The story of ene – Title ”The light”

The light tells a tale of mistake, love, malice, betrayal, and second chance.

Characters

Mr. oche- Ene’s Father

Mrs. Mary- Ene’s Mother

Ene, the protagonist.

Ogima mercy and joy- Ene’s friends

Mrs. Mercy- the Manager of the less privileged organization.

Peter- Ene’s husband

Mama G-

Chapter one

Mom!!!

I ran into the compound, calling my mother, I just got back from the jamb office where I went to collect my jamb results, and my mother came out seeing me dancing.

She asked, Ene, what is making you happy?

Mama, my jamb results came out, and I came out as the best student, and due to that, I got a scholarship, I told her while still dancing.

My Mother didn’t still understand what I meant, so she asked Ene, what is a scholarship?

Mom, it means that we are not going to pay any money till I finish university, and it was a man who saw how brilliant I was that promised to pay for everything.

Mama, I am so delighted. At last, we don’t have to worry about the money for my school fees. Mother joined me in dancing and thanking God for the help he had sent to us. My daughter, I am so happy that you have made us proud your father will be glad to hear about this. Let’s go and prepare your favorite meal before your father returns from the farm, she said.

Dinner was served, and after eating, my younger ones and I cleaned up the place and then came back to sit around our parents to discuss the day’s activities.

Ene, on my way from the farm, I heard people discussing that jamb result is out. Have you gone to check yours? My father asked.

Yes, Papa, let me go and bring the result. I went inside and came out with it giving it to my father, he looked at it and was so happy. Wow, my daughter, this is a brilliant result. I know you were going to make us proud. I need to work hard and get the money to send you to school. I will not allow you to miss this opportunity.

Papa, that is not all, I came out as the best student, and I got a scholarship, so there is no need for you to work hard anymore with so much Joy in me, I explained to him.

As I lay on the bed that night, I thought about how my parents were struggling hard to survive. We hardly have three square meals in a day. I came from a family of five, being the first child and the only girl.

Mr. oche in his late forties is my father, he grew up in a very poor background, he is a farmer and he was born and brought up in Benue State, he inherited the house and the farm from his late father. My father is a tall man and very handsome which made my mother marry him even knowing that he is poor, my mother’s family was against the marriage from the beginning but my mother was in love with him, and they had no choice but to accept and bless the couple, even in her late thirties her beauty was still glowing, she is an average person, with light skin, not too fat and she has a perfect body structure. At her youthful age, different men were interested in her which gets some of her friends jealous, and even when she married and gave birth to us, men were still trying to woo her, but she will politely refuse.

Mrs. Oche Mary is my role model and also my mother, she is very courageous, hardworking, and a very beautiful woman. She sells vegetables to support the family, I sometimes help her to hawk in the neighborhood after school hours.

My Parents are known to be respectful and responsible people in the village even though they are poor, and that was how they trained the three of us. I look just like my mother at the age of twelve my beauty was already showing, whenever am hawking people buy the vegetables because of how beautiful I was, and I started feeling too proud of myself. One fateful day after coming back from school I went to meet my mother as usual to go and hawk, on my way I met Grace, she is my classmate in school but she is jealous of my beauty because most of the boys in my class likes me and she is an attention freak. She has always meant to fight with me, but I always try to avoid her. Seeing me hawking, she took advantage of that and attacked me, she hits the tray of vegetables on my head, it fell off and she stepped on it, I got angry and we started fighting not knowing that my dad was coming at my back, he stopped the fight and told me to go home straight.

After the meal that day, he asked the three of us to kneel, and brought out a cane, he said, Ene, did something very bad today, I have always tell you that no matter what someone does to you, do not try to fight back. It shows how irresponsible you are, two wrongs cannot make a right.

I am sorry Papa; it was because she threw the vegetables away that was why I got angry. I said, trying to justify myself.

Your apology is accepted but to serve as a deterrence, you will be punished for this. He flogged me on my hand and advised us never to be involved in a fight or anything that will cause trouble.

