Virginity was one very important topic at our morning assemblies back in St. Louis. You had to be the right hand man to the devil himself to lose your virginity before passing out of that school. The only thing they didn’t do was to actually subject us to virginity tests, but whatever they couldn’t do medically, they did psychologically.
Our Principal would always talk about how her husband, who was also another school’s Principal, met her a virgin. And she would say “if you are in doubt, go ask him”. Other teachers would nod in agreement, half of them also attended St. Louis anyway, including our Principal so it was a family affair 😀
This was the same sermon we had to listen to on our valedictory day. My Mom came with her best friend, they wore aso-ebi and tied the same gele (head tie). Aarrrghhhh, those women. They even carried the same handbags and wore the same shoes. My sister still has that picture. They looked so much alike so they could pass for twins. Remembering the attention they courted that day still make me cringe, did they have to do all that? Dramatic Nigerian mothers 🙄
Anyway, valedictory day passed and I sat my ass home waiting for results. I started taking JAMB lessons and attending Computer classes at the same time, so I didn’t have much idle time. I never really liked boys back then, but trouble had a special way of sniffing me out.
While still in school, I attended one summer class with my friends. There, I became friends with one fine Hausa guy whose Dad owned a BDC. The attraction was that he could speak Yoruba and even my dialect well. Platonic friendship, but he had coconut head, so there were times he would insist on walking me home after classes. Few metres to my house, I’d insist he turned around, and that was it.
After passing out, there wasn’t contact anymore and I was fine with it, not like there was anything going on between us to start with. I was home with Mom one afternoon when someone knocked at our door. Mom opened, and it was that guy. Said something about being in the neighbourhood and thought to say hello. Mo ti ku (I am dead). See guts nah. I knew it was time to start choosing musicians for my burial and write my own epitaph. Iya Tinu would kill me!
Surprisingly, she didn’t react. She greeted him warmly and I walked him to the gate and turned back immediately. You could cut through the silence with a knife. I had to start walking on eggshells around the house, because any small thing, I know say I go collect. That passed.
I was in the choir, so I would always attend choir practice on Saturday evenings. Coming back from church one Saturday, this boy in the estate was being a nuisance. He also just passed out from the Minor Seminary and was waiting for admission as well. You know the way you would want to be left alone, but boys would keep following you and you couldn’t turn around because you had to go home? That was it. I was pissed. I warned this boy to go back but he wouldn’t. No attention was given but he kept following like bingo, till I got home and closed the gate on his face. Such audacity!
A few weeks later, I was back from class and minding my business with my mother. We sat at the balcony. Our gate was the type that had a space underneath, so if someone stood by it without even knocking, you’d see their feet. That was what happened. Mom said she saw someone’s feet by the gate. I didn’t see anything, in all honesty. She called out to whoever it was, no one answered. She insisted that she saw something. My mind don dey cut say hey God, I don’t want wahala today o 😩
Mom moved towards the gate. I followed. She opened it, there was no one there. She stayed outside for a while. Our area was a developing estate so there were lots of vacant lands and uncompleted buildings around, so it was wise to be safe. She was walking back in as I heaved a sigh of relief when this man pulled up by us. He was a neighbour who had a satchet water factory in the compound behind ours. He asked Mom what happened and why we were outside. Mom said she thought she saw someone’s feet by the gate and when she called out, no one answered, so she stepped out to ensure we were safe. He said oh okay.
He would have to drive by our fence to access his compound, which was what he did. It was this stylish fence that wasn’t straight. There were spaces where someone could hide. As he drove a few metres, he shouted “Mommy mo ti ri o” (Mommy I have seen him o). Behold, it was that yeye Minor Seminary boy. Please take a brief moment to cry for me 😭😭😭
Thank you. Let’s continue.
Oya, uncle come out of your hiding place in Jesus name. Who are you looking for? He said no one. That he missed his way. In my mind, I was like “good boy”. Where do you stay? He said Road 1. We lived on Road 3. You missed your way from Road 1 to Road 3, be like say you want make hand touch you this afternoon abi? Brother, who are you looking for? Bobo was scared already, then he pointed at me. Then my momma made that dramatic turn. Looked at me then sized the boy up. Is that so? She read him the riot act with a dose of Federal warning and dismissed him, then marched me inside.
Please cry for me again 😭
Nothing happened for the rest of that day. As per last born nah, I always slept behind her. Dem no born me well make I say I wan go sleep for my room that night, who dey pursue you? So I crawled into bed and we slept. Na she first wake up the next morning, and she tapped me.
Mom: Shey o ti ji (are you awake?)
Me: Beeni ma (yes Mom)
Mom: Okay. Ki leleyi (what is this)?
Me: Egba (cane)
Mom: Haaaaa, o ti ji looto (oh, you are truly awake) Ki lo sele lana (what happened yesterday)?
She started with a sermon. The thing about “in the heart of a child is foolishness”, then ended it with the Virginity line from my Principal. She didn’t forget to mention the fact that my ‘boyfriend’ wore a nice pair of trousers and tucked in his shirt, then finished it off with a pair of bathroom slippers 😫 She said my boyfriend, sweet, me, chewing gum, both of us were snacks and we shouldn’t be playing any hide and seek at our ages. Then she mentioned the one that had the audacity to walk into her house because he was in the neighbourhood, shebi she looked away that day? Shey High School is the new University now, you have grown wings abi? Not under my watch!
Then she gave a verdict of how many strokes I would get, you miss one, I start all over again 😭
I couldn’t even shout “Mama I don’t know that boy, I don’t even know his name”, which was true. I never saw that boy again, I for twist him neck 😡