Prose

Dear Daughter

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.