Clara walks into a room with twenty ladies all almost her age, except one lady who sits in a corner. The corner lady is older than the rest, at first, Clara thought she is the tutor. The other ladies in the room lift their heads and look at Clara. No one said anything to her. The teacher, DENNIS gets up from one of the tables, Clara has not seen him he was behind some ladies. He walks up to Clara.
"Hi, you must be Clara?" he said stretching his hand for Clara. Clara stretches her hand to greet Dennis
"Good day sir. Yes, I am", responded Clara.
"My name is Dennis, commonly known as Uncle Denny I'm the senior teacher of this academy", says Dennis making up his small casual jacket. He then turns to the rest of the class.
"Meet Clara she is joining our class from today." One of the ladies responds,
"Welcome dear." Most of the ladies in the classes did not even look at Clara. She stands there in front of the class for a few more seconds waiting for Dennis to tell her what to do. Dennis tells her to occupy an empty desk in the middle of the classroom. Clara walks to the desk, from her walk one can see she is uncomfortable. The other ladies just look at her as if a new creature has reached earth. Dennis follows her to the desk and hands her a pattern piece.
"Welcome to the bag making club. This is your first test" says Dennis.
Clara is startled.
"Don't panic. You must be surprised that you have come to learn and we start with a test. Take it easy I will explain how we go about it. I am pretty sure you are going to pass the test anyway" says Dennis.
"Do you know how to thread the machine?" asks Dennis
"No, I have no idea of this sewing thing. I have come to learn teach me" answers Clara with an angry voice.
"I'm teaching you, Clara, only that my approach is different from other teachers. I use interactive teaching. It is the best way to make you understand better and fast. Just try it and you will be grateful. What I want you to do………………….."
"Uncle Denny I have some challenges here" calls another lady from the group.
"What is it Pretty?" responds Dennis
"Come close and see I cannot shout!" answers Pretty.
"Wait for me Clara, I will come back to you in a moment" says Denny as he moves away from Clara.
Clara throws herself in the chair disgusted. She takes out her phone and starts to play on the phone. Dennis sorts out Pretty's machine and turns to walk back to Clara but before he gets there another voice calls.
"Uncle Denny come here I'm done with my bag," Dorothy calls raising her bag high. Dennis raises his hand to signal Dorothy to wait but she rushes to him all the same and blocks the way.
"Look Uncle I have finally made it. You are going to give me a good grade for this" says Dorothy showing Dennis the bag in his face.
Clara can no longer wait for the drama to end, she quietly picks up her bag and walks out of the room. Dennis runs behind her to stop her. He follows her for about 100 meters.
"Sorry, Clara I was just helping your classmates" pleads Dennis.
"I can't take it! I have come to learn and you humiliate me like this? I think you should have told my husband the truth. You have your students! Special students! I have come to learn and now you want me to sew on my own so you can humiliate me in front of your ladies" says Clara walking away.
"Wait, Clara, I'm sorry I made you feel like this. I should be helping everyone in the class. Come back I will help you" pleads Denny.
Another lady, Virginia comes from Dennis' back with her unfinished bag and interrupts the conversation between Clara and Dennis.
"I have come so you mark my progress, how is my work so far? Ask Virginia
"Hold on Virginia let me finish with Clara first I'm coming back to the class."
"I want to finish it as soon as possible, it is my mother's birthday gift I don't want to miss her birthday", insists Virginia.
"Okay go ahead," answers Dennis, without looking at the bag. Virginia walks back to the class swinging her waist.
"Look, Clara, I didn't mean to embarrass you, not at all. Come back and I will demonstrate to you what I intended you to do." continues Dennis.
Clara gives a deep breath.
"For today I don't think I will do anything, I'm put off, let me just go." She walks away without saying any other word.
Clara opens the door to their sitting room, Frank, her husband is already home. He is watching soccer. Clara throws her handbag on the couch and sits opposite Frank.
"How was the first lesson? I am surprised you are already done." asks Frank his eyes on the TV.
"Terrible, I just had the most terrible day of my life!" fumes Clara.
"What is it Clara, you haven't said anything." answers Frank without showing any care.
"He has his ladies! I was not welcome to the class, not at all. The other ladies were looking at me as if I have landed from Mars or I have some unusual features on me. Can you imagine………………."
"Clara don't be silly! I send you there to learn how to make bags so you have a skill! I didn't send you there to become a celebrity why do you want attention from the other ladies? What does that have to do with your learning?" fumes Frank.
"Yah but it is boring to be in the same class with other people who don't like you. It was so uncomfortable in the class." Answers Clara.
"So what's your story now? Don't tell me you want to withdraw after I have wasted my money and time." asks Frank.
"It's not like that……………"
"Then what is it?" interrupts Frank.
"No maybe you talk to him so he treats me well," says Clara.
"Never! No way! I'm not going to do that! I have sent you for lessons there not that you become Dennis' friend. Or you love him." says Frank.
"Who said that? I have had a terrible experience of my life and now you say this to me? I will not go there for lessons. Happy now?" answers Clara.
