“Ding dong” the doorbell went. “Ding Dong” the doorbell went again. Mrs. Brian peeped through the keyhole and that face did not look familiar. Was anyone expecting anyone? She couldn’t be too sure. No one has ever dropped by on a Saturday morning, so early. The gentleman standing outside looked like from out of state.
She brushed her eyebrow quickly and tied her hair backwards. She pulled her house coat together and tied the rope loosely.
She opened the door and stood face to face with this young gentleman.
“Good morning ma’am.”
“Good morning, young sir. How may I help you?”
“I am looking for Ms. Lynch.”
“Who are you by the way?”
“My name is Alfred and I am from London, England”.
“Yes, I hear that British accent. I know you were from out of state.”
Alfred graduated from Buxton Academy, Brixton. He was bullied as a year 7 student and by the time he got to year 8, he was totally withdrawn. The most you could extract from him was either a yes or no during a conversation. He would sometimes nod or shake his head. He was lost in the labyrinth.
His former form tutor Mr. Wells changed jobs at the end of his year 7. This seemed to compound problems for Alfred. Alfred did not have any succor anymore. He did not trust anybody. He would go to a lesson and just sit down and be lost. He would not participate in any activity and couldn’t wait to get home. Not that life at home was great, but it provided him an escape route. The only subject he loved was music. He played the keyboard like a possessed demon. He lived with his mum. His mum, a single parent, struggled as she had to work two jobs to keep the house going. Alfred had a baby sister, Martha. Martha was from another father. Lucy, Alfred’s mother was in love with Hayward. Hayward, Martha’s father did not love Lucy that much. Their relationship was strange. Even though they did not love themselves, they seemed to have a bond that kept them together.
Lucy did not have much time for Alfred. She spent the little time she had at home with Martha and Hayward. Hayward usually arrived home about 11pmish and would leave home about 4.30am. Hayward was a tall man. He had bushy hair and bushy beard. He never seemed to comb his hair and beard. Alfred had never seen him in the day time. All what he knew was that his mother was always delighted to see Hayward.
Hayward ate a lot. He would eat and have seconds. His mother would serve dinner saying “I have to keep some extra portion for Hayward. He would be so tired and hungry when he gets back.” Needless to say that Alfred never liked Hayward. One night Alfred was so hungry that he had to creep to the kitchen to see if he could find some leftovers for himself. Not quite a minute after arriving the kitchen, Hayward arrived the kitchen, looking for food as well. Immediately he heard the shuffling noise of Hayward’s foot, he ran away from the kitchen and hid in the storage room next to the kitchen. Lucy was right behind Hayward trying to explain that he had to give some food to Alfred and that was why the food was a little less.
Hayward breathed “Alfred Alfred Alfred! Didn’t you know that Alfred is here, couldn’t you make the portion bigger?”
“I will next time, Hayward, let’s go and sleep, I have to go to work tomorrow” Lucy begged the scoundrel.
“You can go and sleep, I have to eat me some more.” Hayward replied.
“Please leave the eggs. That is for Alfred’s breakfast” Lucy pleaded.
“That little git. You better send him off to his father.”
“Yes, as soon as his father is back, I will reunite him with his father.” Lucy said.
As soon as Alfred heard his father, his heart skipped a beat and he almost froze knocking over a pan from the top of the shelf. The storage room wasn’t that big. Lucy and Hayward were startled.
Hayward went near the storage, brought out his caliber and swore he was going to shoot that rodent in there.
“Ssssshhhhhhhhh!” Lucy hushed Hayward. You don’t want to wake up the baby.
At school, the next day, Alfred was lost. His mind kept flashing back to the events of the night before.
After the afternoon registration, Alfred refused to leave the room. He sat glued to the chair.
“What’s wrong?” Ms. Lynch asked.
He sat there motionless.
“Did any teacher upset you?”
He shook his head.
“Did anybody give you any trouble today?”
He shook his head.
All attempts to make him talk failed.
She was aware that Alfred was quite vulnerable and required keeping an eye on. However, she didn’t know the full details of his life. He was almost tempted to go talk to the social worker attached to the school at one stage, but all this hullabaloo about data protection made it a no go area. How could she support Alfred if she did not know much about this young man, she asked herself.
“Can I go home with you Miss?” Alfred blurted finally.
Uwem Mbot Umana©2017