Today’s story is for you when trying to be someone else, or believing Old Nick’s lie of “Not Enough”
It was midday on Tuesday in JSS3B. Her name was Shanika, or so we knew her to be before her grandmother showed up at school. I remember the young woman at quite an old age. She had her wrapper firmly tied around her waist. Her black eyes still glistened and her legs moved briskly as she combed the campus for the principal’s office. I remember how all the girls including myself, and except Shanika, twisted our necks and turned our chairs, each of us dreaming to be that beautiful when we were old.
“Shanika?” Tunde called, “Isn’t that your grandmother?”
We all knew her. We had seen her face many times as she peeped out of the rickety Mazda that came by 4pm to pick Shanika up. She had a huge grin on her face every time; the kind of grin which told you she was proud to have an educated granddaughter. Before Shanika could reply Tunde, our new principal showed up, with ‘grandma’.
“I’m sure she’s not in this class” the principal said.
“Asake temi! This is her class…” the woman retorted, in a roof-tearing voice.
Asake? Perplexity came over everyone.
The woman pointed to Shanika, whose head was now buried in her palms.
“That’s Esther” the principal claimed.
Yes we knew her as Esther too, but she preferred her other name: Shanika. But it soon dawned on us all that she had not been given the name by her other grandmother – her American grandmother. She had probably also lied about being born in America.
Asake? But that’s a beautiful name. She was ‘born to be pampered’. Why was Shanika ever emabrassed by such an amazing meaning?
It’s been twenty years now and I wonder where Shanika is. I wonder if she joins the fake accent folk on Instagram, if she has a closet full of silicone butt pads or if she loves the unabridged reflection in the mirror.
Confession:I choose to be true to my God, to myself and to my world. Click To Tweet
With Overflowing Love,