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RUDE AWAKENING

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Alicia’s compound was a behive of activities as her younger sister and herself ran up and down alongside other kids in their compound. The 3rd term activities had just come to an end, ushering the kids into the long awaited  long vacation and they were most thrilled. Alicia loved to play a lot that she always looked forward to every long vacation.

 Their dad was the serious type who didn’t like to see his kids play for too long. He believed it was a waste of time, precious time that could be channelled into something else. He  was soon back from work, wearing a non friendly expression. One look at him and Alicia knew that play time was over.
Alicia was the elder of two daughters and was the one to always take the fall for every ill act. Their dad would always scold her, saying she ought to take control of the house whenever he wasn’t home, knowing full well that they had lost their mum to complications of child birth. She had died  giving birth to Lisa, the younger daughter and their dad had refused to remarry, focusing all his attention on raising his kids.
As a lawyer, it was difficult for Mr Ogbu to take care of his kids due to his tight schedule. He had employed a maid who cooked and cleaned the house till Alicia was ten and insisted on taking over. Lisa has been very supportive as well. She would always wash the plates in the house, wash her clothes and had started attempting cooking in recent times.
Mr. Ogbu would always take them shopping on Saturdays, spoiling them with ice cream, pizza and lots of other goodies. They even got to choose what park to visit at some weekends. It was an otherwise beautiful family. The kids on the other hand had read their dad like a book. It took only a minute for them to know when they had pissed him off, when work was annoyingly stressful and when he was in a good mood.
Their dad entered his room that evening, dropped his jacket and briefcase and made straight for the shower. The girls had at this point dismissed everyone and scurried into the sitting room, waiting for their dad, expecting the worst. Even though they knew he didn’t like them playing around, they had thought it would be different this time, since they were on holiday and there was no work to do in the house.
They watched as he ate dinner in silence. He hadn’t said a word since his return and the kid’s hearts were beginning to pound. He still had that look on his face and Alicia could tell what was coming. She readjusted uncomfortably on her seat from time to time, waiting for her dad to break the ice.
“Did you later get your results today?” Came the first question, after the table had been cleared. “Yes dad” the girls chorused and each made for their room to get theirs. Mr Ogbu scrutinly went through the results, intermittently moving from one result to the other and then back to the first. He was quiet for a while and the girls waited for his face to lighten up, but no, the initial expression still dominated.
“Congratulations Lisa. As usual, you have made me proud” he said, embracing the little girl. The momentry celebration soon ended as he turned to face Alicia. “You promised to do better this time around, what happened? Why does your report still say “5th out of 30”? Its  even worse than the 4th position you took the last time. Why is it that you beautiful girls don’t do well academically? You are too beautiful to behold and am beginning to think that it is distracting you from focusing on your academics.
Just take a good look at your sister, always top in her class. She is equally beautiful you know, yet she still takes her academics seriously. I don’t understand how you will be so behind even though the two of you now share the house chores equally. We don’t have dollads in this lineage o, better go and ask questions! Oh, before I forget, here is a quick reminder: “as long as you are in this house, you must go to school! Better take your studies seriously”. If you like play away your time, all you seem to know how best to do is play, dragging your sister into an unnecessary distraction…he kept muttering as he made his way to his room.
Years went by and Alicia struggled amidst tears to please her dad, all to no avail. She soon settled for his words: you beautiful girls don’t do well academically. She stopped working hard, believing she didn’t have what it takes to succeed academically. She settled for a less stressful course in the university where she spent all her time looking beautiful and attending every single event in town.
She only read her books from two weeks to their exams. Her clique of friends shared the same school time table as herself. They were in the same marketing department, the reason they had the same schedule.  Alicia seemed to be the leader of the group, the most beautiful, outgoing, and also the one who made the A’s in their courses. Her colleagues, not just her friends admired her. They made sure she was present at every departmental event they had as her presence always attracted more spectators.
They even went to the extent of giving her one of their departmental T-shirts for free…a form of advert they called it. “Other people will want to buy once they see Alicia putting it on” a member of the committee had said.  Alicia was happy with the development. She considered it as “something to make her look even more beautiful, the one thing she knew how best to do, social events aside”.
Four years was soon over and they were done with school. The series of send off parties, done and dusted. They all traveled back home, waiting for the convocation list so they could do their convocation and apply for NYSC. Lisa took after her dad and was at this point rounding up her first year in the university, as a law student. As expected, she adapted excellently and was doing extra ordinarily well.
Alicia was soon bored at home as she was almost always alone. With Lisa in school and her dad always at work, she felt like she suddenly had no one. Her dad and herself didn’t have the best relationship, so even when he was home, she still felt home alone. She could count the number of times she had visited home since the last four years. She felt almost like a stranger in the neighborhood. She even found it difficult to decide where to go to for a hang out.

