Just grow first

I remember when I was much younger, here and there, left and right I heard the dangers of having a boyfriend(bf) or girlfriend(gf) in teenage. Being a Christian, the dangers were more on the spiritual side- infact Yoruba Christians call a bf or gf “ore abani d’ese”, meaning a friend with whom one sins.

The elderly Christians made it a point of duty to put the fear of hell in the hearts of us teenagers, that is if we had a bf or gf it was a sin and sinners go to hell. They told us how it was a sin and a SIN to venture into a relationship. I never understood why it was a sin until one of my friends “chopped liver” and got herself a bf.

First of all she gradually put some space between herself and us- her female friends (that’s sin 1) and spent more time with the boy. Then she called him the love of her life (sin 2)…….according to what the elders told us, Jesus was the love of our lives. After that, our more mature friends gave her some rules- no K, no R, no S. I did not decode the KRS, but because I did not want to be laughed at, I didn’t ask the meaning. I got to know when it was said that she did K (kissing) and R (romancing) with her bf.

Now, that I am well past the teenage, I have learnt other reasons children (yes, they have started dating one another) and teenagers should just stick to the end of their parents cloth and lick sweet. This reason surprisingly affects both the old and the young.
If you are below ten and you are reading this- shouldn’t you be doing your homework?
If you are below seventeen let me ask you a question- are you independent? If yes then :go ahead and have as many gfs or bfs you want. If no, how much do you collect from your parents as allowance? You will need to make compulsory love calls, send mandatory love text messages and importantly buy gifts for special occassions or the sheer reason of love. All these and more from the peanut mummy and daddy manages to cough out for you! Isn’t life cruel? Though we all believe in the adage “It is well”, in this case my friend it really is not.

Okay, let us even assume your dad is the president of the world. What about emotional maturity? Don’t you still cry (or sulk all day) when daddy refuses to give you money or when mummy gives you a smaller meat compared to that of your younger sibling? And you want to delve into a relationship. A RELATIONSHIP! It is well!
If you are above eighteen……blah blah blah….the main point here is grow up. Not in age alone, but in WISDOM and MONEY.

Answer questions about yourself like-
1)”How well do I handle pressure from my siblings?” Because like it or not, that of a gf/ bf is double.
2) “Can I let about half of my daily/weekly/monthly allowance go to a non-governmental organization (bf/gf)?”
3)”Even if I can,would it be enough for recharge card and gift money plus the occassional ‘show off’ money?”
4) And so on.

As for the adults, especially the married ones, be wise abeg. Taking care of your children is not the primary duty of the president or the governor. It is enough that your wife has five kids, all between 0-7. You now borrowed balls to put another woman in the family way- three times! Yet you are turbo-driving in debt here and there. Do you think it is well when you are not ignorant of your state of “everything” and with your open eye you gave another woman multiple belle. It is well!!!
And the woman who is planning her third wedding, have you thought if the problem is with you and not the men whom you have divorced. Check yourself, you might be forty but twelve upstairs.

Bottom line is that no matter our age or gender we should consider our pockets and brain before swimming in the pool of relationships. And be reasonable in our considerations.

Peace!

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Sarafina 5

Thank you for bearing with my inconsistency in the course of this series. It ends with this part.

…..inspired by true life events…..

Nneka and Benita no more sent Demilade and Omolara errands since after the day the two smaller girls challenged them. But on one Thursday break period, Nneka was very angry as she went on the hilly journey to the mini market where things were sold in their school. She never knew the road was that hilly. She panted as she went up, Benita beside her.
“I cannot believe I am going to buy stuff by myself,” Nneka said, breathing heavily.
“It was bound to happen one day. I just did not expect it to happen so soon.”
“Life is so unfair! How can I- the oldest and biggest girl in the class run errands for myself?”
Benita only laughed at her friend’s complaint.
On their way back to their classroom, the journey was a lot easier. Nneka had decided to really threaten Demilade and Omolara, with the hope that they would get scared and go back to their intended duty as errand girls.
Though Benita was sceptical about the idea- she was still suffering from the race she had run with Omolara. Almost the whole school had heard the story of how the big bully had lost just a simple hundred meters race to a ‘small’ girl in her class. In fact the story already had different versions and none of it was kind on Benita. They all ended with how she lost the race.
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Demilade was not herself in school and her best friend, Omolara noticed this.
“What’s wrong with you na? You are not even listening to me,” Omolara said.
Demilade was not sure if she should tell her friend about her ordeal with Bayo or not. She did not want to sound weak and helpless to her friend. And at the same time she wanted to talk to someone about it. That someone was definitely not her mother. If she told her mother she already knew what to expect- firstly she would receive some lashes of the cane and be punished in other ways too like no going out to play and so on. Then Bayo would be sent out of the house and she was so not allowing that- she had to get revenge.
So she decided not to tell her friend or anybody else at that. She would be strong for herself. Moreover, if she told her friend, she would freak out and probably make her promise to tell her mum and that was a no-no.
“I am fine. I was just thinking how we allowed ourselves be errand girls to those bullies for so long.”
Omolara gave her friend a questioning look. “Are you sure that is it?”
Demilade sighed. Then smiled. “Yes.”
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Demilade was home alone that afternoon. She still did not understand how the gramophone worked; else she would have gone into her Uncle’s room and played her favourite songs. She opted for watching Sarafina again. Almost twenty minutes into the movie Bayo came in, clutching his bag tightly to himself and hurriedly went into his room.
Demilade could hear the zipping and unzipping of bags. She cared less what he was doing.
Not long after Bayo stepped out of the room.
“You have become spoilt o. You couldn’t even greet me when I entered the other time and now you are not giving my presence any regard.”
Demilade focused her attention on the television screen, ignoring Bayo.
“Am I not talking to you?” Bayo said, putting his hand on her shoulder.
“Don’t touch me!” Demilade shouted.
Bayo immediately backed off. He had to be careful else he would be sent out of the house.
Or not.
He cared less if he was sent out. He now had enough money (from his part-time job) to rent one room for himself. He had appealed to his boss to hold on to his daily wages till the end of the month. His boss had willingly agreed and one month turned to two and then three.
His boss had given him his money that day and that was what he had brought home to keep in a safe place.
“Did you tell your mummy?” Bayo asked.
Demilade was disgusted by the question. If she had told her mum, did he think he would be still be resident in their house? Or did he expect her mother to just let the matter rest?
Bayo took her silence to mean she did not tell. He already guessed that she was not going to tell on him anyway because she kind of feared her mother too much. So instead of thinking of what would be done to him, he guessed the girl was going to think of what would be done to her by her mother.
He smiled knowingly and left the house. There was a small brothel down the road. He needed to visit the place.

