At your pace


The beeping sound of my alarm clock got me jostling out of bed and rushing to the bathroom to have my bath in order to get ready for school. I spent the last four hours preparing for my Geometry test this morning, and I barely had 30 minutes of sleep.

My name is Adams Lenilson, and I’m what my friends call a “bookworm”. For as long as I can remember I’ve always studied hard, not because I love studying rather, I study to live up to my parents’ standard for me. Yes, you heard me! Of course there is a reason for that. The reason being that I’m the only son of my parents, and my arrival to this world was a bit late as my parents are getting old.

My two older sisters Claire and Sasha are happily married, and are with their respective families. Whereas I’m here struggling with my studies in order to take over my parent’s company as soon as I come of age. I’m currently in my sophomore year in High school hence the Geometry test I have this morning.

Once I was done with my morning business, I immediately made my way outside to my car where my driver Mark was already seated. “Good morning, Mark”, I greeted him. Yeah, the car is mine but dad said I couldn’t drive it yet.

“Hey Kiddo! how are you”, Mark responded while getting the car started and driving out of the compound.

My parents weren’t around as usual and I didn’t see Nana Mary this morning so I didn’t bother myself with breakfast. I wouldn’t be able to stomach anything anyways as I was very anxious about the test.

“I’m fine Mark. How’s Tony and Brenda?” I asked Mark before I got lost in thoughts.

“They are fine. They were on their way to school when I left the house this morning so you should meet them over there”

“Alright then” I replied and got buried in my books again which I didn’t bother placing in my bag as I still wanted to do a final revision.

Just then my stomach grumbled, and I looked up immediately and caught Mark’s face in the rare view mirror and by the look on his face I knew he already figured out I didn’t eat breakfast.

“There was no one at home, and I was in a hurry because of the test so I didn’t eat breakfast” I immediately told Mark before he became all mother hen on me. Mark is like the Uncle I never had.

Mark didn’t say anything and I was already saying a silent “Thank you” to God as I got buried in my books again but the next thing I noticed was that the car came to a stop.

I looked at Mark again, and he just unlocked the door and got out. That’s when I noticed he had stopped at Starbucks that was just a five-minute drive from my school.

I sighed in frustration “Ughhh… I knew he wasn’t going to let go easily”

He came back with a cup of coffee and toast. He gave them to me and said one word “Eat” in a tone that left no room for questioning, and he resumed his driving.

I had no choice but to eat so I started munching on the toast. Luckily for me the coffee wasn’t too hot, and I’m sure that Mark must have requested for it that way.

I was in school in no time, Mark had to wait a little for me to be done with my breakfast. Once I was done, I gathered my books and placed them in my bag, thanked Mark and left.

Just a few students were in class when I got there, and I just quietly made my way to my seat as everyone was busy studying. About eight minutes later, the sound of the bell was heard which signified the beginning of first period, which is when our Geometry test will take place.

The class was soon filled up with students and we all settled in our respective seats. Mr. Lampard our Geometry teacher walked into the class accompanied by Miss Grace, his assistant.

“Good morning class” Mr. Lampard greeted the class in a cheery tone while we all just grumbled a response.

He laughed, and said “C’mon guys, it’s just a test and I promise it not beyond anything I taught you”.

We all grumbled in response again, and some people were murmuring amongst themselves. Mr. Lampard just kept on smiling at us, and just as he was about to address us again, the Principal walked into the class with a new girl.

She turned to Mr. Lampard and they exchanged pleasantries before she focused her attention on us.

“Good morning class” She greeted us, and we all stood up to greet her also. After which she motioned for us to sit down and told us the purpose of her visit.

“I wouldn’t want to take too much of your time as I know you have a test right now, but I have an information to pass across”. She then motioned for the new girl to join her where she was standing, and she faced us again.

“Class, this is Vanessa Baldwin, and she recently transferred to our school. Please, do well to make her feel welcomed”. Vanessa introduced herself to the class, and was directed to the seat that was previously occupied by our class leading student, Patricia. She transferred from school before sophomore year started.

Patricia, Fredrick, and I had always had a close competition ever since elementary school on being the best student in each class. Patricia had always been the best student all through while Fredrick and I always diddle between the second and third position which my parents were not too happy about. Now, with Patricia out of the way, I had a shot at being the best student.

