Continued from here
During the drive, Mrs. Peters was yelling at her daughter, Mandy for being reckless and irresponsible, forgetting that she was a lawyer, albeit one that liked to party a little hard. At least that was Mandy’s defense.
For a very long time, all through her formative years, Mandy has been a good girl, obeying every single rule set by any person in authority; be it her mother, or her teachers or even her religious leaders. For the most part, her and her sister had lived a sheltered life.
When her father died, Mandy had been the one in charge of everything even though she was quite young herself being just nine years of age, but her mother was too sad and her sister was too small so she had to take care of things, so she’d clean and organise everywhere, she also made sure Jane was eating and she’d crawl into bed to hug her mother when she’d cry.
When the adults would come over for their adult conversations, Mandy and her sister Jane would be asked to go away, but they always heard what was being said. Jane would cry and Mandy would have to get her to stop so they would not be heard, the last thing their mother needed was for people to think that her daughter was always crying.
She became so obsessed with being a good daughter at home and a good student at school. She was always quick to help with the house chores and selling the goods even when she was tired or when some neighbour kids would make fun of her for her old clothes or her being a hawker like they called her.
They even went as far as scaring her with their really large dogs, knowing so well of her phobia.
She was also the first to submit assignments, and also concentrated diligently in time for tests and exams all the time. She was always seen as the teacher’s pet by the other students whether it was when she was in primary school to being lecturers’ favourite in whatever course she took. Even in law school, when people were a bit freer because they were technically done with school, she was very serious and very good as she was not yet a lawyer.
She had no social life whatsoever, barely had any friends or partook in any fun activities. It worked out so well that the days after she got called to bar, she had her pick of job offers.
The look of elation on her mother’s face was all the encouragement she needed to pick the most prestigious job.
At her job, she was very dedicated to whatever was asked of her, which was menial at first since she was still a newbie, but later became more challenging. She was up to whatever task she was given.
After a few months on the job, and seeing how rudimentary her life had become, she realized that she had lived her life always trying to do the right thing that she had not even stopped to consider what she felt was right to her.
She didn’t even know if she had any opinions of her own or if she just knew what others told her was a good opinion.
She asked herself various questions; do you believe in God? Yes. Why do you believe in God? She came up blank. She did the same experiment, but with her political stance, her philosophy in life, her thoughts on fashion, entertainment and even her ideal choice for a romantic partner. She didn’t have any straight forward answers.
Mandy couldn’t talk to her mother about this, she already knew what the response would be; she was a good girl with good beliefs and good friends, she was made for bigger and better things and all she had to do was pray.
This had been the response to everything. This is also why she willed herself to limit all talks to school and work, she felt like she wasn’t supposed to feel or ask any questions about anything, she was always supposed to rise above in spite of everything. There is a right way of doing things and that was how she would do things paying no mind to why those things are done that way.
Also Mandy assumed that whatever she was going through could not have been worse than loosing your husband, raising two kids by yourself as well as dealing with unwanted comments and faux family members.
Jane laughed at her the day she had talked about it. Apparently, she had always been a Miss goody two shoes and she was now having what was called a ‘come to Jesus’ moment, even though she was more than ten years too late for it. Jane was just happy that she was finally confronting herself and her beliefs and asking these questions.
She had told her repeatedly in the past to tell their mother about her unhappiness about several things but Mandy would always shrug and say that it was mind over matter; if she didn’t mind, it didn’t matter and apparently she didn’t mind at the time.
Jane had seen through her then, she had minded, she had minded a lot, she just wanted to keep the peace and take care of everyone, Jane included, like she always did. She turned into a yes ma kind of person instead of an – I’ll stop to think about how I feel about this before proceeding with anything – person.
It always seemed like she didn’t stand for anything, good or bad, but Jane knew she did, she could always tell when Mandy genuinely meant to say or do something or when she just did it, there was a tell, only people that paid close attention to her could see her eyes glistening with unshed tears at how powerless she thought she was about certain things.
It was always going to come to a head and now it has, except there was a loud massive explosion. She just hoped the inevitable fallout won’t be too much. Mandy had not understood what her sister had meant till she expatiated.
It seems that, Mandy had gone through life pleasing people and doing things to make other people happy. Even her choice of a career came from her subconscious need to go back in time and help her mother reacquire the house she had lost to her father’s family after he had passed – a memory that still haunted them yet they chose to ignore it.
