Within a month I was already the talk of the school and few months, my news was already over other schools. Everyone was surprised, my friends were happy and they suspected anyways.
‘I knew it,’ Jade said laughing one day during our free period when we got the chance to be together.
I didn’t give them much time chattering again because whenever we had free time, I was always doing something. I was either solving an equation no one gave to me or reading. I got too occupied that I had no time for my friends again but they never complained even though they hated not having me in their conversations. They still came around my seat but while they chatted I was preoccupied with whatever I was doing. I blocked their voices out.
’Sheila, were you aware?’Anoma asked.
I looked up unconscious and lost and they just laughed.
‘Oh sorry, don’t worry Miss GRE, just continue with your reading.’
‘I don’t understand why she reads when no one is giving her exams,’ another one said.
They called me Miss GRE because they said I read like I was going for GRE exam. Funny if I would actually read for GRE exam.
The teachers were very surprised at my sudden change, though they suspected there was something off about me but they never knew it was this worse. I mean how could someone know answers to questions -I answered questions in rare times when no hand was up and they threatened to beat everyone- and not write the damn answers down in exams but only end up pen-tearing her answer sheets.
I always did that. After answering like seven, eight out of twenty questions, I feel tempted to answer the rest and remembering my promise to dad I get so furious that I pinned down my pen on the answer sheet and dragged it down, destroying the answer sheet and sometimes the pen too. I changed pen every now and then. The teachers always thought I was angry for not knowing the answer and would always warn me against doing that again. “You don’t know the answer, then just leave the question paper and not take your anger out on it.” And when they realised I was different they wondered what kept me inside. Some of them turned me to their enemy because I was even teaching the teachers, none of them had my IQ anyways. I was way ahead of them. My brother was the best student in the school before and then I was and he became the second best.
We started representing the school and got awards upon awards. I was already on scholarship since my elementary till I finished all my studies so it didn’t make any difference as many wealthy people were ready to sponsor me but what more could they do. I was invited to many rich dinners, rich gatherings but that also didn’t make much difference ’cause I was already surrounded with wealth. My father is a banker and a very rich one. He is the founder of Reignee Bank which is one of the best banks and he has branches all over the states and abroad. Many people refer to him as Doctor Ted because he holds a Doctorate degree in Banking. Apart from his own bank, he has six other banks he’s managing. The owners invited him to be the managing director of their banks because of his brains. And even at having so many banks he directs, he’s so good at what he does and one bank never affects the other. He is so calculated and accurate. And he’s still getting more invites from bank owners.
My mother is a surgeon and a rich one too. She deals with anything human bones and she is good at what she does too. She has received many international and local awards. She has her own hospital which is one of the best hospitals we have in the country but the government still requires her services in their hospitals as she is non-expendable.
They are so wealthy and well known couple and sometimes I wonder who is richer, my mom or my dad? In our house, my parents’ awards line every part; the living rooms, hallways, study, even the rooms.
And of course Dr Brad, my mom’s friend is also a very rich doctor. So I never really know what not to be rich is because I’m in it.
My parents loved travelling like any business mogul would, but they came to hate it because of me. They had to be with me every moment, so they sent representatives to whatever travelling they couldn’t make unless it was so important. But now that I got many invites here and abroad, their travelling started again.
My brother noticed the changes in me. He suspected something had gone wrong. He knew dad was always warning me to keep it low and now that I’m the talk of the school, he called me on a free period. We went to sit under a tree in the school premises so no one would disturb us.
‘Yes it’s true I have changed; mom and dad caused it.’
‘How do you mean?’
‘They have been shielding me for so long and I thought it’s time I be myself.’
‘Sheila! Don’t you think they should have a good reason or reasons for doing that? They are our parents and they can see what we cannot.’ He looked at me suspiciously, ’Sheila, did anything happen that you wanna tell me ‘cause this sudden reasoning of yours bothers me.’
I frowned, ‘nothing. Just that I wanted to go for “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” and they—’
‘You mean you want to play?’
‘And win, yes,’ I said.
Sean scoffed. He knew what response I would get from them.
‘But they said no, I got furious and told them I’m done with pretending to be someone I’m not.’
He frowned, ‘you mean you were rude to them?’ he looked at me with pity.
