Category Archives: Alpha-Series

Alpha Series: E’s Empathy Lack

You can read my previous post here on Alpha Series – ‘A’s story  , Alpha Series – B’s Beast , Alpha Series – C’s Catastrophe and Alpha Series: D’s Debacle. You can also check out similar posts on the Alpha-series on Kofo’s blog here , herehere, and here . Enjoy!

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“Can you try to see with the eyes of another? Can you try to listen with the ears of another? Can you feel with the heart of another? If you can…congratulations! It means you can walk a mile in someone’s shoes and not just stand there feeling sorry that their shoes hurt.”

Enough is enough!’ Ereya screams at me. I look at him with utter shock; he does not believe a word of what I say. I scurry off like a mouse to my room. I am feeling unwanted and disliked. I am feeling all by myself. I do not like this feeling. I peer out the room window looking at the nearby sea and feel the distant breeze. The rain is coming again and I smile sardonically.

Eagerly I have been staring at the edge of the water for as long as I can remember and never really understanding just why; I want to be the perfect daughter – I wish I could, but it is really hard. So maybe I will just roll away, to a place far far away because no matter how hard I try, my body still leads me back to the water.

Enthusiastically, I run my palms across my hair with thoughts that the rain is falling on me, as I continue to look out. I want to cease from existing. I am not sure how I can achieve it but the rain gives me hope. I hear my name being called. I dive underneath the bed. ‘Berema? Berema?’

Ereya’s hard feet are thumping the ground. It is sounding like drops of heavy coco yam. I shake off the thought to smile and keep a grim face. He is looking at my box. ‘Ha! I do not hide there any more, you big goat!’ He continues pacing for a while and stops, muttering something I cannot hear. He moves away to another room. I stay put for a while. I know how tricky Ereya can be.

Evolving from my trance, I hear noises in the background. I realize I had slept off underneath the bed. I am not sure how long I have stayed put but as I stifle a loud yawn, I know that it must have been really long. I hear Jaja talk with somebody. That somebody does not have Ereya’s voice. What are they saying? I wonder. I try to listen but my heart beat is interrupting the voices. I strain my ear a bit.

‘Exactly what I am saying, Ereya should have applied more caution in dealing with the situation. I wonder where she might have run off to; poor child, having to go through all that in silence.’ I hear the ‘somebody’ sigh. I wonder if my elder brother is around. I want to get up and run. Run very far away where no one can see me but I am not sure where to run to. I hope that my brothers will keep this information amongst them. Perekule cannot hear that I let them know. I know what wonders he will perform if he finds out.

Expectantly, the four feet began to move away towards the outer door. I bring out my head and scan the arena. The coast is clear. I breathe in a bit too quickly. The sun hits me. I realize the weather had changed. What a pity, I mutter…I was hoping on the rain.

Eagerly, I prance about my room. My head is singing a happy song. I stop to listen a bit. I smile sheepishly. I know what I want and I will do as I please. I sit on the edge of my bed and twist my hair into Bantu knots. I am overly excited. My jaws begin to hurt. I refrain from smiling as I let my thoughts wander. I hear my name again; I reach for the floor again and dive under the bed.

‘Employ other means.’ I hear Jaja say ‘if we cannot find her in this small house, it is because we are acting inefficiently. Let us be calm about this and pretend that you and Berema did not discuss this sacrilege we hear. Let her tell us more succinctly what she is saying. At least, I will be present too and confirm if she is lying or not.’ I hear Ereya hiss out loud ‘Berema is just a coward! I have no idea where she ran off to but if I catch her, I will beat her brains out.’

Empathy is for the brave at heart and I know how uneasy it is for Ereya to wrap this strange idea around his head. He looks up to Perekule and sees no ill in him. How dare I spoil his so perfectly built up image?

Emotionally drained and exhausted, I hold back the tears that threaten to fall off my face as I stretch my full height underneath the bed. I am no longer in doubt as to what I need to do. I am no longer afraid of hiding the truth; after all, it will still be a lie in the ears of everyone. So much for holding it in, pretending to be the strong one; needing no help. So much for carrying up a front, leading everyone to believe that my life is happy and sweet.

Existing in sizes and bits is what I have been doing but no more. I will live my life to the fullest, just as I please. No more will I dance to the whims of anyone. I know everyone on this island seems so happy, everything is by design and I will not be satisfied if I play along.

Every turn I take – every trail I track, every path I make – every road leads back, to the place I know where I cannot go, where I long to be – see the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me and no one knows how far it goes. If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me, one day I’ll know. If I go away, there’s just no telling how far I’ll go.

Even if I’ll be satisfied when I play along, the voice inside me sings a different song. What is wrong with me? Can you see the light as it shines on that sea? It’s blinding but no one knows how deep it goes and it seems like it’s calling out to me. So I will let it come find me and let me know what’s beyond that line, if ever, will I cross that line?

