She was the best! In as much as there were competitions almost every month, everyone else was competing for the second position. Brenda always beat them and therefore there was only hope that one day someone would displace her, only that nobody knew when. There was concurrence that Brenda was beautiful, with a proportional body and cute round eyes. Brenda used to wear short dresses that revealed her gorgeous legs; she knew it and her short dresses were just intentional.
Brenda was from single parenthood, living with her mom. Her mom was a lower primary school teacher who used to get meager earnings from her job. But anyway, she had some money, enough for the family to live comfortably and for Brenda, who is her only child, to be able to get a decent education. After Brenda’s mother separated from her dad, the father was compelled to pay for child support and it was enough for all they needed including education. The mother invested part of it as well.
In school, Brenda was average. In a class of 60 students, Brenda would at least be amongst the top 30 students. Yes, for her she was comfortable. What she loved to explore more was her talent; she loved playing tennis both in school and in the park with friends.
It is great to enhance your skills, but you should not ignore education, The head of exams used to tell Brenda.
She was in a decent college, Precious Brain College, located just 5 minutes from their home. If you asked her, she had never walked from home to school. Either her mom took her or she was dropped off by their driver. There was a short cut to their college from home that would translate to 10 minutes walk, but she never wanted any of that. There was some money.
“Brenda, my gal, you know once in a while it is good for you to walk to college. Celestine walks everyday and she is a girl just like you,” her mother said to her one evening when she was getting ready to go to college, “it is good for your health and at least you will be in the company of your good friend.”
“Mom, I know what you mean, but I don’t need any more exercises,” Brenda said packing her books, “the exercises that I do when practicing tennis is exercise enough.”
Her mom kept quiet, she took a few seconds to think before she replied, “I mean it is good to be with friends, and understand life beyond tennis, books, and television.”
Brenda turned to look at her mom surprised, “Oh, yes mom, now you have it all started, I should be going to school and I feel I should be in the mood.”
“Sure, gal; no pun intended, just a mother teaching the daughter some facts about life.”
Brenda didn’t say a word after that. She finished packing her books, walked passed her mother who was seated doing some knitting. She went into the kitchen, served herself a glass of juice, gulped it all into her stomach and headed straight out signaling her mom that she was out.
She got to the car, tried the door and found it locked. When she turned to go back to the house, her mom came out talking on her cell phone. She was asking the driver to come drop Brenda at school.
John, the driver, was a very good driver. He had been the family driver for the past 5 years. He was young looking, more like he was in his early 30s, though he was in his mid 40s. Exercise was his open secret.
John came quickly towards the car, “Hi, I was just having a meal.”
“It’s alright, take that spoiled girl to school and maybe you can come back and take me shopping,” Brenda’s mom said jokingly.
“Alright, maam, I will do so.”
“Yes, if I am spoiled, you spoiled me, mom” Brenda said looking a bit more lively. She must have noticed that her mom was just joking.
When she got back home after school, she was looking tired like she had been climbing a mountain. She was breathing hard, having dry lips and looking a bit sweaty in her skin.
“Hi baby girl, how was college?”
“It was cool, maam,” Brenda said already hugging her mom.
“Good, girl. You look worn out! When done changing, there is some food for you in the kitchen,” the mother said turning to pick some thread she was using to knit with.
Brenda went to her room, stayed for about 10 minutes and came back holding a piece of paper. She was looking excited. That used to happen once in a while when she found herself in the top 20 students in the exams. She headed straight to her mom and handed her the paper.
“I got this from Celestine, hmm, you know we walked together coming home and she just pulled it out of her bag and handed it over to me.”
“I told you, walk with these girls, they have something that they can share with you,” the mother said and saw a kind of disappointed look in Brenda’s face, “and you also have something to share with them too,” she finished her sentence and Brenda looked relaxed again.
This was something for college students and it was only for interested individuals. It was a sports outing bringing together a number of sports enthusiasts from different parts of the world. It was an event organized by Young Talents Association (YTA) of Florida State. YTA had organized several such events before and it included talent scouting. Some of the individuals who had attended the previous event were also coming over for this future event dubbed, Talent Explosion.