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One of the bad manners her father used to warn her against was hissing. But he was hardly ever around so there was no way he could have heard the mini thunderous hiss that Demilade let out as soon as Bayo went out.
She was angry. So angry. Especially when she thought of how he had used his disgusting hand to touch her budding breast.
He had to pay. He had to. Sarafina would never allow such go unpunished.
With that anger in her she raced into the room Bayo shared with Layi. Not sure what exactly she was looking for, she just stood in the room and looked around. She had to do something that would really hurt him- but not physically. She had to make him hurt and angry in the silent way she was hurting.
She saw his shirts where he hung them alongside Layi’s. If she poked some holes in a few, or all of his shirts that would not be silent hurt. People would see the holes and they would ask questions and maybe her mum would even offer him money for new shirts.
If she poured water on the bed it would also affect her Uncle- they both shared the bed.
Bayo did not own much in the room- his few clothes, two shoes and two bags; one was always at home and the other one he took with him whenever he went to school or to work.
Her eyes drifted to the ‘home bag’ that was sitting comfortably on the ground. She then remembered that he had toyed with zips when he earlier came in.
She immediately opened the bag- very carefully, trying not to displace its position on the ground.
She started with the smallest compartment – nothing was in there. The next one had some stationery; she tried her best to put them back the way they were so as not to raise any suspicions of ransacking.
It was in the third compartment of the bag that Demilade saw two books. One was the popular Onward exercise book and the other was a jotter. She picked the exercise book and opened it. Right there in the middle of the book was a white bulky envelope. She opened it.

At school the next day Demilade felt so ‘high and mighty’. She had an extra #50 in her possession to do as she well pleased.
She bought a lot of snacks for herself and Omolara and there was still some money left. She bought also for two new girls in her class and made sure there was no money left with her except her transport fare which was #5.
Omolara asked her friend where she got such money from and Demilade avoided the question in so many ways till Omolara decided to stop asking.
Demilade knew her friend would disapprove of her mode of punishing Bayo. And she was just not yet ready to feel like the oppressor. He was in for it now that she had discovered his bale of fifty naira notes in that envelope in his bag.
When she got home that day she snuck towards her uncle’s room to confirm if anyone was in there. At the entrance to the room she peeped in and was surprised at what she saw.
Layi- her best uncle was home! He was not just home, he was asleep too.
Demilade ran in and jumped on him, squealing with joy.
Layi turned his face to look at her and the look there was not what Demilade was expecting.
“Get down,” he said trying not to shout.
Not sensing that he meant it, the girl chuckled and was about to jump on the bed again when he repeated himself, even louder this time.
“GET DOWN!”
That was not the first time Layi had shouted at his niece, but that particular shout was different. It was one not to forget and it was one that changed a whole lot after that day. Demilade maintained her distance after that day.
Later- much later did she learn that Layi was the way he was that day because he got the news of his girlfriend been pregnant that morning.
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Demilade kept taking money from Bayo’s bag every night except on weekends because there was no way she would have risked her mother seeing her with such amount of money; she would have a whole lot of explaining to do. And she was sure going to be flogged for all the reasons and explanation.
So Mondays to Fridays for about three weeks she took a #50 note at night and hid it outside the house where no one could ever think to check for anything whatsoever. Then on her way to school the following morning she would pick it.
At school she even bought snacks for Benita and Nneka who were reluctant at first but later took the gifts. All this she did in a bid to not go back home with any extra money.
One day she went to her ‘bank’ and the envelope was gone. Surprisingly she was not sad- she was happy.
Happy because she felt contented. She felt she had punished Bayo enough for that one-time act of molestation. And she was so confident that even if he knew what happened to his lost money, he had no guts to ask her about it.
She did not feel pressured to talk to anyone about what Bayo had done to her anymore.
She did not feel guilty taking his money. He just paid for his deeds.

The end.

Remember this is a true life event and a reminder that everyday, girls (and boys) get molested by people older than them. Demilade was lucky enough to have escaped further molestations unlike so many others. Please encourage your child, brother, sister, cousin (and so on), to always speak up in the advent of ANY form of this evil act. And NEVER say they are lying when they report to you. In all pray for the children…these memories stay with them FOREVER.

Do you think Demilade’s punishment was too harsh? Why?

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