The auditorium was filled with lots of people, parents, teachers and students. Students were chatting happily as they prepared to go on holiday and awaited their awards. The girls all dressed up in cocktail dresses of tale blue, pink or magenta while the boys were on suits, some three pieces while the rich on tuxedos. The parents seemed to be engrossed in ‘adult’ discussion as they sat around the table assigned to the parents. They shared drinks and made small talks. The head of school stepped on the podium and announced the order of the award ceremony.
Grace felt uneasy as she sat on her seat. She had been lucky to get her father to come to the event with the family. “I will not sit there and let Grace humiliate me. With those grades I wonder the kind of award she’ll be given.” Grace felt close to tears as she listened to those horrible words fly out of her father’s mouth. She tried to take it all in and accepted it as a challenge. She made up her mind to surprise her father with the life she’d live. She began living each day like her last and there she was sitting sad, praying to an unseen god that something works out otherwise she’d be dead.
“Grace, hope you are okay? You’ve been quiet ever since the beginning of the award night. Are you scared?” Tolu her classmate put her comforting hand on her friend.
“I know I deserve an award but if something went wrong and they made a mistake or something just happened and I’m not awarded tonight, I’ll be in so much trouble.”
“You needn’t worry because you and I know you are one of the best students in our year and in the class as well. Besides, you’ll be awarded for the science competition. You’ve done well and you should be proud of yourself”
“I wish I could. Not with a family like mine who do not consider anything below first position as good grades.”
“The award for outstanding achievement all round goes to Grace Chima,” Grace stands abruptly, she didn’t expect her name to be called so soon, she was thrilled and close to tears and walked gracefully to the podium. Grace was more amazed to see her Dad among those who gave a standing ovation; he clapped and smiled, while he received handshakes from parents sitting around him.
Further awards were given to Grace and before the end of the day, many parents new Grace’s name and her family. Grace’s father happily introduced himself to people and Grace had a smile on throughout the night not because she had been awarded but for her father’s happiness.
Grace kept struggling hard to make her father happy in everything she did. She joined the children at the community church for Christmas carols; she made effort to keep the smile on her father’s face but succeeded on few occasions. She didn’t expect a present from her dad on her successful completion of high school. “Grace!” as he would usually call her with all authority when she was in trouble. She dropped the tray with a thud and crashing sound, scared and immediately answered to the call. Her younger brother Daniel looked sadly from the door way and asked her to quickly go, he helped her finish washing the dishes. Heads down and hands to the back, she walked like she was at a funeral procession and stood with fear to her father.
“Why are you all shaky? I wouldn’t lay my hands on you when you’ve done nothing wrong” he said smiling. “Here, take this. I got it for you.” He stood up and walked away from the sitting room.
Grace took a sit on the sofa, wiped her hands on her skirt and wiped her forehead now filled with sweat. She quickly opens the present to see a beautiful bracelet that looked somewhat expensive. A smile gradually accentuating across her face and tears that she couldn’t hold back as her throat closed tight. She runs to her father, kneeling in appreciation and saying thanks in between sobs. Edward pats her on the back “you have done well and I am proud of you.” He quickly turned his back and walked away. She kept the bracelet, a treasure she will forever cherish, a moment not to be forgotten.
//modified chapter 1 following shortly