Bay grew up into a single headed family. Her father disappeared to thin air while she was still young and was raised by the mother all alone. Bay was the first child; her mother was so thrilled during labor when she found that she gave birth to a girl. .. When Bay was a little girl, her mother got transfer to work in a small settlement and Bay was forced to remain behind as she was already started a preschool and all the facilities were there. Bay used to spend the day with her great grandmother’s from the nursery and the grandmother would get here at dawn when she knocks off as she worked, that wasn’t difficult as the two homes were close to another.
When Bay was six, her mother got transfer back to their village. It was a very happy moment for her as she also welcomed her little brother. The following year when she was seven, she started her grade one and it was the same year too when her mother gad to go to the city to further her studies at the city. The next year when she was eight around November her great grandmother passed away. It was as if the world has come to an end for her. She was a little girl but still could feel the gap has been left in her. After the burial, she would go to her house every day after school and she would sit there alone having some flashbacks of the time they used to spend together. When she was 11, her mother graduated at the university.
Bay always had loads of unanswerable questions
‘Why am I the only one without a father?’
‘Is he dead or he just wanted anything to do with me?’
‘Why did he conceive me then if he knew he was not up for raising a child?’
It always had its way to hurt her every time she saw other kids with their fathers, playing with them or just to hear them calling out their fathers. She just had a thought that God was punishing her by taking her father before she could know him and also wondered what the harsh punishment could be for or again if it was for her parents past mistakes. She would pray every day so her father would show up one of the good days and live with them or just to have a relationship with him if staying together was not possible. She sward that no matter the condition her father shows up in, she would accept him with both hands. The only thing that she wanted was to have someone she could also refer to as ‘father’, her true father. Every time there was a knock at the door, she would wish it to be her dad…
Bay came from school the other day when she was 15. Her mother long finished hanging clothes on the line and she sat by the kitchen door which Bay liked using after school.
‘Hey! Why are you sitting here all by yourself?’
‘Is it a crime to wait for my children?’ Her mother forces a smile to her face.
‘Are my brothers not home yet? Is that why you looking so worried?’
‘Your brothers are both in the house busy with these television games of theirs; I was waiting for my only daughter.’
‘You don’t look good mum; sadness is the only word to define you. What’s bothering you?’
‘Is that obvious?’
‘Did I do anything wrong mum?’
‘No my girl…come and sit here, I want to tell you something.’
Bay comes to sit next to her mother.
‘Bay there is no other way to say this…’ her mother picks her hands to hold them.
‘What is it mom? You are now scaring me is someone dead?’
‘Who is it? No, not my grandma again, it is too soon for us to lose another member, my great grandmother just passed away…’
‘Bay listen to me please, mom is not the one who is dead…it’s your dad; I know we never talk about him.’
‘What? Maybe you just heard it the wrong way; it can’t be him… where did you get that information?’ Tears start falling down her cheeks.’
‘I am much certain about that Bay, his brother called me earlier on to inform me and said your grandmother asked if you could attend the funeral.’
‘I don’t know why everything never turns the way I wanted. I was looking forward to meet him one day and now he is gone and there is nothing that I can do. I will have to accept it and deal with it, all happens for a reason and there is nothing one can do when nature calls.’ Bay sobs.
‘Stop saying that Bay, God always knows why he is taking some people from us, He always knows why and I said his mother wished if you could attend the funeral. Think about it and tell me what you have decided before end of this week. The burial will be this Sunday.’ her mother pats her shoulder.
‘There really is nothing to think about mom, it is not that I knew him; I am not going because I am not even sure it’s him.’
‘I won’t force you if that’s what you want… I will be listening from you and I will be fine with whatever choice you take… you can now just go inside the house.’