As soon as the Principal left, Mr. Lampard addressed us again.

“Alright class, time to get back to today’s business. I want your desks cleared of all books, only your pens and calculators should be on the table”.

We all started doing as we were told. Mr. Lampard approached Vanessa and asked if she would be able to participate in the test, and the response she gave came as a shock to the whole class. “Yes sir, most definitely” was her bold response.

The class was quiet after that, and Miss Gracie started distributing the test booklets. Once we all had the question and answer booklets, we were told to start immediately. The test lasted for a duration of 35 minutes.

“Alright, pens up!” Mr. Lampard’s voice echoed in the silent classroom which signified an end had come to our test. We were told to pass our scripts forward, and we did.

“Okay guys, see you in the next class, your results will be up in two weeks”, Mr. Lampard said and exited the class with Miss Gracie.

The rest of the day went by and I attended all classes. I met up with Tony, and Brenda after school. Tony was in his senior year while Brenda was in Junior. We were just discussing about activities in school today when Marcus pulled up in the driveway to take us home.
It’s been two weeks after the Geometry test, and we were all anxious about the results. We had also done other tests after Geometry but the results were to be released later. I’ve been in a few conversations with Vanessa over the past week, and I realized she’s a very quiet and reserved type. She doesn’t talk too much about herself and hardly has any friends except few class mates that walks up to her to asks questions after classes as she’s a very intelligent student. She always answered questions in class, and was fast gaining recognition amongst the teachers that taught us, and even the whole school.

We had Geometry this morning, Mr. Lampard walked in and taught us as usual after which he announced that our tests results have been pasted on the notice board.

We immediately rushed there after the class to check the result. On getting there, what I saw came as a shock and surprise to me. Vanessa, Fredrick and I got the same score on the test.

My class mates immediately started murmuring and I caught unto words like “Oh my, what’s book worm going to do now?” “Oh yeah, this competition just got bigger and better”, some were laughing, and others I couldn’t catch onto what they were saying.

I left the place and went to the rest room immediately. I entered a stall, locked the door and sank to the floor. “What would my parents say?”, “Would I ever get a break from studying so hard?”, “I’m certain my parents would want to get a tutor for me at this point”. These were the thoughts running through my head as I sat down there.
I got home late from school that day because I had to go the library to study which was going to be my routine from henceforth. My parents were in the sitting room when I got home. “Good evening Mum, Dad”, I greeted them. Mum came over, and pulled me in for a hug, then told me to go freshen up and come for dinner while dad was just looking at me skeptically.

I immediately ran upstairs to my room once I left mum’s embrace to freshen up. I came after that to eat dinner and just as I was about entering the dining room, dad’s question froze me on the spot.

“What did you score on your Geometry test, and what’s your rank?”

I told him my score and my rank while facing him, and the look he gave me was that of disappointment although he didn’t say anything.

I lost my appetite immediately and ran to my room ignoring my mum’s voice calling me.
The weeks that followed had me studying very had for the upcoming exams because most of our test results had been the same. Vanessa, Fredrick and I being in the same score range. It was really frustrating for me because my dad has stopped talking to me altogether, so I was determined not to disappoint him. Hence I’ve been skipping means and using every waking hour to study hard.
One fateful weekend I was in the library studying as usual as exams were barely a week away. I had been on the same spot for five hours when I felt someone approach me and placed a tissue on my nose. I looked up and saw Vanessa. “Adams! You’re bleeding!” she cried out while applying more pressure to the tissue on my nose. She told me to get up and follow her, and I did. She helped clean up my nose and we got talking about ourselves.

I opened up to her, told her about my life and studies. She felt genuinely sorry for me and she told me about her story too.
Vanessa made a statement that day that I’ve held unto till this point in my life. She said her brother would always tell her that whatever she was involved in, she should go “at her pace”. She shouldn’t live a competitive life as everyone is different.

After the conversation we had that day, we both started studying together and at the end of the school year, I emerged the best student. This went on until graduation and my Dad was very proud of me.

All through my stay in college till I graduated, my anchor quote was “At your pace”. I told myself every morning.

I graduated as the best student in my college, and I’m currently running my parent’s company as the youngest CEO in New York city all because I lived life at my pace.




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  1. Woooooow…. This is such an interesting and inspiring story… I stayed glued all through.. Weldone.. Lot of love..