The local eatery she finally settled for was surprisingly nice, infact, too appealing for a little community like hers. Her dad had refused to change location so he doesn’t loose his girls to “the crowd” as he called it. One taste of the fried rice and coleslaw and Alicia was full of praises. It was beyond what she had expected. Her social nature took over, she took snapshots of the food and wrote a short but rich promotion about the food, then posted on her different social media handles…. “One thing she was proud of in her little community” she attached to the write-up.

She convinced whoever came her way that they just had to try the fried rice, that it was beyond magical! A young man in his office wears had just walked into the eatery when he noticed the little crowd around a seemingly beautiful young lady. He made his way to the spot and took a seat right next to hers. Her marketing skills were magnificent! At first he thought she worked for the eatery until he  got a chance to speak with her.

Of course he tried the food, just as everyone else. The restaurant was soon out of fried rice and coleslaw. The manager was alerted and he soon walked up to Alicia. After a brief chat, some of his staff were soon at Alicia’s table, bearing a plate of every single food they had left in their menu for her to taste and market as well, free of charge of course. She was also to forget about paying for the food she had initially had, “the manager has taken care of the bill” one of them said.

 An hour was all it took and the eatery had sold every single food they had left. Orders kept coming in and people kept  rushing in for a taste of the recently discovered delicacy! The young man by Alicia’s side simply watched in amazement. He was the C.E.O of a private Enterprise who wasn’t only in dear need of a marketer for his products but also a manager for the new branch he had just opened in Alicia’s community.
He could barely hold in his songs of praises for Alicia. He went on and on about how he had never seen a marketer so good. The long day ended with three job proposals on Alicia’s desk. Surprisendly, they were ready to have her do the three both before and after her youth service year.

She immediately rushed home to break the good news to her dad. On her way, she tried contacting her friends but none picked her calls. She was too excited to let the gist wait any longer. She logged onto WhatsApp and slid into one person’s dm. The message she saw was both unexpected and discouraging. Ella had accused her of making her waste her life in the University. The girl had said that it was because of Alicia that every single one in the clique didn’t read, now Alicia was the only one who graduated among them. “You even had a 2:1” the girl had said, causing the day she met Alicia.

As Alicia went through the whole day’s events in her mind, tears ran down her eyes. So, she wasn’t just beautiful but talented and smart too. Making a 2:1 without much reading and attention to her academics, landing two jobs in one day, one as a marketer at “the gold’s restaurant” and the other as head of the marketing department and manager at “the Silveting Enterprise”.
She cried until her dad walked into her room to find out what suddenly went wrong. “So I’m not just beautiful but smart and talented too! You said I was only beautiful and nothing more! …Something you made me believe as a child and it almost ruined my life. It had to take total strangers to reassure me that I had all it takes, that I was the best they had seen!” She went on and on, crying and lamenting. Mr Ogbu was short of words. It was at this point that he knew he had failed as a father, as long as Alicia was concerned. For the first time Alicia saw her dad cry. He wept like a baby, pleading for forgiveness.
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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Dera

    January 23, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    Wow! Our weekly story is finally here and am super excited! Just read through and find out the juicy package we have for you this time 😆

  2. Chimdifavour.blogspot.com

    January 23, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    Nice one, in life don't underestimate anybody.

  3. ViKtorSobe

    January 23, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    More like its siblings, a must read for all parents and mentors.

    Young girl, you do such an amazing and impactfull writings.