"You give me my money first! You never liked school it was going to surprise me if you do now. Remember you ran away from school to marry me. The world has changed; I wonder why you still want to be that 18th-century's wife who sits home, bear children and do nothing productive." fumes Frank.
The sun shines bright through the kitchen window. Clara is doing the dishes on the sink facing the rising sun. She hums to herself. Frank enters the kitchen carrying a laptop. He holds Clara in the waist and whisper into her ear.
"Bye" answers Clara with a smile on her face. "I will be going for the lessons later in the day" she continues.
Clara sits close to the window of the bus and she looks out all the way. A grumpy old man sits next to her and says something. Clara did not hear what he said. The old man rubs his shoulders on Clara to get attention. Clara turns to look at him, she is already angry.
"How can I help you?" she asks with a voice louder than normal.
The old man brings out a 20 dollar bill and hands it to Clara who looks at it awkwardly.
"May I have smaller notes? The old man asks. For sometime Clara doesn't respond.
"I want to pay my bus fare so can you give me smaller notes?" the old man continues.
"I don't have. Just give the bus attendant he will give you your change." Answers Clara.
"The problem is sometimes they don't give you all your change, you know the problem with these young men, they are always after stealing from old men like me." complains the old man.
"He will not do that to you. If he does report him to the company" Clara assures the old man.
"If you say so then I can trust that with you here they will not steal from me" continues the old man.
Clara looks away, she watches buildings and trees as the bus moves from one street to the other. A lot of things run in her mind. "I can do it! Yes, I can, otherwise Frank will spend the rest of his life shouting at me and it seems he enjoys it". Clara says to herself. "You give me my money first! You never liked school it was going to surprise me if you do now. Remember you ran away from school to marry me. The world has changed; I wonder why you still want to be that 18th-century wife who sits home, bear children and do nothing productive." The words ring in her mind. She is startled when the old man sitting next to her rubs her shoulder and shows her the change he has received. Clara looks closely at the change as if she is counting the money and nods her head. The old man folds the money into half and puts in the pocket of his shirt.
"Our next bus stop is 13th avenue" announces the bus attendant on a microphone. Clara is startled this is her bus stop. She has been off her mind that she didn't notice the bus was almost there. The old man notices how she panicked and asks.
"Is everything okay my daughter, have you passed your bus stop?"
"No, it's only that I have been absent-minded and didn't realize I was almost there. It was fast hey!" Answers Clara as the bus comes to a halt and she hurried out of the bus.
Clara enters her class. All the other ladies are already in the class, she is the last one to come again today.
"Good morning ladies." She waves to the other ladies as she looks for somewhere to sit.
"Morning" the elderly answers, everyone else is busy on her work and don't even look at her.
She sits on one of the desks with some pattern pieces and a machine. A tall lady approaches her, she didn't see her the previous day.
"Sorry for taking your place, I just saw that there is no one yet and I thought I can sit here waiting for Uncle Denny." Says Clara uncomfortably.
"Don't worry. My name is Aunt Gracious, I am taking the class for the rest of the week Uncle Dennis has some issues to sort out." She responds.
"My name is Clara, I started coming for lessons yesterday"
"Pleased to meet you, Clara. What did you do yesterday?" asks Gracious.
"I was just introduced to the class didn't do anything." answers Clara.
"Okay, that's fine. Let me just introduce you to the club. The Bag Mom Club was founded by Uncle Dennis some 5 years ago in a bid to empower women through bag making skills. Bag making is a business you will never regret, you always find a market because handbags are part of every ladies' dressing. Today I want you to sew a clutch bag, it is simple so don't panic. I know you can do it. This is the pattern I will demonstrate how you do it. I don't cut for you, you do that for yourself." says Aunt Gracious.
Clara stretches the pattern paper on the table she follows the line on the pattern and starts working on the bag. It is easier than she had imagined. Georgina passes by her table with her bag in her hand. She looks at Clara's work as if there is something wrong with her work. Clara pretends she doesn't see her and continue with her sewing.
Clara throws her handbag on the couch and walks straight to the kitchen where some noise of utensils clicking can be heard. Frank is in the kitchen, he is already cooking. He turns to look at Clara.
"How was Dennis?" asks Frank sarcastically.
"Stop teasing me, please! Yesterday he made my life very miserable. Today there was another lady, Dennis wasn't there………….."
"And that was a relief for you?" says Frank.
"Sure. The lady is very friendly. I finished my first piece." says Clara taking out a clutch bag from her handbag.
"This is nice. So you now enjoy the lessons?" Complements Frank
"Somehow but the other ladies in the class don't like me I wonder why. I greet them they don't answer. Them this other grumpy comes to my table to poke her nose into my business. I didn't like the way she looked at my way. She behaves like she is the best in the class." complains Clara.
"The problem with you women is you just don't like each other. Even the way you describe her shows you don't like her yourself." Frank answers without looking at Clara.
"Don't be mean on me, Frank! I'm not like that. At least I put the effort to greet them and they decide to ignore me." Clara defends herself.