It was a school day but she still lay in bed feigning sleep. Around her was the hustle of her kid brothers. ‘They could be really boring especially Thomas who always made it a habit of chewing his socks before wearing them’, she thought. They had, had their baths and were already battling with their school bags when she heard the door open. Shutting her eyes tight, she felt a firm hand gently nudge her awake. Feigning a tired yawn, she tentatively opened one eye, she knew who it was;
“Daddy…” She mumbled, as she tried hard to play her role convincingly.
“Chioma, is everything alright?” Her father asked with a frown on his face.
“No! Not really…I feel sick.”
Her father let out a deep breath, obviously bothered over the realisation that he had to drive her to the hospital after dropping off her kid brother’s at school and most certainly play the part of the dutiful father while his daughter get examined by the doctor. And also miss out on the presentation which had a taken him, two weeks to prepare.
“Chi, this is going to be quite difficult…I…” He started.
” Don’t worry dad, I will be fine, I don’t need to see a doctor either, I might just sit this one out. I wont miss so much at school, today marks the beginning of the school term and not much will be done.” Chioma gave her father a cheerful smile and a pat at his back.
“Okay…thank you so much, but don’t forget to call me if anything comes up okay.”
“Sure dad. I am all grown up now, thirteen years isn’t thirteen days.” She echoed.
Thomas laughed out loud as though she said something really funny, Chioma’s face grew beet red as she took her pillow and flung it at his face, it hit him squarely on his chest and he fell down, bags and all. Her two other brothers laughed and she joined in.
Minutes later, she waved at what was left of her family as they climbed into her father’s car and drove off. She couldn’t be happier, checking to see if anyone of her neighbours were still about, and thankful that they had all left to their work places, she left the front balcony and hurried into the house. She would not bear anyone trying to babysit her or show her pity of any sort. Since her mother had left them and moved on, everyone showered them with unnecessary attention and always made sure they came around to check on them.
Now she was the woman of the house; Miss Chioma Agballa, the first lady of the Agballa family and she could do whatever she wanted. She had always loved her mother and still did but after the first six months of being abandoned by the woman that gave her life, she decided to move on and live her life to the fullest. Her new life starts officially today, the 24th of September 2012.
Quickly running to the sitting room, she picked the phone and dialled her newest friend, Queen. She had met Queen at her friend Ayo’s birthday party, she was a cousin to Ayo and quite older too, although she never acted her age. In two weeks, Queen would be eighteen ‘the break through age!’ Chioma had been overwhelmed by Queen’s personality and desperately wanted to be friends. As she dialed Queen’s number, she recalled the conversation they had shared at Ayo’s birthday party.
“You look nice.” Chioma had said to Queen whose hair was tinted with gold and a slight hint of red.
“Thank you….I love your braids.” Queen had replied in smiles.
“Thanks…I had to practically roll on my kneels before daddy could let me make this hair, he said it’s not for kids.”
“Are you a kid?” Queen had asked.
“Yes and no!”
“What’s the yes and no for? Its a simple question.”
“Well…the yes is the fact that daddy still takes care of my needs, and no is because I have breasts and we all know that kids don’t have boobs.”
“Really? I didn’t notice.” Said Queen.
“Its because I hid them, I wore so many clothes underneath.”
“Does this mean, you have no bra?”
“No! you see, I live with my dad, my mom left us and its embarrassing to tell daddy that I need a bra.”
“Well..your search is over girl, I would get you one.”
“Really? Thank you so much.”
“No problem, whats your size?”
“Size? I wear size 38 for my shoes.”
“Haa haa…… you are funny, I meant bra size but..its okay, you wouldn’t know. This means you have to come with me to the bra shop, one of these days.”
“I would love to but daddy doesn’t let us leave the house, when he is not around, he leaves us at the neighbours house.”
“What a boring life! So when can we go shop for the bra?”
“I don’t know….hmmm…maybe Monday. Yes…school resumes on Monday, I could pretend that I am sick, then I’ll convince him to leave me at home all alone…”
“Good…that’s a big girl talking. Here’s my number, when you are ready, give me a call okay.. its 0812678….”
That marked the beginning of Chioma’s friendship with Queen. As she dialled Queen’s number and heard the caller tune, ‘Oyi na tumo by Flavour’ at the other end of the line, Chioma’s heart beat fast, suddenly, Queen’s voice has heard.
“Hello…its me Chioma.”
“Wow…Chyiomah…wad up girl!” Screamed Queen.
“I am ready to go shopping for bras.” Said Chioma tongue tied.
“That’s tight…are you with any money?”
“I have just five hundred naira, will it be enough for bras?”
“That’s not cool…five hundred naira can’t buy you one bra and you definitely need matching panties to go with them, anyways don’t worry, i have some doe on me, just take a bike and come down to number 15 Shade street Off Alapa.”
“Bike? Do you mean Okada?”
“Why….yes of course.”
“I have never climbed one before.”
“Then this will be your first time, please don’t delay, I promised my guy that I would see him today and I would not like to keep him waiting.”
“Okay…I will be there soon.”
Queen hung up and Chioma stood speechless for a while, everything was happening so fast, first it was the bra and now the bike, growing up isn’t going to be easy, she told herself.
Within minutes she had showered, donned on her white jeggings and yellow top, placing her blue face cap on her head to avoid being identified easily and locking the door while looking to see if any of her neighbours were around. Satisfied after seeing no one, she hid the keys under the door mat and flew down the stairs. luckily for her, finding a bike was no big deal as one bike man was just passing her street. Remembering the common signal used in attracting their attention, she shouted.
The man stopped and she told him Queen’s address, he nodded and called his price which was rather high,since it was lower than five hundred naira, she considered it quite affordable. She climbed the bike and seconds later, she was on her way to Queen’s house.
They had entered the huge mall along Allen avenue, Queen was really good company as she gisted her on everything that went on in her life. Chioma nodded and tagged along. They were just about to enter the ladies section when Chioma sighted the cutest teenage boy she had ever seen, he had lovely eyes and even had a small growth of beard. When he walked past her he smiled, Chioma felt herself blush badly. When he was far from them, Queen giggled loudly;
“You are boy struck!”
“Don’t fight it, its natural”
“I am not fighting anything.”
“Don’t worry, by the time you wear a bra, boys will look at you differently, trust me!”
They entered a lingerie shop and Chioma saw for the first time, different colours, sizes and types of underwear, they were so unlike the ones her mother wore, these ones were so transparent and very lacy too. She was embarrassed when she was allowed to try some and could only blush at Queen’s oohs and aah’s. Finally,they picked five sets of bra and panties and Queen paid the bills. Chioma could not thank her enough as Queen waved her thank-you’s off, saying that it was no big deal.
They had just stepped into the gallery when Chioma saw the teenage boy again, he was at the games section and was looking at some of the games displayed, he turned and saw her and their eyes met. Ecstatic that she was wearing one of the bras they had just purchased, she chest out and walked past him in a catwalk with Queen at her side smiling in approval of her girly stunts. Suddenly, she heard him call out to her, hiding a giggle, she turned and waited for him to meet up with her. Queen looked away as though she wasn’t interested in her new friend’s crush. The young teenage boy walked up and stood barely inches away from her and said;
“You are stained.” With that, he turned and walked away.
Chioma was stunned by his statement and she looked questioningly at a frowning Queen who had just turned to stare at Chioma’s butt. In alarm, Queen screamed drawing everyone attention to her;
“Oh my God! Its your period, it has just begun…you are now officially a woman.”
Chioma choked back the tears that threatened to overwhelm her as she ran off, in search of the ladies room.