Cynann Nkweti
Photo by Bruce Hong on Unsplash


Isabelle could hardly recognize the girl in the mirror. That girl was so well made up, eye brows perfectly drawn, lips light pink and fresh, high cheek bones reflecting the blush that her older sister Christabelle had added at the last minute. Her dark skin looked a shade lighter than she would have liked but she didn’t have any say. She was glowing from the outside like she had never done before. Two small diamond pearls studs sparkled from her earlobes; one of the few valuables she had kept of her mother. A thin fading silver chain with an almost faded diamond stone rested above her V-neck gown. Aunty Doro had picked it from among her most used jewelry;
“Take this let them not say we don’t treat you well. This chain is over thirty five years old careful with it. When you
fall bush, you will buy me plenty”.
Isabelle was sitting at her aunt’s richly polished mahogany dresser which her son had sent from America. She was tempted to touch the display of very costly cosmetic products that littered the table. Aunty Doro would bury her alive if she did. This was the first time she had spent more than fifteen minutes in the bedroom without being scolded. Three years of living with Aunty Doro, the room still awed her. There was the state of the art dresser, well-polished dress cupboard with Gucci suits and Louis Vuitton clothes begging to be worn. Aunty used Chanel perfume that stayed in the air even after she had left and Avon rubbing oil. Aunty was determined to reverse her sixty years aging process so badly that she bought any product that desperate sales agents sold to her. Isabelle recalled a time when her skin was so badly burned that she could not go out for a week. She now had reddish, pinkish skin spots that it was hard to determine her original skin tone. There was also the harsh hair relaxer which she insisted on using in spite of how often it burnt her scalp. Aunty now had very scanty baby like hair which she hid under various wigs. Isabelle often caught her slipping her finger through the wig to scratch her itchy scalp.

Today was a special day so aunty had permitted her to use the bedroom. The Noble weave that her sister had lent had been beautifully wrapped into a bun above her head. She couldn’t afford new things at this moment. The dress and shoes were still her elder sisters’. She stood up to take in the full view of the white silk gown that accentuated her slim shape. The dress stopped just above her white low shoes. This girl in the mirror was the perfect image of the perfect woman for the perfect man.

She looked at the gilded ring on the dresser and her heart sunk further. In about an hour, she would be Mrs. Somebody. She swallow the lump in her throat. This was all she had ever dreamt of and this was not what she had dreamt of.

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