“Why does consultation have to be on a Thursday?” Selma asked in exasperation.
“It is the last day of the second term madam.” The girl at the front desk replied as she handed over a copy of the school magazine.
“I know. But if we had done this on Visiting Sunday like we usually do, I could have just sent a driver today.”
Selma’s tone was clipped as she gruffly stuffed the magazine under her arm. The girl looked unfazed. “Welcome to Luchlan Girls College,” she said with a slight bow and plastered smile.
Her cotton stuffed white shirt was crisply ironed. Her burgundy blazer, a perfect fit. Her silver earrings framed by minimally styled flowing synthetic black hair. Her aura was of the elegance Luchlan Girls College was known for. Selma couldn’t help notice the two stripes on the hands of the blazer: division captain. Selma had had three: prefect.
“Good morning, I am Miss Mutsawashe Mishora, the History Teacher.”
“Good morning, I am Selma, Laura’s mother.”
“Please, take a seat. These are Laura’s grades for mid term assessments and end of term exams for the last two terms. As you can see, her marks range from very high, 85% to quite low 42%”
“Why do you think she does so well sometimes and then struggles?”
“She is really good at remembering facts and dates. Who was the king of the Mutapa State? Where is Great Zimbabwe? In what year did the Second World War start? But, she could improve on her essay writing skills. The low mark was an assignment to compare and contrast the Ndebele and Rozvi states.”
“OK. So…. What do you suggest? It’s only this one holiday left before she writes O Level”
“I think she needs to read the textbook and prescribed texts more often. You can’t just use redspot and summary notes to guess what will come. She has to read. Especially, “The Scramble and Partition of Africa : Berlin Conference and beyond.”
“Thank you for your help.” Selma said earnestly.
Selma poured a cup of Ethiopian coffee, and had a bite of the chocolate croissant from the confectionery platter.
She looked around the bustle of the student hall. The low hanging chandelier with its crystal detail. The projector just above the back door. The floor to ceiling windows with a great view of Merick Park. The doting parents and clingy siblings. The students, clustered in groups, giggling.
Oh how things stay the same.
She saw her former math teacher, Mrs Sullivan, now the new Headmistress. A matriarch who demands attention. She saw the plastic chairs mixed in with the wooden ones she used to sit on. She saw students strutting in stilettos now. During her time, only prefects like her could wear those.
She looked at Miss Mishora. Her ankle length black dress with sparkly details. It was gangly. Draped in a grey bolero jacket. Mismatched. Her wig, it was a wig, as a cropped Bob. Her earrings, cheap metal, dangling. She could appreciate the effort. The modesty. The formality. But, this wasn’t the aura of elegance Lunchlan Girls College was known for.
Oh how things change.