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Her Imperfect Life

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Tracy, a college girl, finds herself at the center of life's never-ending dramas, having lost her virginity at a young age in her pursuit of true love. Struggling to overcome her past and leave behind her miseries, she stumbles upon a social platform where she encounters Steven Timothy. As fate would have it, he appears to be "The One," leading Tracy to make sacrifices to avoid repeating her past mistakes. Their relationship takes a promising turn, but suddenly Steven has to depart, promising to return after a year with the means to provide the perfect life she desires. Unfortunately, following an unjust school contest, Tracy's past reemerges, creating a sense of apprehension and fear of infidelity. Matters worsen as Steve uncovers the truth and plans to end their relationship without her knowledge, leaving Tracy caught between her affection for two men. Now faced with a difficult decision, Tracy must choose between them. If she chooses Steve, will she be able to convince him that they are destined to be together?

Chapter 1

"Tracy, what time is your first class?" Mum shouted from the kitchen.

"8 am," I replied from my bedroom. I searched for my phone to check the time; it was 7:00 am.

Great! I have 30 more minutes left to eat and dress up. I know I spend so much time getting ready. Then I'll spend 30 minutes on the road. I know how hard it is to find transportation in this area. I'd have to walk a few kilometers to where I'll find a bike.

Then to the park where I'll get a minibus. I'll have to get off the minibus when we reach the circus and take a tricycle, which will finally take me to school. All of this, plus possible traffic congestion.

This is what happens when your parents decide to live in the rural part of town, phew!

I know Mum is preparing breakfast for me. She does that almost every morning. She hates it when I go to school late. But I don't like eating in the morning; I always get so nervous. I don't know why, but this morning I know the reason. It's my official first day in college.

This feeling is so complicated. I feel so anxious, nervous, and a bit scared too. Scared of the new phase of life I'm about to start, the new people I will get to meet with their different behaviors.

Questions keep running through my mind.

What if I don't make new friends?

What if I don't fit in?

What's life like in college?

This is always my dilemma when I'm about to start something new.

Can I ever be like others and just go with the flow? I ask myself while rolling my eyes. I sigh and use my right palm to gently slap my forehead.

My name is Treasure Johnson, but my mum, siblings, and friends call me Tracy. I'm still trying to figure out how the name came about. Only Dad calls me by my full name. My dad and I aren't close. Maybe it's the fact that he used to behave like he was military, but he only works in the police force as an accountant.

Well, I said "used to" because now he is trying to loosen up, but I don't see myself playing, laughing, or confiding in him. Mum's the opposite, though we do have issues a lot because of my rude attitude, I must say she's the best mum ever. Always going out of her way to make sacrifices for us.

I'm about to add the final touches to my hair when the door suddenly opens.

My 15-year-old brother, Andy barges in. I don't blame him. I gave him the liberty to sleep in my room ever since the panic attack I developed two years earlier.

From the way he is looking at me, I know he wants something from me, so I give him the "state your mission" look.

"Tracy, give me your phone to play games until you're ready to leave for school," he says, giving me this childish look.

I was right!!! He needed something.

Well, I can't say no. I'm too soft.

"You can take it," I say to him.

He doesn't need to ask me for the password. The three of us use the same password on our phones; this was before Andy's phone got spoiled early this year.

I'm three years older than him, and my older sister Diana is two years older than me.

We are no longer that close. I rarely call her ever since she got admission to study accounting at the state university. Right now, she's in her third year of school, and she comes home once in a while. Surprisingly, we're both studying the same course.

That's a story for another day.

"Tracy!" I hear Mum call again. This time, I know she's angry. To confirm this, she adds, "I won't be happy with you if you go to class late today."

"I'm coming, in a few minutes," I say.

I step in front of the mirror to give myself one final look. These days, I spend so much time staring at myself in the mirror.

I'm wearing a brown top with a few golden loops in the upper part of my chest. The lower part of the top is cut in a "U" shape in front and is sl*t on both sides. It is long enough to cover my small round buttocks. My black, short poly skirt goes a bit longer than my top and stops a few lengths away from my knees. My milky slippers match the color of the small mini bag I got from my sister, although it looks a bit faded. I made a mental note to get a few new clothes and a bag. I fold my book in two to fit it into the bag.

I'm still contemplating if I look good to go. I don't like overdressing or underdressing if there's such a word. I just love to blend in. Not that anyone would even notice me; I have these low self-esteem issues because I'm dark-skinned. Few of the friends I manage to make are fair-skinned, even my family members are a bit light-skinned.

Not that it's a crime to be dark-skinned. I'm Nigerian and I hail from the southern part of my country. I have this feeling that guys over here are mostly attracted to fair girls.

Bang! Bang!! Bang!!! I hear a knock on my bedroom door. This time, I know it's my mum coming personally to drag me out. I stifle a laugh as I make my way to open the door and go out.

