Calculations

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


A short story I plan to adapt into a full book someday. It's about a boy who tries to find out the mysterious situations surrounding his mother's death, he goes back and forth from talking in
flashbacks and the present. There's also a lot of Yoruba in it lol. Hope you like it.

Submitted: September 18, 2018

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Submitted: September 18, 2018

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Calculations

 

Today you’re going to hear about the first day i, Troy Higgins, learned I was smart. Too smart for my own good.

 

It was in Ms. Hannigan’s room, History Class, at exactly 11:05, right before lunch. Letty Ortiz had just stolen my pencil for the 5th time this week, the 15th time this month, and about the 30th time this year. It’s a rough estimation, I might be wrong. Anyway, she only brings one pencil to school and somehow it always breaks or is unusable by lunch. The best way for her to get it is from me, the only person with extra pencils every day. It’s essentially a no-brainer. But I wish this girl would stop pressing me all the time.

 

Mom says the reason why some girls and boys act annoying to the other gender is because they like them. Well then, if that’s the case then I guess a lot of girls like me too. And maybe some boys? Actually, never mind, they’re all just bullies. My rival, Allison Dubose, is probably at the top of the list of people who are maybe in love with me, which is highly improbable, cause.. Uh… I’ve lost track of what I was going to say. Letty Ortiz just gave me back my pencil before the bell rang. That’s not a good sign, really.

 

If one thing is out of place, then statistically speaking, everything else will fall apart because the balance has been put out of whack.  Dad told me that once.

 

“Hey Troy trashcan,” Allison said. I jerked my up from my thoughts. “I heard your girlfriend just returned, the what? 15th pencil you’ve gotten stolen for so long? Maybe you should toughen up since it’s obvious you’re such a doormat.” She laughed and I tensed, it usually takes me 15 seconds to come up with a good comeback but with someone like Allison, speed is key.

 

“If I’m such a doormat, then why are you letting Bobby Reyes use your favorite pen all the time? Maybe you have a crush on him?”

 

Her face changed from smug pleasure to complete devil in a few seconds. “Bingo.” I thought.

 

“Ms. HANNIGAN!!” She screamed. “TROY IS MAKING FUN OF ME!” “NO, I DID NOT! SHE PROVOKED ME FIRST!” I quickly replied.

 

“Well, then. How about this you two? Lunch detention for both of you.” Ms. Hannigan said in her thick Irish accent. “And that’s the end of that, you hear you two?”

 

Allison and I gave each other quick looks of anger and went back to our work. “Nice job, Troy. Real nice.” She remarked, angrily.

 

The rest of the day went off without any major problems. Of course there was the usual ostracization and teasing from my peers after school, but I dealt with that every day. I didn’t care about them today, because today my mother was leaving for business. Of course, I was going to miss her, but this felt different because instead of a week, she was leaving for a month and that was much longer than she usually left for, so I needed to tell her goodbye. And it was just my luck that as soon as they picked me up they were going to airport immediately.

 

Ife mi!” My mother happily greeted me in Yoruba, her native language. “alaafia Mama,” I replied. I hope that was good enough, I’ve been really practicing lately. “How was your day, son?” My father said. “Ah, the usual Dad. Of course there was Alison Dubose ready to ruin my day again.”

 

“Ah, son, do not be discouraged,” My mother said in her sweet Nigerian accent. “I told you each day to be calm and face what you are doing. That Alison girl, she is just an ibanuje, simple annoyance, do not mind her. O j? apero ti Pkeyguonon ?b? ti o nmu ki aw?n eniyan gbe e duro p?lu aw?n ?pa; a person's mouth may be their downfall, so don’t worry about it, ok? I don’t want you to get in trouble and I don't want to hear about any problems while I’m overseas. Understand?”
 

“Yes, Mom. Nothing will happen. O ni ?r? mi. Allison’s such a pest. Screw her.

 

“The boy will be fine, Ayo! He just needs some toughening up, that’s all. Ms. Hannigan called us today, son. We know what happened, but you have to remember that you need to be firm. The stronger you sound, the less the girl will be bothering you. You just need to revitalize yourself.”

