Story Written By Ogechi Alabi
That night, after night prayers, mother came into my room. She asked me what the problem with my friends was earlier. I didn’t want to give her details so I limited it to what they said about Amanze.
“Has he tried anything with you?”
“No ma. It is the girls in my school he has been trying things with” I went ahead to tell her how they bribed me to send him letters and how Uncle Chike helped me deliver them. I didn’t want to go too far so she wouldn’t change her mind and ask me to stay back. I could never allow that happen.
“If he becomes inappropriate with you, please report to your auntie immediately. Do not wait a second. Do you hear me?”
“Do you have any question for me? Do you want us to discuss anything?”
I was quiet. I was curious about s£x, boy and girl relationship. My curiosity heightened even further after listening to my friends talk about Peter and the catechist. I didn’t know how to ask my mother such a sensitive question without sounding spoilt.
“You want to know about s£x okwa ya?” my asked.
I was taken aback and I nodded in affirmation.
‘My daughter, God created s£x to be between a man and a woman in marriage. Many men and even women don’t have the discipline to obey the commandment of God. Sex outside of marriage is fornication and a sin against your body which is where the holy spirit dwells. Once you defile your body, the holy spirit will leave. You are now vulnerable to the attacks of the devil. Sex is supposed to be for procreation and also intimacy between husband and wife. It brings them closer together”
I knew the question could earn me a slap but since we were discussing I felt comfortable asking her “Do you and father have s£x?”
“Yes, my daughter, we do. That is how I conceived you and your two brothers. We obeyed the commandments of God and waited until we were joined in holy matrimony before we had s£x. There is no shame or guilty when we do it because we are entitled to it”
“But mother, what if I keep myself like you have always said and the man that wants to marry me hasn’t, should I still go ahead?”
“It is not easy to find a man who will keep himself until marriage. They are very few. Your father is just one of them. But that doesn’t stop you from doing the right thing”
‘What if after marriage he continues to have affairs?”
“You pray for him and commit him into the hands of God. It is only God that can change such a man. Such a man won’t come your way. You will marry a man who will be only interested in being with you and no other woman. Your br**sts will satisfy him always. He will be proud of you and will make others respect you with his continuous praises of you. You will have children; both male and female; you will not look for children. This I pray in Jesus name”
“Are you satisfied?”
“Yes ma. I am. Thank you”
I used the money uncle Emma gave to me to buy some foodstuff from the village. I bought a 25litres keg of palm oil, ukwa, a bag of garri, semi processed fufu, ugba and other items I could get. Father refunded me the money. Ikenna resumed school before the rest of us. Auntie Nneoma called to let me know they were back. She sent her driver to bring me back.
I was happy to go back although I knew I would miss my family very much. We loaded the vehicle with all we bought and my luggage. Father and mother prayed for me. I set to conquer another year. I promised to come back during the next long holiday as my uncle and auntie always travelled for summer every year. The holiday had drawn to a close. I was happy I visited. Father looked much better now and mother’s business was flourishing. My brothers were happy. What more could have I asked for?
I was welcomed back with excitement. Auntie Nneoma was genuinely happy to see me. Uncle Emma gave me a big branded bag of chocolates. I was excited and also
gave some to uncle Chike. The rest were kept in the fridge to be taken to school daily until it finishes. I could be vain like that.
In my room, I saw a big trolley bag on my bed. What was it doing there? I opened it and a leg of shoe fell out. There were clothes and other shoes in there. I was surprised to see they were my size. I pulled out a nylon bag and it contained toiletries and cosmetics. I ran out of the room to meet auntie Nneoma in her room. I knocked and at the first come in, I rushed to her.
“Auntie, who owns those things in the bag on my bed?”
“They are yours. We bought them for you when we travelled”
I ran and gave her a tight hug. She protested at the tight squeeze while her husband laughed at us. I released her and went to kneel in front of my uncle to say thank you. He just stood up, went to his wardrobe and brought out another branded nylon bag and gave me. I opened it in his presence while auntie looked surprised too. There were two wristwatches and a bottle of perfume.
“This is for making me proud. I will do much more for you if you continue to be a good girl. Even though I don’t talk, I see a lot things that go on. I will keep saying your parents have done a great job with you and you in turn have imbibed all they taught you. Don’t think I am not aware you avoid Amanze’s room. I know Chike takes food to him and brings out the dirty plates for you. I know whatever we give you here you show appreciation by sharing with Chike. You show your gratitude with a genuine heart and that is why giving you will never be a problem for me”
My mouth was open while he spoke. Nothing goes unobserved in the house. I was glad there was nothing negative said. I had promised myself I would do everything within my power not to disappoint them and also my parents.
School resumed and I resumed with a bang. I wore new shoes and carried a new black trolley box which uncle Emma gave me after he offloaded his things from it. It was an executive bag but it was what I needed to contain all my books and it would be easy to carry. I came with chocolate and apples to school. It would have been easy for me to brag I travelled abroad for the summer holiday because I smelt
and looked like I did but I told them I spent it in the village which they didn’t believe. I didn’t care.