  4. Dera

    January 23, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    Yesoo my dear

  5. Dera

    January 23, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Thanks dear. That's quiet encouraging

  6. Omachelsea

    January 24, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    This is a wonderful piece from you
    In life, never underestimate anybody

  7. Omachelsea

    January 24, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    This is a wonderful piece from you
    Keep d candle burning

  8. Dera

    January 24, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    Thanks dear

  9. Nwigwe Chidozie Kingsley

    February 10, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    This is a blessing, motivation, encouragement, deliverance and of great hope…

    I’m touched and blessed.
    More grace dear.

    I receive the grace of Alicia

    • Dera

      February 10, 2021 at 9:28 pm

      Thanks a lot dear. I’m happy it helped you.

  10. Buchi victor

    February 11, 2021 at 6:20 am

    This one touch me, walahi. Nne u got stuff

    • Dera

      February 11, 2021 at 6:55 am

      Thanks Buchi

  11. Pingback: BEYOND EVERY REPROACH...a short story - Dera's stories

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Prose

Beaten and Untangled

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family doing grocery shopping


It was another beautiful morning in Phoenix, Arizona, my favorite state in the whole of United States. In my seventeen years of life, I have traveled across a greater part of the states in US and have succeeded in living in five out of the many I have passed by. My dad is a Civil engineer and his work takes us almost everywhere. Moving to and fro wasn’t easy at the beginning but I guess I have become used to it now.
I smiled as I watched the sun perform its magic on everyone and everything. As I waited for the school bus, I couldn’t help but notice, again, the happy and well knitted family: “The Hunters”. Though new in the neighborhood, I was already abreast with the details of the Hunters. Trust me, they are that captivating and ravishing! I still remember asking the first kid I saw in the neighborhood who they were. Everything about them is inviting. Their house was the best in the entire street, their cars were numerous, I could go on and on.
I kept staring as Mr Hunter opened the front car door of his Ferrari for his wife while their daughter sat at the back. Their affluence apart, the love and unity between them made them the center of attraction; the family everyone wanted to be like.
Whenever I did something wrong, my mum would always remind me of Kathy, their daughter. “Don’t you see your mate Kathy? Don’t you see how good, respectful and well behaved she is? Why can’t you just be like her?”.
The time difference between the onset and end of academic activities for the day was short, brief like a trance. Maybe its because I was lost in thoughts throughout. Mr Hunter’s perfectionism and how mind-blowing he has made his family was all I could think of. Sometimes I wished he was my dad too.
The sudden hault of the school bus jerked me back to reality. I made a quick survey of the environment. We were at my street but not yet at my house. I was both shocked and frightened when I sighted the numerous cop vehicles in front of the Hunters apartment.
I rushed home immediately, banging the door behind me out of fear. Mum wasn’t home yet, neither was dad. I was so frightened and my heart was beginning to beat really fast, heightening my fear. How relieved I was when mum came back.
A middle aged young man showed up at our door later that evening to interrogate us. He introduced himself as Detective Jones. It was on the course of the visit that we realized that Mrs Hunter had been stabbed in her apartment and the murder weapon missing. Kathy was left alone in their apartment as her dad couldn’t be reached.
The shock and flabaggasted expression on my mum’s face was equivocal to the feeling surged in my chest.
The Hunters of all people, who could have done such a thing?
“I just hope Mr Hunter doesn’t commit suicide. We all know how he never leaves her side”, my mum said.
The very month following the incident was grueling. Back and forth confrontation, uncomfortable invasion of privacy and out of the blues accusation by the cops.
We were all angry and stressed out. The worst feeling was the rumor that Mr Hunter had killed himself.
I couldn’t curtail the shock, the surprise and the confusion I felt when Detective Jones showed up at my house two months later to inform us that Mr Hunter was in their custody for the murder of his wife, Jasmine.
“He has given his statement and presently awaits trial.”, he added.
No one in the neighborhood could believe what happened. Mr Hunter of all people!

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Prose

Dear Daughter

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man people woman hand

It was another beautiful day, bright enough to brighten even the most troubled heart yet, intertwined in the midst of an avalanche of stress. It had been a long day and all I longed for was my bed. The academic stress was really taking its toll on me. I had known it wouldn’t be an easy process but I never knew it would be this difficult.

I had always been a star student, among the best in my class throughout my secondary education and even during my one year pre-JAMB class before getting into the University. It had always been my passion to study Pharmacy, the reason I didn’t mind staying back after my first Jamb result couldn’t get me the course I wanted.

