(Story) Farida – Part 17

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Zara felt Farida was too serious. She was always studying. When she wasn’t studying, she was selling things. She didn’t know much about her but she didn’t appear to be from a poor home. She dressed well, spoke well and had etiquettes she marvelled at. She knew most of the guys were after her because of her height and beauty. Farida wore no makeup, didn’t fix her hair or add extensions; she was just ordinary.She liked her though. Farida was generous. She made soups she had never heard of and she always kept hers. She cooked and asked to store in her fridge which she obliged her. She comes back to the room to meet hot food in the warmer for her. Monica wanted to relocate to her room because of the food. She enjoyed a particular soup and asked Farida to make it for her again. She gave her money. Farida made a big pot with the money. Monica took half of it and left the rest with Farida. That was how she started making food for Monica too.“I am snatching your roommate next year” Monica threatened Zara.“I like her but there is something about her. Something isn’t just right. She only reads, eats, sells and sleeps. What might be wrong?”“Look, Wura told us her school won a debate competition for Lagos state some time ago and she was the best debater. She told the story of how her mother had to leave her father after years of abuse so her children could get a better life. She is not affluent, but she is content and that is what shows. I like her too. She is someone who just wants to achieve and I think she will”“She told me I will fail at the end semester because I hang around with boys. Just because Justin said he liked her and I was pushing for her to give him a chance. Why would she say so?”“I don’t think she meant it like that. Probably she just wanted you to pay more attention to your studies as she does. We can’t all be alike”“She feels she is too intelligent. didn’t we all pass WAEC and Jamb in one sitting?”“Zara, the babe shattered both WAEC and Jamb, especially Jamb. She’s on scholarship and can’t afford to lose it. Don’t allow boys to drive a wedge between both of you. She is very good to you. She cleans the room and makes your bed for you without you asking. If I were you, I will enjoy it. My roommate gossips about me but smiles in my presence. She wants to take from me but never gives. She hides to eat her things but will be the first to take mine. Who is the two-faced bitch?”Zara tried to discourage guys from Farida but they insisted. They were ready to do anything to get close to her. She wondered when playing hard to get became attractive. The more Farida rejected them the more they pushed. She was fed up.Farida came to school with five bedsheets, pillowcases and three blankets. The girls that visit her room loved the bedsheets. They asked where she got them and she told them her auntie sells them. They made request for them. On a Friday evening, she went to the night market to see her customer, she gave her money to help her buy bedsheets and blankets. Then she met Akram at the drycleaner’s and asked him to pick the bedsheet to wash for her. Everything was sorted. She was to pick up on Wednesday as she had only two lectures that ended at noon.She sold out the thirteen bedsheets and five blankets she bought. She made 500% profit. There were still demands. She repeated the cycle and still sold out. She did it five times before examinations started then she stopped. She made so much money that it amazed her. Selling to rich students was profitable. She introduced clothes too and before long her business boomed. She brought goods once a week and she sold out every week until she left the university.First semester ended without any drama. At the wake of second semester, that was when problem started. She had an A in a course no one had ever had an A in. When Farida was told that no one had ever scored an A in that course, she hit the library to ensure she does. She loved challenges. She made it.The lecturer called her matriculation number in class and she stood up. He was shocked that someone that young and beautiful could achieve it. He invited her to his office and interviewed her. Then he made a pass at her. She refused. Professor Charles Woka never takes no for an answer. He told her she would never pass his course in that department. She still refused and excused herself. The test he gave them, he marked her down. She kept it. He incited other lecturers against her. Four of them came after her too. When she refused, they started picking on her. She was upset about it. She reported to the Head of Department popularly called HOD and the Dean of the faculty but it became worse. She went to the Dean of Students Affairs but it ended there. During the second semester examinations, one of the lecturers claimed she was talking in the examination hall and seized her answer booklet. This was just a few minutes into the examination. Farida became frustrated. She cried. She believed she had failed and would lose her scholarship. She felt hurt that no one was willing to help. One of her course mates advised her to read other courses to make up for the ones she failed so she could rewrite them next session. When the results were released, she only failed that course her answer booklet was seized. She had two Bs and a C in the other three. She had As in the other courses. She was in 2.1. A combination of her first and second semester examinations took her back to 1st class. She was determined not to fall prey to them anymore.Second year, she had a new roommate. Monica made true her threat. She lobbied to be in the same room with Farida. She admired Farida lifestyle and believed she could learn some things from her. Her friends just enjoyed hanging out and partying which she felt was too much. She didn’t know how to exempt herself from all they do. She went to the club with them one night. She had a little alcohol and a man was groping her all over. The man was old enough to be her father. She felt disgusted. She went with them for a party and a guy wanted to make out with her by force. Monica’s problem was that she wasn’t confident in herself. Coming from a broken home where her father demeaned her mother on a regular basis in their presence affected her. When the woman couldn’t take it anymore, she left. Her father married a new wife who felt she was a threat as she was his only daughter. She had two sons for him. She treated her badly when her dad was not around and pretended to be nice when he was. The deceit messed up her psych and affected her self-esteem. She found herself being in people’s shadows and doing what they say. Monica loved the way the way Farida responded to Wura the first day they met. She knew Wura was a bully. The way Farida carried herself and had a mind of her own endeared her to Monica. Monica knew, under Farida tutelage, she would change. She needed to stand up for herself. She was very brilliant but she wasn’t motivated to strive to excel. Her father didn’t care how she faired in school, all he was after was his business and women. Her step mother took her pain out on Farida. Farida had an elder brother who was