Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: DULL (05/12/17)
TITLE: A faint glimmer of purpose
By Steven Turner
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“I always enjoyed maths,” replies Dad from the corner by the oven.
“What have you been learning?”
“We’ve been revising for the exams next month. A different Topic in Maths every day: fractions, decimals, factorials, simultaneous equations, and something named after an Italian bloke; Flippin’ nasty, we call him.”
“That’ll be the Fibonacci sequence. So what’s the problem with learning all this stuff.”
“Well, it’s no use in real life, is it?”
“Isn’t it? Dinner’s ready, go and call the others. And wash your hands.”
Five minutes later, Mum, Simon and Sarah are seated round the table. Dad puts a plate of smiley potato faces and a bowl of beans on the table, and brings over a pizza cut into six slices.
“So, there are six slices here and four of us. How much do we get each?”
“Duh! One and an half slices,” Sarah replies, rolling her eyes.
After Dinner, Sarah approaches her Dad. “Can I have my pocket money? I want to get a magazine from the shop.”
“How much are you expecting?”
“£5, of course.” The eyes roll again.
“But I bought you a cake on Tuesday and you said you’d pay me back. That was £1.55. How much is left.”
Sarah looks at the floor. “£3.45, I guess.”
Dad hands over £2.45, then tosses the other pound coin in the air and traps it on the back of his hand. “Heads or tails.”
Sarah smiles at the game. “Heads.”
Dad reveals the coin. “Tails. I get to keep it.”
“Best of three,” Sarah shouts.
Two more attempts come up tails. Sarah groans, and turns to leave. But Dad calls her back and tosses her the coin. Sarah leaves the room with a grin.
Next day, the family sets off in the car, all wearing the same football tops. Sarah and Simon hang their scarves out of the window. As they get nearer to the stadium, Dad asks Sarah, “Remind me again, do we need to win today to take the championship?”
“I’ve told you already. If we win, we get the cup. But if we draw, and City win, they get the cup. And if City draw, we would need at least three goals to take first place.”
After the match, lined up with the rest of the fans to cheer the new champions, Dad points to a weed beside the road. “Don’t you think t’s fascinating, the way the stem divides to create that umbrella of tiny flowers?”
Sarah grunts and looks back to see the team bus departing. They head for the nearest burger bar to celebrate.
Monday morning, Sarah appears for breakfast and dumps her rucksack on a chair. “Boring Maths again this morning.”
“What were the topics again?” Dad asks with a smile.
“Fractions, decimals, factorials, simultaneous equations and Fibonacci sequence.”
“Why don’t you think of them as pizza, pocket money, heads and tails, league tables and flower stems? That should be much more interesting.”
Sarah frowns, and then a slow smile spreads across her face. When she leaves for school, there is almost a spring in her step.
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