She tried to disagree with what she called a silly notion, but later realized that her inner self experiment was at least revealing of a deeper problem. The career thing was what she didn’t agree on because she genuinely liked to help people fight for their right as a citizen of the country in every way possible whether they knew of the right or not, the laws are there, she just had to help people with them.
Her extreme partying ways started shortly after, she called it finding herself. At first her mother didn’t seem to find it a problem, she figured it was not affecting her job and she probably just wanted to blow off some steam.
The late nights became more frequent. Nine o’clock turned to ten and then eleven, soon it was one am. That’s when Mrs. Peters started screaming at her a lot and Mandy went from good girl extraordinaire to black sheep of the family.
Somehow despite her late nights, Mandy still managed to keep things on check at work. Her career was on a fast track and everyone could not be more proud. Except when talk about her social life was beginning to spread around to family members and friends and even in the church, she became labelled as a wayward woman, one who didn’t even have the luxury of prospective suitors like her sister.
Her mother was always getting angry with her, she understood that she was now a grown up but that didn’t give her the right to be keeping late nights and drinking till odd hours of the nights. She didn’t even want to think of the company she now kept.
Mandy was amused at the dig of her bad companions, especially since one of her very close friends was Amaka, Aunty Ify’s daughter, she was a club promoter and as such knew a lot of people and had an in with almost everyone, she was the one who always took Mandy to all the cool events in the city – she was either already invited or knew easy ways to get tickets without really breaking the bank.
When Mandy had decided to begin her extreme partying, she had gone to Amaka who advised her to stick with her knowing she could provide Mandy with good clean fun as well as protect her from the predators that can a smell a good girl from a mile away.
Not that Mrs. Peters would ever say anything or acknowledge that, she just feigned ignorance and Mandy knew her mother knew of their close friendship and outings because aunty Ify had seen them in a precarious state, all red eyes and messy hair, they were sprawled out; Amaka on the floor and Mandy on the couch, one Saturday morning after she decided to drop by Amaka’s place unannounced with gifts of Akara and pap.
Jane joked that Mandy didn’t understand the meaning of the golden mean, she was always on polar opposites, either she was extremely calm and reticent or she was extremely wild and raucous.
The young lawyer yelled back at her mother, forgetting that she was a loving and caring mother. One who went above and beyond for her cubs.
It has always been that way, it was that way when she opened a business that she ran from the house, selling zobo and cunu and foodstuffs to make some extra money in addition to her regular job in the civil service, just to make some extra money to take care of her daughters, rarely thinking about herself.
Mandy and Jane helped out from time to time but that was only when they were not in school or didn’t have any school work, Mrs Peters didn’t let the plenty work affect their studies or extracurricular activities, she encouraged them in whatever path their passion took them.
Luckily the girls were smart enough to know their monetary restrictions and did not go overboard with what they could do or have, finding other practical solutions to situations where they didn’t have a choice.
Mandy scoured all over to find a scholarship for just about anything, entering them into whatever contest they could have, being the teacher’s pet really helped in these instances. When the girls got into boarding school, she added catering services to her businesses as she had more time on her hands for that.
She didn’t eat till her girls had eaten and she didn’t get new clothes for herself till she had replaced her girls’ as well as paid their school fees and bought their books. At this moment though, to Mandy, she was just the irrational woman still dictating her life even if she was no longer a child.
Threats about moving out that had been coming more often, got thrown out again. That just made Mrs. Peters angrier. She had sung it over and over that no one was moving out till they were getting married, that was the one unbreakable rule. Mandy always challenged that declaration saying that might take forever as there were no prospects for her in the near future and she wanted her independence.
Her career and family had been her priority numero uno, since she started going out frequently, she added her social life and various events to the list, and it became numero dos on her priority list. That was about all she could make time for, dating, relationships were not even saved in her drafts not to talk of ending up in her priority list.
The rule to not move out was partly for them to save money and the other part was for them to still be under her roof obeying all her rules, especially now that Mandy was behaving like this. Another small part Mrs. Peters refuses to acknowledge is that she doesn’t want to say goodbye to her girls just yet.
Mandy knew it was easier and wiser to live at home, but the price of her freedom and sanity was worth making some adjustments here and there, her mother had started paying them for helping out in the business anyway so it was not like she would be flat broke.
…..TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW
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