I removed his clothes with a speed that could be compared to that of light.
His back was full of marks made by the teacher’s strokes. My son’s back. Fredrick’s back.
“What gave the teacher such effrontery” I asked myself.
“We are going to your school on Monday to have a chat with Mr Emmanuel.”
It was Friday and that meant they would not be going to school until Monday. I was going to tell Tunde about this, but meanwhile, I had to do something to alleviate the pains of my son.
That night, I woke Tunde up. It was 2:00 am. He had gotten back by 9:00pm, had dinner and had retired to bed almost immediately after freshening up, I guess he was very tired.
“Tunde, I want to talk to you about something” I said as I roused him from his sleep.
“Yes, what is it?” he said, still sleepy.
“Sit up first” I replied.
He turned some more then sat up.
“This better be good” he started, “I had a really hectic day and I want to sleep biko”
“Oya, I am sorry” I said smiling.
“You know your voice is sexy when you are sleepy.”
Rolling his eyes, he said, “Is that why you woke me up?”
“Okay, no. It is about Fred”
“What about him?”
“His teacher flogged him so much, you need to see his back, it is full of marks and it was for something as flimsy as failing his mid term test.”
“Well, what do you want me to do?”
“Huh? Is that what you are meant to say?” I asked. I couldn’t believe my ears.
“A teacher flogs a seven year old boy, our seven year old boy, for failing his test so much so that there are long fat marks on his back and all you can ask me is what you are meant to do?” I continued, “You of all people?”
He was quiet.
“But I don’t know what you want me to do.”
“Okay, what do I do?” he asked finally.
“I am going to the school on Monday, there is no way I am going to let anybody treat my son like an animal, never!”
“Okay, but you know I wont be coming along” he said.
“I don’t expect you to. I just wanted you to know and frankly, I am disappointed. You know what I went through growing up with my aunt, yet you are this nonchalant about this? Anyway suit yourself.”
“Can I sleep now?” he asked.
“No, there is one more thing. I want to start my masters program”
“I didn’t hear that” he said “And I am sure you are joking”
“Well you heard well. And I am taking the forms soon” I said.
“Babe, why are you doing this? You know I want you to stay at home and look after the kids, or don’t I provide enough for you?”
“It is not about whether you provide or not, it is about me saying, I am tired of being a house wife, we could get a nanny or something, I…”
“Listen to yourself” he said cutting me off “a nanny…one would think that your own experience would be enough to stop you from leaving your children in a strangers hands. Yet, you are the very person suggesting it to me”
“I have thought this through Tunde” I said
“Yeah right! Yes you have” he said adding a heavy dose of sarcasm to his words.
“Tunde please, I know what is best for our children” I said, this time pleading “I won’t let my work disturb my relationship with them”
“My answer remains the same! NO! And please I am off to bed, do not wake me up, and lest I forget I want mango juice tomorrow morning”
“That is your business, I am not your secretary” I said angrily.
“Tunde you haven’t heard the last of this discussion” I said, just incase he thought we were done talking about this.
And we both went off to bed.
The next day was Saturday and we woke up to find Fred running a temperature. Tunde had said he wanted to see the marks because accoding to him, he was sure I was exaggerating. We got to his room to find him shivering. I was the first to notice it.
“What is this?” Tunde exclaimed on seeing the marks. “Please you really need to see this man”
“Someone finally says something that makes sense” I said under my breath.
“I heard you” he said.
“What is the name of the teacher?” he asked.
“Mr Emmanuel” I told him.
And off he went to put a call across to the director of the school.
After the call, he said “Please make sure you go to the school on Monday, this nonsense shouldn’t repeat itself again”
Meanwhile, I gave Fred some tablets after breakfast and put him back to bed. By Sunday, he was still feverish and I and Tunde agreed that we needed to see a doctor.
“We finally agree on one thing” I said to myself.
I and Tunde were still having our “beef” and weren’t saying much to each other…