“But yellow is my favourite colour! Okay which colour would you prefer on me?” “Vanessa Obi, you are pregnant.” I dragged my words slowly like I was talking to a child who needed to understand the point I was trying to make. “So you need to pick darker-coloured leggings to give you the illusion of being slimmer. That way, you can mix it with any bright-coloured top.”
“So what are you saying now…that I’m fat?!” she looked at me with horror. “No, Ness. What I’m trying to say is that, a darker colour like navy blue, black or brown would suit you better now, than this your ‘notice-me’ yellow colour. All you have is a baby bump; and it’s nothing near fat.” I smiled at her reassuringly.
“Haaa…I panicked for a moment there!” she exclaimed. “The last thing I want is for Dave to see me as fat.” She turned back to her shopping and continued with some excited banter that I blocked off my mind. All I could see was myself boarding a plane at the airport for the first time and travelling to America.
Travelling abroad may not be a big deal to many people but it was a huge deal for my younger sister Vanessa and I. We were too poor while we were growing up to even dream that we could one day afford a trip to a foreign country such as the U.S. My parents had seven of us; five girls and two boys. My father was an ‘obioma’– those tailors who carrying a hand sewing machine about, looking for the services of people who had torn clothes to mend. If he made N1000 in a day, then we were lucky. My mother sold vegetables at the local market to support the home. When you added both parent’s resources together, it didn’t amount to much; seeing that they had nine mouths to feed, seven children to educate, clothe and shelter. It was really tough. I was the third of five girls and Vanessa was born a year after me. I guess my parents needed a male child so badly that they kept making babies until Nedu and Chima our two younger brothers were born.
Vanessa and I had always been close. We were often dubbed the ‘Obi twins’ because we were different from our two older sisters. We all had a strict Catholic upbringing but Ngozi and Paulina took their own religion too seriously and lived a very matronly lifestyle even as young teenagers. My mother would always tell Ness and I:
“Why can’t you two rascals be like your older sisters? See how they carry themselves, like true daughters of Obi! Both of you are from a different stock and if I didn’t carry you in my womb for nine months, I’d have sworn you were ogbanje children!”
Yes, Ness and I were different. We dreamed of being educated; of leaving the slums one day and living a life fit for royalty.
Visit my blog next Wednesday to read the continuing part of the story. It only gets better.
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Story Written By: Peace Ben Williams
No part of this story should be copied or published without the permission of the author.
QUARANTINED: My Escape From An Ebola Enclave ©2014
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