In a Love Story, a child who grows up without a parent’s love tends to find it in all the wrong places, from the bottom of a liquor bottle to the bed of strangers.
Lisa is from a broken home. Her father Paul bailed on her mother Veronica the minute he learned of her conception. At the time, Paul was just a young boy filled with youthful exuberance and lust for Veronica. What was meant to be a casual fling became more for veronica who mistook lust for love and thought having Paul’s child would be the best thing to happen to her at the time.
But with Paul’s future at hand, he just could not afford to trade it for a child over a fling despite how good it was at the time. This left Veronica shattered into pieces with a broken heart into fragments too scattered to gather. And a child to raise on her own.
In a society where women are treated as second-class citizens, you can only imagine the trauma a pregnant teenage girl had to face. Instantly she became an outcast in her family and was judged by her fornicating peers for walking around with proof of fornication. She became an embarrassment to her religious parents who were seen by many as the pillar of society. In order to save face, she was sent to her grandmother.
Starting afresh in a place one is not known wasn’t easy for the 19 years old Veronica. Sending her to her grandmother was her parents’ way of protecting her from what she would face being around family and friends but Veronica only understood that her parents were trying to save their face at the expense of their love for her. She never quite fit in in her new environment. It was still difficult for a “wayward” teenage girl with a child to make friends easily.
The thoughts of losing her parent’s love left too much void for her grandmother, an old woman to fill. And all she learned to care about was her daughter Lisa.
At the age of 30, Veronica’s grandmother had passed away and Veronica not wanting anything to do with her parents whom she felt abandoned her decided to raise Lisa on her own. It was not easy and Lisa grew up watching her mother get under different men in order to get over another man in the name of making ends meet. But no matter the number of men she went under, she was never able to get over the scars of her first love story with Paul. Besides, Lisa was a constant reminder of the painful experience of love.
Veronica’s love story left her with a painful scar which made her go through life seeing Paul in every man and hating every man for what happened to her. Being dominated every now and then by different men didn’t help her situation either. She needed money to fend for herself and her child. And the easiest way to earn it was to offer herself to men especially the rich, married ones. To her men were just animals constantly in search of their next victim to prey upon.
She often thought about the wives of the men who would come to pay for her services, wondering if they were as naïve as she was with Paul. But often, she separated her emotions from business because bills had to be paid
Most nights Veronica would pray that Lisa turns out different despite the environment. She would try her best to educate Lisa with her love story and hope that Lisa would be smarter than she was in making life decisions. But there was a void in Lisa’s life and only a man’s love could fill.
On one hand, Lisa sympathized with her mother’s love story about her father but on the other hand, she wanted to write her own love story. She wanted to feel whatever it is her mom was feeling every now and then which made her go back to these men that clearly didn’t value her.
On some nights, her mom would talk about how different her life would have turned out if she wasn’t pregnant at such a young age to a man all in the name of love. All the bitterness and complaints would get to Lisa. She just wanted to be able to pay her mother back one way or the other to stop her from seeing her as a mistake.
Lisa had to grow up fast. Taking care and consoling your mother every other night is a big responsibility for any child to carry. What was more troubling for Lisa was the stigma that came with having a mother known around town as a sex worker. At school, other girls would not want to associate with Lisa, while boys would take turns making fun of her. She would claim not to care but deep down it was eating her up. She was only trying to be strong for her mother whom she knew would lose everything if she lost the love and respect of her only child.
Years went by so quickly for veronica and at the time Lisa was 16 years old, the reputation of her mother began to catch up with her. Random men would tease her in attempts to lure her into their beds. But Lisa seeing the way her mother turned out knew better. On nights Veronica was drunk, she would complain about how she gave up her life just to raise and feed Lisa while Lisa does nothing to contribute. But when sober, she would regret her words and apologize. She would pray every time she gets the chance that Lisa doesn’t turn out like her. The thoughts of it would kill her because she wanted better for her daughter.
She would try to hide her emotions from her daughter but Lisa was a smart girl and she would often eavesdrop whenever her mother was sober, praying, and crying.
In order to help the mom’s situation, Lisa started tutoring other kids in school and in their homes for a fee.
It was all tears of joy for Veronica when Lisa told her about how she was tutoring other kids to make extra money in order to help with some bills around. Veronica might have gone wrong in so many ways, but to her, Lisa was the one thing she did right despite the circumstances they found themselves in.
The tutorials were going well for Lisa. It was not just an opportunity for her to make extra cash and start paying her mother back for all she has done for her over the years, it was also a way for her to get away from home more often. It was truly the distraction she needed.
Deep down, Lisa had thought or wished rather that her mother would stop filling her bed with strangers every night since she didn’t really have to but it was hard for Veronica to stop. She was already too accustomed to the lifestyle. Besides, you can take the man out of the hood but you can’t take the hood out of a man.
Lisa had spoken to her mother about it and opened up on how her lifestyle affected her and Veronica agreed to stop. But it wasn’t long before Veronica started bringing different men to the house, high and wasted again. Lisa as usual was disappointed that her mother could only find love in bottles and in bed with different strangers.
One night, Lisa walked in on her mother being physically abused by one of the numerous strangers she would come home with. And when she tried to interfere, she got physically abused too. Beaten, and left with bruises. It was the first time a man had ever lay hands on Lisa and it was one she would not forget in a hurry.