This logic sounded very appealing to Njideka. She saw no reason for advertising her family’s poverty on campus, while other girls were flaunting expensive cellphones, designer wardrobes and vacations to exotic places. Being a university student opened her eyes to a world of excitement, glamour and social media. It was world that aptly defined her inner personality. She belonged here. How could God have thought it wise for her to be born in the slums of Osamko; among shanty houses that were laced with putrid, slimy and stagnant drains? Surely, God should have known that she’d grow up to loathe the place? Osamko wasn’t the kind of place she’d be proud to tell anyone she lived in. If she didn’t do everything in her power to wipe out the stamp of the slum from her identity, she’d be snatched away by the claws of poverty and shackled forever in the dungeon of failure, lack and penury.
It didn’t take long for JiJi to blend into Maye’s kind of lifestyle. The Aristos were crazy about her beauty and showed it by spoiling her with the finer things of life. She became the new ‘it girl’ on campus. Unlike Maye, who always transformed herself before going to visit her parents, JiJi dressed just as she did on campus to visit home. When my parents asked her who gave her the fine clothing and jewellery she wore, she said they were hand-me-downs from her rich girlfriends in school. She also made my parents believe she had a part-time job in a fast food eatery to support her school expenses. She also gave money to my parents, saying it was money she had saved from her job. They were too happy to receive the extra cash that they didn’t bother to probe JiJi’s story any further.
One day, my sister was playing escort to one of her regular aristos. This aristo was a senior officer in the Nigerian Navy. JiJi arrived his quarters at seven that evening. She was showed into the waiting area, where she took a seat. A steward came in, and served her a tall glass of juice as she waited for Wing Commander Nelson Femai. A butler soon came and led her to the poolside where Femai was relaxing with his friends. It was a wet chilly evening in the middle of the rainy season and JiJi wondered why Femai and his friends found swimming in that type of weather such fun.
“Do come and join us!” Femai beckoned to JiJi, happy to see her. “These bloody frogs are trying to spoil our fun,” Femai continued as she took a seat beside him. It had just rained and the pool was filled with frogs. Femai had his orderlies fish out the frogs with net traps, while he and his friends sipped on their drinks and watched. They seemed to have found a new form of amusement that took over their plan to swim because they’d crackle with laughter each time a frog leaped so high, evading the orderly’s net. They’d point at the escaping frog yelling, “There boy, catch it!”
Femai soon became bored with watching his orderlies chasing leaping frogs so he whispered into JiJi ears, “I’m really bored. I don’t reckon spending my evening with a bunch of old men and leaping frogs. The Oscars are showing tonight and I don’t want to miss it. Why don’t we get to my regular suite at the Springwood Hotel? We could watch it there, sip champagne and make love all night, until sunrise. What do you say?” He winked.
“Sounds like a good idea to me.” JiJi replied giving him a sexy wink. Femai signaled to his driver and they left the quarters.
“Are you going to pick something for yourself and let’s go to check out or you’re just going to stand there staring into space?” Nessa’s question jolted me back to reality. “Urm…I’ll take the champagne-coloured ruffled collar blouse”, I muttered. “Yea…it looked really good on you when you tried it out just now,” Nessa nodded with satisfaction. Then her eyes lit up, “You know, this top would go so perfectly with that BCBG Max Azaria skirt you’ve saving for God knows how long.” She rolled her eyes as she dragged me to the counter to pay for our shopping.
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Visit my blog next Wednesday to read the continuing part of the story. It only gets better.
Story Written By: Peace Ben Williams
No part of this story should be copied or published without the permission of the author.
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