On my way to the dining room, I put my hand in my bag to look for my phone and check the time. Then I recall I had given it to my brother earlier.

"Andy, what's the time?" I call out.

"It's 7:23," he replies from God knows where he is hiding.

"Oh my God," I gasp, sitting on one of the chairs in the dining room. I'm not surprised Mum followed me here. She wants to sit and watch me eat while shouting and urging me to eat fast like she normally does.

I stare at the fried ripe plantain with hot chocolate and get nervous again.

On a normal day, I would take my time and eat this food to the last bite.

"Tracy, eat," Mum urges. I sluggishly start eating while sighing. After a few bites and sips, I can't take anymore. My stomach is screaming, "You're going to be late, and you'll have to use the front door on your first day in class. Remember, you're shy."

"I'm full," I turn to look at Mum and say.

"No, eat a little more, please," she says. "If you get an ulcer, don't call me," she threatens.

"I'm going to be late if I don't leave now," I reply while standing up already. She sighs and gives a small nod as a sign of agreeing with me. I rush out the door while calling my brother to bring my phone.

I reach school at 8:00. I'm at the Annex part of the school since that's where my department is situated.

I brought out my phone to confirm the venue of the class from our departmental group chat I was added to when I got admission.

"Business lecture hall, Rm2," it reads. I look around; there are many students either going out of the gate or coming in. Others are entering classes. The school looks so busy and filled up with people and cars. Of course, it's Monday, the first day of the week; one shouldn't expect less.

I walk forward a bit. To my right are the faculty offices, a rectangular building labeled with numbers. Right of that is the bursary unit. The next building, going in a circular shape, is the Accounting department, my department. Opposite me, with a small field in front, is another rectangular building, all painted yellow. This one is labeled BLH. I smile and heave a sigh of relief, searching for Rm2 with my eyes while walking toward it.

Getting there, the lecturer is already inside. Thank God it has two doors, so I make the sign of the cross and walk in using the back door.

"Economics is a social science that studies the relationship between scarcity and resources as a means of satisfying human wants," I hear the lecturer say without a break as I take a seat at the nearest space I could find at the back. I guess he is just starting, and the class looks so full. Ecn110 happens to be our first course.

"Sir, please come again," a voice says. I can't locate the voice, but it belongs to a guy.

"Did I come before?" The lecturer replies, causing the class to erupt into fits of laughter. I can hear oohs and ahhs as some people read different meanings into what he said. The lecturer looks like he is in his late thirties and has this strict look, but he seems a bit playful and funny from the reply he just gave.

I take out my book as the lecturer continues dictating the notes so fast and look around to confirm if he truly just started from someone. That's when I noticed this girl seated beside me. I recall her face from my very first time in this school when I paid my fees and came to be among the first to sign and stamp to avoid crowding up when it's rush hour.

"Hey, good morning," I greet her, and she just nods. She's busy on her phone while writing. Then she turns to look at me, catching me off guard as I was lost admiring her physique and mode of dressing. She must be from the North because she was putting on a white-colored hijab, with a multicolored, long, free-flowing gown. When she later stands up, I'd realize that she was a lot taller and slimmer than me. I've always wanted to be this tall but not this slim.

"Adara," she says while giving me a small smile. She must have noticed me staring at her, hence the reason for that smile.

"What?" I am a bit confused.

"My name is Adara," she repeats and continues writing. That was when I realized that I hadn't started writing yet, and the lecturer had gone far.

"I'm Treasure," I reply to her and open my notebook to start writing. Then I remembered what I wanted to ask her.

"Tracy, you look familiar. I'm trying to recall where I must have met you," she called me Tracy too. I smile.

"Yeah, we met at the bursary unit a few weeks ago," I helped her out. "Please, did this man just start the lecture?" I finally asked her.

"Oh yeah, I remember you now," she chuckled. "Yes, he just started," she added. I wondered why she was just smiling. I shifted a bit closer to copy what I missed. I couldn't wait for the lecture to be over so that I could ask her where she is from. Talking now was a distraction. My goal is to graduate with a first-class degree.

"So when do we meet again?" I heard the lecturer say, signaling the end of his class.

"Tomorrow morning by 10:00," a guy replied. I recall he was elected the class representative by a senior colleague a few weeks ago when a few of us met after signing and stamping our school fees receipt for a brief departmental orientation.

"No, I won't be free. Let's cancel the class and shift it to Saturday," the lecturer said. Immediately the whole class erupted into an uproar. Everyone was trying to talk at the same time. I was in shock as well.

"But we just resumed. A Saturday class?" I heard someone say.

"I have to do laundry," I heard another say. They've said what's on my mind already, so I just frowned.

