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That night as he lay on the mat in the back yard, he stared up into the sky. A gleaming smile colonized his face as he gazed into space...

That night as he lay on the mat in the back yard, he stared up into the sky. A gleaming smile colonized his face as he gazed into space. I can really become somebody, he wondered. I can become even better, according to Mrs. Okeke. His smile broadened as a surge of satisfaction and confidence erupted in his heart. He felt a hand gently lift him up. His eyes opened. His dad was carrying him inside. He had fallen asleep. He relaxed in his arms while his mind darted back to his interrupted dream just before he was woken up. In his dream, he had become a doctor. He smiled to himself and dozed back into slumber. Uzodika kept his promise. Weeks before Christmas, he bought a chicken which he had Iheoma prepare for Nzo. Although the entire household shared in Nzo’s chicken, he was grateful for his father’s enormous kind gesture.

Jidenna had been out of town on an errand to the village for his father. He remembered that the school year had come to a close. As the train pulled into Enugu subway, he wondered how his little brother had fared. He took his bag and headed for Ogui road where he boarded a bus for Asata. “I made it!!! I made it!!!” Nzo shouted out loud running towards Jidenna. Jide lifted him up in the sky before even asking him how he performed. “I finished second…overall second in elementary 2!!!” Nzo shouted as he hung about his big brother shoulders. “Second? Are you serious?” “Yes. I will show you the report card now.” Ibekwe picked up Jide’s bag as they walked into the living room. “Thank you Jide for teaching me how to read. I am enjoying it. I read everything that comes my way now.” Nzo’s exuberance was intense. “I knew you could do it. I am very happy for you Nzo,” Jide answered. Before he was done answering him, Nzo ran into the bedroom and reappeared with his report booklet.

“This is wonderful. I did not see this coming dad,” Jide pointed out to their father as he walked through Nzo’s results. “I bought you some books. I will fetch them from my bag for you later. Now, you have to make time to teach Uzor and Ibekwe how to read. Will you?” Jide asked him. “I am already helping Ibekwe.” “That is very good. The future starts now. If you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer…anything, it starts now, so don’t relent, okay?” I am loving school now. I won’t.” “I used to hate you for teaching me you know. I wished I was big enough so I could beat you up,” Nzo confessed to everyone laughter referring to Jide. “Now, I can’t thank you enough. Thank you for helping me…for teaching me how to read. It was a great feeling to have my teacher love me…I mean really love and treat me right. It was so good to stand in class and read like other children. It was even a better feeling to be on the podium, beside my friend Chisom. I beat Ngozi Udeh. I can’t believe it. She is so intelligent, but I did it. I am very thankful Dee Jide. Thank you so much.” “You are welcome, Nzo.”

When the excitement finally died down, Nzo and Ibekwe lay on the bed ready for sleep. “I would like to be like you Nzo,” Ibekwe said. “You can be even better than me. Reading is so easy. I will teach you everything okay?” “Thanks Nzo. I don’t want to feel like an idiot every time I am asked to read in front of my class.” “I know how that feels Ibe. I will help you throughout the holidays. By the time the new term starts, you will be reading.” “You think I can do it over the holidays,” “Yes, You will. I will help you.” “Thanks Nzo. I saw the look in your eyes when you were on the podium. I have never been there, but from the look in your eyes, I want that feeling. I would like to achieve that. To feel like I count; like I am someone.” “If I, onye ujo akwukwo (who was afraid of education) could do it…you too can, Ibe.”


Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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