“Why is she staring at me?” Chane wondered. The seat he had occupied on the second row close to the teacher’s table was suddenly uncomfortable. “I told you not to ask Sir Teacher a question. Now see, everyone is staring at you” Kofi whispered from the side. It was true, the entire class was now staring at Chane pondering why the fellow had dared to ask a question. Chane felt all the regret in the world sinking in and wished for the wooden bench on which he sat to turn into a tree and perhaps swallow and make him a leaf. He felt very ashamed. As if the dire silence and intense gazing was not enough to antagonize his morning, he laughed. The teacher burst forth in a thunderous mocking laughter and the entire class followed suit. Overwhelmed, Chane slid and cradled himself underneath the two sitter table. As he cried, he made a vow never to stand up in any classroom he would sit in to ask any question ever again.
That was ten years ago. Chane, now fourteen was the most slender of the boys in his class. He always sat the back of the class in the corner, all in avoidance of the fuss that teachers are and the trauma from being spotted, only to be questioned. As he returned from his flashback of that fateful day. Chane resigned in defeat. This Chemistry teacher had not helped him understand why the Bunsen burner burns with a blue flame and then when she twisted something somewhere, it burned with a yellow flame. As if not enough, she asked the class how the Bunsen burner was similar to a charcoal stove. He tried to imagine how a small metallic thing which was the size of two straws could compare to Aunt Petwa’s sigiri. Strangely, the latter which could make very hot porridge in a matter of 20 minutes couldn’t boil some hot water for a bath on the days when it would rain heavily early morning. Aunt Petwa would always say that the stove is tired whenever he would ask to boil some water.
Recovering from his thoughts with a loud sigh, Chane caught the teacher’s attention. “Yes. That small boy in the corner, why are you over breathing our oxygen and not telling us the answer. Tell us a good answer or else, take your whistle like nostrils and take all the oxygen in the school compound and not from my class room.” Some students started snickering at “mama acid,” the chemistry teacher’s comment. Chane’s breath caught in his chest. He wasn’t even sure if he could breathe in anymore and in a very meek tone, he replied, “the Bunsen burner is small and it is for chemistry laboratories in a school. The charcoal stove is bigger and it is for cooking food in a kitchen.” Before he could even finish his statement, the whole class was breathless from laughter. Mama acid rolled her eyes and picked on another student who quickly replied, “the burner has a non-luminous flame while the stove has a luminous flame. The entire class applauded the brilliant answer and soon enough, the chemistry lesson was over and it was time to go home.

As the school hallways cleared, the school plumber “old man moon” was collecting his tools to retire for the day. Chane tried to sneak past him but the old man said, “Another outlaw, huh. You have a fire to learn young man, but you are too timid. People are always going to laugh but don’t let that stop you from learning. Don’t let your fellow scholars belittle and prevent you from getting knowledge. It is a school after all. Aren’t you all here to learn?” Chane turned back to look at the oldman’s figure receding towards the school’s back door. The backdoor closed with an irritating rusty screech, but Chane could care less, he merely stared at the door, perplexed and speechless.
To be continued… Written by: Melissa L. Takuwa Aka: mellow.

About the author

My name is Takuwa Melissa Lynette,a medical student at Kampala International University Western Campus am a mental health activist and I enjoy reading,taking walks and having conversations with people

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