Miss P and I (NONFICTION)

Intro:
This story is based on my personal experience of true friendship and Christian unity. It is an addition to other contributions on the latter theme on this blog, namely, the poem, “We are one”; the guest posts, “The gospel according to my church and I” and “Myself the judge”. The story is funny and relatable. Enjoy and share your impressions at the end.

Miss P and I
When I was a graduate student living in Nkrumah Hall, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), I had a classmate called Patience but I preferred to call her Miss P. She was so soft and gentle like a lamb. After watching how delicately she walked and talked, my maternal instincts were stirred. I wanted to protect and care for her. So I befriended her and told her I’ll be her mum. She was probably slightly older than me but she played along and began to call me “Mummy.”

She lived on the opposite wing of the first floor from mine, that floor being reserved for female students. I often went to her room to fetch her so we could go to lectures together. And everytime I went there, she would run a comb through her hair, put on some white powder and announce that she was ready. But I was not satisfied with her looks and often told her so.

Even back then, I had a high sense of duty (even if I say so myself). So, in furtherance of the discharge of my maternal responsibilities and because I considered myself some sort of artist, I decided that I was going to give her a make-over. Not just one make-over but several, so that she would see what she was missing by not using make-up.

You see, Miss P and I were both born-again but while I was among the Christian sisters who felt free to wear slacks and use make-up, the only artificial thing she did was perm her hair. I suppose she didn’t need any convincing that struggling with her natural hair will cost her precious time as a student. It seemed her mind was made up on this contentious matter, though. But, perhaps, to humour me, she let me tinker with her looks a few times. ?????

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I told her that her face had so much potential, we just needed to brighten it up a bit with a touch of colour here and there. I also styled her hair in different ways. It was fun but she would wash off the stuff right after. After all my hard work! ???

Miss P explained that she didn’t feel comfortable wearing make-up, that it felt like she was someone else when she did.

“Yes,” I agreed. “It’s a finer version of you!”

But that didn’t change her mind. So we moved about: the mother with carved brows, black-lined eyes, rosy cheeks and flaming red lips and the daughter in just her lovely brown skin, no extra colours added. We ended up complementing each other quite well. We disagreed about how to dress up but we agreed on the fundamentals of the faith like everyone needs to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus to be saved and should live a God-honouring life thereafter with the help of the Holy Spirit.

I didn’t have my way but I gained new respect for my “daughter”. It seemed that she didn’t need me as her protector after all. Beneath the tender exterior was a steely core, a dtetermination to be herself and live by her convictions irrespective of how others viewed her. I felt alright wearing makeup and so did many other girls, but she wouldn’t do it just to please others. I could relate with that because I too was independent-minded and didn’t live for people’s approval.

When I saw how strongly she felt about it, I stopped bothering her. She, on her part, did not condemn or try to change me. That was the secret of our friendship and we had many happy days at UNN, Miss P and I. ??
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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.
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