It wasn't up to an hour when Tommy was invited into the principal's office to receive his report card, and on leaving the office he seemed a bit dismayed and restless while heading for the exist door in the school hallway. He looked up saying " O God why!,Why can't I just be better at it" -referring to his mathematics grade. He was still facing upward until he had come out of the hallway, now standing on the staircase outside the building, receiving the fierce jabs of ray from the blazing sun that turned his face reddish in an instant. He was talking to his invincible maker still hoping to get a miraculous response ( sadly he didn't). He rested his left elbow on the steaming rail of the stairs, unaware of the scar it caused on his skin while drowning in thoughts of disappointment. " How can this be?- he asked himself still holding on to his report sheet. He made a quick glance at the grades once more but only became more alarmed at his math grade " MATHEMATICS- F9!!" he was doomed again.- he thought to himself. His face began to turn all scarlet, than it was initially from the sun's effect, his eyes rolled down small droplets of salty liquid substance ( tears) as he remembered how he had prepared for this particular subject. He thought of the times he read and calculated every math formula and equation he could test himself with ( though he failed in most of the test),while pacing back and forth in the house holding a maths textbook and a calculator . He would start off this practice from his room- to the dinning - to the garage and even inside the toilet (sometimes) just to get this" subject of confusion"( as he sometimes called it when discussing maths with his mates) into his head. He had for so long battled with mathematics since his 5th grade, and for that, been repeated on a regular basis for not passing it in his exams. Now he was 15 years and still remained in the 8th grade when most of his peers have moved on into higher grade. He wasn't a genius in mathematics obviously, and for this reason he had developed a passionate hatred for the subject due to its many number tricks it played on his mind whenever he was taught in class, making it difficult to assimilate. He only wished it wouldn't be taught in schools again because of his sad experience . One time in class he was called upon by his class teacher " Mrs. wrinkles face"- as he mockingly called her, for her facial expression whenever she wasn't pleased with a student performance and would go on to whip them bitterly as a way of teaching them to be better next time. Her adopted name was well known in the entire class, but still remained oblivious to her, since the students codedly whispered the name in the class in replacement of her real name "Mrs Wiggle bakers". She had said to Tommy " Go to the board and solve that equation".- pointing at the big white marker board that was hung on the wall facing the entire class. He walked up to the board and stood at a close range with it, facing it Nose- Board like it's some sort of a staring contest. The other students had wondered if his plan was to snife in the numbers into his head to better understand the equation. He stoodstill for a few minutes holding on to her blue pen marker without making any writings on the board. She sternly gazed at him with such rage that her face began to squeeze into some kind of mashed pancake making her look like a hag. She stretched out her hands to receive her marker from him while ordering the whole class to boo at him, before letting him have his seat in the height of such embarrassment. He thought to himself- "Why can't 2+2 just equals 22 to make it all easy to understand as we see it, why does it have to be 4 which is in no relation to the double 2?"- he wondered.
Still standing in the entrance way with his report card, wearing his favorite black hoodie sweater with words of " Never give up doing something" bodly written, and in a matching black shorts and "Nike" white sneakers, he brought out a brown envelope from his bag pack that reads " From the principal", on the upper left of envelope and on the right end " To the Harts" . He was quick to guess the message contained in the envelope " it's certainly not something of a good news" - he said to himself with such conviction. Well yeah!! he was certainly right in his prediction. Principal Henry was know for his unique styles of presenting his letters to students. For a good news letter he had enclosed in a white envelope while for a bad news letter he enclosed in a brown envelope. It was a letter concerning his bad grade in math, making it a fifth time he is receiving such warning letter from the principal. Sometimes in the past while he was in the 7th grade, the principal had invited him into his office to discuss with him, about repeating his grade level again owing to his poor performance in math " Young man, mathematics is a neccessary requirement to get you into college or University, who wouldn't know that?? and besides you want to be an Architect without passing maths? That's ridiculous and impossible!!- he yelled, Maths is the mother of all academic discipline and every career depends on it, so you have to sit up and improve on your math grade"- he said ending his counsel. Now he took out the letter and perused through. His heart raced off his chest making it difficult for him to grasp the floating air that filled the environment as he reads.
Pearson high school,
Dear sir/ ma,
Letter of Expulsion
In line with the school act 024 on students average academic performance, it's been brought to our attention that Mr Tommy Hart, hasn't been able to attain the neccessary subject requirement needed to be promoted to the next grade, and as such, the school has decided to comply with its policy by expelling him from the system. We have done our best in trying to maintain him in the system for a period of time hoping he would improve on his mathematics which is a very compulsory subject for him to be promoted, but still it remains as it is, do well to understand with us as we hope and pray for his improvement in his next school. God bless.
