The first time I had sex wasn't like anything I had imagined and read. In fact, I felt betrayed by those words in the pages of erotica. Of course, I wasn't expecting the roses and candlelit dinner, but there were promises of stars and fireworks, which I wanted. However, let's overlook the fact that I was not the least attracted to the human gliding up and down on me.
I closed my eyes tightly as he continued his rough thrusts, thinking and hoping I would see one star at least and enjoy the action going on between my legs, but I opened my eyes to make contact with the hole in the ceiling. My eyes lazily wandered around the sparsely furnished room as I counted down from 100. "87, 86, 85..." He started moaning loudly, and I wondered if my murmurs were not loud enough, if he thought they were sounds of passion, or if he was just lost in the throes of his passion. I wanted to slap him and tell him to keep his grunts to himself because he sounded so much like the only goat in Baba Eleran’s compound.
"Your father will soon be asking after you," he said immediately he got up. I wanted to shout at him never to call my mother's husband my father, but I felt drained as I walked out of the one-room apartment of Corper Kola. The throbbing between my legs got intense as I went down the stairs. I imagined myself amid my friends, with the phone Kola promised, and the pain became bearable. Almost everyone in the class had the new Nokia phone, and if you didn't have one, you're just considered as one of the 'dead girls' in class. I told my mother to get one for me, but ever since she got married to that drunken husband of hers, she started the habit of asking his permission before she could do anything for me. I never did understand this. It was mother's money. I was her only child, so why did she need his permission.
"He's your father, and it's only right for me to consult him before doing anything for you.” She opened her eyes wider than usual as if to tell me there's nothing I could do about it. God forbid I call someone like him ‘father’ No father would tell his daughter to undress in front of him so he could see how big her breasts have grown and to know if they’re as big as her mother’s.
Corper Kola saw me crying in the backyard on that day. He asked me what was wrong, I told him, and he promised to get me one. I was overjoyed. So when he told me he had something to show me in his room, I gladly followed him, and as he touched me in ways that didn't seem appropriate, the promise of a new phone kept ringing in my mind. In a matter of days, I would no longer be considered a 'dead' girl.
It is crazy how life turns around in a blink of an eye. Overnight, I went from being a secondary school student who eagerly came home to get her new Nokia phone to a disappointed girl who found out Kola packed out in the morning and finally to a pregnant eighteen-year-old. The thought of being pregnant had never for once crossed my mind, and the saddened look on my mother's face was enough for me to rain curses on Kola wherever he was. I chose not to, though.
My mother made no effort to hide the disappointment on her face. It was as obvious as the 13th position my class teacher scrawled on my report card in primary four. When mother told her husband about it that night, he brought out his belt, ready to whip me, but I held on to the other end of the old black thing before it could land on my bare back. I didn't know where the strength came from. I guess years of pent-up anger. Finally, he said I was not going to have a bastard child in his house. I reminded him my mother was the one responsible for paying rent. The shock on his face disappeared as fast as it appeared. He said my mother had to pick between him and me before he stormed off angrily.
My pregnancy wasn't an easy one. Mother always had a reason to shout at me. Her hostility towards me could be seen from a mile away. My friends in the neighbourhood nicknamed my pregnancy
"Nokia". I had opened my legs for that, after all.
I had my daughter in the wee hours of a Friday morning. It rained heavily as if the heavens were crying and mourning with me on what was to come. As my limp body laid on the bed, I kept on drifting in and out of sleep. No one was by my side. My baby was nowhere to be found. Opening my eyes was a struggle. They felt too heavy.
“Where's my baby?” I managed to voice out in a voice that almost didn't sound like mine.
"Your mother went to wash her. We need to prevent what happened to you from happening to her,"
my grandma responded. Without me asking, she continued, “We're going to circumcise her so her fate won't be like yours.”
"She's just a baby," I screamed out. My mother came in with my baby in hand, and I tried to talk to her, but she wouldn't even look at me. I felt so helpless and hopeless. They had determined my child's fate because of the wrong decision I made. The sound of my daughter's scream was the last thing I heard before everything went black.
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