“Get me the palmtop, I need to check their website,” the mother pointing to the kitchen.
“Maam, you mean you have the palmtop in the kitchen?” Brenda asked really concerned.
“I am growing older, so I forget a lot,” the mother responded like she had no reasonable answer to give.
“I am not even concerned that you forgot it in the kitchen, I am just wondering how it found its way to the kitchen in the first place,” Brenda said appearing from the kitchen door holding the palmtop, “and again, you are still a young girl, you are not getting old anytime soon,” she gave a chuckle.
“How you wish,” she evaded the initial question.
Brenda started up the palmtop and handed it to her mom. They waited for the computer to start up and then the mother input the password.
“I told you I am getting old,” the mother said comically.
Brenda gave a smile, “looks intentional to drive the point home.”
The mother then typed a password and this time it opened the desktop. She gave it some time to load properly before she opened a browser. She typed the organization’s web address.
YOUNG TALENTS ASSOCIATION
COMMITTED TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE THROUGH TALENT
The information that came immediately after the organization’s name and the tag line was about Talent Explosion. They read through together. There was a lot planned for the outing. A number of renowned sports personalities – tennis, basketball, mixed martial arts, soccer and more – would grace the event.
Brenda was excited to see that Serena Williams would be attending.
“Maam, the school needs us to pay some money to be able to participate in this event,” Brenda gave a look that would be translated to mean: If you are not going to pay for this, this place is not going to be home anymore.
“What are you going to do there? Is it because Serena Williams is coming? You need to stick to the inter-college competitions before you can go for something like this,” she was serious, “this is a big thing and I would advise that you wait until the right time comes.”
“To begin with, maam, I am not going there because of Serena; I am going because of the prospect,” she said sounding very mature, “I have a talent, I have skills and this is such a great opportunity.”
“You mean you would rather miss your lessons than miss watching Serena?”
“I thought I already said it…” Brenda cut her sentence short when she saw Celestine coming from the gate.
“Come explain this to mom, gal”
“Nothing to explain, baby gal,” Celestine said walking leisurely towards the door, “it basically means what it says.”
“But mom won’t listen to any of that,” Brenda was looking a bit confused, not sure whether to be happy that her friend came over or to sulk because of her mother’s insistence that she is only going to watch Serena Williams, “she thinks I am going to watch Serena.”
“Don’t get me wrong, gal,” the mother said seriously now, “I am just wondering what is going to happen once you are there. What is it going to add to your life?”
“Actually there is a lot to gain,” Celestine said headed to Brenda’s mother, “this is a…” she paused shortly as Brenda’s mother gave her a peck on the cheek, “… it is a big event that has changed lives.”
“Tell me more, gal.”
“Most of the great talents who attended the previous one are doing very well now,” she sat, “they got a scholarship to train and study and got big publicity as well.”
Brenda was listening. She was surprised that her mother was listening keenly as well.
“Okay, so what really happens? Where do these so called talents go?”
“Mom, they explore their talents, live good lives and make good money,” Brenda stole the moment, “oh, and some help their mothers, you know.”
“They get full scholarship where they get the formal education, the academics,” she said making a serious face, “and they are further trained to gain more skills in their respective talents.”
It was a chilly morning, Brenda was ready. She had prepared everything and was ready with her racquet, shoes, her tennis apparel and basically everything that she needed. Celestine was there as well, having helped her to pack her things. As a good friend, Celestine had been advising Brenda, telling her to be confident.
Brenda was getting uneasy and a bit agitated because the driver was getting late. It was about 20 minutes from the time that the college bus was to leave. Celestine asked Brenda several times that they just walk to school to be able to catch the bus.
“No, I won’t do that. Why would I do that when the driver was well aware that he is supposed to drop me?”
“Now, this is not about him, this is for you, if you don’t want to miss the trip.”
Five minutes, three minutes and John was still not there. The mother tried to call his number but it was going unanswered. They were wondering what he was still doing when actually he had just gone to buy food.
The school was in a celebratory mood. Three females, two tennis players and the other a rugby player, and a male swimmer had qualified for the scholarship.