Mr. Henry Hall
His eyes went blank instantly as he saw the word " expelled" , he hadn't wished it would end up like this, but still knew he had been warned by the principal. He thought to himself, while his legs remained froozen glued to the ground, his hands began to quiver that he dropped and picked up the sheet a few more times from the ground. He could barely move from his position because his eyes were now blurry making it difficult for him to tell where the next stairs was. Thoughts downed heavily upon his head making it seem like his neck was surpressing into his small body. " Expelled!!- he screamed again. " What will I tell mum and Dad?"- he asked himself. After few hours of self -questioning and wailing he turned to pick up his bag pack on the stairs while making a beeline move to the school's bus station.
- - - -
Hours later, he braced himself for whatever hurt he would receive at home from his parents. He handed the letter to his mother Mrs. Benny Hart, who seemed lost in her own small world of cooking delicacies. She was always in her best mood anytime she cooked in the kitchen, wearing her white and pink apron straps and spiceing it all up with her melodious soprano voice. She was preparing dinner for the family, a delicacy of mashed Rice and Turkey stew. She loved gospel musics so much that she sang it often times in the kitchen while joking that it add some kind of spiritual ingredients to the food. " O my God"- she exclaimed, unable to believe what she was seeing. " An expulsion letter"- she said. I have to meet with your principal tomorrow to sort things out properly.
- - - -
The next morning, she met with Principal Henry in his large well furnished office. It was decorated with so many art portraits that suggested to her that "he must be an art addict". He sat behind his big- brown- well polished mahogany desk, filled with stacks of papers and books that formed a book pillars at every corner of the desk. He also had the school's portrait by the side of the desk which obviously was one taken in a science fair competition. His suit had a small golden tag with his name " Mr. Henry Hall" engraved on.
" Mrs benny, what can I do for you"- he asked
" My son handed me a note yesterday, saying he was expelled from the school because of his math grade, and...". - she said while being rudely interrupted by the principal.
" About that"- he said searching through his drawers. He brought out a report file and gave it to her. It was a record book of times Tommy had failed maths since his 5th grade.
" Sir, please is there then nothing we can do about it"- she asked after glancing through and attempting to plead for an opportunity.
" Maam, I will only consider him to remain in the school for the last time, if he retakes the exam and pass in good grade.
" Yes..yes he will"- she said hurriedly before sprinting out of the office to break the news to Tommy.
While at home, she made dinner for the family. Mr. Jack Hart and Mrs. Mary Hart ( his parents) were already seated at the dining table waiting for Tommy and his younger siblings to come down to dine with them. Oliver the second after Tommy raced down the stairs followed by his brother Hudson to join in the dining. Tommy appeared to be to concentrated thinking about something, his face was bent towards his mashed rice and turkey stews. He has lost the apepitite to eat, looking a bit pale and reckless. His parents became more concerned about his mood staring at him without saying a word until after dinner when his mum decided to console him.
" Tom boy, she teased him.
" You're gonna retake your math exam, is that okay by you?"- she asked him.
" I can't, coz I'm never good at it and that's fact, I will end up failing again"- he said.
" Don't say that!! You're my little champion, I believe you can be better off than the little you think of yourself, only set your mind to it and pay less attention to the fear of failing. God loves a trier and even when failure weighs you down, he wants to see you get up and stand for what you believe in"- she counselled religiously, reminding him of their strong Christian background. She wasn't any kind of pastor neither was she a prophet, but only, a strong believer who never sees failure as an excuse to give up on onself, instead she'd rather that a believer see it as an opportunity to know God even more, and she further tries to inculcate this believe into her family.
" Tommy, failure don't make you a loser, it's only a push to understanding something better. You are going to do mummy a favor in your do- over exam by putting mathematics to a rest once and forever ".- she said giving him a kiss on the forehead to cheer him up.
- - - -
Tommy tonight was restless when he laid on his small bed insomia for hours. He had thought of himself retaking the exam again, having little doubts of passing this time. He only feared that it would mess up his mind again as it always have, and even called it the " mathtricks" for its number game puzzle. He turned to face the other side of his bed which was in direction to his wardrobe. His eyes caught sight of his favorite black hoodie sweater with words of " Never give up doing something" boldly written on.
Immediately he remembered the words of his mother that " God loves a trier, and failure don't make one a looser". He quickly braced himself up with the conviction that since his fellow mate could pass maths without having two heads or two brains, why couldn't he now do same too."- he questioned himself.
" I will retake it again, I have to give maths my best and last shot this time around".- he said, before gently closing his eyes to sleep.
The night breeze came with its seductive coolness, filling the entire room, and gently caressing his body into an active sleep mode. He was feeling dizzy now, and like someone being cast into some sort of sleeping spell. He was fast asleep.