Well, so there I was, all small and carefree, one of the guys, really. Having four brothers all much older was a huge help. As a kid, I was the one they had to drag home from play. Life was so much fun, really. I had lots of fun in the Quarters where I grew up; wild, ecstatic fun with a sense of safety because you knew that your parents knew virtually everyone there and vice versa.
I remember lots of running around and squealing, lots of climbing trees (one time I climbed a mango tree for a particularly seductive yet elusive fruit and got stung under the eye by a bee), lots of rolling in the grass, lots of jumping… Wait a minute! Maybe that explains why the only exercise I do now is in my head? I did so much growing up, really, I must be all stretched out…
So, anyway, life was fun-filled. Sure, once in a while I got dark looks from my mom because I simply refused to sit with my legs closed, “like a girl”, but hey, it couldn’t all be rosy.
And then there were boobs.
Mine popped out rather early; like my attitude towards everything else, I was an early bloomer. The first thing I noticed was those little “coins” where my flat chest used to be, those coins that could just randomly be sore for absolutely no logical reason. So, there I was one fine day, playing a nice game of catch with my brother in the living room (I think our mom was out), when he threw the ball and I missed. No, no. Please understand this. He threw me the ball, and I missed. It landed squarely on one of the coins; like an alien returning to the mother-ship, as natural as can be.
I cooked up some excuse to go in my room where I quickly doubled over, rubbing out the pain, trying not to cry. This just wasn’t fair! How could I just NOT be able to play with my brother anymore, like any normal human being?! Mstchew.
But the curse of the boobs followed me to school :-( . One day, the whole class had to go out to the field for some P.H.E. crap or other. Now, one of my friends had this weird outfit she wanted to wear and in the course of helping her get it on, we ended up being the last ones to leave the class. Oh, bhet of kess, our teacher had to punish us by telling us to run the remaining distance. My friend loved the idea because she really wanted to show off her outfit with flesh peeking out at the sides. I, on the other hand… Let’s just say, a group of boys began chanting “ghen, ghen, ghen, ghen, ghen…” rhythmically. And they were not marking my feet dropping on the ground, if you know what I mean.
But, on a more life-changing note, the advent of these two creatures marked the beginning of male attention. I wasn’t truly bothered by this because I always had a way of wriggling out of all their wahala. Until my first year in Uni. I met this guy, Jay, through a mutual friend, and we really hit it off. I truly enjoyed spending time with him, but never even looked at him in that way. And then the day came when he pulled me aside for a “talk”, and confessed that he wanted to date me. I, my ever blunt self, put it to him that I didn’t feel that way about him, but really loved our friendship. Hmm. Na so my guy kuku tell me say…
In his own words, “If we can’t date, Joy, then I can’t hang out with you anymore.” It was as sharp as a slap. Indeed, I must have looked slapped as I stared at him in disbelief for minutes, mouth open like a fish searching for oxygen out of water.
And so, I lost a friend. I miss him till today. And all because I have boobs and he doesn’t. Do you see now? :-(
Life really got crooked after that. Sigh.