Boarding Tales ~ Episode XVI

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Throughout the journey back home, none of us talked about the revelations of the previous day. In fact, we did not speak to one another at all; the only sound in the car came from the King Sunny Ade tapes that Dad played. I wanted to sleep but I was afraid of them talking about me while I slept so I didn’t sleep. I kept wondering what Dad planned to do.

I tried to imagine dad calling a family meeting and talking about what happened between Demo and I. I imagined myself and Demo standing in the middle of our sitting room, the centre table having been pushed back. I imagined the numerous pairs of eyes belonging to relatives that would rest on us. I thought of how in their minds they would see me as soiled, a girl who should not associate with their children. I imagined me wanting to get married several years on and the same relatives sitting at my engagement ceremony pitying my husband and wondering if he knew he was marrying a girl who was deflowered by her cousin.

The thoughts terrified me and I wanted to ask Dad what his plans were and if he intends to do such but I didn’t open my mouth. I couldn’t.

That afternoon when we got home, Dad and Mom went straight into Demo’s room and together they packed his clothes and put it in the trunk of Dad’s car. My elder brother watched on in confusion and would occasionally glance at me for enlightenment but my face betrayed nothing. Ordinarily he would have approached my parents and ask them why they were packing Demo’s stuff but he didn’t say anything. Perhaps he could sense that Dad and Mom were not in their best frame of minds. They finished packing it and then they sat in the sitting room as though waiting for Demo.

Demo walked in some minutes later, I think he must have been planning to greet Dad and Mom because the words were about to leave his mouth when Mom walked up to him in the doorway and slapped him. He opened his mouth to protest and Mom slapped him again. She grabbed the front of his shirt and sank her teeth into the fleshy part of his arm, I watched as everyone did. I expected Dad to get up and do something, perhaps stop Mom or tell her to stop but he didn’t.

When Demo was finally able to wrench himself away from Mom’s grip, he glanced at me and I shrugged.  A look of shock and understanding came over him and he turned and left the house. After Demo left Mom went back to her seat beside Dad and we all sat in silence again for what would have been over two hours.

Later that night, Dad and Mom took Demo’s belongings to his father’s place. Mom later told me that they didn’t say what he did and that Dad warned his brother sternly to make sure Demo never comes close to his family again.

****

The next morning, Dad told me to get ready that there was a place we had to go to that morning. He didn’t tell me where we were going and I didn’t ask. Even when I saw that we were driving into the premises of the federal ministry of education, I still didn’t ask who we were coming to see. I just prayed fervently in my heart that Dad wasn’t about to send me to another boarding school. It was a surprise to me how much I hated boarding schools at that time considering I had always wanted to attend one.

Dad parked and together we walked to an office on the third floor of the building. The plaque on the door read, Director Education Supervisions.  Dad and I sat in the waiting corner beside the receptionist but when it was time for us to go in, he asked to me to wait behind.

He came out after about thirty minutes and said we were leaving. He didn’t say anything about what he discussed with the man he went to the office to meet and I couldn’t ask also.

****

That night Mom and Dad came into my room at about 1.30 am. I woke up immediately they entered. I sat up immediately rubbing my eyes. My heart was beating violently, for some strange reason I was afraid. Several thoughts went through my head. I thought of convents, boarding schools, going to the village to stay with grandma and before I could stop myself tears started rolling down my face.

I felt relieved when Dad drew me to him and started rubbing my hair, telling me it’s okay and he didn’t blame me for all that happened. The panic reduced. His voice had too much love and pain in it for him to cause me more unhappiness.

‘‘Bosola, don’t cry my dear please.’’ Mom said.

I wiped my tears off and watched as they sat on the bed.

‘‘First, we will like to apologise to you, we failed you as parents. We should have been more attentive, we should have protected you. We failed in our duties and we regret this so much.’’

I felt so much sadness at the pain in Dad’s voice and on his face too. I wanted to console him and tell him I was okay but I didn’t talk instead I kept staring at a birthmark on my exposed knee.

‘‘Bosola, we would like you to forgive us for this.’’ He added. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to say anything and so I didn’t say anything.