I saw the look on his face and asked, ‘what?’
‘Nothing; I just pity you.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Didn’t you read in the holy book that it’s a sin to be rude to your elders? After all you read the whole sheets of the bible when you were small; that part was torn in the holy book you read or you skipped it?’
I looked down in guilt, ‘I didn’t mean to be rude to them.’
‘But you were rude to them. They won’t be happy you know? No wonder they looked so disturbed the last time they checked on me.’
‘They did?’ I asked.
‘Yes they did and I asked them what the matter was but they told me not to worry, everything was fine.’
‘What do I do now,’ I asked clueless.
He chuckled. ‘You know, it’s funny how you could solve calculus in an eye bat and you don’t know what to do now. Well, I don’t know, find a way to say you’re sorry?’
‘When you get home, just show them how sorry you are, I’m sure they will forgive you.’
‘Yes they will, after all you are their naughty daughter,’ he nodded up at me with smiles. I smiled and he pulled me closer to himself, ‘don’t worry little sis, the sweet parents we have will forgive you, I promise you that but you’ll have to promise me you won’t do that again.’
‘I won’t, I promise, you have to believe me Sean, I didn’t mean to do that, I was so angry.’
‘I know darling, it’s not your fault; you got that from someone.’
‘Who?’ I looked at him and we both laughed. ‘But you know if you were home, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.’
I got home that day and went to my parents. They were both on the couch with my mom’s head on my dad’s laps watching TV. I stood at the entrance watching them. My dad felt my presence and looked back to see me; he smiled at me.
‘Sheila my baby, come here.’
I walked to them slowly feeling bad. My mom looked up at me and noticed.
‘Sheila,’ she sprang up to sit, ‘my love, what is it, are you okay?’ she pulled me to herself.
‘I’m sorry mom, dad I’m sorry,’ I started crying which made them feel more scared and uneasy.
‘Baby,’ my dad said holding me ‘what are you sorry for? Please stop crying.’
‘I’m sorry for all I did, everything I’ve put you through for the past month. I know I have hurt you and I hope you can forgive me.’
‘Oh common sweetie, you haven’t hurt us; as a matter of fact, we hurt you and we are sorry.’ my mom said.
‘Yes honey, we are sorry. We shouldn’t have done that to you in the first place; so will you forgive us?’
I cried the more and they felt confused and sad.
‘Ok honey, we forgive you, now please stop crying, please love,’ my dad pleaded.
‘I promise I won’t be rude to you again; I will do anything you want me to do,’ I cried.
They pulled me to themselves and pat me.
‘It’s okay baby, it’s okay,’ my mom consoled.
‘I don’t want to go for the show again; I don’t want to play Who Wants To Be A Millionaire again.’
My dad held my shoulders and smiled at me, ‘no honey you are going to play and win.’
‘No dad; I don’t want to, I won’t.’
‘You will honey, we will support you,’ mom smiled at me.
‘No mom. I know you will but I just don’t want to play again.’
‘You sure that’s what you want?’
He smiled, ‘alright then but I want you to know we will continue to shield you as parents but we will never stop you from doing whatever you want to do ever again, never and we forgive you.’
I was so happy. I jumped on them and gave them a tight hug, ‘thank you dad, thank you mom. I love you.’
‘We love you more,’ dad said.
Sean was right, we have sweet parents. Parents every child would pray to have and we just got them on a platter of gold. They are always there for us. They love us so much more than we can ever love ourselves. We are their pride, we are everything they live for and they would do anything to see us happy. They would scold us whenever they feel it’s very necessary but in a unique way.
I could remember once, when so young, Sean would lick toothpaste; he loved it. Whenever he was to brush his teeth, he would lick the toothpaste on his toothbrush before mom was ready to brush his teeth and of course he always got water to rinse his mouth when mom found out. But after warning him so many times not to do that again and he always did it again and again, they knew they needed to take necessary measure to make him stop.
