Highly Commended Story - Sub-junior Category
“My Best Buddy” by Aderenle Adegboye, St Mary's International Schools, Ilorin, Nigeria, is the Highly Commended story in the sub-junior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Aderenle Adegboye is our poster boy for leadership. He is super driven to succeed in everything he does. He has a morbid fear of giving speeches so he prefers to just write it down in his beautiful and bold handwriting. Aderenle was so happy to tell the story of his best buddy with all his dramatic flair because he told a true story. He would love to be a doctor like his Mom and Dad but promises to be a writer as well with the success of this story.
My Best Buddy
That morning Uncle Paul made the great announcement, it was a bright and sunny one. It was bright and sunny until he told us that the proprietress had decided that every pupil must have a study buddy. What did that mean? Study buddies are class mates who work together to learn better. Each buddy would depend on the other to succeed in any subject. If a pupil failed, his or her buddy also failed. It was supposed to teach us sharing, caring, responsibility or something like that. Everyone was alarmed and waited fearfully to hear the name of his or her buddy for the rest of the school year. The whole world got really dark when Uncle Paul finally assigned the laziest boy in class to be my study buddy. Khalid could not even read for goodness sake. How on earth was I supposed to help him catch up with me? This was not fair! How was I supposed to keep up with my own lessons dragging Khalid along behind me? I refused, I objected, I protested, I begged and I cried but Uncle Paul would have none of that. It was settled. Khalid was my buddy till I left this class and that would be for the next year! How was I going to survive? Mother! I could not wait to get home and tell her what had happened. Perhaps she could convince Uncle Paul and the school management to change my school buddy or to stop this buddy thing. And if she couldn’t, maybe she could take me out of this place.
I met her cooking lunch and poured my heart out to her. ‘No,’ she said. I swooned to get her pity but she just walked around my body on the floor. ‘You can’t run away from school because you have a challenge, Ade. You have to stick it out. Besides, I think it would do you both some good.’ How on earth was Khalid going to be good for me? ‘Just do your best Ade. I know you can do it.’ The next day, Khalid came over to seat beside me to practice math. He placed his book beside mine and asked a silly question. That was it. I took up my wooden rule and stood before him. I told him point blank that he had to pass every subject. I was going to help him but he had to pay attention to me and do exactly what I say or I would give him a spanking. I explained the lesson to him three times and he still did not understand. Then it was time for math class and he returned to his seat.
Uncle Paul asked a question on the lesson I just taught and he pointed in turn to the three slowest learners in the class to answer. The first did not get it; the second did not get it. When he asked Khalid, I was so scared that he would fail, I closed my eyes tight and covered my ears. When I felt the applause I was shocked! He got it! He actually got it!! And I was the one who taught him. I looked over to him and gave him the thumbs up sign. Later that day, my class teacher set us up for a general knowledge quiz, buddies against buddies.
I thought it was going to be easy until she asked, ‘In which country do they celebrate the Day of the Dead?’ What? How was I supposed to know that? Day of the – I was still thinking when Khalid shouted ‘Mexico!’ My class teacher said, ‘Correct!!’ I looked at Khalid in surprise. ‘How did you know the answer? I know you did not read it in a book.’ I asked. Khalid said, ‘I watched it on cable TV. I love Discovery Channel!’ Between the two of us, he won the quiz. Mom was right. Everyone is good for something. No one should be taken for granted just because they are not as good as you are academically. Khalid is always telling me stories of what he watches on TV. He is quite a sharp thinker and a people person. He is my friend, a real buddy to me now. With my help, he is improving every day in math. I’m even helping him with his reading. I might even teach him till he is better than I am. Naaah. Just kidding.