Bay left her mother outside and went into the house going straight to her bedroom. She just didn’t even say a single word to her brothers forced a smile to her face; she was not at all cheerful as always. Her mind started running around when she was now alone in her bedroom. The other part of her wanted to go attend the funeral so she could at least meets her father for the first and last time. To pay the last tribute to him and say her goodbyes. The other part of her did not want to go, she thought going there would bring unnecessary pain and suffering to her, to go and see someone she does not know in a coffin… she comforted herself that it wasn’t part of her worries, that the only thing she had to concentrate on was her school work as she was only few weeks to her middle high school final examination. She convinced herself that she was over it but every time she was alone she would think about it and sob as it pained a lot. She decided to keep it a secret from other people even Clara and Mels who she was very close to. Everything towards her seemed dull, her school work suffered and she kept saying she was fine every time she was asked what was wrong.
Bay, her mother and brothers were new in their neighborhood after moving out at their grandmothers. They were one of the richest where they stayed. Her mother 0ccupied a high paying job. People feared talking to Bay as she always had a serious face when she wasn’t talking to anyone. They assumed she was rude and spoiled rotten. She was one of the coolest kids around, shy and kind to all. She gave everyone the same treatment they gave her… show her respect and she would show love and to you, talk nicely to you with a smile that would even smelt a heart. Disrespect or treat her otherwise and you would see a different person. She was a very beautiful young girl and well mannered. She was the type that every woman would wish their son to marry…she was also one of the best students at school.
It was May. For some months, there were no clouds in the sky. The soil was covered with tree leaves and some grass. It was a Monday morning around 6 o’clock. Bay and some other girls from her class were cleaning outside their classroom.
‘Good morning ladies! Some of us are trying to study inside there and we can’t because of the noise you are making.’ said Mels as she approaches the girls.
‘Hey Mels!’ Bay waves.
‘Why are you making this noise as if you at the shebeen?’
‘And why are looking at me, did you happen to see my mouth open laughing?’ Ask them! Bay says.
‘Oh! You just missed. Bay’s boyfriend just left, he brought her a flower. Bay was so rude to him and he left here with a not so good face and I believe wherever he is, he is in tears.’ says Clara, Bay’s best friend.
‘Clara can you please stop with that, it’s not funny anymore…’ Bay adds.
‘Oh! It was funny before? Go on Clara, seems like you had a great show…’ Mels insists.
‘Come on Mels; what is wrong with you? How can you be so interested in such crazy lies? Just go to class, we have to finish here. You didn’t even care to greet us.’ Bay tries to push Mels away from them.
‘Stop pushing me so I could greet you all…’
‘No way, you are disturbing here. We can’t finish here because of you… Just get out…’
‘Sorry ladies, how are you anyway. Excuse my manners this morning…’ he bows.
No one comments.
‘I guess with that silence you all are okay…’ he adds.
‘How are you Bay?’ He turns to her and smiled.
‘As you can see, I am busy. Go to class and I will find you there then answer all the questions you have…’ Bay replies.
‘Come and hug me first if you want me gone then…’
‘You must be joking, are you sure you are okay?’
‘Bay what did you use this morning that’s attracting every male to you, did you just swallow a magnet or something?’ Clara giggles.
‘You really are now getting into my system Clara, would you stop with all that.’ Bay shouted
‘Bay but but!’
‘You just heard her, enough with it. It was only a joke saying she should hug me…’
‘It’s all about her today, you touch this Bay, you touch that Bay… how I wish I could be getting all the attention.’ said Clara
‘Clara what got into you? That is enough.’ Mels shouted
‘Sorry sir, my mouth is shut. No more word about Bay…’ Clara apologized
‘Okay ladies, I am off to class I will see you in a bit.’ Mels waved
The class teacher arranged how they should sit in class the very first day they arrived in school. They were to sit according to their surnames arranged alphabetically and each boy was to sit next to a girl. Mels always wished to pair with Bay but that was unfortunate as their surnames were too apart.
‘Hey Mels! How are you? Our class teacher is down there the kitchen calling you, didn’t you have anything for breakfast and asked him for some food? I think he found something and you should go get it before classes commence…’ said Mat
‘Wowowo! Stop right there, what are you talking about?’ Mels asked in a confused state.
‘I am just reminding you that you should go collect your food at the kitchen, why would he call you this early at the kitchen?’