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Alpha Series: D’s Debacle

I apologize for taking too long to continue this series. I have not had the proper time to think.

You can read my previous post here on Alpha Series – ‘A’s story  and Alpha Series – B’s Beast. You can also check out similar posts on the Alpha-series on Kofo’s blog here , herehere, and here . Enjoy!

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“Do not waste time with your explanations, people only hear what they want to hear. Your escape is just to get on the boat and run away on the water…sometimes you need to run away, just to see who will really come after you!”

Dawn was near and I knew that the youths would be awake watching and waiting for the sunrise. I moved stealthily about the room not wanting to disturb my children. I went in search of Berema. I peeped at the far left corner of the room but I see Jaja and Hariye instead, snoring away. Where is Berema? I wondered holding my area.

Debating on whether or not to wake Jaja, my grand-second son and ask for Berema, I stumble on a moving crab. ‘Ula li mena yo!‘ I squealed out squinting my eyes and reaching downward to pick it up. I look at the heavy creature and throw it into the nearby drum of crabs we have stocked, it must have escaped…I thought. “Perekule, Ogi ne bekwuor?” I hear Hariye’s faint voice. “Go to sleep my son, it is nothing.”

Deciding against my initial move to ask for Berema, I quietly go back to my bed and lie down facing upwards, looking at the thatched roof I made 51 years ago. The morning dew had started to fall, the cloud a melancholic grey; I felt the gush of fresh air, and I assume the river banks must be housing a party – for they are far too generous this morning in releasing the air filled with loamy soil, fish skin smell, decayed oysters and fresh crab. I sigh as I try to welcome a fresh round of sleep.

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Daring to be different most times is as hard as ever. Looking at the hungry youths all in wait for my continuing tale gave me a sense of pride, a sense of belonging, a feeling of love. I whiff in the smell of the river as I approached the youths. I can taste the salt of the water in my mouth, I realize just how old I have become.

Drifting my mind to when I was 15, I remembered the island were free, the people happier without a single care. There were no need for closure, there were no need for what if’s; just a bunch of people living life as it came. What changed? Colonization! The island had changed from what it used to be decades before now. There were more fancy huts and resting corners than we had in the ’80s. As I sat on the mat facing the Bonny waters, I sight Suwana; Awusa’s mama bringing a covered bowl of something.

Delighted at this offer of generosity, I washed my hands and began to eat slowly, the food that Awusa’s mama had prepared for me. The meal was a tasty concoction of traditional spices, steamed crabs, alligator pepper, boiled lobsters, scent leaves, palm oil, soft coco-yam and baby croackers – all boiled together to form a mouth watery seafood pepper soup. It looked like a healthy river, the one that could be rich for colonization.

Deliberately delaying the tale, I randomly picked on a crab, crushing the hard core and sucking the white meaty juice. I hear Awusa sing his usual tale with his baroque voice while the other youths chant along. I am drawn by his sense of responsibility. I cough intermittently watching them sing as mama Awusa hands me a cup of water. Other women her age are seated by the other side of the water, watching the strong men, row away their boats and canoes in search of a sea prey to sell for the day to the market traders.

Directing my gaze at the eager youths, I continued my tale – just after Suwana had cleared the empty bowl before me. ” Callistus endured for 4 more years in England, each day plotting his escape back to Bonny Island. Rev. Fr. Pepple was beginning to annoy him by his constant reminder of why he should become a priest. Callistus wanted to get married and not to the soft looking red girls who did not even care if he existed but to the thick looking black girl in his village who could cook him a spicy African meal.”

Destroying himself to please the Queen, Rev. Fr. Pepple and his mother who agreed to let him be sent off was not something Callistus would do. At age 14, he had become his own man and was ready to fight for his freedom. Cowardice did a man no good and he would not allow himself be subdued like his father. One cold night, when Rev. Fr. Pepple was tired from all the missionary training that occurred that week and was about to sleep, Callistus served him tea in his favorite saucer with a douse of rat powder.

Derisively, Callistus went in to lay on his mattress. When he was sure that two hours had passed, he went to Rev. Fr. Pepple’s room and called his name. After he heard no response, Callistus carried his well packed bag and headed to the sea. He had stolen Rev. Fr. Pepple’s torchlight, mirror, some kilo of rice, few quality spoons, a jar of biscuit, his cassock, four tins of whole milk, some packs of nuts, fruits and large quantity of meat. He was not ashamed at his doings, he had what he was going to show his people that he had brought from the white man’s land.

