I was 13-Years-Old, my breasts were a little bit bigger than a peanut and I hated life. It was very important to me that I started wearing bra as soon as possible. This is not because I was in a hurry to, but because my street boyfriend, Monday had begun to talk through the balcony to Titi, who had already started wearing bra.
Titi, dark-skinned, gap tooth of life and then of destiny, cute chubby cheeks and wide smile, was a thorn in my flesh. She lived next door to Monday and I would sometimes see them chat and laugh heartily. I didn’t have breasts, I imagined this was why Monday would even think of talking to Titi. I had to let him know how I felt, so I wrote him a letter. I will paraphrase the content as I cannot recall exactly how I wrote it.
P.O.Box 442, Oshodi,
13th Feb 1996
How are you? I hope fine. If so, doxology. I have a question for you, why do you talk to Titi too much? Is it because she has started wearing bra? I just want to let you know I don’t like it. Please stop it if you love me. I have to pen off here.
Yours in love,
I sent Nonso, my neighbour who was my younger brother’s mate with the letter. Nonso promised to deliver it in secret and wait to collect Monday’s reply. For his work, I promised to give him my almond fruit pickings from the next day. I was watching them from my balcony, they would be ripe enough to pluck the next day.
I waited for Monday’s response on the balcony. It was an environmental Saturday, our parents were all under the fruit tree in our small garden, the men discussed politics, the women watched their children play football in the compound while they gossiped about our landlady. I must tell you, she was quite unpopular in the compound.
While I took a break from straining my neck so I could catch a glimpse of Nonso, I heard someone shout from the gate “Mama Ngozi! Mama Ngozi! Mama Ngoziiiiiii”. Mama Ngozi was Nonso’s mother, Ngozi was her first child. I looked up and the sight I saw caused my heart to stop. It was Monday’s mother, pulling Nonso by the ear as she dragged him through the gate. Baba Monday was right behind her, holding Monday by his Knickerbockers.
Nonso‘ s bow legs looked even more pronounced as he moved unwillingly but without choice. The children had stopped playing football, parents had stopped chatting, Nonso and his supporting acts were the focal point. Then he looked up at me, his eyes glassy from unshed tears as he pointed at me, “Na the person wey send me be that…” he said.
It was like a slow-motion movie, everyone in the compound looked up at me at the same time. It was then I realised…I was in hot soup!
What happened next, I am not sure you can imagine.
To be continued.