She just stopped.

The world gave her nothing but a good mother and a father who did not stick around. She gave nothing back. She had a job, she had a cat, and she had that look in her eye. There was something about Njeri. No one really knew what it was, no one dared ask.

Her aunt, the professor, said she was a little like Mr. Hyde, there was nothing unlikable about her, she just did not feel right. A co worker read a book about a girl and a tattoo and said that was Njeri to a T.

Her mother knew the story, but it wasn’t a story at all. One day Njeri did not get a perfect score. She failed again, and again. Njeri was suddenly alone. Children can be cruel. She was always like that. You just could not see it because she was surrounded by people.

“One day, she just stopped. Stopped trying, stopped being a part of anything altogether.”

The girl with the tattoo was angry. Njeri didn’t care about that perfect score…at least not anymore. She had stopped smiling.

One day she walked into the lecture room and sat at the front. She stopped apologizing and pretending to be embarrassed of the right answer.

“What do you expect? She has no father figure, and her mother always had her reading Dickens and Achebe. She did not look up until it was too late”


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