Our father always makes sure to discipline us whenever we are wrong and gives us advice when needed. Since then I make sure not to allow my beauty gets the better part of me. With the little time I have at home, I make sure to study my books, and was always attentive in class, not only was I beautiful but I was also brilliant which made me the best student in Aguta community high school, I attended different competitions and my school always come first.

At the age of sixteen, I was already in SS3, that the year I read like that was going to be my last exam on earth, I will sometimes wake up by midnight to read, even my parents at that period did not bother about the chores at home it was my younger ones that do everything, two days before the exam I fell sick and was admitted in the hospital, I could not sit upright. The day for the exam finally came and I was still in the hospital, I could not cry, was I going to wait till another year before writing the exam.

My dad who has just seen the doctor came inside. Ene, the doctors said you will be discharged by Friday, and today is just Monday, how are u going to meet up with your examination, you will have to wait till the following year.

Papa, please help me tell the doctor to allow me to go to school and write the exam that will start in the next 2hour and I will come back for treatment, I pleaded. The doctor refused everything I was saying, he would not allow me to go because I was too weak to move, he only advised my father to call the school management on how they will help me in bringing the questions over. I looked over the wall and saw the wall clock ticking, it was almost 10 am the exam will soon start. There was nothing I could do anymore, I was disappointed, I lose all hope of writing the exam, and I decided to sleep. I heard footsteps approaching me I didn’t want to open my eyes so as not to allow them to know I was crying when I heard my name, the voice sounded like my teacher, at first, I thought it was my imagination when he called the second time, I slowly opened my eyes looking at him, I saw an exam booklet with him and a woman standing beside him, my mind was full of different thoughts. What was he doing here, why is he with an exam booklet, who is this woman?

standing beside him. I looked at my teacher with questions written all over my face.

Ene, I know you are wondering why I am here right now, let me help you to solve the puzzle. This is Mrs. Sharon from the WAEC center, she is here to monitor you in taking the exam, you are a brilliant girl and I had to convince them to give me their question, so you don’t have to miss the exam, anyway I will be coming to help you until you are discharged. When are you going to be discharged? He asked.

It will be by Friday I said, I was so happy, I took the question and answered it and then return it to my teacher thanking him for bringing it over. I lay on the bed thinking about all that has happened, before and after the exam I thank God for the wisdom he gave to me even on the sick bed not having enough time to prepare my results still came out as the best student.

The following day, which was on Saturday, I woke up early to clean the house and prepare to go to the farm with my father. On our way people were just stopping us and congratulating me, I was surprised, I did not know the news has gotten to people so quickly. My father was so proud, he will smile and wave to the villagers.

The following week I had to get prepared to resume and since I love reading I try to read a book every night before sleeping, I read a lot which made me want to become a writer. When I first started reading books, I love to imagine myself as a character and it teaches me a lot of lessons. I started writing short stories when I was in SS1 and give them to my friends to read. I always liked their comments. One fateful day I was in SS2 by then and it was during break time, I was sitting down when an image came, I started writing smiling all through not knowing that my teacher was looking at me. She called me later to bring what I was writing; I was so scared. Won’t this woman not complain that I am writing in class with fear I gave it to her, and she read through it.

Ene is this your story or someone else’s. Yes, it’s mine, I have been writing it for some time now I told her. Wow! this is so nice, what a smart girl you are, I want you to keep it up. You are going to be a great writer someday. I was so happy

about her positive comment, I told her I have other stories which I was going to bring for her. Whenever I remember her advice I always write as much as possible which also made me pick English and literary studies in the university to be able to express myself well.

