That experience never repeated itself again for a while, and that is something I really thank God for now. Something else emerged though: a need, a desire. I was afraid of him, mainly because I did not want to get hurt again, but deep down I knew I had something that he wanted-my body. It’s strange to think now, that an eight year old would have this knowledge, this is why I never underestimate children.
The idea that somebody wanted a part of me was thrilling, it excited my little mind. I was so used to being ignored and forgotten that it gave me a twisted strength knowing that he wanted me. Sometimes I would sit on the balcony of the house and pull my dress up a tiny bit, pretending like I didn’t know what was happening, when I knew he could see me.
I started to infect my mates around me with my new knowledge. I would touch the boys in innapropriate places and laugh at the confused look on their face as they tried to comprehend the new pleasure coursing through their veins. I would recognise r-rated scenes in movies for what they are, before either of my parents got to the television and shut it off. My dreams were filled with images I did not understand, and his breathing would cloud my mind at night. The way he felt within me would haunt my sleep and the slap he gave me would end my dreams.
This continued till I was ten. They had already moved out of the compound (a day I do not remember), and I was going to boarding school. After all the exam stress, I finally got into a good school-looking back now I realise that this was a clear indication that I was not in fact, stupid. Like I believed I was.
My father had moved to a new company now, he still worked long hours but the pay was better as it was an international firm. So the company flew me and some other students affiliated with the company to school. I kissed my parents good bye, hugged my little sister and promised to be a good girl and do well in class.
I soon realized however that I was naive and had a lot of growing up to do. After the lights went out the first night I soaked my mattress, that I forgot to bring a bed sheet for , with tears, and I woke up the next day with red puffy eyes. A senior girl came up to me and told me that she liked my long hair and asked to be my school mother. I eagerly agreed, excited to have a senior friend, especially after all her friends came and told me how lucky I was to have a pretty, senior prefect as my school mother. I was literally in cloud 9 on my way back to my dorm, humming and skipping when a group of girls crowded me and poked at me, pulling my hair and yanking my dress saying thins like
“So you think you’re pretty eh?”
“Rubbish person like you, you’re ugly!”
“See yeye girl”
I didn’t understand why this was happening. I didn’t understand jealousy. I really thought that it was because I was ugly, so I broke down and cried, until a friend of mine whose father worked with mine came and abused them and drove them away from me. From that day we became best friends.
I soon lost my school mother however, I exchanged her for a prettier, kinder and nicer senior called senior Patricia. I say prettier because she was beautiful on the inside and it glowed on the outside. She was like an angel and every one respected her; even my former school mother said nothing when she saw me with her. Senior Patricia probably saw my naivety and decided to take me under her wing. She would help me plait my hair and loosen it when it got old, she helped me with school work and she helped me save my bath water after I had fetched for the both of us. I also started gaining more friends because of my affiliation with her and my long hair. She was kind, gracious and beautiful; everyone noticed, including the males.
Our school was mixed, but girls were in the south and boys in the north. We each had our respective class rooms and only saw each other during meal time and film nights. The only time we could mingle were on Saturdays in our free time and Sundays after church or during visiting day. The boys loved to stare at Senior Patricia and they would actually giggle when we walked by which tickled me. Senior Patricia would often send me out on errands that I would happily go on because I loved her. There were simple things like, buy sweets for her or chewing gum, send a message to somebody or fetch water for her. Things started getting strange however, when she would send me to give a message to the math teacher and tell me not to read it. She would go through pains to make sure the note was well sealed with saliva and all sorts. They got even stranger when she would send me to fetch water for her before supper, and once I saw her creep out of the dorm after prep. I thought it was strange, but I never paid much attention.
We were having a movie night one night, watching Tess of the d’Ubervilles- I cannot even begin to explain what that did to my imaginations that night. When Senior Patricia came up to me,
“If anybody asks you where I am, tell them I will be back soon, I went to the toilet OK?” she implored me, seemingly in a hurry.
I nodded and watched her leave through the back door of the hall, and still watching the door, I saw the math teacher leave too after some seconds.
The next day, being a Saturday, I was in her room sitting on her bunk while she showed me some dresses her mother brought for her, then it occurred to me to ask ,
“Are you having sex with the math teacher?” Sex had become a known word ever since a friend had taught it to us, we wrapped it around our tongue, and played with it carefully. Never using it too much, and never bringing it up randomly. For me, it had labeled the thing that tore down my original view of the world and the thing that haunted my dreams. As we never used it with anyone older than our peers, Senior Patricia was taken back by what I just said. She came and sat by me and asked me who told me that. I said nobody. She asked me why I was asking. I told her I saw them leave together last night. She sucked in a breath and got up. She started pacing the room and talking, as if she was speaking to herself, trying to convince herself of something.
“There is nothing wrong with it, he’s a man. I can’t be wasting my time with little boys, and he said he loves me. I love him too, so it’s natural….”
I listened to her go on, confused by her sudden madness. When she had calmed down and told me never to ask again, I told her I was going to meet my friends and left.
The news came like a hurricane. After two years in secondary school, I was leaving. My father had gotten a cross posting job in Aberdeen, Scotland and I was leaving. I wasn’t sure how the news spread but everybody knew, and they came to congratulate me on going to ‘America’ like it was an accomplishment. All the cool kids at school that had already been abroad, were green with jealousy and I became popular for the last few months. The other news that hit was Senior Patricia’s pregnancy. The day I found out about my leaving, I rushed to tell her first only to find her in her room, crying, with a huddle of her friends around her, comforting her. She looked at me and told me she was pregnant and that I shouldn’t tell anybody. I never did, but somebody else in that room did because the news spread like wildfire. At that point though, she did not care.
I was torn, I couldn’t tell her I was leaving, especially at a time like this. So I spent most of the time sitting with her while she cried and cried. In my mind, I began to understand how pregnancy worked and I was scared. So I asked Senior Patricia if it was possible to be pregnant after three years. That was the last time I saw her laugh.
Before speculation could spread, the math teacher had already resigned, announcing to each class he taught that he “really enjoyed teaching us” and wishes us the best in our “future endeavors” I wanted to scream at him and tear his eyes out. Finally I told Senior Patricia that I was leaving and she nodded in silence and later gave me a picture frame to take with me, some of her necklaces and a bottle of perfume. I was so happy I hugged her, but by then those things were probably just materials to her. She hugged me back tightly and thanked me for being a good friend, it felt good knowing that I was a good friend, especially to somebody much older than I was.
The next visiting day, her parents came and took her with them and I never saw her again. Meanwhile, August, after my JS2 was over, I boarded a Lufthansa plane headed for Aberdeen.