In those days when I was a youngster living in Warri, there were many things that happened. In fact, there is one I remember now. Back then there were so many young beautiful schoolgirls in our neighbourhood. Most times, during early morning rush hours, our area would surge with elegant babes between the ages of 13-15 preparing for school. At our compound alone, the road to the toilet and bathroom flood with stream of colourful babes waiting in turn to use the toilet or bathroom.
I had always wanted to do something about these girls but I had not the slightest idea. So, it was while fetching water one morning that Ogaga, alias “wizard boy” brought the game-plan. That fateful morning, I was fetching some water alongside Osume, our landlord’s daughter. Osume was barely thirteen years old at the time but that did not prevent her from gathering all the right curves in the right places. Anyway, I did not mean to take note of her as she was not quite four years when we got into their compound. That fateful day, as we were fetching the water from the opposite sides of the well, Osume tied her towel around her shoulder which was an indication that she needed to take water for her early morning bath for preparation for school. As I was pulling the fetching bucket from the well to fill my rubber bucket, my eyes ran into Osume’s armpit and I was surprise at what I saw. I could almost not believe it that little Osume had a forest of the most stunning hair in her well-curved armpit! To think that this was the same girl I had taken for a child all along! Now come to think of it, I was almost nineteen and I had not even developed a single hair in my armpit! Don’t get me wrong. The truth is that it is not that I really yearned for hair in my armpit. After all, Otuedor, Ogaga elder sister’s armpit oozed with the most terrible odour whenever she came around people even when she had just taken her bath. I didn’t know how to tell Ogaga to pass the message across. At least he could tactfully tell his sister about it or even suggest the use of Roll on. I think this would help. Imagine little, sorry big Osume with a well-pampered armpit at age thirteen, whereas Otuedor who celebrated her twenty-first birthday two months ago went about with bushy, stinking, smelly armpit! What a mess!
Among my peers in Warri in those days certain things were use to evaluate or confer you maturity. One of such things was hair on your armpit, chin or pubic region or whether you still have the kid flake reflex. However, I’d never actually sat down to think about my exact definition of maturity. It’s kind of hard to describe. Fifteen is the age when a boy moves into manhood while still holding on to the boyish ways of childhood. It was said that underarm hair usually grows in the underarms of both females and males, beginning in adolescence. This gives you manly status especially when you are shaving in the morning. Age fifteen is when your thoughts and expectations crash like ocean waves amidst a sea of change. It’s the end of one tide and the beginning of another. At the very least, it’s an awkward season. Increased hormones, growth spurts, voice changes, muscles, and movement from concrete to abstract thinking; well I felt I have not developed in the right order. As I said before, it was not actually that I longed for underarm hair, but I needed it to prove to the world that I was grown-up. I doubt if Osume knew about the existent of those axillary hairs. I didn’t even think she needed it like I did and yet she had it! Was this nature or nurture?
What was even more surprising for me was that those hairs I saw in Osume’s underarm were much more than what I had in my manhood! I was alarmed! Osume could even see surprise in my face now.
“Is anything the matter, bros Akpos,” she asked innocently. Her bucket was already filled to the brim.
“Not really. How old are you,” I asked carelessly, still surprise.
“I’ll be thirteen by July 6 this year,” she replied. “What made you to ask such a question?” she queried noncommittally, folding the rope with which she fetched the water.
“Well I want to know what to buy for you in your next birthday. You know you are now a big girl and so I ought to offer you a big girl’s presents. Very soon, after your JSS 3 exams, you will be in SS1, from there you will be answering the name senior,” I eulogized.
“Thank you in advance bros, na only you I dey see. You bee correct bros,” she hailed as she carried her water to join the rest in the usual early morning queue.
“So this girl I thought was a child had grown to develop all the feminine stuffs. Did our Biology teacher, Mr. Esievo not say that when someone has hair in the armpit it’s also an indication that the person might have hair in his/her private parts? Well, I am not too sure anymore. For one, if Osume has hairs in her pubic region, judging from what I saw in her armpit, it must be very thick. But I am not too certain if that was possible. Nevertheless, I now understand that this was what Mr. Esievo meant by “precocious puberty — the onset of signs of puberty before age nine in girls. I remember that Mr. Esievo made us to understand that in girls, the telltale signs of precocious puberty include any of the following before seven or eight years of age: breast development, pubic or underarm hair development, rapid height growth, growth spurt, onset of menstruation, acne and “mature” body odor.
Well, I doubt if Osume had pubic hair. After all, she was still a little girl. But no, Osume did not believe she was a little girl. She beamed with contented smiles whenever anyone referred to her as a “big girl” and frowned furiously when she was portrayed otherwise. Besides, there was a rumor that filtered in last year that Osume was dating an SS2 boy called Mudi. So it’s true! Osume was now a teenage girl. Someone said teenage girls are not little girls anymore; teenage girls are girls who still stretch time in the mornings with their eyeliner, but already know a thing or two about boys. It was clear. I remembered seeing Osume gazing at her small hand mirror for a long time, smiling at her changing and growing body and her budding sexuality. Her renewed level of neatness was a different kettle of fish altogether.