My love for academics had never been hidden. I wasn’t just a lover of knowledge but one who loved to read. At a point, I could feel the fear in the eyes of my loved ones as they watched me twill into a world of my own, burying my head deeply in studies with little or no attention to human interaction nor friendship.

I still remember going through secondary school without a single person to call “my friend”. It had been hilarious then because I didn’t see the point of having friends, I couldn’t just understand why everyone placed so much emphasis on the word “friendship”. Now that I look back, I smile. The thought of how deep a transformation my thought process has undergone marvels me.

I haven’t only bought the idea of friendship but have grown so attached to mine that they could easily be mistaken as my sisters. We have gotten to the point of sharing and doing everything together. We even happen to share a room right now. How the friendship started, I can’t really tell. I just feel the universe decided to be merciful unto me. The Lord has really blessed me through those.

As I walked into my room, lazily dragging my feet out of tiredness, I managed to drop my bag to the floor before going for my bed. I was hungry but too tired to think about it. I needed the feel of my bed against my back for a while before paying attention to anything else. I took a deep breath as I stretched out my limbs.

My thoughts suddenly drifted to Ebuka, a final year law student. He was running his second degree program in Enugu Campus, the second branch of the prestigious University of Nigeria. He was one of the few guys who were bound on braking through my defences no matter how tough I make them. I had made up my mind, even before getting into school to focus on getting my degree first before anything else.

There was this saying in town that men love female pharmacy students. Better put, men love female pharmacy students because of the license they are to acquire. A saying I had brushed aside and considered trivial until it played out right in my face a few months in the department. I also got to confirm the rumor that hardly any female pharmacy student becomes a Pharmacist without already being engaged.

As I thought about Ebuka, I was at a loss on what to do. I had tried everything I know, every trick I have learnt yet, the young man wouldn’t just leave me alone. “I’m just a 3rd year pharmacy student for crying out loud, why don’t these men understand when a woman says she doesn’t want to get into a relationship until she finishes school?” My head was beginning to ache. I could literarily feel the throbbing like I was being hit with a hammer, a good reminder that I had starved myself for far too long.

As I staggered up to my feet, I blindly kicked my bag, causing the crashing of my plastic reading chair and a few of my books scattered to the floor. I sighed as I picked them up one after the other while supporting my head with my left hand as though it will stabilize the pounding I feel. As I picked up the last book, I noticed a folded piece of paper at one side of the table. I was sure it wasn’t mine as I hadn’t turn out any piece of recent.

“It must be from one of my mum’s old books”, I told myself. I had been told she died giving birth to me. The only way I had ever felt close to her was by going through her things in the house.

I was transfixed to a point the moment I saw the heading of the letter. I quickly went for the last page to be sure I wasn’t mistaking but no, I wasn’t. It was a letter from my mum. I sank to the floor as I read through, tears pouring down my eyes as I read.

My dear daughter

Dear daughter, you are the apple of my eyes, my joy of motherhood, my seed in whom I am well pleased.

You are stronger than you feel, smarter than you think and wiser than you know.

You are an epitome of beauty, a combination of beauty with brains.

Your elegance stands you out amongst your peers, you speak and they listen.

Your carriage, your humility yet strong stand for what you know is right distinguishes you.

Your good attitude, intelligence and domesticated lifestyle attract people to you.

But here is one thing I want you to always remember: “books before looks”. This is the principal foundation to a good life and the best start for the journey towards harnessing your skills and fulfilment of your destiny.

Be a woman of impact, be a woman of purpose. Be a woman who leaves a mark, a transformation on the lives of others.

You have all it takes but remember, the strength for these can only come from the lord. Make me proud!

Love, Mum.

I kept crying, not just because I missed my mum but because I had long walked in the footsteps that she would have directed me in. I cried because her words, even though as old as I am, sounded like they were just spoken. My heart ached from longing for her, but at the same time, I was glad to have heard these words. Even though not directly from her, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

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Prose

OBNOXIOUS GRANDMA

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grayscale photography of woman

Laura woke up perplexed. The last thing she remembered was getting drunk in a restaurant on a bid to escape the fraustration that sorged her system. Everything was unusual about this strange environment. Ranging from the sweet fragerance of fresh roses to the elegantly decorated bedroom with magnificent pieces of furniture lying at strategic positions.

