Nneoma, a lady in her late 30s., a graduate of The Abia State University and the Manager of a fast growing lady-wear company.

She owned apartments scattered around the state due to the flexibility of her job. She was living the average Nigerian dream. She woke up everyday to a sweet savory meal. She had a 9-5.. No! She owned the 9-5.

Everything was perfect.

Or was it?

She was not older than 14 when her class teacher had lured her to his room under the guise of extra lessons and raped her. A man who denied the claim and said the little girl seduced her while society in turn believed him; not willing to believe a man who had contributed so much to the society would stoop so low as defiling a minor.

Identity ruined. Ridding her of a future at a very young age.

She was stigmatized and castigated by the unsympathetic society. She was labelled 'loose' and 'cheap' by people who didn't even know the full details of the unfortunate incident.

Her parents had left her on the streets to fend for herself all because they apparently wanted to rid their family of the shame.

Starved, scared and suffocated, she roamed the 'not so friendly' streets of Lagos alone. She begged alms, slept bare in the cold of the night. Most times, she'd look up to the heavens and curse the day she was born.

In the dark of the night, her helpless thoughts sounded the loudest.

Nneoma was 17 and hustling in the ghetto of Mushin. She had apparently saved some of the alms she begged and started a little trade. She had always been obsessed with shoes. She had found a little corner in the densely populated area and started the trade. She made shoes and hung them vertically to the attention of the passers-by.

This craft started at an all time low. Her first three weeks were terrible. Her shoes were either stolen or the 'area boys' would harass her timid figure and get all the money she'd acquired for the day. Hence, she'd starve, going hungry for days.

Crying became a waste of time and strength. Instead Nneoma invested her tears into becoming a successful person.

Things were changing for the better when Nneoma made her first Ten Thousand Naira in the business. She wasn't being harrassed anymore, because her craft had made her a popular name in the vicinity. She was respected for not giving up even when most people would have and taken to their heels or resorted to illegal ways; prostitution or most times even suicide.

She was now 18 years old and hadn't heard from her parents. To be honest she could care less whatever happened to them. She'd stopped thinking about them and also quit imagining they'd come looking for her. She was already becoming an independent woman. Countless men already stopped by to woe her, but then the trauma of the event as a child still lingered in her mind.

20 years old.

No formal education, independent, still single and successful in her business. She now had a shop with other young and older ladies serving as apprentices. Still, she didn't relax. She strived more. She didn't want to feel comfortable with her small achievement. She'd always wanted to go to the University. She'd been saving some money but it wasn't enough to get her through school. She'd always wanted to learn. Even though her teacher used that as an avenue to rape her, she still didn't relent. She'd set her mind to it and she wasn't going to stop.

She looked up any school giving out scholarships and found a few. She applied for The Abia State University being she was an indigene of the state. She tooked the exam and to her disbelief failed. She'd shut down for months, having eating disorders, she got sick a couple times, depression struck till she gathered enough courage and learnt from her first experience and took the exam and this time, she did pass.

Nneoma Ejiekwu spent four years at the university studying Business Administration where she graduated with the honors of a first class lower. The oldest in the department at just 26 years old. She'd sent word to her parents who were adamant and still wouldn't meet with her. Not long after her graduation she got news that her parents were involved in an auto crash. A news that shook her. She'd always hated her parents but she'd never imagined them dead.

She took care of the funeral rights, made it grand. Most people found it hard to believe she was still the same girl from years back.

Nneoma stood out as she performed the funeral rights getting the attention of the local residents.

Despite her travails, she'd managed to become successful woman!

Now thirty seven, married to an elite architect in the urban jungle, proud mother of two.

Staring at the city from the first floor of her husbands recent building, she smiled and sipped her mint tea.

"pheew...",she sighed.

Scarred, broken, but Perfect...

©Favour Umogbai (@phaày _vor)

©Phaày The Wordsmith