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Written by AKOGWU JOSEPH CHINONSO…

Palestina Hotel Enugu was a bustling hotel with attractive modern skyscrapers and a brisk air of comfort. It was fenced in and guarded electronically, with security guards on full alert. A golf club was located at the extreme left of the compound and a swimming pool was at the side of each building. The interior was a haven of peace and tranquility. The lavish suite of rooms, jovial waiters and fine-looking waitress, and the sumptuous dishes could tempt a customer to become gourmand. It was a hotel that called for a revisit.

In another five minutes, Thelda and her daughter were already checked into a room and the guards paced up and down the corridor. The time was 7:00PM. Stella stood in front of the wardrobe, unpacking their bag and hanging their clothes on the rail. Her mum sat on the bed, skimming through the pages of Daily Sun, a Nigerian daily. Stella held up a skirt, “Mum, I’ve chosen a course to study in the university.” She put the cloth on a hanger and hung it on the rail.

“You don’t mean it?” Thelda dropped the paper on the bed and looked at her daughter with surprise, “So you’ve finally made up your mind on a course. That’s great. Tell me, what’s the course?” She said hurriedly.

Stella picked up a blouse from the bag, “Literature,” She hung the cloth and picked another.

Thelda looked disappointed, “I thought you were considering law. Don’t you want to be like your dad?” Her voice sounded compelling.

“I don’t want to be a lawyer. I love literature.”

“What’s special about literature?” Her voice was toneless.

“Many things mum, many things.” Stella zipped the bag and sat close to the headboard, facing her mum, “I want to write thriller novels like James Hardley Chase, Sidney Sheldon, G.C. Nnamani, Robert Ludlum, Agatha Christie, Stanl_”

“You’re not serious. How many of these thriller authors you just mentioned read literature?” She paused for some seconds, saw that her daughter was not forthcoming and spoke on, “Hardly Chase who was one of the best known thriller writers of all time and whose 90 titles earned him a reputation as the king of thriller writers in Europe, was a soldier who during the World War II served in the Royal Air Force, achieving the rank of Squadron Leader. Even at that, he later became a great author. Sidney Sheldon enlisted in the military during World War II as a pilot in the War Training Service, a branch of the Army Air Corps, but today, he’s the seventh best selling fiction writer of all time.” She saw from the expression on her daughter’s face that she was dumbfounded at her mastery of biographies of renowned authors and she smiled and continued, “Agatha Christie didn’t read literature, she served in a hospital during the First World War, yet, she’s the bestselling novelist of all time and was the one that wrote Mousetrap, the world’s longest running play. Robert Ludlum didn’t also read literature but the number of copies of his books in print is estimated between 290 million and 500 million. G.C. Nnamani read law, yet he’s a master in thriller novels. If I go on illustrating biographies of authors, you’ll see that most renowned authors come from various walks of life, yet they move the world with their pens as if they have doctorate in literature, English or literary studies” She interlocked her fingers and relaxed her palms on her laps, “Have you now seen that authors are born and not made? Most people who try to make themselves authors die frustrated and my daughter can never be frustrated. You’re going to be a lawyer and can still write novels if you’ve the talent and so wish. You_”

“Mum, I can’t.” Stella interrupted, “My happiness and fulfillment lie in literature.”

“You’re the president’s daughter for God’s sake and we’ve standard.” She fought to control her temper, “You’ll be a lawyer. I advise you reconsider. Moreover, your dad won’t like you to read literature. He had always dreamed of you taking after him. Your_”
“Please mum, that’s where my mind is.” Tears suddenly gathered in her eyes and she began to cry.

That was what Thelda hated. She would do anything not to see her daughter hurt. She looked up at her and forced a smile, “Ok, I’ll think over it.”

Stella brushed off her tears immediately and looked happy, “Thanks mum.”

Thelda smiled, “Have you told your dad?”

She shook her head, “No. I just made up my mind on the plane.” She shifted close to her mum and held her hands, “Mum, I want you to promise me you’ll convince dad.” Her voice dropped, “Please mum.” She gave her an imploring look.

Thelda thought for a moment and heaved a sigh, “Ok, I’ll try.”

“Oh, thank you mum. “She threw her arms round her mum’s shoulders in a warm embrace, “I love you mum.”

“That’s alright,” Thelda smiled.

Stella returned the smile and disentangled her arms, “Mum, where shall we be going tomorrow?”

To Be Continued…

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