Grace looked at her mother as she comfortably sat leaning her back on the wall as she continues laying down.
“My child, your father and I are trying to stop you from going to the University of Zambia because we have always wanted what is best for you. We want you to have the best education ever and that can only be achieved outside this country. Don’t you hear about riots from there? You cannot have the best in that institution your father has started arranging for your studies in South Africa. ”
Grace remained silent, in her heart shaking her head as she could not get any sense from what her mother was saying. She knew and had heard of doctors trained in Zambia and they were doing just fine. In fact somewhere working in other countries too.
“Have you even heard a word of what I said?” her mother asked snapping her from her thoughts
“I heard you mom and I still have the same answer for you. All my friends and family are here. I don’t want to go to some strange country, all for what? The same education I can attain from here?” she shakes her head and scoffs.
“Why are you so stubborn Grace? You cannot tell your father otherwise you know that, so change that your mind about this. It will be better for all of us.”
“I know what this is all about mother. For some reason I have always felt as an outcast in this house. You love Joshua more and won’t stand my presence in this house, so is your strategy to send me far away” she sits up crying loudly.
“How can you say such a thing Grace? We love you both and there is no such things as you imagine in that little head of yours. Don’t you ever say such things. Your brother looks up to you and we cannot have you both thinking like you are not from the same womb. I gave birth to you and I love you both equally.” Diana holds Grace`s hand but she slips it off
“But why then? “ Grace shook her head.
Diana talked to her for some time and left her to think through things but as stubborn as she was, the next day she ran away from home leaving a note she was never going back till they allowed her to go to the school of her choice.
“But don’t you think your parents have had enough trouble with you running away” the mother to Dingile who had found out Grace had been hiding in the house asked her two days later.
“Am sorry aunty, I just wanted to let them allow me study here” she apologized seated on Dingile`s bed.
“Your mother came looking for you, she was so worried and I had no idea you were hiding in my house. Dingile do you realise what you have done?” she scolds her daughter who stood there her face down as she realized the trouble she was in for hiding her friend.
“Am sorry mom, I just wanted to help her. She is my friend and…….”
“And nothing Dingile, this is unacceptable. let me call your mother Grace and tell her you are here. they had to go to the police for heavens sake. How could you kids do this surely?” Complained Dingiles mother.
Inside their house Mr. and Mrs. Mwape were worried sick about where their daughter had gone. They had spent a couple of days looking for her but could not find her.
“Where could she be?” cried Diana to her husband as they sat in the couch. Just then her phone rung and she rushed to grab it from the table.
s mother” she looked at her husband her eyes wide open. “Well go ahead and answer her” the husband responded with anticipation. “Hello! Anything on Grace Mama?” she answered the call. “my dear she has been hiding in Dingiles room the past days. I just found out today when I heard whispers and realized Dingile had been sneaking food in her bedroom” Dingile’s mother responded.
“Oh thank God, you have no idea how stressed she has made us the past days. Thanks for calling me. We are on our way to pick her now” she added before hanging up.
“What?” Mr. Mwape asked seeing the wife sighing in relief.
“she has been hiding at Dingile`s place, can we go get her now?”
“Sure, what is wrong with this girl? She almost gave me a heart attack” he spoke as the two rushed out to their vehicle. It was evident they loved Grace. In their hearts they feared to lose her but how could they tell her the reason for them to want her close? In silence they drove some yards away from their farm house somewhere in the Southern part of Monze district. They had moved from Mpika years back to restart their lives after almost loosing Grace to her biological mother. They had convinced themselves she belonged to them as they had taken care of her as a newly born baby till she was old enough to walk.
“there she is” Diana pointed out as they approached Dingile`s house seeing Grace standing sadly at the front yard looking in their direction.
“What is wrong with you Grace? You could have gotten your father sick, why did you run away from home?” Diana asked holding Grace Close in an embrace. But she stepped back a little bit.
“I don’t want to go out the country daddy and mommy please. Let me study here. Please” she cried her tears coming down her face.
“Well we discussed it with your mother and guess what?” Mr. Mwape smiled widely
“You are going to start school at the University of Zambia” he announced and Grace jumped up in joy.
“Thank you Daddy! I love you” she hugged him happily.
“Yeah just promise to behave yourself there and make us proud.
“you got it, can we go back home now?” she let a laugh making her parents and Dingile`s mother laugh.
A couple of weeks later, Grace had arrived at the campus. Dingile who too was going to study at the same university was besides her as they did their registration.
“Am so excited I can’t wait to be done with this registration so I move around Lusaka. You have no idea how much I so wanted to come to this city. The mare fact that my parents never wanted me here makes me wanna see the town and know what it is like” she chuckled as they moved in the Queue
“Hm. funny to hear someone has never been to Lusaka” a tall dark guy from behind them interrupted making both Grace and Dingile turn to look at him.
“Hey am Junior” the guy with a soft face smiled at them both.
“Hey Junior! Nice to meet you” Grace quickly responded
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s just that…”
“Never mind dear, I have not moved much around the country too. I stay in Chilanga” junior cut her and they both giggled.
“Your face looks familiar though. I wouldn’t believe I have never seen you before” Junior shrugged.
“Believe me dear, this face has never moved anywhere in the streets of Lusaka” Grace responded. Dingile who was just listening in pushed Grace`s shoulder to let her know people were looking at her like she was nuts.
“What?” she responded looking at Dingile?
“People are looking at you “Grace whispered
“Well, it’s true let them look. Am not ashamed to state the facts. Am so excited you know” she laughed making Junior smile even more.
“I like you already” he told her with a laugh.
“What are you studying?” he asked as they moved slowly in the line.
“Am Grace by the way, Grace Mwape, first year student, studying natural sciences, intend to do medicine” she smiled
“Oh, some brain buster huh? Am doing my second year mechanical engineering, my uncle Ben always tells me I have hands of an engineer and that he wants to see me change Zambia by becoming the first inventor of any kind of machine” Junior stated proudly.
“Hm, I like your Uncle Ben he believes in you huh?” she responded and the two went on chit chatting as they waited for their turn to do registration.