The bell rang incessantly, KRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGG! Njambi had been seated in the corner of the class throughout break time she did not want to leave. She was tired of constantly being mocked about her weight. She loved to skip, but every time it was her turn Susan would imitate her jumping the rope with a Thud! Thud! Thud! And everyone would laugh.
It didn’t help that Njambi’s mum used to like making weird hairstyles on her. This time her head looked like a handbag handle.
“Did your mum forget to give you pocket money this week?” Aluoch teased.
“Why?” Njambi innocently responded.
“…Because she left her entire purse on your head.” Aluoch and all the girls laughed pointing at Njambi. She was so hurt, she was a chubby child with such a cheery demeanour but she wasn’t the popular one. Njambi was never shy to ask questions in class; she was crowned ‘teacher’s pet’ because she never did wrong in the eyes of any teacher. She always participated and was alert in class; she always handed in her homework on time and at times asked for more homework just to provoke her thinking. She loved volunteering and offering assistance to any of her classmates who struggled irrespective of how they treated her in the field.
About two weeks ago Njambi opted to stay in class during breaks including the hour and a half lunch break. It was either that or the library. She had initially tried the pool area; it ended up being a hazing spot for her. Her mean classmates would water board her and laugh as her hair shrunk from long luscious locks to a mass of tight curls popping out of the cute ribbons mum had tied in the morning.
She couldn’t come round to reporting the matter to the teachers. She didn’t want to be hated more than she already was. She acquired a persona for class and home; she didn’t want the teachers to suspect that things were off. So she would be very chummy in class. After the teacher left she fell back to her sad and miserable self, alone and helpless.
Today was even sadder for Njambi, it was her birthday. As class tradition she was to share her birthday cake with class. This year she opted against it because of the hurt she had faced at the hands of the popular girls. The teacher had been curious as to why.
“Njambi! Happy Birthday again! So what goodies do you have to share?” The teacher jumped right at it after the class sang Happy Birthday. Njambi had her head hung she shook her head and ran out of class. The teacher was startled and ran after her. Njambi was gone in a flash. Then the teacher sent, “Miss Popularity” to go and console Njambi and bring her back to class.
What is it with teachers? Can’t they see beyond the superficial in people especially 11 year olds? Well, as you may have guessed, big mistake! “Miss popularity” aka Susan was aware of where Njambi had run to. The pool! Njambi was now screaming for Susan to stay away. She was seated on the spring board bobbing lightly up and down, feet lightly touching the deep end of the pool.
“Ok! Birth-D-A-Y GIRL! You can take your spoiled self back to class. How old are you anyway like 50?” Susan howled sarcastically.
Njambi tightened her lips to prevent herself from yelling, tears streaming down her face, arms folded; she slowly inched toward the edge of the board. It had been 20 minutes now. The teacher got concerned and ended class. She instructed everyone to leave and find out where Njambi and Susan could be. They were set out in groups of 8 to 10.
By the time the team sent to the pool had arrived. There were screams heard, Susan was drowning in the deep end, the swimmer who would have saved her had drowned arms folded, eyes now bulging out. Njambi called it quits on her birthday.