” I would have come to see you and your mom since you both return but I was in Singapore and I had to cancel my plans and return back to the country yesterday so that I can personally register you into the school instead of any of my principals.” he said and I felt like an important personality at once.
” thank you sir ” I muttered.
” stop embarrassing me ” he said smiling.
” don’t thank me for anything, I’ve not done anything for you compare to all what your dad did for me so if you ever need anything, don’t feel shy or pullback to ask me ” he added still smiling.
” why are all the desk outside empty ” dad asked speaking for the first time since we entered.
” na so I see am oo ” Mr Popoola said in pidgin English smiling.
” those fools because I rarely come to the school and since they know I’m out of the country , always come to the school anytime they want but I’ll show them pepper when they get here ” Mr Popoola added still smiling.
” just warn them for now, and keep your pepper in your pocket ” dad said smiling.
” have you eaten ” Mr Popoola asked me probably to get dad off the topic of saving his employees.
” no sir ” I replied politely.
” the breakfast period always end at nine where the kids that didn’t take breakfast from home get to eat in the school cafeteria but you’re my guest for today so I’ll be ordering your food for you up here to eat ” he said as he stood up and head to his desk, took the land phone, click some digit on its keyboard then placed the phone on his ear.
He ordered for his special delicacy on the phone and asked that it should be brought into his office before the lapse of five minute.
” o ga oo ” dad said in Yoruba as he returned to the position where he was sitting before he went to place the order.
” ki lo ga ” Mr Popoola asked smiling as he took a sip from his tea.
” you can’t even ask me if I’m going to eat or if I’ve eaten from home ” dad said trying hard to look serious.
” the food in my school is for my students not for their parents and you’ve got a wife and I’m sure she’s already package your breakfast for you ” Mr Popoola said smiling.
” you can never change ” dad retorted also smiling.” I’ve got somewhere to be right now, so it’s all you and your guest now ” dad said as he stood up.” bye bye ” Mr Popoola said nonchalantly.” be a good boy son, you’re gonna love it here ” dad said to me patting my shoulder before he finally exited the office.
” so how have you been fairing ” Mr Popoola asked me.
” very fine Sir ” I replied him feeling kinda timid. I suddenly felt like an unwanted person in a no man’s land and felt insecure.
” I’m talking about the coming together of your mom and Tokunbo, are you cool with it ” he asked me and I felt more uncomfortable. Even tho I was cool with everything but I wasn’t ready to start discussing it especially with someone who seemed like a stranger but I don’t think I got any choice than to reply except if dad return to save me from metaphorical hotseat I suddenly find myself.
” I’m cool with it Sir ” I replied briefly.
” I know you can’t be cool with it just like that ” he said with a short pause, left out a crooked smile before he got his tea off the table, took a sip before he return it to the table. ” I know how you must be feeling but it’s great to accept it soon because it’s fate playing a tricky game ” he continued as his gaze was fixed on me.
A soft knock suddenly sounded on the door. I heaved a sigh of relief. I was sure it was my savior.
” that should be your order ” he said smiling. ” come in ” he said aloud.
The one who had knocked the door came in. She was wearing a corporate black skirt and white shirt, a pink apron and pink head wear. On her hand was a covered fancy tray which I knew was harboring my meal.
” good morning sir ” she greeted Mr Popoola as she dropped the tray on the table and uncover it, revealing two covered plates, spoon, fork and knife and to grace it all was a chivita juice. She placed everything on the table and head to the shelf at one angle inside the office, opened it and brought out a glass cup, she opened a door I didn’t take note of inside the office, revealing a dark room which got lit as she entered. She came out few seconds and the cup was wet. She placed the cup on the table before she exited the office.
He didn’t ask me any question about how I felt again as I ate the delicious meal I was served. We only talked about some of his histories with dad and when I was through with my meal, he made a call again and the plates was accounted for by the lady that brought them.
” I don’t want you to go now because the students are still observing their breakfast period right now, hope you won’t mind keeping me company ” he asked after the lady took the plates out.
” I don’t mind sir ” I replied him.
Hearing how he was talking about my biological dad made me feel free with him as we both discussed like we’ve been closed before.
” time tend to fly fast when you got a great company ” he said as he checked the time on the wristwatch which was clinging to his wrist.
” it’s nine already ” I asked him. I was already comfortable talking with him and forgotten about my main purpose in the school. It was like I had come to visit a friend and return home.
” yes kiddo ” he replied smiling as he stood up.
He went over to his desk to make use of the land phone again. He called three recipients and ask them to meet him in front of the staff room.