"You!!!" The lecturer said, pointing at a tall, very skinny dark girl in a white shirt with blue stripes and faded blue jeans.

"Leave my class," the man finished saying. Suddenly, the whole class went so quiet that you could even hear a needle drop.

"But sir, I wasn't the only one who shouted," she said, trying to defend herself.

"I know, but I caught you shouting, so you will serve as an example to others," he replied. So she got up, packed her stuff, and walked out. I felt both surprised and sorry for her.

"This man is gonna be strict," I heard Adara say beside me.

"If anyone has anything to say, why not raise your hand? I'll point at you, and you can say it instead of behaving like uncivilized human beings," the lecturer said, sounding angry.

"When I said that, I expected us to negotiate whether it would be favorable or not, but no, you all started talking and shouting at the same time. Has it changed anything?" he asked, not angry this time.

"No," we chorused.

"I have the final say. Due to this attitude, we will meet at 11:00 on Saturday. Goodbye, class," he said and left the class. I don't know why, but I turned to look at Adara, and she was already looking at me, so we shared a knowing look and laughed.

"So you're from the north," I said, more like a statement than a question.

"Nope, southwest," she replied.

"Oh, but you're a Muslim?" I asked this time.

"Yeah, my dad is a Muslim, but my mum is a Christian. I do follow her to church sometimes," she stated.

Interesting, I thought to myself.

"But when you're filling out an official form and you're asked your religion, you will choose Islam, right?" I asked for further clarity. I know it's none of my business, but I'm a curious person.

"Exactly," she said.

"Hi," I heard someone say to us. I turned around and saw a smiling girl dressed in a knee-length yellow gown. She had the most beautiful smile with dimples. She was with a group of girls. I recognized them from a few weeks ago too when we all went to stamp and sign.

"Hello," I replied and smiled.

"I'm Treasure," she said. I gasped and smiled too.

"I'm Treasure too," she gave me another one of her beautiful smiles.

"So we are namesakes," she said.

"I guess so, "I replied to her.

"So you're T1," Adara says, referring to the other girl, "and you're T2," referring to me. Everyone there chuckles. We all took turns introducing ourselves. There were six girls in total, plus Adara and me, making it eight.

The dark and slightly chubby girl was Melody; she dressed a bit too conservatively. Then there was Peace, dressed casually and simply. Later, I discovered that she was very intelligent. Next was Miracle, fairer than Adara, with a moderate build. Victoria was short with a curvy figure and impressive intellect. Finally, there was a girl with a name in our dialect, which we transcribed to mean "Endure."

Classes ended for the day, and I found myself walking back home with these seven girls. We seemed to be heading in the same direction to find a tricycle and head home. So we chatted about school stuff, and at some point, we all split off and went our separate ways. Surprisingly, only Adara and I were left.

"Where are you headed?" she asked. I told her, and it turned out we were heading in almost the same direction. Soon, we boarded a minibus. After we settled in, I asked her, "So what brought you to the South? I mean, why did you choose the University of Uyo?"

She just smiled and said, "Nothing. My dad decided we should move down here because of his work."

I nodded, finally satisfied. At a junction, we both got off. We bid each other goodbye, and she crossed over to her house while I continued to board another tricycle heading towards my side of the house, and finally, a bike. It was very exhausting.

Why am I not staying in school? I asked myself. Well, the last time I brought it up with my parents, my dad said he wanted to be able to watch and control me.

I got back home, and my mom asked about how school went. I gave her and my brother the rundown.

Days soon turned into weeks, and it became the normal routine. Nothing special or interesting happened in school again, for now. The University of Uyo wasn't even my choice of school. I remember the day I came back from registering for JAMB, an examination we take in our country to gain admission. Dad asked which school I chose, and when he heard that I chose a school outside the state, he got annoyed and ordered me to change it. I guess it's the same reason he doesn't allow me to live on campus.

Too bad he doesn't know his little innocent girl is already halfway to becoming a rebel. Don't get me wrong, but I do have some dark past.

Chapter 2

October 28, 2018.

"Story of my life,

searching for the right,

but it keeps avoiding me πŸŽΆβ€¦." I spun around from the left side of my bed as I heard my ringing tune, "Unfaithful" by Rihanna, and moved sluggishly to where I left my phone.

"What's wrong with these people?" I muttered to myself. This should be the third call I've received this morning, and it's only 8 am. I reached out and picked up my phone. The caller was Zoe, my best friend since my first year in senior high school.

Her full name is Treasure Zoey, yeah, we have the same name, which is one of the reasons we hung out together. But we named her Zoe after her surname, which means life. We were always inseparable. She's fair, I'm dark-skinned β€” a perfect match. Well, thank God I didn't ignore the call as I wanted to earlier.

"Hello, babe," I said as I slid my finger across the answer button.

"Baby girl, gues

Heroes

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