Lucinda could hardly believe her ears, she had been selected to go on to the final elimination stage. She was excited and scared at the same time. The air in the atmosphere was getting thinner and tense. Margret invited the three ladies into her room and gave them ‘the talk’.

“There is a reason Mozambique Hall has won the pageant every year in the last four years”

Focusing on the ladies, she asked, “What’s the reason?”


The ladies chorused.

Harvest of Tears – All the way

She explained that each girl must be willing to do whatever it took to stay in the competition and eventually win. Lucinda was beginning to get a mixed understanding of what Margret meant. She had heard that pageants were often times laced with irregularities and the winner was the one who was able to entice the judges and trade pieces of herself for the crown. Lucinda wanted the crown but she had never considered that she would have to make a trade. She consoled herself with the thought that Margret had not directly said any such thing, although, it could be inferred from her body language and idiosyncrasy.

“In two days, you would parade before our staff advisers. You need at least three votes to win. I am giving you their names for a reason”

She paused and looked at the ladies cunningly

“Dr. Adesina Johnson, Engr Adebisi Lawal, Dr. Amanda Halliday, Mr. Nnaemeka Bright, Engr Jimi Olowarafe and Mrs. Folakemi James”

Harvest of Tears – All the way

She put down her notebook, and just before she dismissed the ladies she reminded them that it wasn’t always about being the most beautiful or having the greatest oratory prowess. She explained that in the end, the winner was the person who was willing to do all it took to win.

Amanda, Cynthia and Lucinda stepped out of the room with a fresh desire to win. Lucinda went straight to her room and laid on her bed to ponder on the best wayroute to victory. Her thoughts became whispers, and her whispers became the prayers of a lost child.

Days went by and soon the ladies were standing before the judges. Unlike the other ladies, Lucinda seemed perturbed, Cynthia was confident that she would win and Amanda had mixed feelings. Lucinda’s instinct told her that they had taken Margret’s advice to do whatever it took.

It wasn’t a competition, it was a fraud.

Harvest of Tears – All the way

Amanda was announced the winner with three votes, Cynthia followed with two and Lucinda got one vote. Amanda was jubilant. Cynthia felt duped. Lucinda was lost. She felt that if it was on merit, she deserved to win, but then, Margret had warned that it wasn’t going to be on merit. She struggled with the loss and as she made for the door, a cool voice beckoned to her.

“Hello young lady.  Lucinda, right?”

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