“You are an inspiration to all young women” was the ultimate compliment anyone could pay Omotinne. Such compliments made her glow. It made her eyes smile and her lips see joy. It put a spring in her walk. It straightened her shoulders. These were the words the proprietress of the exclusive private school Priscilla went to had told Omotinne when she invited her to be a speaker at the school’s career day.
Omotinne had been overjoyed to be invited, it meant a lot of things that she had been chosen over other foreign degrees wielding parents. People who had so many letters after their names it was hard to keep up with their education.
“We want a true entrepreneur; an original success story” the principal had said
Omotinne should have known then since she did it so often that the principal was merely working her into accepting the invitation. She would soon regret accepting. Omotinne should have been offended that she was only invited after an Indian expatriate who made millions selling Indian food in Ibadan of all places had cancelled
“So after that yeye guy that sells curry and calls it food cancelled they remembered that they have a true entrepreneur in their school” Omotinne said when telling her friend Uju about the invite. I even heard some board members kicked against it because apparently the source of my money is ‘questionable’.’’ Omotinne did the air quotes.
“Questionable kwa? From those people that don’t know the true meaning of hustle”
“My sister, these people make Harvard degrees look like purewater. They all met money at home na. it’s easy for them to look down on others. If only they know what I have been through to get where I am today. My sister I am already regretting accepting this speech thing sef. The other day Priscilla came home and was doing strong face up and down the whole place. She said her classmates were saying that I did not deserve to speak to them. After all everyone knows that I am an aristo”
“I kid you not my sister”
“So what did you tell her?”
“I told her to go to bed and think about the good life she has because of me”
“Don’t you think it’s time to have that conversation with your daughter, she is that age when everything leaves an impression.”
Pain enveloped the space between them
“Uju, how do I tell my fifteen-year-old daughter that I let myself walk into a situation like that with my two eyes wide open. That I have lost count of the number of men who have had their way with me. That I know what sex with an animal feels like. That only one kidney is left in me and I do not know what happened to the other. Uju tell me how”
“You can’t let other people tell your story Omoti”
Silence fell, darkness slept.