Peter lay on his bed and closed his eyes. He had thought he would not be able to sleep but exhaustion had finally caught up with him.

When he opened his eyes, he found his mother sitting on his bed, patting his shoulder.

“Wake up, Peter. You need to get ready for school or you’ll be late.”

“Okay, Mma.”

She got up and walked to the door.

“Mama. I’m sorry. So sorry for what has happened.”

She nodded. “I know you are and you know, Peter, we all make mistakes. Small ones, big ones. But we all make mistakes. Get ready for school now.”

As he got out of bed, a pain in his right arm reminded him again of Saturday. He was dreading school, dreading seeing his classmates. But he could not run away from life. He knew that.

“Peter. Are you ready for breakfast?” His father peered into his bedroom.

“Coming, Papa.”

His mother was in the kitchen, drinking tea. “You need to eat something.”

“Not really hungry, Mama.”

She did not press him.

As they drove closer to his school, passing his classmates, seeing a few of his friends, Peter felt the anxiety building in his stomach. He walked through the main gate and greeted the security guard. He was sure the man shook his head.

The news of the accident walked in front of Peter, wanting to trip him up, but he walked upright. There was nothing he could do about it now. Like a tattoo, the stain of the accident was etched on him.

He filed into the assembly hall with the rest of the students. He was taking his usual place when he remembered that he had not written up the results of Friday’s soccer match. He had forgotten to collect the results of all the games that were played over the weekend.

“Our teams emerged victorious this weekend. The A team scored 5 goals…” The sports master was announcing the results for him. Peter looked at him, grateful for having been rescued.

Throughout the day, people gathered around him. It seemed like some of them thought he was some kind of a hero. Others were celebrating the fall of the good boy. A few sat with him, saying nothing. He was grateful when the bell finally rang for home time.

But as he was walking out of his class the school secretary came to call him. “The principal wants to see you, Peter.”

Peter felt his heart suddenly beating faster and louder. He wondered if he was going to be suspended, or even expelled.

The principal sat behind his huge desk, across from Peter. He took off his spectacles and looked straight at Peter. “I am not going to belabour this point,” he said gruffly. “I know you’re probably feeling miserable and ashamed right now. Let this be a lesson to you. That is all. Our prayers are with all of you and for the young man who is in hospital.”

Peter wondered how the principal had heard about the accident. It was true, he thought, bad news travelled fast.


Tell us what you think: What should Peter have done at the scene of the accident?