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Hidden Dream

Episode 08.

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Ms Jere…..
I had seen him brighten up. He looked more peaceful the past weeks and was always present for dance practice. .
I could see how he made work easy for me by helping his friends with most of the dances. All I had to do was add up to smooth everything up.
With the coming of Jay, the whole group seemed live. The boy had a way of pulling everyone towards him and I just loved it.
I could see he was trying to fight his inner battles and tried all I could to put him in the right track. In fact I mostly didn’t refer to him as a boy.

I recall one day when he came to the class which was practically my office.
Since I went to Luangwa secondary, I had not really made a friend. Most of the women were older than me and for some reason they all acted up around me. Someone even told me they feared I would grab their husbands because I was single and my looks where above theirs.
I couldn’t understand them cause for me I always thought my dressing as a woman had to always be on point. I kept my appearances and I didn’t really care If the so-called married women wanted to make themselves look old in their nakonde suits and long skirts and jackets. Besides I was a dancer, I had to keep my figure well defined to match up with what I did.
Overtime I found myself isolated and I found solace in helping the girls and boys realise their dancing skills and dreams. I saw the expression on the faces of happy girls and boys whenever they danced and that to me mattered most.

I was employed under music and arts and I specialised in dancing. Even when most people shot it down I was determined to achieve my dream of seeing the young ones develop their talent.
I recalled how a lot of debate had broke when I reported. Most people expected me to teach Music of which i didn’t object since it was part of what I did. But I told the Head teacher I didn’t go abroad to study dancing just to throw it away because people where displeased.
Lucky for me the head seemed to have a soft spot for me and he agreed and confirmed that if the ministry had sent me under arts then there was no reason to object it.
I remember how I started off with 3 pupils in the club. I didn’t see it working but I was amazed when some grade 10s came and most of them joined. Though there was still a challenge with male students who were mostly hesitant to join.

Others would joined just for a day and then stopped coming and I laughed when I heard rumour that some boys especially the grade 11 and 12s went to the club to check out my figure.
I didn’t really care about the rumours as I had no intention of befriending any of them nor getting close.
However, things started changing when I met Jay. I practically forced him to start dancing. I saw how his face lit up when he danced with me and my heart was glad.
I didn’t think he would come back. Then I saw him walk to the class days later. He was still in his school uniform and he walked towards the class whilst I watched him through the window.
I smiled to myself not understanding myself, I didn’t know whether it was the joy of seeing him opening up or the fact that he looked handsome in his perfect tailored uniform.
Wishing I was 2 years younger and not a teacher in that school. I knew Jared was 19 from the records I was keeping in the file meaning he was 2 years younger than me.
I had completed my school at 16 and before 19 I was done studying Music and the year that followed my mother sponsored me to go study dancing specificalising in ball room dances.
I had scolded myself avoiding the thoughts of admiring a person who was my pupil.
” you are just lonely in this place Angela, focus!” I cautioned myself that day and welcomed him to the class with a smile.

Seeing him dance on one of the dance sessions was as usual appealing and I was set glancing at them as he danced with Tracy who I deliberately paired with since I noticed how much she eyed him. The fact that dancing ballroom involved passions and a drive of emotions I knew pairing them would make things easier for them. And I was right, they easily connected which lead them to direct other dancers too.
Lost in thoughts watching the dancers I heard an angry voice call out Jay.
” what are you doing?” The man asked standing amid the door .
My eyes shifted to Jared and I saw how pale his face turned.
Recalling what the instructor from a dance school I first saw Jay told me, I knew the man was pissed seeing his son dancing.

I slowly stood up trying by all means to look as mature as possible and walked to him.
He was still focused his gaze at his son. I could tell because Jay had his father’s looks and there was no mistaking that fact.

“Excuse me sir,” I started calmly standing in between him and Jay.
There’s a class here and I would appreciate If you asked for permission to come in before shouting at my students.
” your students? ” he asked turning to face me.
” yes sir, as you can see this is a class and am their teacher …”
I couldn’t finish my explanation and he cut in.
” well am sorry madam I didn’t know there was a teacher here I thought they are only students ” he faked a smile.
I felt a bit offended by his luck of courtesy but I fought the urge to rebuke him.
” anyway I came to see my son but to my disapointment someone told me he’s here dancing. Am sure he knows we do not approve of him doing this” he said extending his hand at the dance floor.
” in fact I had no idea this school has this I couldn’t have….”
I raised my hand a little to stop him.

” am sorry sir I think we need not say all that in front of everyone please take a seat if you may then we can talk properly I indicated to him softly.
I showed him a seat and the two girls with him stood afar looking around the room.
I dismissed the students except for Jay and asked the two girls who I assumed where related to Jay to wait outside.
After pulling the chair and making myself comfortable I cleared my throat and looked at Jay and his father.
” Now,” I sighed trying to find the words to tell the man before me. He just kept his gaze at me and I saw Jay bow his head without looking at either me or his father.