five years older. He was in the UK. He had graduated from university and was working. They were not close but she visited him once every year.Farida was happy to be in the same room with Monica. Monica, like her friend Zara, had all the appliances Farida needed to cope in the hostel. They chatted like old friends. Monica told Farida she would provide all the food while Farida was to cook. That was very fine by Farida. Monica was spoilt child. She hardly knew how to do anything. That was part of the problem her stepmother had with her. Her dirty clothes were picked up every weekend by the driver and returned laundered on Sunday. She had a driver at her beck and call. Farida was amazed. She wondered what type of wife she would be. A woman that can’t cook or clean is that a woman? Even if you have househelps, you must know how to do some house chores. She made a note in her head not to spoil her children like this.Monica observed how early Farida woke up everyday to take a bath and dress up. She decided to join her. She didn’t realise she was doing that so nobody saw her nudity. She was shocked when she saw Monica in the bathroom beside her.‘What are you doing here?” she asked covering her body with her hands.‘I came to take a bath”“Why so early? You don’t wake up this early”“I just want to”“Please use another bathroom”“Why? There is enough space here for two”“Please use another bathroom. There are empty bathrooms”“Tell me why?” Monica then observed she was still covering up and shy. She understood and left.In the room, Farida had quickly dressed up before she came in. Monica had questions for her.“Why are you always hiding your body? You don’t change your clothes in my presence. Why?”“I wasn’t brought up to expose my body. I don’t think it is right. I see a lot of nudity around me and I am not impressed”“Did you go to a boarding school?” Farida shook her head. “That’s why you are talking like this. In the boarding school you will definitely show your nakedness. Where will you hide to bath or change? I can understand hiding your body from boys but from your fellow women? They might think you have a problem or you are a lesbian”“Why would they think that?”“You are always covering your body. Even in the room you are always on trousers or gown. Why not wear shorts or short skirt to feel free?”“Boys come into the hostel. I don’t think it is appropriate for them to see me half naked. I can do that for girls but not boys”“Farida, you are a very beautiful girl. You look like a Fulani girl. Why are you not interested in dating?”“Dating? Why would I date? I can only date the guy that would marry me. He has to be very rich. I want him to provide for me and the family”“My mother did the same thing. Her parents forced her to marry my wealthy father. Because of the class difference, he humiliated her even in our presence. He called her worthless and useless. He said she was of no value to him. His family members had no regard for her. She became depressed and threatened suicide. Still her family forced her to remain because of what they gained. One day, she packed up and left with nothing. She refused to come back. He looked everywhere for her but she was nowhere to be found. My mother went to Europe by sea. She survived the horrendous journey. She did odd jobs. When she found the opportunity to find out what was happening, my father had come back for his bride price and remarried. She met a white man while working. You can hi omeano on+233544142683 to be added to storyline, storybaze, unlimited story platform to read more of this episodes. He took interest in her. He trained her in university and also Master’s degree. He later married her. She is happy with him. She came back to Nigeria to start off a business which she hopes I will take over when I graduate. She wanted me to study in Europe but my father refused, he wanted me with him. Now, he talks to her and about her with respect. My stepmother is receiving similar treatment from my dad. Even though she is a graduate, she refuses to work. I will marry a man who truly loves and values me. A man who will respect me. Someone who will know my worth. I don’t care if he is rich or poor but he will be mine and I will be his”Farida understood the sadness she had seen in her friend’s eyes. She shared her mother’s story with her. Monica who listened in shocked amazement. “Did your father beat your mother until she was unconscious?” Farida asked Monica who responded with her shake of her head. “He did it to her. When she reported to her family, the beating became worse. But she survived. Our mothers survived. They did it so we could get a better future. So, we need to make the best of the sacrifices they made. I’m sure you are proud of your mother now. She has to be proud of you too. Does she have any children with her new husband?”“No. He had kids before and didn’t want more kids. He is a nice man. I love him dearly. I call him Papi. If I want anything, he gets it for me. So, my father has someone to compete with for my love” she replied giggling.“You are lucky. My mother refused to remarry. I wish she had. I want her to be happy.”“I wish I could be strong like you. I really admire you”“You can be if you put your mind to it. It was my survival technique where I lived. People can use their tongue to bring you down”“Tell me about it. My father never hit my mother but the verbal and emotional abuse was just too much. “Have you ever seen a cup like this in your life? If I sell your entire community will it be able to replace it?” My mother suffered. She would cry her eyes out. I know what people can do so I avoid it”“No, you stand up to them. If you do it once, others won’t try the same thing with you”“Most of my friends are close to me because of what they can gain. I know that. I don’t know how to cut off from them or even tell them no when they ask for things”“You just tell them no without giving an excuse. Let’s try it. Monica can you buy me lunch”“Not today. I am a bit cash trapped”“Monica you are never cash trapped. Just say you don’t want to give”“Emmmm”“You see? Try it with me”“Farida please can you buy me lunch?”“I left my room with a budgeted amount I don’t have any spare money. Maybe another time”“That was easy with finality”“You need to learn that. Save your money for bigger things”“Thank you, Farida. I feel so much better talking to you today. My friends don’t know the details of my parents divorce and I would like to keep it that way”“Your secret is safe with me”That was when their real friendship started. Monica followed Farida footsteps as best as she could. She went to night class with her to read. She stopped going for parties or the club. They had a wonderful time together.When she came back, she gave the note to Farida. Farida thought it was a love note so she tossed it on the bed. Monica told her the guy sounded serious so Farida read.Pirate confraternity have been commissioned to kidnap you. Leave the school today. I repeat leave the school today. Do not come back until Wednesday. Claim to be ill and disappear. Don’t go home either. Look for where to go.I am working on resolving the issue before you come back.

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