Chapter two

Benue State University had been my dream school for a very long time, entering the gate I was so happy that it was finally happening. The institution is a very big one, the compound is well decorated with flower all around it. I look around it and my heart were full of joy, students were passing by in groups with books in their hands. Knowing that I am going to be like them in the next few days gives me so much joy. I stopped a lady to direct me to the administration building, I moved quickly to the place and on getting there I saw so many students in the queue, I joined and waited for my turn to enter the office, finally, it was my turn, I brought out my documents and also the scholarship form, the woman that attended to me just kept on looking at me. After she was through with it, she handed it over to me to take it to my department and show me a space where the head of the department will fill up and sign. I collected it thanked her and quickly leave for my department, on my way to the department I looked around at some of the buildings, they were so beautiful the halls were also spacious, some students were reading, some were interacting while others were doing one thing or the other. I got to my department and went straight to the office of the head of the department where the documents were filed and photocopied, the photocopies were dropped, and the originals were given to me back. Before going home, I checked out my department and asked for some information about the department. I got to my aunt’s place later that day and told her the whole experience that happened in school, I told her I was going to go and check for the hostel by the next day. Going to bed that night I thought about the way people were looking at me, most guys were calling me to come and that I was a very beautiful girl even some ladies stopped me to tell me how beautiful I was. I remember the lady I saw in my department after coming out from the H.O.D office, she came to meet me and introduce herself as Ogima and told me how beautiful I was, that she will wish for us to be friends, she requested for my department which I told her and fortunately for us we are in the same department, she collected my phone number.

Ene, I stay in the hostel, so call me when u come to school tomorrow, to enable me to help you with the registration she said.

OK, thank you so much. I have not finished my hostel registration also; I will call you to help me then. After that, we departed in our various ways. The following day as promised I called Ogima to help me with the registration, with her help it was so quick, I was given my room number and showed it to Ogima, and she shouted with joy.

Wow, this is so good. She said.

What happened Ogima? I asked.

This is also my room, I am so happy we are going to be staying together, she answered me.

I was also happy to have her as a friend. Since we are in the same department and level, we

can do most things together. We went together with the hostel mistress and she introduced me

to the other girls in the room.

Mercy and Joy welcomed me into the room and introduce themselves.

Ogima show me where I was going to sleep.

Ene, you will sleep at the top on the right side since that is the only space left, the space in the cupboard is your space and that is the kitchen pointing at the door and the other door is the bathroom and toilet, she said.

Thank you so much Ogima for everything you did for me today. I am going home now by tomorrow; I will bring my things to move in. I told them.

When you get to the gate call us to come and help you carry your things. Ogima said.

Mercy and joy also accept to help me. After chatting with them for some time and I finally decided to go home and arrange for the next day, they saw me off to the gate. I took a bus going to my aunt’s place, I was happy to have them as roommates, they were all nice to me. I could imagine how my life was going to be with different people. When I got home, I called my family and told them everything that happened to me so far and that I was going to start living in the school hostel, they were all happy for me. I was going to make them proud, and after saying those words I slept off.

University is not a child’s play, with some series of assignments, tests, and other school activities, it was hard for someone to have a break. There was so much competition between students, and it was hard to detect which student is more brilliant. Whenever Ogima and I come back from a lecture we read up the notes that were given to us for that day and by the weekend we treat some of them by giving ourselves tests to see how far we understand the subject and whichever one we failed to answer correctly, we focus on reading it more and ask some of the students who are good in the subject or our seniors to help us explained it better. When the first-semester exam came we did our best.

We went home for a break to resume after two weeks; I couldn’t go to my parent’s place, so I stayed at my aunt’s house for the break.

Resuming for the next semester, Ogima started avoiding me, whenever I tell her to prepare for school, she will be giving unreasonable excuses. She goes out more often and sometimes does not sleep at home. I was worried about her and tried every means to talk to her but all to no avail. I came back from school, and as usual, she was not at home and I did not see her in school. I met Joy and Mercy and I asked them, please, where is Ogima?

We don’t know she did not tell us where she was going, she dresses up and left the house, and we even thought she was going to class. they answered.

Not at all, it has been a long time since she attended class this semester, I tried asking what the problem is, but she told me not to worry and that she is okay. She has been avoiding me for some time now. I told them.

They told me not to worry that she will come back, maybe she is having some issues that she  does not want to share with anyone. After they left for class, I tried to read the note for that day but I couldn’t concentrate at all, I was thinking about Ogima’s attitude of late, and not long after she came back, I decided to confront her even if it was going to end with a fight, she was going to tell me whatever is wrong with her today.

Ogima welcome, I greeted.

Good evening, how was school today? She said.

It was not so bad; it was just that we were given a test today and I tried calling you, but your number was not going through. I told her.

All these lecturers with their useless tests, it is Mr. Abu, right? She asked.