“So sir I got what you have said. But I have something to ask you.” I started
” no listen to me young lady, no offence because I can see you are almost or can I say close to my son’s age. I don’t know what this boy told you or didnt tell you but he knows this dancing is completely forbidden in my house. No son of mine will degrade himself to such an inferior thing when he has all the things he needs to get the best education. Just look at him he was supposed to have completed school 2 years ago and should probably be in college , but here he is in grade 11 because of this stupid ambition. Tell me if it were your child what could you have done.?

You pay a lot of money to see your child go to the best schools and have the best in life and then he throws everything out the window and for what? A Stupid dream, that can not take him anywhere in life.?” He burst out angrily.

I let his questions sink and looked up at him. ” God help me here” I said a little prayer before I opened my mouth.
” you are right sir, every parent’s desire is to see their children achieve great in life. I don’t have children yet but I believe when I finally do I will want the best for them.
I beg to differ however, on the issue of realization of dreams. Tell me sir, have you ever had some dreams in your life?. That something that you so much wanted to do so much that you would sometimes close your eyes and smile at the vision of being that thing? ” I paused looking up at him.
” of course every normal person must have some kind of dream or vision whatever its normal but….”
“Just there sir” I held him up.
” with all due respect sir, don’t you think your son also has that right to have dreams of his own?. I see you are concerned about his well being but please you have to understand we are all not the same. Maybe its high time you took some moment to think of the reason why your son has not been performing well at school.
He’s scared inside. He can’t be free to express himself and that contributes to his weak performance. If you want to prove my words ask around and hear for yourself how he has improved over the weeks since he started dancing again. Why? ” I asked looking at him and Jay.

” it’s simple, he feels free and his mind is at peace. He can relate with his studies because his inner power is not being intimidated. Please sir am asking you to reconsider. Your son is no longer a kid you are right, but you have to understand every person reaches a stage of their lives where they too make up their own choices, the best we can do as teachers and Parents is to encourage them to develop positively so that they achieve their highest dreams and ambitions. Pushing him to the wall will only make things worse, please you have to let him free sir.
For some few minutes I saw him stay quiet like he was really giving my words a thought and when he raised his eyes at me I was almost running to the door. His deep stare scared me to death.
” you are now are telling me how to raise my own children. According to you his not performing as he should because am not doing what I ought to do as a father? May I remind you that am way older than you young lady and I have seen more than you have. This thing you call a passion or whatever has no future in this country.
Where is he going to work as a dancer? Tell me which institution is he going to get a job worthy talking about and live a life that is worthy while ? Stop being naive and unreasonable. I don’t want him to continue with this. Right now am going to talk to the headteacher and if you will in any way coerce or encourage my son to do this then it’s even better I withdraw him from this school. ” he snapped standing up.

“No!” I saw Jay standing up to his father. He was speaking for the first time since we started the discussion and I turned towards him.
” what is That?” His father shot him a stare.
” I said No, dad. You are not going to do such a thing. Come on father, am tired of all this. What is your problem with me really? . Tell me the truth today because honestly I can’t figure you out.
Why have you chosen to make my life difficult? I was doing okay until the time you decided to shoot down the only thing i always want to do. I have done all you ask and am not doing this anymore.” Jay spoke up tears falling his face.
” have you even sat down to think of what I really want? What makes me happy? Do you even consider the possibility that i have a heart and feelings too.?
We can’t all be like you father. Am not as strong as you are, I can’t be an officer nor can I pass like my sister’s. Am my own person and am tired of everyone trying to make me into the kind of person they want.
I want to be free dad, I want to choose my own things and Ms Jere is right. Since I started dancing again I feel opened up and am doing well again.

Please let me be. Let me do something for myself as well father. I have always tried to squeeze myself in a life you have set for me. Please” he begged putting his palms together.
I was now quite watching father and son and in my heart I felt proud Jay was standing up for himself.
But shockingly I saw his father raise his hand to hit him. Before I could say a thing to stop him. Jay quickly held his father’s hand and shouted, “don’t do that again father! Don’t cause I swear I will retaliate” he snapped his face showing off his anger.

” I will not allow you to disgrace me anymore if you want do what you want, disown me or whatever am not quiting dancing. Go on and leave with your intelligent children and leave me alone” he added before putting his hand down and stormed out without looking back. .
I was short of words as I watched col Zimba stare in the space without any words.
“Jay! ” I called out trying to ask him to come back but I saw him ran towards the hostels without looking back.
I now turned back defeated, expecting the worst from his father who remained on the same position without shaking.
Fear building up in me as I regained my posture and walked back to my seat.

To Be Continued….. . . . .

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