, how’re you?
Me: I’m blessed daddy because I’ve made it to Grade 8 at St Marcellin’s Secondary
I was quite disappointed by his reaction because I expected him to be over the moon since he always celebrated when I came out tops in class but he looked like he’d just received shocking news
Dad: oh! That’s great news my baby and congratulations
He tried faking a smile but I’d already read his facial expression, he went in the house and we joined him after I was done with mom’s hair. I prepared his supper since we’d only remained with enough to feed one and it had to be dad coz he didn’t have his lunch and we sat quietly while he ate and told Monica and I to join him but I’d lost my appetite. The atmosphere in the living room felt like we’d just received a funeral
***He seemed lost in thoughts so I called him again and he looked up at me***
Me: did I do a bad thing by passing?
Dad: not at all my baby, it’s just that if you could have told me earlier I would have at least bought you something instead of paying for electricity bills
Me: it’s fine don’t worry about that all you should worry about is raising money to pay for my tuition fees and the rest
He nodded his head and stopped eating then I cleared the table and took Monica with me to bed
BACK IN THE LIVING ROOM
Mrs Mulenga: you need to calm down Bashi Lucy
Mr Mulenga: just look at my life, it’s been thirteen years since Lucy was born and I still can’t do anything sensible with my life. She’s done a great job at school but I can’t even celebrate that because I’m worried about where I’ll find money to pay for her tuition fees and these part time jobs of clearing people’s houses I do aren’t something one can count on especially now that there are more workers so income is less
Mrs Mulenga: don’t worry God will see us through
Mr Mulenga: you’ve been telling me that all my life Angela, what have I done wrong to encounter all this suffering? I have a degree in Banking and Finance and I’ve been seeking employment for so long to no avail. My mother in law who happens to be your mother isn’t feeling well back in the village and is looking up to you as her only surviving child to take care of her but there’s nothing I can do to help, you have severe attacks and the doctor said you need a heart transplant and it all comes back to me, I have no money. This life is just useless
Mrs Mulenga: don’t say that my husband please, life is very precious and others are even in hospitals fighting for it. I’ll help out too
Mr Mulenga: how?
Mrs Mulenga: I’ll look for a job as a house help and I can help pay for mom’s medical bills and…..
Mr Mulenga: No, you’re not doing that in your condition. Let’s leave it and go to bed
They stood up and went to bed both lost in their own thoughts……