Yes, what are you going to do, maybe you should go to his office and inform him that you missed his test because you were not feeling too well, at least he will let you re-write? I said.

Don’t worry about that I know how to get to him, she said smiling. I realized that my friend has changed, what am I going to do now, this was not the person I met last semester she doesn’t care about her education anymore. While I was still thinking about how I was going to confront her, she brought a bundle of money out and was counting it, I was shocked and am very sure it was not her parents that sent her the money and we paid our school fees when we resume so where did she get this huge amount of money from or did she steal I thought. I had no choice but to voice out.

Ogima, where did you get so much money, I asked.

Ene, you won’t understand, I am doing some business that fetches me good money, she said.

Really, what kind of business is that? In a whisper, I asked, did you steal it?

No, I didn’t at all. She answered.

Then where did u get it from? You have been avoiding me, you hardly go to class these days and you come home late, or not at all. What is happening to you? What are you hiding from me? I am your best friend and you can confide in me. Tell me everything that is going on and we are going to solve it together. I said almost in tears.

Okay, I am going to tell you but promised me not to tell anyone. She said. I promise no one will hear of the conversation, I told her looking into her eyes. I am into prostitution.

What? Are u okay, you must be joking right, I taught you and I consented never to do something of such.

Please stop it, it is very dangerous for your health, how can you think of such in the first place. I said trying to convince her.

No, I can’t, the money is okay, and I can feed myself and get whatever I want even some of the lecturers have sex with me and they give me pass marks, so, there is no need for me to even bother about going to school for lectures anymore.

Ene, you can also join me, you are a very beautiful girl with a nice body shape, I am very sure you will have many guests and even rich men we want to have a taste of you, she told me. I will never do something like that, I cannot because of money and material things destroy my future and life and put shame on my family who struggle to send me to school. I said to her.

After that day, she avoided me more, and anytime I have the opportunity to talk to her I will try to advise her to stop it and start her life all over but she refused instead she will tell me to join her in the business. Most of the students in my department already know what she does and they sometimes think I am involved in it also, but I was keeping it a secret and since I am beautiful it will be that the students can’t afford my price, which implies that it only the rich men and yahoo guys that I followed. I tried as much as possible to pay deaf ears to whatever they are saying and read more for the upcoming exams.

The exams were tougher than the last semester’s exams, the students were all complaining about how they could not write anything down. After we finished our last paper, I went to meet Ogima where she was standing with some ladies.

Ogima, how was the exam? I asked.

It was good, and yours, she asked.

Not so bad, I will be going to my parent’s place since the break is one month, what about you?

I asked.

No, I will be in Abuja for the break and don’t forget what I told you to think about it. We said farewell to each other, and I traveled the next day home. Getting home, the whole compound was so dirty and unkept, the bushes have grown much taller, and everywhere was just scattered. It was my younger brother that saw me at first he ran to me and helped me carry the bags inside, I asked for mama and Papa and was told that mama has gone to the shop while papa is at the farm. There was nothing to eat at home, had to eat from the bread I brought for them and told my younger brother to take the remaining and keep it until our parents are back. That night I could not sleep at all, I keep thinking about what has changed in the home. The next day which was Saturday, I woke up early and did the house chores, cleared the grasses and some other things that needed to be tidied, by the time I was through my family are all awake, I greeted my parents, and asked my father, Papa are you preparing to go to farm?.

Yes, my daughter, He said to me.

OK, let me go and get my basket and follow you since I am through with the house chores. I said to him.

Don’t worry I am taking your brothers with me, stay with your mother at home and help her with the cooking. He said.

I was left with mama at home and decided to have a mother-to-daughter talk. My mother could hardly keep secrets away from me.

Mama, what is going on?

My daughter, it has not been easy for us since you left for school, your father is getting older and the rain did not fall much this year which made the ground get dry quickly and the pest destroyed most of the products, the little that remains after harvest was kept for the family to eat. There is no money to restock my market, the money I saved, had to use to pay for your brother’s school fees because they kept chasing them away from school.

All this had been happening and no one could call me and tell me about it.

What will you have done, your father said we should not bother you so that you can concentrate on your studies, she said?