‘Your wish is as good as mine; I don’t know why I am being called there…’
Mels ran over to the kitchen after he parted with Mat…
‘Oh sir! I thought Matt was playing one of his tricks on me… what are you doing this early in the kitchen?’ Mels asked their class teacher Mr. Spencer
‘Good morning to you too Mels! I am very well thanks for asking.’said Mr. Spencer
‘Oh! I am very sorry sir, good morning. Are you okay sir, why did you call me here, is everything okay?’
‘One question at a time, I am fine. I will be gone for two if not three days so I am putting you in charge of everything. My wife is in hospital so I have to go see her.’
‘I am very sorry sir to hear that, I am wishing her a speedy recovery and I think it’s nothing serious.’
‘Thanks my boy, it’s not serious according to what they said… Let me leave now or I will be stuck in traffic.’
‘Drive safely sir, you know you can always count on me. I promise to take care of your class; no one is going to feel your presence.’
‘I know you can always have my back and make me proud… Stay well my boy.’ Mr. Spencer pats Mels shoulder
Mr. Spencer had to drive to another village where his wife was teaching. They were expecting their first born child after the third year of their marriage. They were so excited about the baby that they would be always worried whenever Mrs. Spencer wasn’t feeling well. They tried a baby some years back but nothing happened. They had miscarriages and decided to pray and not giving up and God finally answered them “God never says no but not now”… it was the 8th month of the pregnancy and only a month left for them to hold their little one in their arms. He long applied for a transfer as to have his family close to him. The headmaster of the school saw herself not losing a good teacher like him. He delayed his transfer papers; he was a dedicated teacher who always put his all when it came to his job. He knew how to handle students well and all respected him.
‘In class, all were seated in class doing their school work…’
‘Matt! How are you, hasn’t Bay arrived yet?’ Mels asks.
‘I am so blessed this morning, what brings you to my desk? Umm! She isn’t here as you can see…’
‘Where is she?’
‘She hasn’t arrived yet and why are you looking for her, what could that be important that you want to tell my lover? She is the love of my life that one. She can be arrogant that one but I am going to be patient until we are an item. Just watch how it’s done boy, I have this other feeling that it’s going to work.’
‘You wish, why you can’t just give up. Bay’s man is out there. Didn’t you hear her saying she is marrying no one here? She is pretty and deserves someone who will take a very good care of her. Stop dreaming about some things you will never have. Forget about Bay for Christ sake, you will meet someone who loves you.’
‘Why are you saying that, do you also have something for her? There is no how I am giving up on her…’
‘Alright, I will leave that to you. I just wanted to save you the heart break. Good luck cos it looks like you going to need much of it.’
‘I will keep my distance then cos it looks like you also want her… what did you say you want here?’
‘Oh! About that, Mr. Spencer is not coming in today also…’
‘And what does that have to do with me?’
‘Don’t you ever wish to sit anywhere in class but not next to Bay? Don’t you want to use my desk today and see how it would feel not to be by your soul mate for a day?’
‘You know how Mr. Spencer feels about that, we are not to change his arrangements.’
‘Yah! I know, I said he is not coming in; there is something of great importance that I have to discuss with Bay.’
‘If you put it like that I won’t refuse and please don’t say anything naughty to her…’ says Matt picking up his books.
‘Thanks my man, I knew I can always count on you.’
‘Don’t thank me yet as I might change my mind anytime and I will be over there watching you, don’t flirt with her.’
Bay came into class that morning very late. She stayed far from school that she had to take two different kombis of different routes. Her mother then decided to hire a taxi that would pick her every morning. The taxi did not arrive that morning. They kept trying the driver’s cell phone but kept going to voicemail. She ran out of options that she then decided to go to go to the hiking stop to catch taxis. She prayed all the way to school not to find teachers on duty at the gate as she would be punished for coming in late. She wasn’t on the right state of mind as she kept thinking of what explanation to give. She was going crazy like a headless chicken with the idea of being stroked for late coming… she didn’t like to be stroked that she would make up any story that would save her stokes. Mr. Spencer once was Bay’s enemy for some months. She hated her that she wished lot of bad things to happen to him like being choked by food when having meals or to lose his arm in a car accident. Bay and the other two girls were supposed to have cleaned the surrounding of their class but didn’t as they all came in late.
