"Are you a virgin?" She asks with glaring eyes filled with scorn. I could feel that scorn heat up my skin making me sweat. This was the first question she asked me that day as soon as I greeted her that morning. I wondered if my mother had mysteriously found out about my promiscuous ways the same way she found my well hidden nudes on my phone. I was too afraid to speak. Perhaps God wanted to punish me somehow. I was beginning to think it was the Holy Spirit that kept revealing these things to her. "Why do you ask?" I asked her finally. She eyed me suspiciously and went on making the moi-moi we were to have for break fast. I always admired Mother you know, she went through alot having to deal with Papa's drinking and late nights. She somehow managed to keep the house together so no one knew that Papa was a failure as a father and as a husband. The neighbors never had to separate a fight. Mama was strong. Her job as a teacher in Sunny-ville Primary School and evening shifts as a nurse in Holy Family payed the bills and put the food on the table. She was the most devoted catholic I knew. Said her prayers every hour. Hail Marys and Grace. "It is the Lord that sustains me" she would tell anyone willing to listen. The Lord had sustained her through Papa's drinking and infidelity, through my elder brother Chukwuma's rebellion and Chisom's sickle cell wahala.
She looked at me again. "Why do you want to model then?". She ignores me and goes on pouring the concoction into the well folded moi-moi leaves. I felt my body relax relieved that she had found out nothing. This was the continuation of the argument we had last night. "Virgins would never talk about modelling." she goes on. "How many of those..those models do you see that end up having a family, a good marriage? Ehn..tell me." I didn't want to remind mama of how she had done everything right and still didn't have a good marriage. I didn't even want to begin to tell her of my plans of not getting married at all. What is marriage if not constant endurance. To some grief and pain like Mama Junior who gets blows regularly from her husband. We hear her cries for help everyday even the neighbors are tired of intervening. "That thing is of the devil. Get your mind off it." she says, finally dismissing me. I went back to my bed and silently wept all my dreams of becoming a super model into my pillow.