Fast forward to five years when I turned 15. I was living in Aberdeen with my family. I had cut my hair when I turned 12 so now it was short and I was officially initiated into the ‘black woman’s fight for hair on their head’ club. I was going through a rebel phase. My parents were strict because they did not want us to be ‘European-ised” and become like the population of devil-spawn ingrates that were our peers. At first I tried pushing back against the system and after a few resounding slaps, I figured that wouldn’t work. Instead, I became the perfect daughter on the outside, the scheming fiend on the inside.
I had crazy friends, that meant I was crazy too. We were the first black kids, my sister and I, to go to the school I went to – a so-called international school that was very American. So after the initial adjustment to seeing Oyinbo everywhere, I got used to things and went along with whatever came. I was still shy, in school especially, but with my friends I was very different. I was still very self-conscious and insecure and this became worse when we moved abroad. All of a sudden, I wasn’t pretty, my hair was weird, my lips were too big and my accent was strange.
Things became very bad when I started ‘crushing’ on white boys, because I would get hurt again and again, when they didn’t ‘feel the same way’. I felt hideous, like a tiny ball of ugly. I wanted to hide all the time and never show my face to the world. One of my white male friends actually told that I should give up on ‘liking’ white guys because they just don’t find black girls attractive, in other words they think I’m ugly. Looking back now, I can say that I beg to differ, immature white guys, unexposed white guys wouldn’t find any other girl out of their race attractive, but that’s a discussion for another time.
So I believed that in addition to my being stupid, useless and un-loved, I was also very ugly. My parents did not understand my sudden reactions to all these. I would come home and lock myself in my room and cry till I slept off. They thought I was being lazy, so they gave me more house work. I did the housework and instead of staying with the family downstairs I went up to my room and secluded myself. They were very worried, but I didn’t care. This was all before I turned 15, before Pete came into my life.
I made friends with the ‘outcasts’. We were bound together because we all inately hated ourselves and this manifested itself sometimes into hatred for eachother, but no matter how much we detested one another we always stuck together because we needed community I guess. When we turned 15 though, well I turned 15, some had turned 16 already. We started realising something. We realised that while we were rejected in school (by teachers and classmates) we weren’t rejected by the world (or so we thought). With a little make-up we were transformed and with a new wardrobe we became sexy.
The word titillated us. Sexy. From sunday morning to friday morning we were the outcasts. I was the good girl, though secluded. Then friday after school, I would tell my parents I was going to a friend’s to do homework. My friend’s parents were usually very liberating and encouraged any friendly activity, probably because they realised that their kids were also very secluded. My parents began to let me go out more often for sleepovers and such because they thought I needed the social interaction. They thought I was lonely. Little did they know..and I was proud of my conniving behaviour.
We would raid parents’ liquour cabinets, drink till we got drunk, put on the tightest and skimpiest clothes we could find and go downtown. We would talk to grown men, let them buy us drinks and touch us innapropriately. Sometimes we would run into people from school, but at that moment, we were superior. We were sexier, we thought we knew what we were doing.
Then the boyfriends came. My friend Yvanka, being bolder and bossier than the rest of us naturally had her boyfriend first. We were jealous of them. During lunch he would drive to school to pick us up and take us to a spot in town, where we got to watch them sloppy kiss. Then sometimes they would sneak off together and not come back until after we had called her phone a million times and fretted about being late to school. She told us they hadn’t done it yet though. It, had become the new word for sex. But she had touched his thing and he had touched her boobs, we were so jealous. I wonder where that need to have a boyfriend came from. By then I had forgotten most of my eight year old experiences, I knew I had been raped. It was given a name, but I did not understand how that affected my 15 year old self. It was just a memory, something bad, but now I really wanted a boyfriend.
Pete was new to school the summer I turned 15. He was from Holland and he had red long hair and very chiseled features. I didn’t really take much notice of him simply because he was older and he was ’one of them’- a popular kid. One night though, my friends and I were out and about, drunk and looking for the nearest fun when we saw him with some older guys smoking by some skate-board ramps. Yvanka wanted to go talk to them, so we all followed. I noticed Pete staring at me and it made me feel good, but shy. Then he asked me if I was cold since I only had a tube top and very short shorts on with my flats. I nodded and he took off his jacket and placed it around my shoulders. In my little, over-romanticized, 15 year old brain this was a declaration of love. Then we went off for a walk where he held my hand and we talked, he made me laugh and I thought I had to be in love.