Then this particular day, mom sat him down and gave him a whole pack of toothpaste to lick. He was so happy. He was four and too young to know it was a prank, or a measure to stop him from doing again what he ridiculously loved. So he set to deal with the toothpaste but instead, the toothpaste dealt with him. We used mint kid toothpaste. And after licking a whole lot he started feeling hot; his mouth became so hot from the mint and he needed water and that was where my parents were waiting for him. He cried and cried for water but they gave him no water. That’s where they told him, “that is what happen when your parents tell you not to do something and you do it”. It wasn’t easy for them but they had to take the measure to stop him from consuming lots of fluoride. Thereafter he was treated by mom. From that moment he hated it. Then my parents were faced with the problem of making him brush his teeth with toothpaste for a while. He would scream and cry whenever he saw the paste on his brush.
That’s the length my parents would go to stop you from doing what you love but hurts you even though the measure hurts them. But this time they left me, they didn’t stop me, not because they were punishing me but because they felt they’ve been unfair to me and that it’s my right to use my ability.
They started supporting me in all my endeavours. Also Sean stopped being a boarder and everything became normal again; the family was whole again, doing things together, playing together, laughing together and eating together.
‘Hmm… mom I missed this,’ Sean ate with great pleasure.
We all laughed at that.
‘I know; reason I made this especially.’
‘Welcome back home boy, it’s good to have you around,’ dad smiled eating.
‘Then why did you send him to the hostel?’ I asked while I ate.
‘No, I didn’t,’ dad looked at Sean as if he was expecting him to say something in his defence.
‘No don’t look at me; you sent me,’ Sean said ignoring dad’s look.
I smiled watching them.
‘No I didn’t; you wanted to go.’
‘Yes I did and then I was tired, I missed home, and you could have stopped me from going, you know; I was too young to know what I would miss.’
‘No, you weren’t,’ dad countered.
‘Well, you told us when you wanted to go and when you were tired you kept mute. How is that any fault of ours?’ mom asked.
‘Hmm,’ Sean agreed.
‘And we also wanted you to know how sweet leaving out of your home is,’ dad teased.
‘Sweet?’ Sean widened eyes at dad.
We all burst out laughing.
‘So sweet indeed,’ Sean made jest of himself amidst laughter then he continued eating. ‘Well to be candid, it wasn’t that bad, as a matter of fact it wasn’t bad at all, they were like family, just that I missed my family, my real family,’ he smiled.
‘We miss you too my love,’ mom smiled at him.
The door opened and Sean entered. I looked back, and smiled at him. I was so happy he was back home.
‘You happy now?’ he said as he rested his back on the wall looking at me; then he walked to me and sat with me in bed, ‘any work you want to give me my lady?’
I chuckled at that.
’It’s good to see you do that,’ with a nod up at my chuckle, ‘after a long time… I miss that,’ he smiled. Sean would never accept my chuckle as a chuckle.
I looked at him and hugged him, ‘thank you.’
I rested my head on his chest as he held me in his arms; then I remembered how sweet it was playing games together.
I grinned at him, ‘hey, let’s go play games. You haven’t tried the new play station dad got us.’
‘Got you not me, you know my take on games and he knows it too,’ he said.
I looked at him. Yes he’s right. He never loved playing games though he was good at it anytime he played that I found it difficult defeating him but I did eventually. And those times he played I always forced him to.
‘But you are good,’ I tried to convince him again.
‘I know, better than you. I give you trouble winning.’
‘No not better than me.’
‘Oh really, that’s your strategy right now, to make me play?’
‘Ok you are better than me.’
‘Good, let’s play,’ he rose.
I jumped happily out of bed after him and we made our way out of the room.
You know saying you are better doesn’t make you better,’ I told him.
‘I don’t need to be better than you, I just needed you to say it and that’s another defeat, simple. I don’t need to have 400IQ to beat you at that,’ he winked at me.
I smacked his butt realising the game he just played. He ran off and I chased him.
He’s good at that. He wants to get something, he gets it. He’s smart and sometimes I even feel he’s smarter. He knows how to beat me in things that he called, “simple” but seems difficult to me no matter how hard I think. Well, one not funny thing in these “simple” things is I don’t even have to think before I lose, there’s no room for thinking. It’s so simple that it doesn’t need thinking about. I just lose easily and he wins and our parents would end up laughing their hearts out and wonder “how could you not see that coming?” and Sean would reply them “she can’t, I’m Sean and she’s Sheila” and then I know what would end that statement “and Sheila knows what she knows” and I would end up chasing him around the house and would not rest until I caught him or we got tired.