The driver dropped me off in the official car. My father was out of state for an official function, my mother was in Dubai at a women’s conference. It was just the domestic staff, I and my siblings at home. We were sheltered and could not leave the house without the guidance of the domestic staff.
It was the basic instruction from our parents and disobedience to that would lead to a great punishment
I walked towards the science block where the first period class was currently holding. It was chemistry. My teacher, Mrs Okeke was a petite, light skinned lady with short silky hair and sideburns. She was rather hairy and also showed some signs of growing a beard and also some on her chest.
She was very strict and had a shrill voice which I found rather irritating. She was standing in front of the black board teaching the class of twenty eight students.
I hesitantly walked in quietly and went to my seat.
“Jamila, why are you just coming to school?” She asked me in a loud voice. I could see twenty eight pairs of eyes staring at me waiting for an explanation for my tardiness. Where was I going to start though?
“I am sorry there was traffic on the way to school” I replied knowing that I had just told a lie that would take me straight to hell if I died immediately.
“That is not a good excuse, sit down immediately” she said sounding irritated. I sat down in my chair. My seat partner Bola smiled at me. She wrote on a piece of paper and passed it to me. I took the paper and opened it.
“She is in a bad mood this morning. We didn’t do well on the last test so be careful”
She was such a terrible teacher, no surprise that the class was not doing well. I nodded my head in acknowledgement to the note that I had just read. Bola was really nice to me. Most of the girls in my class were very competitive and some of them were not very friendly. I didn’t have to worry too much because we were not in the same circle.
I pulled out my notebook from my backpack and my pen and opened it to copy what Mrs Okeke had written on the blackboard. Mrs Okeke was staring at me. She looked angry but was short of words. She had written a chemical equation on the board that needed to be balanced.
2CL + H2 + SO4 ~> HCl + _______
The topic for almost a week in this class was balancing equations. The class had a test last week on the topic and it was as if she borrowed questions from A Level exams. Everyone in class broke a sweat on the test. Today, she was going to use this hideous equation asd6 class practice, i copied the equation into my notebook.
‘Have any of you solved the problem yet?’ She asked. There was a puzzled look on some of my classmates’ faces. She got a little impatient and repeated the question. There was silence, no one answered, pencils scratched notebooks, everyone had their eyes on their work but no answers came forth.
‘Lolade?’ Mrs Okeke said looking at a petite, dark skinned girl who sat by the window with her best friend Rosa. Lolade was incredibly smart and everyone in class revered her.
‘I am still trying to balance the equation’ Lolade responded looking frustrated. Mrs Okeke’s eyes started scanning the room. I did my best to avoid her eyes and started pretending to solve the equation. I didn’t even know how to start balancing the equation not to talk of solving it. My partner Bola looked at me helplessly. The apprehension in the room began to heighten.
‘Are you all trying to tell me you can’t solve this simple problem?’ She asked. No one responded and I also didn’t look up to see her face but i could hear the anger in her voice.
‘I will just choose someone myself’ she said. This was the worst thing to do because she could randomly choose anyone and it was a fifty percent chance for me to get called out or not get called out. My heart began to beat very fast
I kept staring at my notebook, I had to try to solve the problem just in case whoever she pocked to answer failed the question.
‘Jamila’ Mrs Okeke called out, I raised my head and saw her staring at me waiting for my response,
‘Yes ma’ i replied.
‘Come to the board and solve the equation ‘ she instructed. I hesitantly stood up, Bola looked nervously at me. I glanced at her notebook to see what she was solving so that i could have an idea of what to write on the board. I shuffled out of my seat and nervously walked to the board. The class was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. I was the official class scape goat and this time i was going to be roasted in class today as a burnt offering because the probability of me solving the equation on the board correctly was equal to zero.
I got to the front of the class, she handed me a black marker to write on the white board.
I stood there, I was blank. Cl stood for chlorine, H2 was hydrogen and then SO4 was tetra sulfate and that was all i knew. I failed to grasp the mathematical aspect when she was teaching. My home tutor usually did my homework so i never tried to practice, as long as the answers to the homework were correct and i had a chance if getting a good grade in the class,that was all that mattered to me.
‘You are wasting time Jamila’ Mrs Okeke said to me, the tone in her voice sounded impatience.
I looked at her helplessly and then turned to look at my classmates who gave me the look of lost hope.