After he’s through making all the calls, ” it’s time to start your journey here ” he said smiling. ” let’s go ” he motioned to me as we exited his office
When we got to the second office, the three empty chairs and desks were already occupied by their owner. They all rapidly stood up as they saw him and greeted him. He didn’t say anything nor reply their greeting as we exited the office.
Till we got to the last floor, it was like a guard of honor for us as every teachers who saw us even from their offices all stood up to greet us.
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” good morning sir ” the three people he called which consisted of two male and a female greeted in unison . One of the two males looked like he’s in his late sixties and the other male looked younger, maybe in his late thirties and the female was the youngest. Depicting from my point of view I could say she’s yet to clock twenty five.
” good morning ” Mr Popoola reciprocated their greeting. ” Ben ” he said staring at me. ” meet my principals ” he said introducing me to the principals which I found kinda weird considering their age which I had already deduced in my mind. Only the older male looked like a principal.
” Mr Samad, Mr Adeniran and Miss Tife ” he said mentioning their names.
Mr Popoola calling the lady ‘miss’ mean that I was right about her.
” this is my kid I told y’all about on the phone, his name is Salako Benjamin and he’s going to be in ss2 c and I want you to take care of him for me ” he said to them and it sounded like an order.
” okay Sir ” they all replied in unison.
” Ben ” he said placing his hand on my shoulder. ” we’ve got a complaint box in the school where students can drop any complain they’ve got against any teacher or anyone in the school but I don’t want you to make use of it, just call me directly anytime anyone discomfort you in the school and I’ll make sure to do justice to the person ” he said to me and I was sure it was a threat to the principals standing there .
” okay Sir ” I replied him.
” welcome to Hibiscus valley ” he said smiling ” they’ll show you to your class and you might not see me around again because I’ll be returning to Singapore tomorrow, I’ve got unfinished business there but I’ll keep in touch with you ” he said handing me over to the principals.
” I’ll see you before I leave the school today ” he said before he returned back into the staff room.
” good morning Sir, Ma ” I greeted them.
” good morning ” they reciprocated my greeting.
” please don’t listen to my uncle ” I couldn’t believe I called him uncle but it didn’t seemed bad as it sounded.” treat me like you treat other students, no special treatment please, I don’t want to look like an alien among my colleagues ” I said pleading to them.
” good boy ” Mr Adeniran, the oldest among the principals said smiling.
” this one has home training ” Mr Samad the second male principal said.
” such a cute and humble boy ” Miss Tife said placing her hand on my cheek. ” leave him to me, I’ll take care of him “miss Tife said to the two principals and they looked pleased with it as they left me with her.
” I’m Tife, the sauce of this school ” she said smiling. ” let’s take you to your class and if you’ll allow me, I wish to be your school mom but it’s gonna be a secret between the two of us ” she said smiling.
Miss Tife was very pretty and young to be a secondary school teacher not to talk of been a principal. I deduced in my mind that she must have gotten to that position by the usage of connection or her beauty.
” I don’t mind ” I replied smiling as we started heading to the classroom. ” I’ve got a question ” I said remembering I didn’t bring any book to school.
” I’m all ear ” she replied me.
” I noticed that none of the students had their school bag with them, do the school help them to keep their books ” I asked her and she suddenly bursted into laughter.
” we don’t keep books for any students because they all have their locker and one will be assigned to you too before I take you to your class ” she replied still laughing tho I didn’t see anything funny about the question I asked.
” just like in foreign school ” I said.
” yeah, you’re right, this school is trying to imitate the foreign schools and we’re almost there, what’s remaining is for us to stop the usage of school uniform and I think that will be enforce soon in few weeks ” she said to me as we climb the stair case leading to the second floor which my classroom is situated.
” and that’s a secret, you mustn’t tell anyone ” she said smiling.
” about what ” I asked feigning ignorance.
” smart boy ” she commended smiling.
” oops” she exclaimed as she suddenly halted her movement on the staircase.
” what’s it ” I asked as I also stopped moving.
” I’m sorry, the ss2 c locker room is on the first floor and we’ve passed it ” she said looking sorry.
” it’s okay, we can go back ” I said changing my direction.
” good boy ” she said as she also started descending the staircase.
There was many shut doors with inscriptions on all of it. She stopped in front of the one that had the inscription ‘ SS2 C LOCKER ROOM ”
” here ” she said as she opened the door.
There was only twelve lockers inside the room which gat me wondering if there was just only twelve students inside the class.
” a boy from ss2 c just left the school last week because his parents relocated him to America to further his education there and you’ll be replacing him because the class is already lacking a boy to complete the equation ” she said smiling.
” here’s his locker ” she said pointing at the locker which had number 10 boldly inscripted on it.