‘What is it that I see outside?’ Mr. Spencer asks in aloud and furious voice.
There was a sudden silence immediately in class.
‘Who were supposed to have cleaned outside?’ He continues.
‘Answer me damnit! Am I talking to myself here? Those that are supposed to have done that please come up front and please don’t think about wasting my time. No excuses you are supposed to give so hurry, you are all supposed to wake up early if you know it’s your turn.’
All three of them stand from their chairs and Bay was the only one shaking.
‘Girls come over here; I have some classes to go to don’t waste my time. I am the respected teacher when it comes to cleanness I could even be given an award if it was awarded so I won’t allow this to ruin my reputation as people might think I am the one encouraging all this…’
‘But sir!’ Tears starts rolling down Bay’s eyes
‘Bay I am not interested in any of your buts today … come over here you all.’
The two girls came forward to Mr. Spencer…
‘Touch down there and I want the head under the table.’ he says as he straightens out the beating stick
‘1, 2, 3 strokes, next!’
‘1, 2, 3 strokes, Bay you are next.’
‘Sir!’ Bay calls out
‘What is it Bay? Do you want me to drag you over here, if i come over there consider yours increased by two…?’
‘Bay! What I am trying to say is that l have some sores down there in my buttocks.’
‘Oh! I am sure you will get better soon, let me just finish with you then you can show those to me if you want… ‘
‘Oh me?’ Asks Bay.
‘Look I don’t have all day for your drama, come please.’
‘I am not making any drama, you mustn’t be aware of the pain you always give us.’
‘Do you want me to send these boys to drag you to here? I am now running out of my patience.’
‘No one is touching me; I never give anyone to you to get beaten.’
‘Do what’s right then, we have wasted much time now and I don’t have all day.’
‘You can go sir; you will beat me when I am ready.’
‘What seems to be funny you all? What is wrong with you all? Mr. Spencer asked.
‘Sir we don’t mind if you leave her…’ says some other girl who cleaned with Bay .
‘Class do you all agree with this?’ Mr. Spencer asks in a surprise.
‘Yes sir!’ Says the students.
‘I can’t really believe this but I am going to do what is right… Bays come and do what others just did and I have increased yours. I wasted much time on you.’
‘Aahhhhh!’ Class shouts.
Bay goes to him and touches the table.
‘1, 2, 3…’ she stands up with tears in her eyes.
‘And where do you think you are going! We are not done here… You owe me two more.’
‘We never agreed on that, I am taking three like others.’ Bay weeps.
‘Mr. Spencer that wouldn’t be fair to give her more, I can take the last two for her…’ says Mat
‘No! I will take them.’ says Mels.
‘Why are you all feeling sorry for her and the soft spot, I mean did she bewitches you all or put you all under her spell?’
‘Bay is a very good person sir; we all love her as you can see. She always sacrifices her time to help us with our school work where we seem not to understand. We don’t want to see her hurt as it does pain us too.’ says some other girl in class.
‘Sir! Can I please go out to have some water?’ Bay sobs.
‘You can go my girl… did you have something salty early this morning that’s making you all that thirsty?’ Mr. Spencer laughs.
Bay gives him an evil look and goes out.
‘Sir! That was not fair at all, we all told you that we didn’t mind you leaving him.’ says Matt.
‘This is my class and I run it the way I like, I need no one’s assistance so stop it before you say something that would upset me…’ Mr. Spencer says in a calmed voice with hands in trouser pockets.
‘Sorry sir! i was just saying.’ says Matt.
‘And that wasn’t cool for you to laugh at her when she asked to go and have some water, she is in pain and that’s the least of what she needed.’ says Clara.
‘I can’t be around you when you all are like this, let me see you tomorrow and I would still be with my friend here to see if you cleaned.’ he raises the stick up high as he goes out.