Chapter three

Another session has started, I was now in my second year, coming to school I tried to look for jobs I can do but all to no avail, my food was getting finished and I have not even finished a semester yet, I can’t call my parents to send pieces of foodstuff, for me with the way the situation is I was so deep in thought when Ogima entered not knowing that I was even crying.

Ene!!, She shouted.

Yes, I am sorry I did not know you were here.

Why are you crying? She asked.

I am not crying cleaning my face that was full of tears.

Ogima, I have tried, I don’t know what to do anymore, things are hard for me right now, my foodstuffs will finish soon and I don’t have money to replace it, and I can’t call my parents because there is no food at home. I had to do some minor jobs when I got home to find the money for my transport and used the remaining to buy handouts in school. I told her while crying.

Ene, there is only one way out, which is to join me in this business, you still have a long way to go, you are just at 200 level and this is the only way you can help your family, or do you want them to die of hunger, you better wise up and join me. You will be able to send money to them while in school and pay your brothers’ school fees without anyone embarrassing them. She said.

What about my parents, won’t they ask where I get the money from? I asked. t is very simple; you will tell them that the school pays you an allowance because you are brilliant, and they will be giving you till you finish. That way they will not find out about anything, I am only advising you, you will even have a lot of customers since you are a very sexy lady. she said.

Let me think about it, I will give you my answer by the weekend.

I went about my daily activities during that week as if nothing has happened, the weekend came and Ogima came to meet me to tell her if I have decided to join.

Ogima, before I give you my answer, I would like to ask you a question. I said.

OK, go ahead but after this question, you will give me your answer I had to rush here because of you even though I have clients waiting for me. she said.

What about my scholarship?

You do not have to worry about anything, just read your note and pass that is all and you are even a brilliant lady, so everything is going to work out well for you. She said.

OK, I am going to join but after raising enough money I will quit. I told her.

No problem your wish is my command. Are you starting tonight?

It will have to be next week, let me prepare myself well, you will have to find clothes for me to wear or lend me some money to get clothes, and then I will pay you back.

We talked for a little while before she finally left, as I slept that night, I knew another life was about to begin, going out with different men old enough to be my father just because of money, I thought of calling Ogima that have changed my mind, but what about my family, I need to help them, they are the only family that I have and it is because of them I am living if anything ever happened to them, I will not survive it. I just have a week to live my formal life before I change.

That week I was more polite, humble, decent, went to class more often, and visited the library more. By the weekend Ogima was already in my place to take me to where we are going to meet the boss lady in charge. We got there and I was taken straight to her to examine me, her name is Mama G. She is a fat woman, not too tall, she was staring at me for some minutes before she finally speaks up. You are such a beautiful lady with nice curves. she said.

Thank you, ma’am!

Well from what I heard, she said you are still a virgin.

Yes ma’am!

That is a good thing, the way we do our business is very simple. The money will be shared equally and if you are lucky enough your client may want to give you extra money and that will be for you only, she said.

OK ma, so when will I start. I asked.

You are starting now, go and meet the other girls, they will fix something for you to wear. Not long after we all dressed up, the clients started coming, I was introduced to the richest of them and he paid a huge amount of money being that I was a virgin. I had three clients and later the next day I was given my part of the money, the clients also gave me extra money. I look at the money in my hand, I couldn’t believe that just within a night I had made so much money. I was extremely happy. Within two months, I was already flowing in money I had more clients apart from the ones through Mama G.

I became an expert in the business, there was nowhere I did not travel to within the country. I make sure to always send money to my family and when they asked how I got the money, I told them it was the school that was giving allowances for being the best student and maintaining it.

I sent them money to change the house, invest in my mother’s business, and was paying my brother’s school fees regularly. They were living a comfortable life. I vacated the school hostel and started living in a two-room self-contained apartment, it was well decorated with expensive furniture, and it became very difficult for people to see me in school, it was only during our examination period that I am always seen in school.

It was a long time since I saw Ogima after I became more popular and I had clients from different places, she became jealous, and I had to leave Mama G’s business since I had my own client.

One fateful day, I had just arrived back from a business the night before and I wanted to rest in my house, and not planning to go out as usual. I heard someone knocking, opening the door I saw Ogima.

