You hate being interrupted when you are standing in front of the mirror in your bedroom and talking to yourself.
“Idara, what are you doing inside the house? Have you finished peeling the cassava tubers?” Mama would call out to you from her bedroom.
You would sigh in frustration, frown your face and drag your feet to the backyard where a huge pile of freshly harvested cassava tubers lie waiting for you.
“Mama, I am outside, I have started peeling o” You would reply as you pick up the short kitchen knife and proceed to peel off the dark brown layer of the cassava tubers.
“If you like, spend all day! All I know is that fufu must be ready in this house before Saturday!” Mama would retort and mutter some words about the lazy children of this generation.
You would shake your head and smile. Although you like peeling the cassava tubers, you don’t look forward to it because your mind is fixated on something else. It is something that makes you happy, something that makes you dream big dreams. You love acting and you want to be an actor.
Every time you stand in front of the mirror, you talk to yourself, you gesticulate, pretending you are on the set of a movie and acting an epic scene. Your imagination seems to be farfetched, a pipe dream because you are just a 10-year-old girl living in a village in the hinterlands of Akwa Ibom state. Papa and mama are ordinary folks struggling to survive just like every other person in the little village. Farming is their occupation and you together with your three siblings help out on the farm whenever you are back from school and on weekends.
You like going to school every day because you look forward to reading some of the small storybooks that Eno your classmate and friend brings to school. During break time and when there is no teacher in the classroom, Eno would bring out a storybook from her school bag and two of you will read together and laugh or cry.
It was one Tuesday afternoon that you read a story about a woman named Regina Askia and the things she does. You read that she is a model, a nurse, and an actress who acted in movies like Full moon, Queen of the night, Suicide mission, Mena, Festival of fire and other movies. You read that she is living far away in the world of the white men. You started admiring her and wanting to be like her. You saw her picture and saw that she has the same complexion as you, chocolate skin with a round beautiful face just like you. It was on that day that you decided to become an actress. You told yourself that you would become very popular in the world and act in the movies in the white man’s country.
When you told your parents what you wanted to become, they scolded you. They said you must become a Medical Doctor so that you will earn big money and take care of the family.
Your two brothers, Ubong and Ifiok mocked you, they said you are dreaming too much for your age, they told you that you will become a teacher in the village school and would marry the village headmaster. You shouted angrily at them and told them that you are not like them who would become palm wine tappers because they are blockheads and always take the last position in their classes every term in school. They were infuriated and chased you several times around the house but all animosity ended later in the day when you called out to them to carry their plates of hot fufu and steaming afang soup from the kitchen where you and mama cooked.
You don’t like your brothers very much, but you don’t despise them because they help in doing the hard work in the house and they also protect you from bullies especially from Ekondo the village bully and ne’er do well who twists the arms of little girls whenever he comes across them on the lonely pathway in the village.
It is only Eno that believes in your dream, she is the one you confide in, she encourages you to learn acting. She has promised to take you with her to the big city of Uyo where you would meet people who would help you get into the movie world. You don’t know how she is going to do it but you are certain that it will happen. Eno is a lucky girl, her parents are well-to-do folks, she is only staying with her grandma in the village for a short time and would soon join her parents in their new house in Uyo.
You are hopeful that someday your dreams will come true and you will become a great actress. So you smile as you peel the cassava tubers because you know you are following the right path, a path that you call, the Regina Askia Way.
Iniobong Leroi Umoh is a storyteller, a satirist and creative writer. He blurs the line between reality and fiction and seeks to create a connection with the reader through engaging content. His works have been featured across various online and offline platforms. He hopes to one day travel around the world on a luxury yacht, sipping expensive wine and documenting all his experiences in a journal.
You can send him a mail at email@example.com.