Dragging his foot on the cold England floor, he thought of how best to board the ship back to Bonny. He was not sure which ship to follow. He looked at the ships in the harbour, laying quietly without any passenger on board. Carefully, he perused each ship deciding which to enter. He finally came across one of the ships labeled ‘Bristol Queen’. Running his hands on the body of the ship, he decided that was the ship that was going to take him back to Bonny Island.

Deftly, Callistus walked around the ship, climbed the stairway provided and jumped into the ship’s cabin. Carefully, he roamed round the ship looking for a perfect hiding spot. Just then, he found a puller leading to the under cabin and moved in. Verifying that the spot he had chosen was safe till the morning, he tucked his bag under his head, pulled out the cassock and covered himself to sleep.

 

 

Alpha Series – C’s Catastrophe

You can read my previous post here on Alpha Series – ‘A’s story  and Alpha Series – B’s Beast. You can also check out similar posts on the Alpha-series on Kofo’s blog here , herehere, and here . Enjoy!

“To first control a people, you must first control what they think about themselves and how they regard their history and culture, and when your conqueror makes you ashamed of your history and culture, he no longer needs prison walls or chains to hold you – John Henrik Clarke”

“To colonize people’s minds, you must first demonize their cultures, then their traditions…”

Cold heartless stories always began here at my community under the mango tree by the moonlight with stacks of fire-woods built like an army raving mad, shinning red and yellow, providing warmth.

Crouching my old heavy weight towards the small mat on the wet floor, I settled before the youths lingering around, waiting for my weekly night tale especially the ones I told after today’s festival.

Carefully, I looked around them hoping to find Berema seated somewhere in the crowd, she always avoided my weekly tales. I could see Awusa sitting with the drums, waiting patiently for the time he would have to beat us a rhythm in between my tales. I smile at him. Such a handsome, promising young man.

Casting my mind back to when I was younger, I decided to tell a tale of myself. So I forged names and locations, obviously the youths will be too engrossed to even think it is real and so I began…

Callistus was his name…very odd! The white men had named him Callistus saying he would one day be a priest of his people; even though the white men spoke funny languages, people still looked up to them like some sort of gods.” I hear Awusa as he beats his drum in a thundering rhythm. I continued smiling…”his mother laughed after she was explained to, saying the white men gods have chosen her son as his beloved. She gladly handed him over to them to train him in the way of their most high god.”

Considering the path his son was chosen for, Callistus father hated the white men and their funny language the more. He revered the gods at Bonny island. He revered the gods of his people. His son would never bear Callistus. His son will never be a priest. His son will speak his native tongue. The white men tried to deceive him by buying him fancy items…but Callistus father never agreed. He fought to keep his son from the claws of the white men. He fought to keep their language.”

Callistus father was unfortunately killed in the dead of the night. No trace on who did, no clue. Callistus mother gave him up the very next day to the white men, saying Uba n’uwena…uba funie wulu puena. He hated his mother for that, and he swore never to become a priest.”

“Colonization became a fun game. The white men had taken over the shores of their island, teaching the people in Bonny island the language of the Queen; English language, threatening to shoot when the people antagonized. It became an arrogant form of patriotism. The Britain were seen as great people. Their god was the one true god irrespective of the people’s gods.”

Captain Hart was appointed a chief, right after Callistus father passed on and he agreed to send off some of his youths to the British consul for special training and empowerment. Of course, the community was greatly rewarded for the exchange and that was the day Callistus forgot what it meant to smile.” I stretch my tired back as I let Awusa sing a sad song, beating his drum at intervals.

Curiously, I look around again for Berema. This time I sight Finima and hope that Berema will be somewhere around. I continue. “Callistus was taken with some other youths out of the Bight of Bonny and straight to England. Somewhere along the line, they were divided and he was sent to live with an old priest…Reverend Father Pepple.”

Constantly, Callistus tried to find the greatness in the England that he found himself. Every day, he would attend the mass with the priest and constantly be reminded that Jesus loved him. Callistus did not know about this Jesus. He had heard that the Queen’s god was superior to all the gods at Bonny Island. He was trying to understand that…now Rev. Fr. Pepple was talking about Jesus.”

Clueless about Jesus and mass, Callistus approached Rev. Fr. Pepple one night and said…Father, I not a knowing your Jesus but if you are take me back to my people-ing, maybe your Jesus will be understand. Rev. Fr Pepple had replied saying, do you not know that Jesus loves you?”

Callistus responded saying…I not know this thing you have say all the time but maybe if I go back to my people-ing and I tell them about your Jesus, we and I can coming to love him too in our village?How dare you say you want to go back to that evil forest of yours? You will stay here and be my server and learn the way of the Lord, else I will hand you to the Queen.” I waited for Awusa to beat the drum, but boy was long lost in my tale waiting on my next line. I sighed as I continued…

Capable of being killed just like his father, Callistus stayed and endured. One night, he sat up, ran to Rev. Fr. Pepple and spoke of marriage and when he realized priests don’t get married, his resolve of running away from the prison became stronger. How would they choose him for a life of suffering without his people, without a wife, without children? All for who? Some Jesus that he did not know. He began to wonder, is Jesus a woman?”