 

The car is currently traveling at a speed of 50 miles per hour, which means we’re definitely in a rush, which means less thinking and more talking. Stop wasting time!

 

“Uh, Mom, where are you headed to again?”

“London.”
“Are you going to be visiting any family?”
“I might if time allows it. Oh, all your cousins love to hear my stories about you, i can’t wait until you’re old enough to meet them!” She exclaimed.

They can wait. I said in my brain. There’s no way in hell i’ll get on a plane unless i’m forced too.
 

We’re finally here. My father and mother get out of the car while i silently hoist myself up to look at them while they unpack everything out the car. My mother gave me a hearty grin as she picked up a suitcase and walked to the entrance of the terminal. Her smile worried my fears that I had felt before. Yeah… I was overreacting, just another mistake in the equation. Nothing to worry about. I hope i can meet the pilot or maybe an air stewardess.

 

I bounded out of the car to join my parents as they walked with their suitcases towards the check in desk. I waited with my father as my mother quickly checked in her bags.

 

“Troy.”

“Yes, Dad?”

“It’s Friday today right?”

“Yes, it’s the fourth Friday of the month, signifying that the end of the month will be in exactly 3 days.”

“That’s my boy. Hey, you don’t mind if we watch your mother’s plane take off from the terminal, right?”

“I don’t mind, sir. It’ll give me a chance to brush up on my plane math.”

“Great, that’s great. Hey, Troy?”

 

I looked up to see brown eyes identical to my own staring down at me. “Yes, Dad?” I said respectfully. “I see you’re a bit tense. Is anything wrong?” He asked. “No, Dad, nothing’s wrong,” I said back. “I just… i’m hungry,” I blurted out. “Well, we’ll be home soon. Don’t worry, i know how much you don’t like my home cooking. I’ll order some of your favorite chinese food.” He droned on and on about how much i loved chicken fried rice and hot sauce while i started to blank out and make some calculations. “No, carry the four, don’t just multiply that. Well, that obviously won’t work out. Ugh, how does this.. How does this work? No, no, you idiot, that’s in the wrong place. Darn it, i can’t figure this out.” I stopped my calculations on accurate angles once my head started hurting.  “I can figure this out, i can do it,” I reassured myself.

 

We waited for at least another hour until finally the plane was ready to go. I eagerly remembered to angle a plane like the one my mother was flying on could safely fly at which was 16 degrees. Anything higher or lower is a no. I kept it in mind as I saw the plane take off.

 

Excelsior Air. Nice name for an airline. I’ll remember that if we need to sue.

“Troy, look.”

I looked up.

“There it goes.”

 

Bye Mom. Wait…

 

The plane didn’t look stable. I felt as if it’s angle was slanted up a little. If memory serves me right, the plane will stall. Steep angle + high altitude= stall. They should get out of it quick.

 

No… it’s fine. Nothing will happen. Don’t be foolish. You’re smart. You didn’t make a mistake. Believe in yourself damnit. I thought, reassuring myself.

 

The plane didn’t move. For a moment it was completely suspended in air until it finally, slowly and surely, started falling to the ground, belly first. My father tried to cover my eyes but it was too late for him to do anything. The plane wings shattered first, then everything was gone except the middle of the plane which was mostly still intact. It came to a rest along the runway.

It was too late for me. I had seen bodies fall out, people screaming all around me, and my fathers constant tugging at my collar go, go, go somewhere.

 

But where could we go? Is my mother still alive? Just count. If anything goes wrong, count to 10 and wait to calm down.

 

1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10…..

 

It’s too late.Mo ri p?lu iku oju mi. I can’t count death out of the equation.

 

And that’s how my story began. The death of so many people seen through the eyes of a child was too much to bear. I was too young, only a kid. A kid with a big brain and a small mouth. A kid who was too scared to follow his gut because he thought he was wrong. I always second guessed myself as a kid. Well, not anymore. This kid isn’t going to let anyone else die over his uncertainties. I will not make another miscalculation.


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