Lola Opatayo

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What I am

Short Story
I am a beautiful bird, no a butterfly, no a flower. Oh, I can’t decide! Anyway, I am beautiful. I am the like the radiance of the morning sun, the glory of a sunflower in  full bloom, my supple dark skin glows like melted chocolate, my body is the shape of an hour glass, my dove eyes call out “love me!”, my lips are pink perfection. I walk down the road and I can feel men’s eyes on me, they summon up the courage to approach me and ask for my number. I am loved; every girl wants to be me and every boy wants my arm in his.

But I’m beyond beautiful; I am many other things. I am intelligent, bold, friendly, kind, rich, graceful, generous, insightful, calculative, and a leader. Yes, I am all these things now, no longer who I used to be and now I am happy…

A slam on my table jolts me out of my reverie and I raise my eyes to the disapproving, cold ones of my lecturer. Not again!

“Yes, young lady we’re glad to have you back on earth, hope your trip was enjoyable?” He asks with mock seriousness and all around me I hear my colleagues giggling, it’s showtime, a comic relief from the boring lecture.

“S…sir?” I ask with trepidation.

“Stand up when I’m talking to you!” He commands and I bolt out of my chair awkwardly. What am I going to say this time around?

“I think it’s time you shared the tales of your journey with us. I mean, they must be so delightful because you were grinning so widely. I am willing to hand over the lecture to you, it would be an honour to be inspired by your wonderful insights!” He says gleefully, his eyes twinkling like those of an animal that has found its prey. My hands are cold with fear and I want so much for the ground to open up and swallow me right now. My colleagues are laughing out loud now and making their own contributions to my public disgrace.

“I can quickly come up with slides to help in the facilitation of the lecture!” one says.

“No we don’t need slides, I’m sure we’ll understand. Our lecturer is a world renowned speaker” another says and the class bursts into an uproarious laughter.

“So Miss… I don’t even know your name but that’s irrelevant. Go up to the platform and give us your lecture.” He says, sitting down on an empty chair. “Ladies and gentlemen please put your hands together for our guest lecturer Miss… Josephine!” He says in a loud voice as the class claps excitedly, watching me expectantly. What do I say? “What am I?” I ask myself as I stare at my table waiting for this tide of shame to pass.

I’ve come to a conclusion, what I am now is ashamed… and stupid.

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