‘‘Now Bosola’’, he said clearing his throat. ‘‘We have a question for you.’

I felt tears brimming to my eyes again.

‘‘Bosola, please we want you to talk to us as a daughter ……’’

‘‘Do you still feel a craving for sex?’’ Mom asked cutting in

‘‘Yes.’’ I replied

‘‘Ahhhhh, I am doomed.’’ Mom exclaimed placing her palms on her head

‘‘Nneoma, please get a hold of yourself. Bosola my dear, I understand why you feel that way.’’

‘‘I have not been myself ever since this happened and I have consulted a lot of people, I have searched for books that could help, I have even tried to see if there was any specialist that we could get you to talk to but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get anyone that offers that kind of services in the whole of this Lagos so I have come up with a solution or should I say suggestion.’’

‘‘Bosola, I think you should start using Condoms instead of pills.’’

‘‘What! How can you even suggest condoms to this little girl? Ehn, what manner of thinking is that, I told you this can’t be the way. She can always go for deliverance and with prayers and fasting she would be alright.’’

‘‘Nneoma, stop shouting. I have also told you that my daughter won’t be going for any deliverance. If you are so sure that praying and fasting will help then start doing it.’’

‘‘Bosola as I was saying, I would suggest that you try and limit yourself to just one male then you also need to take responsibility for yourself and start using condoms. Are you aware of what STDs and STIs ….’’

‘‘Oh Jesus, have mercy! Mom screamed. I can’t believe I am listening to this and I can’t believe you are advising your thirteen year old daughter to use Condoms and talking to her about STDs.’’

‘‘Woman, you need to compose yourself. What would you have me do? We have a crisis here. This thirteen year old you are talking about is already very sexually active, the least we can do is try our best to protect her’’

‘‘ Nsogbu Adiro’’, No Problem, do it your way.  Mom replied

‘‘Like I said Bosola, you need to be responsible for yourself. We will enrol you into any day school of your choice. You won’t go back to that god forsaken school.’’

‘‘Thanks Dad.’’ I replied

They both left the room after that. I couldn’t sleep for several minutes after they left, I told myself I should be ashamed that my parents knew I was having sex and were even talking about condoms but instead I felt relief.

*****

It was my brother Fikayo that showed me the newspaper about two weeks later. He gave me the paper and looked pointedly at me. He didn’t ask questions, he hadn’t asked any since I got back and I didn’t provide any explanations too. I smiled as I read the story and strangely wished I was there to see the look on the principal’s face as officers from the ministry of education locked the doors of the hostels and classrooms.

I however thought the headline was too mild.

Shocking: Ministry of Education withdraws School’s operating license on allegations of inappropriate behaviour of teachers.

I went into my room and read through the entire article; the words of the teachers and students interviewed and the responses of the Principal.

I smiled as I read imagining the principal running up and down in his Jalabia as they shut down the school, a perplexed look on his face.

When I was done reading, I thought of Yewande and wondered if she would be happy or disappointed that despite her words something happened as a result of my talking. Years later when I would meet her I would realise I needn’t have bothered about what she thought.

******

We met on the first day of NYSC CAMP in Lagos. I had greeted her warmly surprised and somewhat glad to meet her after so long. She instead had looked at me and said disinterestedly:

‘‘I hear you don’t have indiscriminate sex anymore, I still do and at least now you know that wayward girls also make it, we don’t all end up as drop outs with strings of abortions trailing behind.’’

One more thing, randy teachers also give birth to girls. I don’t know if you have heard but Mr Adisa is now married and has a daughter. You want to hear the most hilarious part, he named her Angela, isn’t that a perfect name for a prostitute? Hahahahaha….I won’t see you around girl.’’

And so she left, I didn’t even have a chance to reply her. I never saw her again after that first day of camp but later heard her name being mentioned as the girl that was dating the special assistant to the governor on youth affairs, she was said to be the girl who registered for camp but sleeps in a hotel.

THE END

 

Thank you all for being with me for the past Sixteen weeks. I am glad you didn’t make this journey lonely. God bless us all

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