The bell rung and the school was lit up by the sound of joyful screaming. Children dashed out from class; some heading for the school tuck shop to grab some snacks; others straight for the fields to continue with the games they were playing earlier. Maurice stayed in class; he wasn’t able to run out like the rest, movement for him was a chore.
He wheeled himself backwards and inched closer to the window to watch the other kids play like he always did. As usual Sherry was bossing the other girls around in a game of Kati. Even when it was crystal clear that the ball had hit her, she would deny and blame one of the throwers that “they didn’t count down before the throw” or “they were stepping on the line” which the other girls never fought back. Sherry got away with everything because she was the teacher’s ‘pet”. Everyone knew if you stood up to her she would get you in trouble for her own sad bullish satisfaction. So what if they let her win? At least they never got in trouble with the teachers.
Not too far from the girls; the boys were playing a game of football. Maurice always vouched for Allan’s team. Allan was one of the few people in class who was always kind to him. Once in a while Allan would ask his other friends to help lift Maurice and his chair down the stairs to the fields to play. But lately this had become less frequent. They were 10 now, older, and Maurice was getting heavier.
“Gooooooooaaaaallll!” Maurice screamed through the window drawing attention, Allan raised his thumb in a victory salute toward Maurice. Maurice nodded with a smile. The bell rung, break time was over, the children ran to class like they were being chased by a wild animal. Maurice could hear the stampeded to class and slowly began to wheel himself out from the window to his desk in the middle of the room. He wheeled with one hand, as the other hand pushed the chairs to the side to make room. He pushed the first, second and third seats, and then used a bit too much force with the forth seat and slipped out of his chair. He fell face first with a thud.
Sherry and her crew were the first to class, they saw Allan, Sherry pointed and burst out laughing. Her sidekicks joined in the laughter, as the other classmates arrived at the door they began to shove their way to see what was going on. Allan and his friends were last to arrive and began to shove past people yelling the “teacher’s coming” that cleared the door pretty fast. As the view cleared there at the back of the class, with his wheel chair mounted on top of him groaning in pain was Maurice. No one helped him, they all pointed and laughed. The book worms were quick to pull out their exercise books and start reading amidst the noise.
Allan shoved passed the people seated around Maurice and quickly pulled up his chair and quickly asked Maurice if he was Ok. Maurice was in tears, the few who were around him stared at him in pity, some looking guilty, no one but Allan seemed to care. Allan instructed one of the girls next to him to hold the wheel chair as he single handedly lifted Maurice from the floor on to the chair. Maurice didn’t utter a word, his lower lip began to shiver and tears steadily flowed down his face.
“I am here man, don’t worry, we’ll get you some help.” Allan reassured Maurice as he wheeled him toward the door. Allan summoned four of his football team mates to help carry Maurice down the stairs. On the way down the met Ms. Tula, their class teacher, whose eyes locked with Maurice’s. He looked so embarrassed and hurt.
“What’s going on?” she demanded.
The boys were groaning from the weight no one responded. She moved to the side and offered assistance. She put her books and box of chalks down and carried Maurice in her arms like a baby. The boys trailed behind with his chair. The other kids stared out the classroom door, others from the classroom balcony, unaware that they would never see Maurice and Allan after that day.