All was silent, except for the wind that swayed the branches, the fallen leaves and dry twigs could be heard rustling clearer. The teachers at the gate in duty could now not only hear chicken feet rustling leaves but could even see someone.
‘Hey Bay! Hurry up, is that all you could do, dragging your feet that way still knowing you are this late?’ Says some teacher at the gate.
Bay increases her walking pace and starts crying.
‘It’s only that I don’t have the energy to run ma’am.’
‘Bay! Did something bad happen, why are you crying? Talk to me my child.’
‘I woke up like any other morning ma’am and then waited for my taxi to come pick me like always but it never arrived. I waited like forever and then mom gave him a call but the cell phone was answered by another man only to tell us that my driver passed yesterday on a silent death… this doesn’t add up cos I was with him just yesterday.’
‘Bay that is so sad my dear. You will heal as time goes on. You should be at home, now is not the time for you to be here, I guess you were somehow now close.’ the teacher consoles her.
‘Thanks ma’am! Staying home would do me nothing but miserable, I just need to be around people.’
‘Are you sure you would be fine? I would explain to Mr. Spencer if you are that worried about him…’
‘I will be fine ma’am; I am that positive.’
‘Go to class then, I am sorry again for your loss.’ the teacher hugs her.
‘I should deal with it one or the other so it does go away from my mind; stay well madam!’ Bay waves.
Bay just left. She was so thrilled she dodged the punishment and also felt guilty about faking someone’s death. It was already the end of period one when she just walked in and Mrs. Tima was still in class for the last period as it was a double lesson for her.
‘Oh! Look who just got in, you should have stayed home, there is no use coming this late…’ says the teacher with a broad smile.
‘Oh my dove! She wasn’t feeling well this morning. I think it’s because we stayed the whole night talking. I think she lost track of time this morning.’ Says Matt
‘Is it? You should be arriving with her if she really is yours and claiming to have spent the night talking, I mean a good boyfriend takes care of the future wife.’ the teacher adds.
‘We are not yet married, just engaged. You know how parents are, as soon as we finish school we marry and start living together.’ says Matt.
‘In your dreams boy, you are out of Bay’s league. Stop fooling yourself, that girl over there deserves something much better than you.’ Clara says.
Bay blows a kiss to Clara and whispers ‘thanks girlfriend’ and Clara ‘my pleasure’ in return with a lovely broad smile.
‘Somebody needed to tell him that.’ Mels laughs out
‘Bay tell these people that we are one thing.’ Matt says
‘Me and you one thing? Not in this life time.’ Bay says
‘He is only meaning well my girl, don’t take it seriously.’ Mrs. Tima says.
‘I am fine Mrs. Time.’ Bay adds.
‘Tell them babe that you are fine cos I am telling nothing but the truth here.’
‘Matt just shut up, do you always have to be like this… you so irritates, why can’t you just accept that she is not into you?’ Mels shouts.
‘Thanks so much for saving myself from a hurricane Mels. I don’t know what I would have done if it wasn’t for you and my lovely class mates. You always are fighting my battles protecting me from Mels.’ Bay pats Mels.
‘Hey! Stop fondling, we are in class and there is a teacher in front of us at least respect her.’ Says Matt looking over to Mels
‘Why are you sitting there all alone? You decided to relocate cos you saw she does not want you?’ Asked some other boy
‘I just knew she was going to be late and I asked him to swap with me as I didn’t want to look like a fool sitting down there by myself and besides that it pained to be there all to myself without my better half.’ Matt explained
‘Matt! Cut the bull.’ Mels says.
‘Are we ever going to start the next lesson or we are here yet to listen to this boy’s crap?’Clara asks.
‘What lesson, we are only few minutes before we are done with it. There is nothing we can do even if we started now.’ Mels explains.
‘You just walked in and people are already firing you with silly stuff, that’s not at all fair.’ Clara says.
‘Thank you girl friend, I am okay… never mind him, he is a fool that no one should mind about the stupid things he always talks about.’ Bay says.
‘I just wish you were the only class I had… I so enjoy being around you. You are never afraid to take what is in you out. Never hold grudges, you know I love you all.’ Mrs. Tima says.