Ene, Good Afternoon, she greeted.

Good afternoon Ogima, how have you been, how is business? What brought you to my place today? I asked.

At least let me come in first.

Oh, I am sorry, you may come in please and have your seat.

What can I offer you?

Give me wine she said.

I went in and brought the wine with two glasses of cups, served it, and gave it to her, I sat down patiently waiting to hear what brought her here.

I knew you must be surprised to see me here after a long time and with was I did to you. I am sorry for everything I did, I should not have lied against you, I got jealous that was why. She said trying to kneel. I felt pity for her, more so she was my best friend and I have missed her company, I pardoned her and accepted her back into my life. We did things together; she came around to my place more often and whenever I had more than a client, I introduced her to the other one. She discussed with me about dropping out of school to focus more on the business and advised me to do the same, at first, I disagree with her.

Ogima, we are in our third year, let’s just have patience and finish it once, get our results, we cannot be doing this forever, I said.

What is education when there is no money?

what are we going to use the certificate for?

Are there secured jobs in the country, we are still going to sleep around to get jobs, let’s drop out and focus more on the business, and have enough money to live our lives where no one will have the right to control us.  She said.

I accepted to do it, so the following week I went back to school and summited my letter of withdrawal.

I called Ogima and informed her about it and she said she was going to do hers the following day.

I woke up one morning and I was feeling weak, at first, I thought it was not serious but after one week I could not go out, I went to the hospital for a check-up and when the test results came out, I was confirmed HIV positive. How did it happen, I make sure my client always uses protection and if they refused, I always use mine? I was sure I didn’t make any mistakes. I went back to the hospital again and asked the doctor what I could do, he prescribed some drugs for me that will keep me healthy and also it will not affect my other partner, I got the drugs and started using, and after a week I noticed that most of my clients were not calling me anymore, I tried calling them but they refused to pick, how was I going to start my life. I am no longer in school and I don’t have clients anymore, what will I tell my parents.

Whenever I move around people look at me with disgust, what was going on? Is it that they know about the HIV test? But I did not tell anyone not even Ogima. I had to stay inside most of the time.

I went to a shop one day to get some things and I was shocked when the woman refused to sell, she said that I have HIV and I should not come and infect her goods and customer. I cried so much that day, there was no one to console me, I sat down and wish that I had not left school by now and should be graduating soon, I have just destroyed my life and what am I going to do now.

Ogima called me finally after months, we greeted and she told me to come for her convocation, I could not believe what I was hearing.

Ogima, I thought you withdrew also, how come you are calling me to come for your convocation. I said.

Ene, I am so sorry I forgot to tell you that I did not submit my letter that very day since I was already in my third year, I just decided to complete my education even if I don’t use the

certificate. She told me.

I was speechless, why would Ogima do something like this to me, I thought she was my friend. Is she this heartless for her to destroy my life?

Ogima, what did I do to you that you hate me so much, I asked?

Nothing at all, moreover you don’t need the certificate anyway since you are dying soon.

What do you mean by that?

You are HIV positive and you don’t have clients anymore, so how are you going to survive it

She said, laughing.

At that moment I knew something was not right about all this. Ogima why did you do this? What is my offense for you to hate me this much?

Because you are beautiful and sexy, you have all it takes for a man to like in a woman, it was I who introduced you to the business but you turn around and stole my client from me. For your information, the HIV you had was all planned by me. I had a friend who is HIV positive, I met with him, and I told him my plan on how I wanted to destroy you, and he accepted to do it for friendship’s sake. I know you to always make use of protection and so we had to drug you and remove it. I was the one that started the gossip which made everyone knows about it. I also had to convince you to submit your withdrawal letter she said.

Laughing.

All I could do was breathe in and out before I collapse.

I feel like the ground should open and swallow me before she finally hangs up on me.

She said, those who mess with me will not go Scot free and I make sure to fuck them up.

Leaving me to wallow in tears. How will I start my life, I have lost everything, how will my parents feel if they hear about my health condition and that I am no longer in school.

