Njideka, my third sister was the prettiest of us all. She was a light-skinned; hour glass figured young lady of average height. She had a natural shoulder-length kinky hair that cascaded on her glistening fair skin. Her eyes always sparkled with life. My people called her nwayiocha because she looked like the daughter of the white man.
Nessa and I called her, JiJi because as little children, ‘Njideka’ was quite a mouthful for us to pronounce and so the name stuck. JiJi was the Obi wild child, she was full of life. She always knew what she wanted and went for it. The thing with her was it didn’t matter the method used. What mattered to her was that she achieved what she had set out for in the end.
She never liked the fact that she grew up in the slum. She always dreamed of a better life. In a way, I think JiJi was ashamed of her roots. When she got admission into the University of Jankara to study Micro Biology, we were very excited that a daughter of Obi had finally made it as an undergraduate. She settled down to university campus life like she was made for it. It didn’t take her long to make friends as she was very likeable and sociable. That was how she met Maye Sampson, a typical university campus girl who lived her life on the fast lane.
Maye had the best of designer clothes, shoes, Brazillian lace front wigs and jewelleries. JiJi wondered how Maye could afford these things because her parents weren’t rich. Maye’s father was a village primary school headmaster and her mother was a mere auxiliary nurse. As JiJi got closer to her newfound friend, she asked her about the source of her wealth and flashy lifestyle on campus.
“It’s Aristo levels, my sister.” Maye confided in her.
“What’s Aristo levels?” A confused JiJi asked.
“You really have a lot to learn!” Maye replied laughing at her friend’s ignorance. “You see all these business men and politicians? We call them ‘big fish’ or ‘shark’ because they are all hungry for fresh blood like us. Instead of dating all these small schoolboys who will only come to your room to beg you for food that you’ve cooked, it’s better to date these men who have the money to throw around. If we are not so lucky to get a shark then we can reluctantly settle for bankers and working class men but they can be very stingy. They don’t pay as well as Big Fish.”
“So how do you explain these things you have to your parents, when they see you wear them?”
“So you think I wear all these flashy things to my village, Ikot Nsu?” Maye laughed again, this time so hard that tears came to her eyes. “You really don’t know who my parents are, do you?” She asked JiJi pursing her lips sarcastically, to which the younger girl shook her head to indicate she truly did not have a clue why her question drew such an intense laughter.
“You see, JiJi,” Maye continued. “My father is a deacon in my village church. My mother is a Sunday school teacher. My church believes a woman must not wear trousers or wear makeup or wear permed hair. When I’m at home with my parents, I lose the denim pants and sexy clothes. I wash off all the makeup from my face and pull off the false eyelashes. Do you see that I still have my natural hair? Haven’t you wondered why I don’t relax it with chemicals? Yes, I know that I tell others that I’m ‘team natural’ and love my natural hair and wouldn’t want to damage it with chemicals, but it’s a lie. Most of the ‘team natural’ girls on campus use that excuse to cover up a bigger fact. The truth is, I dare not relax my hair or my father will kill me. That’s why I wear only lace wigs, because it gives me the level of sophistication I want, without getting me into trouble with my parents.”
“So whenever I have to visit home, I have my hair woven all back in cornrows. I also have one okrika woman who supplies me with mgbeke skirts and blouse. This, I put in my bag. Then, I make sure I stop at the motor park of the neighbouring village, where I’ll change into my ‘home’ clothes. After that, I’ll board a motor bike which will take me straight to my father’s compound.”
“My motto in life is YOLO, which means ‘You Only Live Once.’ It’s my life and no archaic church doctrine or puritan parents can spoil it for me.”
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Story Written By: Peace Ben Williams
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