For about thirty minutes or more I was lost in the world of my thought. I did not know when my best friend Ogaga came through my back.
“Guy, wetin you dey ruminate?”
I turned to faced him directly. He was a good guy; the type one could tell his mind without any fear of distrust. I told him everything about my experience with Osume and how I did not believe in her having hairs in her pubic region.
“You dey fuck up Akpos!” He said. “ Eee no fit be say na me na im beautiful girls full their place like this so. I for dey enjoy myself well well… I for dey feed my eyes every day…”
“What do you mean by enjoy and feed your eyes every day?” I was at a loss.
“Shine your eye well well and stop to dey behave like say you be okoro,” he said. “ Back of dat una bathroom no bi bush full am?”
“Yea…na bush dey…Wetin do the bush?” I asked naively.
“ You see Akpos, you be heavy federal mugu; na real dodo na im you be if not, you for know say for night you fit go back of the bathroom go insert hole there, so that every morning you go dey go there dey go camp. After all, you no dey go anywhere. Na so I dey do-am for our place ooo…” Ogaga revealed.
Why have I not thought of this all this while? Ogaga was indeed a real calculating bastard and I give him kudos for that. Yes, now is the time to see all those stuff these chicks have been flaunting before my very eyes. I can now tell whether Osume actually have those things I suspected or not…Whether Okemute was as clean inside as she was outside…whether those jiggling, bulky boobs that made Ese look so hot are as they were displayed…Yes, I really would want to find out if Omasan’s breast were as luscious and succulent as they appear on her brassiere….I didn’t really meant to spy at the nudity of older women with sagged breast who were somewhat my mother’s age. But then, I must not spare Omoze, that gorgeous lady at our backyard. She was in a class of her own. Last year, rumour had it that she was dating one rich bobos in the navy. Right now, there was the news making the rounds that she was dating one fine barrister and they were engaged to be married. I also must not spare mama Nkechi. I long to see what was hidden underneath those attractively plump sets of beautiful laps which made me to do nothing other than to envy Mr. Emeka, her husband. And finally, it was high time I gazed at Aghogho, Alero, Ejaita, and Ufuoma to see what they had on the other side that made them swagger, saunter and pose as if there was no tomorrow. Alero was just fifteen years, and she already felt I was a small boy. That was what she meant when she told me the other day, “you no reach!”
Well, that evening, as soon as I realized it was nightfall, I went stealthily to the back of the bathroom that had the bold inscription, “FEMALE ONLY”. I made sure no soul saw me. There at the back of the bathroom was a wild profusion of grasses that I strongly believed would shield me from anyone coming. As soon as I was certain no one was around, I took the nail I hid in my breast pocket and punctured a small hole through the zinc. I made sure I didn’t pierce it too wide hence someone bathing spots me from inside the bathroom. But all the same, something told me this plan was not safe. And so, I was the first person to take my bath the next morning. The time was about 6:A.M when I arrived. There at the bathroom, I was careful to study the small hole I pierced the day before. As soon as I was doubly sure no one could see me from the small opening I made, I hurriedly poured the water on my body and left. No one had come out to take his or her bath that morning except Mr. Akume who stood beside the road leading to the toilet, urinating. After dropping the bucket at our frontage, I quickly took the route around mama Nkechi’s vegetable garden and made my way to the back of the female bathroom.
For about fifteen minutes or so, no one came around to utilize the bathroom. This was unusual. Before now, Aduke and Edirin would have come to take their early morning showers in view of the fact that they were both prefects in their respective classes. It was the same Mr. Akume who came to use the male toilet minutes later. He was a very good man but his face was the last thing I expected to see at that material time. I listened on as his anus made some despicable noises. After sometime, he began to grunt like a pig. This made me to conclude that perhaps he was finding it very had to pass excreta. From experience I knew that some times, humans find a lot of difficulty passing congealed excrement that seem as though they were concretes. For more than ten minutes Mr. Akume groaned as though he was in pain. I felt sorry for him. Maybe he had not eaten pawpaw and oranges for a long time. I remember ever having a similar experience. That day, the ‘shit’ was pushing to come out and yet it refused to come out. It was very strong and painful. I begged God to kindly spare my life. And He did. In all the times I have had this experience there was always some amount of blood after the feces. And then, this peppery feeling! How I understand what Mr. Akume was going through! And at once, the noise died down. Now it was clear that Mr. Akume had succeeded. I heard sounds like someone flushing the toilet. Mr. Akume soon came out wobbling like a pile patient. I really felt for him. His anal orifice must be bleeding by now. Maybe, he could help himself by pressing the affected region with cloth and hot water, or better still, take red and yellow capsule. Poor Mr. Akume! I have worn the same shoes before and I knew where they pinched.
By Ochuko Tonukari