I can’t remember but I think we had just finished our JS1 exams, so we were free and noisy. Everyone was having some sort of fun. Me and some friends were playing table soccer and whenever one of us was about to use the pen cover to apply pressure on the button to score, Chico would come to disrupt the game. We’d chase him away but he’d be back with his trouble.

Our noise was increasing and disturbing a certain JS2 class upstairs. The teacher came down to warn us. She was the Home Economics teacher at the time, very strict. “Don’t make me come back here to punish you guys,” she said then went back upstairs. Her warning was followed with a thick cloud of silence in the class, but few minutes later, we were back at it like an addict, making noise. Me and my guys continued playing table soccer and Chico was still misbehaving, so after his disruption this time, I yelled, “Don’t come back here again!” This was met by the Home Economics teacher’s second coming.

“Who said that?! Who said I shouldn’t come back?!” she asked as she stepped into the class.

I was in a confused state because I couldn’t exactly say I was the one since I wasn’t talking to her. She started walking towards my corner of the class and said, “I believe it came from here.” As she said this, the guys around me began to look at me somehow, so I gave myself up.

“Why didn’t you answer me since? Oya stand up and follow me,” she said, turning her back to me and leaving the class. I followed her and tried to explain myself when we got to the corridor. “Ma, please let me explain. I was actually talking to – ”

The next thing I heard was something similar to the deafening sound your hands make when you clap a mosquito that has been disturbing you all night. Only difference was it wasn’t a mosquito in this case, it was my left cheek and it was burning after her right palm landed on it. My cheeks suddenly became moist as the tears flowed. I was too young then for the pain that followed. I can’t tell if it was as a result of the slap or the fact that I was being falsely accused.

She took me to her class upstairs and told me to ’stood down’ in the class store. So there I was, standing on my right leg that was accompanied by my right index finger, the other hand on my back, left leg suspended in air and moist eyes fixated on the ground that took in drops of tears.

Yours innocently,

Ayo Wright

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