‘What’s the point of holding grudges, that’s more like holding yourself a prisoner?’ Bay said
‘Have a good day you all;’ see you next time… Mrs. Tima waved as she walked out.
‘Bye! Teacher…’ class waves back.
‘That was a warm welcome.’ Mels smiles.
‘You can say that again. Why is he over there and you here? Mr. Spencer didn’t tolerate this last time I checked…’ Bay says.
‘What are you talking about? Please let them not find you are angry…’ Mels lowers his voice.
‘You know what I am on about, people sitting where ever they wish and I am not angry.’
‘I thought I could just try how it feels to sit next to you for a day since our class teacher is not in.’
‘ And Matt to leave his sit, that’s unlike him…’
‘Yes he did; are you surprised?’
‘Of course I am surprised; you should have waited and asked me too…’ Bay smiles.
‘But you just came in late and besides that I wanted it to be a surprise;’ Mels smiles back.
‘And what’s with the surprise? Matt just told everyone that he didn’t want to sit all by himself so he asked you to take his seat.’
‘You know how he is. I just talked to him when I got here and he agreed.’
Bay turned to look at where Matt seated. She found him staring at them and whispered ‘I hate you’ and Matt blew a kiss to her and said, ‘I love you too’. She quickly turned to look at Mels and hugged him. Matt saw it coming and was very angry that he wished he never agreed to change seats with Mels.
‘What are you doing Bay?’ Mels asks in a surprise.
‘Matt has been staring at us when I got here; I just wanted to make him angry…’
‘Wohhhh! You really made him angry, maybe it’s because you did not greet him, did you!’
‘Oh hell no! Why would I even do that? The guy is a brat, so arrogant. How I was even supposed to greet him when he was in my case when I arrived?’
‘And speaking of arrogant, why do some people say you are arrogant? Someone even mentioned it this morning but I don’t see anything like that in you.’
‘Why do people say, am I like that?’ Her face suddenly falls sad.
‘That’s the question I am always asking myself. I just see a sweet little in you that likes assisting people. Don’t worry; you know that not everyone likes us.’
‘I am not arrogant, snob or anything like that and I don’t think I am better than anyone else. I have never had an attitude and no intentions of developing one. If it ever happens then there will be something seriously wrong with me…’
‘People will always talk Bay… ‘Don’t let evil people worry you, don’t be envious of them. A wicked person has no future, nothing to look forward to’, that’s what the Bible says.’
‘I don’t understand people at all, you do this they complain, and you do that and still are complaining.’
‘Stop worrying about these fools; you know empty vessels always make loud noise. Enough with all that… How well are you prepared? We are counting days now before we kick start with the final examination.’ Mels held Bay’s hands
‘I can’t wait to get away from these lunatics who always talk about others, I am so ready.’ Bay smiles.
‘I can’t believe we will be leaving here. It was just yesterday when we started. Years pass on quickly. We will only be two years to the university and now we are weeks away to prove ourselves to the world what we have been doing here. I am going to miss you Bay, the relationship we have, us as friends, myself as the school head boy and you as the class monitor.’
Mels was chosen the monitor of their class the first day they arrived in school and was chosen the school head boy in their second year. Bay took Mels position and was now the class monitor. Bay was not happy given that responsibility but there was nothing she could do or say as Mr. Spencer wouldn’t change his mind. Mels told her to always have strength and courage to lead class as the monitor… he promised to always give assistance where ever she needed one. “Always ask help from God Bay, not only in times of pain or sorrow. Learn to lead, don’t be a quitter, whatever you achieve in life depends in state your mind is in. you will never win if you tell yourself you won’t. If you have a thought you will lose then you have lost already. Success begins with the power of mind. Races have been lost before a single step has been taken. Think big, be positive and you will win. Great leaders of today just started with lower positions and are now on top. I am now the school head boy from class monitor. The relationship that I have with God grows every day. Our relationship is so great; I talk to God every day. I can’t live my life without Him because He sustains me and keeps me safe. He is important because He guides me in everything that I do”.