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What Could Have Been BY …Jude Idada

What Could Have Been BY …Jude Idada

… The light in her eyes is gone.

That quick fire spirit bursting with immense creativity has been slaughtered on the altar of fear.

Not her fears but that of others.

Her parents.

She aspired to be an actor’s actor.

She had the talent.

We saw it as kids.

We beheld it as teenagers.





It was sown in her by the Divine.

But her parents happened.

They stood resolute in opposition.


She fought them.

But she lost.

They had stopped paying her fees.

They had driven her out of the house.

They had summoned an extended family meeting and threatened to disown her.

And being worn out from holding on to her dreams against the odds stacked against her, she had finally given in.

And staggered through university and then Law school, with the belief that once she graduated she would give them their certificate and plunge back into the world of Thespians.

The world she was born to excel in.

Again love happened.

The man who had told her how supportive he was of her dreams began singing a different tune once his ring was on her finger and his seed was growing in her womb.

“Actors are prostitutes. I know you will never be like that, but I don’t think it is wise to put yourself in the position where people will think the same of you.”

“You can act in the church drama group. Acting is acting.”

“Don’t you think you are too old for this? What will happen to the children?”

“To get roles in Nollywood, what I hear is that, directors will want to sleep with you.”

“I can’t understand how a married woman will kiss another man on camera for the world to see. How can that kind of woman be respected by her husband?”

“If you really want to get into entertainment, you don’t have to become an actor, you can just specialise in Entertainment Law.”

He would go on and on like a mosquito whining in her ear.

He would give her the silent treatment when she insisted on chasing her passion.

Weeks without a word.

Weeks without eating her food.

Weeks sleeping on the couch.

Weeks recoiling from the slightest touch from her.

Then the pastor intervened.

And her friends intervened.

Not to change his mind.

But to break her spirit.

“Think of your child.”

“Divorce is not easy on the woman.”

“God says it is the duty of the wife to submit to her husband. He is the head of the home as Jesus Christ is the head of the Church. You can not submit to Jesus Christ without submitting to your husband.”

“You think it is easy to become a successful actor. They are few and in between.”

“You are lucky he is not like saying you shouldn’t work. He is supporting you as a lawyer. Hold on to that. All of us have dreams we have let go off. Grow up.”

And everywhere she turned the unsolicited advice came at her.

A deluge.

She struggled to stay afloat.

She truly struggled.

But age happened.

And fear began to rear its head at the back of her mind.

That hidden echo chamber where words heard are reheard, over and over again.

The era of “What if’s…” begun.

And it amplified.

So continuous.

So loud.

That it became all that she heard.

And so it was that she finally broke.

Like a wild horse submitting to the dictates of its rider.

And now under the Nigerian skies, she exists dutifully as a mediocre lawyer.

One who watches movies with tears in her eyes.

Knowing that if life had been fair, her story would have been different.

And every time, she hears her daughter ask her while cuddling up to her, as she sits in the living room watching a movie…

“Mummy, why are you crying?”

She would turn to her and say in solemnity.

“You won’t understand my love, but, I want you to know that I will support you in whatever you choose to do as long as it doesn’t bring harm to anybody else, including yourself.”

And she will kiss her daughter on the forehead and say a short silent prayer that the Divine will be fairer to her daughter than He was to her.

After which she would resume staring at her movie, and the tears would ultimately fall again and again and again…

Today as I watch this clip, I remember my dear friend.

Whose talent shown even brighter than this child.

And hot tears cascade down my cheeks as I mourn the – what could have been – which lies in the graveyard of fear where we bury the talents and gifts of others through our acting as though we are the Divine.


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Posted by:- on October 12, 2018.

Categories: Literature

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