Inside Ms. Lynch’s office, Alfred ate his cereal without any fear of reprisals. He ate some boiled eggs without the fear of Hayward. He started his day well. For the first time in his life he ate in peace. No wonder he never wanted to go back home anymore. He started getting involved in after school clubs and enjoyed being mothered.
He was not afraid of himself anymore. His life started to make sense. He started enjoying what other kids enjoyed, being a kid. He laughed at Ms. Lynch’s jokes and began to see the star in himself. He had something to live for. His day was made when he walked through the gates of Buxton. Lucy noticed the difference in Alfred. He was a happy kid. Weekends were the worst times for Alfred because he was away from Ms. Lynch. Hayward and Lucy became more grumpy and agitated. Alfred began to distance himself more from their negative emotions. He played more with his sister Martha and tried to create some nice memories for himself. Alfred added some weight and laughed a lot more now at home which angered Hayward and Lucy. The change was phenomenal. From that little sticky boy to this robust young man was a transformation. Ms. Lynch ensured that Alfred had enough protein. Once, Alfred was threatened that he would be sent off to his dad and he said “when?” Lucy was shocked. The initial scare that used to bother him, anytime he was threatened of being sent off to the dad turned to joy now. Ms. Lynch had taught him to have confidence in himself to face whatever circumstance life presented to him. He wasn’t afraid anymore of the bullies. He knew that they were cowards. He knew that they came for him because they thought he was an easy prey. But through Ms. Lynch’s help, he was able to overcome the fear. He faced them and actually looked forward to meeting with the bullies. What had happened to him? The whole school wandered. The bullies were now scared of him. He called them losers. He told Parcell, the well known bully in the playground “you’re a loser. All your life you have lost. But listen buddy, I have some news for you. If you ever decide you want to switch sides, to be a winner, a champ like myself, come and let’s talk. I will help you and again, that will be for free.”
Parcell knew what Alfred said was the truth. He knew all his life he had been a coward. He preyed on vulnerable folks to raise his self-esteem. He knew deep down him he was empty. He yearned for the real kind of confidence that Alfred had.
Ms. Lynch once told him a story that turned his life around.
Don’t be scared to walk alone. Man is created a social being and that is the tool the bullies use to scare people. They try to separate you from having a relationship with your friends. All what you need to do is to develop your character. Enjoy your own company. Keep a book with you always. If people don’t want to play with you, bring out your book and read it. Read books of general knowledge as this will increase your intellectual superiority over them and make you an intellectual star to be reckoned with. Alfred took this to heart and you could not catch him without a book. His grades began to shoot up. People began to approach him for help in homework and stuff. He became the desirable element. He was pleased with himself.
“Mum I would like go and visit my father” Alfred told his mum.
Lucy was too shocked.
“Your father is in a bad place” Lucy said.
“I don’t mind, wherever he is I want to go and visit him. He is my father.”
“He is in prison, for murder crime.”
“That’s ok. I still want to see him” Alfred told Lucy.
Alfred had devised a strategy to get live updates. That was by positioning himself in the storage room about 1am. This was the time that Hayward and Lucy usually came out for food. During this time, he would pick up bits and pieces through their kitchen conversations. Hayward was getting angrier these days because the food was still not enough for him and Lucy could not blame Alfred. One time he overheard Hayward say, “before Andy gets a parole, we would have moved the entire stuff overseas, sell the house and go live our dream life.”
“I can’t wait for that day” Lucy responded.
Uwem Mbot Umana©2017