Monday morning, I nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to decide what to wear to school. My mom was extremely baffled. I finally made it to school looking decent and I was afraid to run into Pete, feeling shy and thoughts of ugly swarm in my head. During lunch though Yvanka’s boyfriend was a no-show and he wasn’t replying her texts, so we went to the cafeteria to eat and as soon as we sat down Pete plonked himself in the seat beside me. If I was white I would have been red like a tomato.
“What are you doing this weekend?” he asked me at the end of the day.
“Nothing,” I shyly answered.
“Then come over” He looked into my eyes. I nodded.
Immediately, yours truly set the plan in motion; parents where lied to, alibis were confirmed and I was on a bus after school on friday, going to Pete’s house. We arrived, Pete and I, to an empty house. He explained to me that he lived with his dad alone and his dad worked late on fridays. I nodded. He asked me if I wanted to eat something. I was too nervous, so I shook my head. He took my jacket from me and hung it up and led me upstairs to his mini-den. Then he put on the tv, layed on the couch and told me to come lie down on him. This was new ground for me, first of all he was a white guy teling me to lay on him, second, I’ve never ‘layed’ on a guy before, third, I was scared I wouldn’t do it right.
He told me to relax and just put my head on his chest, so I did. Not sure why, but I did. At first it was awkwardly silent, and I was still like stock fish. Then I started listening to his heart and it was like I was pulled back down into earth. I wrapped my arms around him while we watched TV and made comments and cracked each other up. Then it was time to go. He kissed me briefly and I got on the bus.
We did this for weekends and sometimes during the week if my parents allowed it. I also spaced out my requests so as not to arouse any suspicion from them. Then one night I had gone to sleep over at a friend’s house who lived close to Pete, so I decided to go over to his place after he asked me. His dad wasn’t home as usual and we cuddled up on his couch. So far, that, holding hands and kissing were all we did. Then he told me he wanted to show me something and told me to follow him into his father’s room. As a naija child I refused. If my parents caught me bringing somebody into their room my life would be over as I knew it, but he said it didn’t matter. So I obliged.
We sat and cuddled on his father’s massive bed and he turned on the TV to a channel I never knew existed. I realised people were having un-cut, unglamorized and un-romanticized sex on the screen and my heart began to beat faster. So did his. We watched for a while, transfixed. I was fascinated, aroused and dumb-founded. I never knew about porn until then. Then I noticed a little movement on the small of my back. I caught my breath recognising what it was, but I had no time to deliberate when his hands started moving.
He touched the material over my breasts and began to slide his hands over my jean clad legs. As he moved closer to the parting of my thighs my breathing became labored. Then he tilted my head back and kissed my neck. His hand lingered in the middle of my thighs and I had an urge to beg him to touch me there but I kept silent. Then he turned me around till my back was on the bed and he kissed me deeply, we ‘made out’ with our tongues and with our hands. His hands went under my shirt and under my bra- the first time anybody had touched my breasts. His hands were cold so I shivered a little. He began to rub the bulge on his trousers againt my leg and my hand roamed his back.
With our clothes still on he moved further up my body and placed his bulge in the middle of my thighs and began to make thrusting movements. I opened my legs wider and tossed my head backwards at the pleasure. I wanted to remove my clothes and get to it, when I heard him groan and slump on top of me. Then he became shy and said he was going to the bathroom. When he left I got up and felt slimy wetness between my legs. It was all new, but I enjoyed it. He came out of the bathroom with his confidence back and kissed me. I told him I needed to use the bathroom, where I cleaned up and left afterwards.
That night I told my friends what we did and Yvanka told me it was called ‘dry-humping’ I rolled the word around in my head. I couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about the way my heart beat faster while watching the pornography. I never told my friends what we watched, but I wanted Pete in a way I never expected. Not so much as a boyfriend, but I wanted to do what those girls did in the movie. I got all slimy thinking about it again.