I moved out from the place I was staying and started a new life with the remaining money that was left with me. I started hawking water at a bus stop, it was not easy for me, but I had to survive. I called my family and lied to them that I won’t be able to send money to them the main time because the school had some issues which will take time before everything is settled and for that period the money will not be paid to me.

Chapter four

One fateful day, after selling all my water I was resting under a big tree when a woman approached me.

Good Evening Dear, what is your name? she asked.

Good Evening Ma, my name is Ene I replied.

Okay, you can call me Mrs. Mercy, I have been watching you for some days and you look very hardworking and beautiful, are you not in school, are your parents late. She asked.

I am not in school and my parents are very much alive, it’s just that I have so many problems right now and education is not the most important thing in my mind I said crying.

Why are you crying? I want to hear the whole story if you will be ready to tell me. she said.

I explained everything to her without anything left out, she gave me her business card and told me to come to her office on Monday.

I got to the place, I was shocked at how big the company was it was an organization that helps the less privileged, I entered the office and went straight to the secretary and show her the card that was given to me by Mrs. Mercy.

What is your name please? she asked.

My name is Ene, I replied.

Mrs. Mercy has been expecting you, just go straight to the office by your right that’s her office, she said smiling.

Okay, Ma, thank you, I told her.

I got to the office and knocked, the person at the other end told me to come in.

Good Morning Ma, I greeted.

Good morning, how are you, hope it did not take you time to find this place, she said.

I am fine Ma, not at all.

From the card I gave to you, you must know that this is an organization that helps the less privileged and I will want to help you because of the story you told me. What will you want to do, will you like to continue schooling or start up a business? she asked.

I was speechless I have not thought about going back to school or starting up a very good business.

Ma, I don’t know what to say, I am very grateful for everything you want to do for me, I haven’t thought about this. Let me go home I will come back by tomorrow and tell you my decision. I said going down on my knees.

You don’t have to, stand up, make sure to think about it well, I will be expecting you by tomorrow, she said smiling.

Okay Ma, thank you for everything, I replied leaving the office.

I was so happy and thankful for what God has done for me, for the first after everything that has happened to me, I slept well.

I got to her office the following day. Although, I feared how I was going to explain it to her.

Ma, I don’t think it will be possible for me to start up a business and attend school at the same time, but the schooling can be part-time, I said stammering.

It’s okay my dear if that is what you want no problems, what kind of business will you want to do, she asked?

I was so happy; quickly told her I would like to sell provisions.

That is a nice business, that means I have to find a place where the business will sell, this week is going be a very busy one for you then, by tomorrow we will start looking for a good spot, everything should be ready by Monday, she said.

Thank you so much ma, may God bless you for everything you are doing for me, I said going on my knees.

You don’t have to, just prepare well, she replied.

As she has said, it was truly a very busy week for me, looking for a good spot, and going to buy the provisions was not an easy task. The following week everything was ready. The first month I didn’t make good sales, but I never lost hope.

It has been four years now, I have finished my education and my shop was now three branches in different locations, God has blessed me, and thank him for bringing Mrs. Mercy into my life. I was able to renovate my parent’s house in the village and put my brothers in a good school. My parents have been telling me to get married but in my condition who will want to settle down with me, the few men I met when I tell them, always run away, so I decided not to bother myself about men for now when the right time comes God will give me my husband.

With my results as the best student, many companies wanted me to work for them, I went for different interviews but most of their pay was little, it was only one of them that interested me, a real estate company that deals with land and property and I was going to work as the secretary to the Managing Director since it is a nice offer and I will have the opportunity to travel to different countries, I decided to pick it. I called my parents and Mrs. Mercy and told them about the good news, they were all happy for me. I also called Sarah my salesgirl and told her about the good news and explain to her that she will oversee the shops for me. Sarah is a very trustworthy person and she has been working for me for the past three years now with her in the shop, I am always assured because I believe she will monitor them well and my money will be secured.

I entered the company, went straight to the secretary at the entrance, and told her my name and my mission. She told me to sit that a board meeting will be held in a few minutes and that is where I will be introduced, and my office will be shown to me. I was shocked to see Ogima working in the company, she tried talking to me, and I just walked out on her, I don’t want to have anything to do with her especially now that we are going to be working together in the same company. Mr. Martin took me to my office and told me the manager will soon come and explain some things to me, I thank him, and he left. a few minutes later I saw one of my regular customers who usually come to my supermarket, he was approaching me, I quickly stood up and went to greet him.

