DISGUISE (Episode Two): Lagos Fiction Story

After Abena and her mum had been forced out of their apartment by the landlord, they had no option but to live temporarily in an abandoned ramshackle building, down the street.

A litany of woes continued to befall mother and daughter. As poverty continued to ravage them, they also became a butt of jokes from neighbours. Many times, the situation would trigger the memories of Abena’s father in her mother. She would remember the good and happy times the family had, and

this would elicit a rivulet of tears from her. She would cry like her husband just died, rather than three years before that time.

Most times, when she bemoaned her condition, her daughter was not around to console her, as she was away, attending tutorial classes. At the same time, she was concerned with how to raise funds to rent at least a room apartment.

On her scale of preference, accommodation was first at the top but she later realised that Abena would be sitting the UTME for the third time. She had always performed well in that examination but could not proceed to the university, because of their financial lack.

One reason for their lingering poverty was that, Abena’ father was critically ill for four years, before his eventual demise. A lot was spent on his condition. All his savings were spent to get him a cure for the sickness. Family valuables were sold also. But all of these could not prevent him from kissing

the world goodbye. In fact, the death of Ogbonna was a relief of sort for the family. It seemed better for the man to die than to keep suffering pains that stubbornly refused to go away.

She eventually made up her mind to struggle, in order to ensure her daughter did not miss the admission for that year. Life also seemingly smiled at then when a neighbour, Mama Emeka, whose

son was already in his 300 Level in the university, decided to do them a favour, by asking her and her daughter, to come and live with them, till she was financially buoyant to get her own apartment. Mrs. Ogbonna could not believe her ears. She embraced her and thanked her for the favour.

Abena was a very beautiful girl. Her beauty was such that no man could ignore. She was the cynosure of all eyes. Men whistled and struggled to control their breath when they passed her by. Ladies wished they were half as physically attractive as she was.

She was not too tall, but her stature was one in a million. She was curvy as she had a “heavy-duty” backside.. Her dimple backed up smile was capable of melting a sorrowful soul. And heaven blessed her with the most beautiful set of teeth. She was only 18, yet many suitors, including those who were

more than twice her age deceived came asking for her hand in marriage.

But living under the same roof with mama Emeka led to another phase of problems for her and the mother.

Why would something that was supposed to be a favour for mother and child, lead to another phase of problem for them?

© Debby Igbonanwa

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