The size of the bedroom alone surpassed her entire house put together. She was lost in awe as she starred from furniture to furnish, almost drooling. The sound of someone clearing his throat alerted her. She turned briskly to the direction of the voice and froze. She wasn’t sure but something about this young man sitting comfortably by her bedside looked familiar.

“Who are you and what am I doing here?” She asked, guarding herself on the bed, ready for the worst. The guy said nothing but only pointed at a shirt hung at a corner of the room. Laura looked from the guy to the shirt, back to the guy. It wasn’t clicking. She couldn’t tell what was going on.

“Use your words mister!” She screamed at him, rolling her eyes.

The young man cast a quizzical glance at her. For a moment he was silent. When he finally spoke, he pointed at the shirt again. “Doesn’t that shirt strike a cord?” He asked, calmly at first before raising his voice when Laura just starred at him without saying a word.

“That was the shirt I wore last night and I doubt if I would ever wear it again, no thanks to ill mannered simpletons like yourself!”, he yelled.

Laura was shocked and scared as the memory of the awful encounter flashed through her mind. She quickly covered her mouth with her hands, expecting the worst.

A knock on the door by Raph, the young man’s driver and personal assistant took Laura off the hook. She immediately took a deep breath and retracted further from the young man.

“Boss, the witch is here!” Raph announced the moment he entered the room. The young boss whom Laura got to know was called Leo, jumped to his feet, agitated.

“Is there a problem?”, Laura asked when she noticed the sudden focus on her.

“Mrs Gladstone is here. I know you don’t know her but the summary is that she is Boss Leo’s biggest business partner and she is trouble. Boss Leo is forcefuly engaged to her grand daughter Lucy, even though he has no interest in her. It’s the only reason their business relationship still waxes stronger. She is equally boss Leo’s mother’s closest friend. They have the same character. I know you are from a poor family. Let’s just say that if she singles you out, you are as good as dead!”. Raph explained.

Laura’s mouth was wide open. She wasn’t sure what to say. “Hey, is that hereditary?”, she said after the pause, looking at Leo who cast her a warning glance, then looked away.

Mrs Gladstone walked into the room with her head high. She always carried herself like a queen. “Who is she?”, She asked without even a response to their greetings. Leo immediately cooked up some lies about Laura’s background. Laura was terrified. She had been scared at first but seeing how Mrs Gladstone kept every other person on their toes terrified her. She couldn’t wait to run away from this oven called home!

Laura ran off the moment she got the chance. She never stopped running until she got to the bus stop where she boarded a bus. As expected, her mum and her younger brother were already parambulating around, walking to and fro their little compound wearing the typical hopeless countenance.

“Where did you sleep last night? Do you know how worried we were? Your father even had to go to work late all in the name of waiting for you to return. We haven’t even gotten any edible ready for your grandmother who informed us that she will be paying us a visit today simply because we were worried about you!”, her mum sighed. Laura didn’t need a suite Sayer to inform her that her mother’s bag of questions were rhetorical.

“Did you say grandmother, what grandmother?” She queried, turning to look at her mother.

“Which other grandmother do you have if not mine, or are you ready to resurrect your paternal grandmother from her grave?”

“Mum, that is not funny at all. The point is, I have never seen your mother!” She complained and made her way into the house.

“Well, you will see her today. It’s about time” her mum said to the already closed door.

The sound of the approaching vehicle alerted everyone in the house. “Your grandmother is around” screamed Laura’s mother.

Laura was shocked to see the same woman she had seen earlier that day. “Mrs Gladstone!”, She screamed before she realized it.

“Yes, that’s your grandmother. I’m sure you are taken aback by the fact that she looks almost my age. She had me when she was sixteen, that’s why.” Laura’s mum explained.

Laura was speechless. She had no idea what to say. Lots of questions to be asked. How could a woman as rich and accomplished as Mrs Gladstone be her grandmother yet, they have lived in abject poverty for as long as she could remember.

One thing was certain, Mrs Gladstone wasn’t exactly an easy person to deal with but that notwithstanding, her mum had a lot of explaining to do.

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