Yes Ma!

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Newly appointed Minister Of Science and Technology, Honourable Dupe Balogun sauntered into her father’s compound with her two hefty bodyguards and her personal assistant closely at her heels.
She paused midway and sighed softly.
“Dreams really do come true” she thought.
She turned and looked at Obinna the smarter of her two new bodyguards.
“Call Mr Hammed in and the four of you wait for me here”
She saw Obinna frown and open his mouth to protest her going inside the house alone but an icy stare from her shut his mouth.

She wanted to experience this alone.
She braced herself as she walked in.
Memories immediately flooded her as she stepped gingerly into her childhood house.
The sitting room was just the same as it was ten years ago.
The sofas had holes in them.
The television which had spoilt for as long as she could remember was cracked and wires jutted from the bottom.
One day she’d asked her dad,
“Daddy, doesn’t the TV work?”
He shook his head and replied,
” Dupe, it has never worked. It’s there so visitors won’t say we don’t have TV in our house.”
She walked to the far end of the sitting room and saw a large bag.
Bending down to check what was inside, she sneezed loudly.
Alas! It was her father’s tool bag.
“Well there’s no more need for this” she thought as she walked away.
She’d just flown her parents abroad and had employed two nannies to take care of them.
They’d suffered too much.
Now it was time to enjoy.

She walked from room to room until she came to her own room.
She inhaled the familiar smell of her room but sneezed again.
Everywhere was dusty but looked tidy.
Her parents had obviously obeyed her and had left her room undisturbed.
She was overjoyed when she saw her box of books.
The books that had liberated her.
The lifeless books that had changed her life.
One by one , she ran her hands through them and was about to close the box when she suddenly remembered something.
She slipped her hand into the small opening in front of the box and gasped when she felt it.

Her childhood phone.
Nokia 3310.
She wondered if it still worked and kept it in her purse.
Ten years ago, in the same room, the loud ringtone of this phone had jolted her awake from her sleep.
Like someone bit by a mad dog, she leaped out of bed when she saw the caller ID.
“Hello Daddy”
“Dupe! Open the door!” He shouted angrily and cut the call.
She swallowed hard when she saw 30missed calls from Dad on her phone…

Summoning courage, she rushed outside to open the gate for her dad.
His eyes were red and his bald head shone in the hot angry sun.
“Daddy I’m sorry, I…”
“Slept off! Slept off isn’t it? Are you sure you are not pregnant?

“No dad, I’m not pregnant.”

“Your mates are already in university but here you are wasting your life away sleeping
Go to a federal school that I can afford, you said no.
You want to study in America, None of my lineage has ever studied in America. America?
Do I even know how to get there?!!!” he shouted in anger.

“Daddy… I’m…”

” Shut up and get my food. ”

Dupe smiled now when she thought about those days.
She looked at her curvy and fleshy body now and giggled.
Back then, the wind threw her around when she walked.
Parents didn’t know that she didn’t sleep every night hence her “abnormal” sleep during the day.
Everyday between the hours of 11pm-1am, she prayed to God to use her to change her family’s history.
No one in her lineage had ever been financially liberated… so she prayed hard.
1am-6am, she used the lantern to read big books.
It wasn’t fun but she forced herself to enjoy them until books became food for her.
She learnt and memorized big words from her dictionary.
She wanted to be a doctor,
So she read hard. She devoured her Biology, Physics and Chemistry textbooks.
When she was done with that,
She borrowed books from a library close to the house and studied medical books.
When she was sure she was ready,
She took an exam online,
And waited for a favorable reply.
Three months later, she was going to the airport with tears streaming down her cheeks and her parents.
A full scholarship to study at Harvard made everyone emotional and as she waved to them, she resolved to do them proud.
And she had kept her word.
Now everyone knew the Balogun name.
She, the daughter of a mechanic and roadside food seller had brought honour to her household.

Now, she blinked fast to keep the tears at bay.
Every time she granted an interview
They always asked,
“What’s the secret of your success?”
And she always said the same answer

Most people are content with being mediocre.
Don’t be one of them.
Most people are lazy.
Don’t be one of them.
Hard work is the key. Always do more.”

She walked out of her room closing the door reverently.
This was to be the last time.
She peered around for the last time and walked out of the house holding her head high.
Four pairs of eyes looked at her eagerly, awaiting instructions.
“Mr Hammed, demolish this house. I want the finest duplex this town has ever seen up here in three months. ”
“Can you make that happen?”
” Yes Honourable. ”
“Good”.
“Whatever you need, talk to my P.A”
“Yes ma!”.

Owoeye Jesuloba Grace

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