Excerpt for School (Under the Same Moon) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



First Experiences

The whistle sounded signaling the first break. Everyone ran out their classes to the large field that doubled as the location for the morning assemblies. I remained in my seat in no rush to go out into the smothering and merciless sun. A groan escaped my lips as I felt another heat rash ripping down my back. That’s the fourth one today. I rubbed my hands against my new uniform. A jumper in a nasty shade of forest green and a checkered yellow shirt. I look like a discarded Barney.

“Somto.”

I sharply turned my head in the direction of my name. A lady walked into the class with a look of concern. I remembered her from the morning assembly earlier today, but her name and actual occupation escaped me.

“Won’t you go play with the other children?” She asked speaking rather slowly, her deep Eastern Nigerian accent swallowed each word.

It took me every fiber in my being and then some help from God to refrain from rolling my eyes. I was patiently waiting for these people to realize speaking slowly is not going to help me understand their accent any better. I was about to responded, but then I just politely shook my head no, not wanting a repeat of today’s earlier events.

“Well, we all want you to feel comfortable here.” She replied slowly. Again.

I nodded and took a deep breath to prevent my eyes from retreating to depths of my eye sockets. They actually whipped kids here and I would rather not be subjected to that. I waited for the lady to make her exit before I, reluctantly, pushed my plastic chair back and stood up. Might as well try to act like I enjoy this backwards institution. I walked out the classroom and whimpered. It wasn’t humid like Houston, but the sun here was truly the devil. I slowly made my way to the large field where I was subjected to forceful praise and worship, bible reading, and prayer earlier today. I reached the field and just paused.

Silently observing my surroundings, I took a seat on an unoccupied bench adjacent to the

nosy, unsupervised, child-ridden playground. My second day in a school where students spoke and sounded completely different than me. I sighed loudly missing the feeling of fake grass under my shoes, the sound of kids yelling in English, and the familiar faces I grew to love. Almost automatically, I touch my hair and felt the cornrows my aunty hastily did this morning. It felt very odd without those long thick braids my mom took the whole day doing swinging down my back. I groaned loudly and kissed my teeth. If I had known my father was actually being serious about sending my sister and me to Nigeria, I would have been more resistant in the whole process. Learn your culture. I could his voice ringing in my head so clearly. Everything about the playground seemed to annoy and disgust me. The way the sand would fly as a kid would run pass. The boys stopping their soccer game every five minutes to argue about a goal or a foul. The girls doing the most to get the boys attention. I rested my chin in the palm of my left hand. A group of girls walked past me and glared at me with a sense of arrogance and superiority. I returned their glare and rolled my eyes. If one more female looked at me crazy, I’m going to drag them across the floor. Crossing my left leg in front of my right, I closed my eyes and began to retreat into the pleasant memories of Houston.

¨Hey,” An uncertain voice with a heavy accent spoke.

I opened my eyes ready to curse out this annoyance when I realize it was that obnoxious and popular boy I sat next to in class. I wanted to tell him to go away, but then I remembered he was the one that got his friends to stop mocking my voice. I stared at the boy for a minute unsure of what to do. I decided to muster a smile and wave.

¨Why you dey close your eyes,” He asked, ¨You dey sleep?”

I stared at the boy confused. ¨I don’t know what you said.”

All he did was laugh. I stared at him wondering what he found so funny.

“Americana be this. You sleep,¨ He asked still laughing.

I shook my head no and started to chuckle.

“Sitting here by yourself no good. Come play,” He said extending his hand.

I started at his rough dirty hand then at his pearly white smile.

“So americana think she dey too good to hold my hand, abi,” he asked with a sly smile.

“Never said that,” I said with a smirk.

He extended his hand again and this time I grabbed it. I’m glad that I did.



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