Mr. Peter, Good Morning, how are you? I asked.

I am fine and you, do you now work here, he said.

I am fine, yes, I just started working here. Are you here to see the manager? he is not around but you can wait for him. I told him.

I am not here to see the manager, I am the manager of this company, he said smiling.

I am so sorry sir, I didn’t know you are the manager, I said stammering.

You don’t have to, we are friends, I hope you will enjoy your work here.

Sure, I will, hope I can talk to you informally when we are not busy.

Yes, you can, please meet in the office, he said.

OK sir, I replied.

It’s been five months since I started working, and the work has been stressful but very profitable. Peter and I have been more than just friends, we do have lunch together and I like him, but I don’t know how to tell him about my condition. I got to work this morning as I entered everyone was just looking and laughing at me, I was surprised, was is going on, I saw Ogima and the way she looked at me I knew that she must have said something bad about me, I didn’t bother asking anyone about anything, went to my office when the manager entered I greeted him but the way he answered showed that he must have heard everything. I went to his office to ask him if we were going to have lunch together but he refuses and told me that whatever I was going to tell him must be related to work after that he dismissed me. I later found out that it was Ogima that told them about my past life. when I got home, I cried so much especially now that Peter has found out about it, how was I going to face him.

The following day which was on Friday, I called the office that I won’t be present because I was not feeling too well, I later went to Mrs. Mercy and explained everything to her, and she advised me to quit the job.

On Monday morning I went to the office with my letter of resignation, on entering the office the atmosphere was different, they were all happy to see me and they even apologize for all they did, and how they believed Ogima without not hearing my own side of the story, I later discovered that Ogima has been sacked.

Mr. Peter came out of his office and came straight to me; he hugs me immediately.

Mr. Peter, I am sorry I did not tell you about it, I said crying.

You don’t have to, I love you so much Ene, I am sorry had to put you through this pain, I had to act that way with you so that I will save you from that devil called Ogima. I will like us to go out this evening, I have something to tell you, he said.

No problem let’s get prepared for work and you may leave for now we are in the office and everyone is seeing us, I said smiling.

He left me and told everybody to start the day’s work.

By evening I did my best to dress beautifully, when he came to pick me up, he was amazed and compliment how beautiful I was, we got to the eatery and placed orders for fried rice and chicken, and we ate and discuss so many things.

Ene, I want to tell you something very important, I have always loved you for a very long time, I know you cannot remember where we met, he said.

I was confused, I try remembering where I met him but all to no avail.

So, tell me, where did we meet? I asked.

OK, did you remember the boy you saved in a river in the village some years ago? He asked.

Yes, I do, wait a minute don’t tell me you are the boy, I said surprisingly.

I am, I have always monitored you since then, when I got home I told my parents about you I told them I will like to marry you in the future, I had to do everything in my power so that my parents to help you, so when you came out as the best student, I knew this was my opportunity to keep you close to me, I told my father to give you the scholarship because with that I will get the information I needed, after two years I had to travel out of the country coming back I realized that you have left the school and my parents said they have not gotten any information about you, I went to Benue State University to look for you but I couldn’t find you not until I later met a lady who told me everything that happened to you, I asked her if she knew where you went to but she said no that you never told anyone. I was lost, I thought I won’t ever get to see you again. After months of looking for you without not seeing you, I gave up and came to the city to start up my business, when I then saw you at the shop and realized you were the owner, I had to make sure to keep in contact with you. Ene, I know what I am about to say may annoy you, but I will love to make you my wife, he said kneeling.

I was short of words; the people were all shouting that I should say yes.

With tears in my eyes, I said yes.

After all the struggles of life, I ended up a happy woman.

I never knew I was going to get married and have children after everything that I have gone through the challenges, circumstances, and betrayal that I face.  I finally made my family proud. The light on me shines at last.

The light tells a tale of mistake, love, malice, betrayal, and second chance.

  • Helen Sardauna

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