Casually, Callistus would take a long stroll at the water port when Rev. Fr. Pepple went to say mass for the sailors at sea and hoped that someone would come to rescue him. He hated his life here in England. He missed the water crabs, the fishing games and the people. He wondered what his mates would be doing. Some would have married. He missed the Kalabari dish and spices. The British people ate too many rubbish, he could not understand. They fried their fish and baked their beans. Nonsense cooking style. He kicked a stone.” I stretched for ease…I was tired of my story.

Continue grand Perekule, the youths all murmured. Don’t cut the story short today please.” I look at the tale starving youths all looking like me back then…I wonder what they will do if the white men came now to gather them away. I stand to full height watching Tamuno as he clasped his hands in desperation “I will continue next week…my weak bones are tired and need some rest.”

Composing myself regardless of the burning sensation I felt in my chest, I strode calmly towards my hut. The night was cold and almost over. Today was a busy day. The children needed sleep. I hear footsteps running after me, I know it is Awusa. “Grand Perekule, should we come to your hut? We could give you a massage as well while you tell us the remaining story…”

Craving the need to succumb to his request, I swallow a nudging smile. I turn back to see him surrounded by the other youths, all with pleading eyes. I know I need the massage but I do not want to continue the story tonight. Taking a deep sigh I respond “Grand Perekule will continue the story tomorrow…we all have had a long day, let us take a good rest, dreaming of our fore-fathers while we return afresh in the sunrise for the first time, to complete Callistus story…Aba nu’punella lolo.”

Catching my stick which was about to fall, I continue to my hut “Nu’punella Grand Perekule…Sleep well” the youths shouted after me. I reach my hut. It is dark. I reach out for the side lamp. Where is Berema?

Alpha Series – B’s Beast

PS: So we were given a task by Kofo on TLC [The Literary Cafe] whatsapp page and I thought it would be a good idea to do a story of it as well. You can check out similar posts on the Alpha-series on Kofo’s blog here . Enjoy!

You can read previous post here on Alpha Series – ‘A’s story .

You hurt me more than what I deserve because I loved you more than what you deserve…”

“The saddest kind of sad is when your tears can’t even drop and you feel nothing. It’s like the world has just ended. You feel nothing. You don’t cry. You don’t hear. You don’t see. You stay. For a second, the heart dies!”

Before I begin to intimate you of how I have managed to live my life up to this point, let me start by telling you how not so happy my story will end – so this is me saying, it is not a happy-ever-ending tale.

By and Large, I have an ugly past, an ugly present and possibly an ugly future. I hate to sugarcoat my words so I will tell you all plainly my bitter experiences.

Born and bred in the suburb of Bonny Island, Rivers sometime in the late 80’s, I did not get exposed to much and thus I did not need or require much. All that I needed – that my people needed was shelter, food, water and basic friendship and we had all that – I think. I was not born in a home of plenty but I was thought to learn to manage the basic things that nature could naturally provide.

Basic things such as water – we had surplus from the river close to the island, Food – well, we had lots of crabs and fish, fruits and legumes, and we had where to lay our heads. We did not need to go to school, neither was the idea thought up in our heads – it did not make sense to think of education at the time. We were taught how to fish and make nets. We learnt how to swim and wade the waves that come with the river tides. We learnt how to hide from the strange red looking people who always came by our river facing the Bight of Bonny – I think they were called tourists.

Biannually, we would usually have a mini-festival for Virgins – both male and female category. It was celebrated for adolescents from the ages of ten [10] to Nineteen [19]. People who had attained the ages of Twenty and above were usually supposed to have been married. If not, by twenty-two [22], they become ostracized and sent out of the island so as not to beguile others into their way of life. The girls would during the festival, usually cover their breasts with two mound sized empty oysters and wear below their waist, animal skinned wrappers. The males would cover their area with Palm tree wraps and wear on their neck beaded crabs ornaments. This was done in reverence to the river as well as the earth that kept the children of the community till the festival period – so it was believed and so it was practised.

Bemused as I was at this process, I still had to participate to avoid any form of being ostracized. I had nowhere to go and I did not think I was brave enough to venture out on my own.

Besides, It was hardly unheard of that anyone would want to be ostracized from the community. Several girls ended up with one man to avoid been called names or leaving the community.

Barefooted on the eve of the festival, I had ran towards the river bank to seek the coolness of the water and wonder what lay ahead of me now that I had turned Eighteen [18]. Very soon, I would be required to get married and start-up my own family. How possible would that even be, seeing that I was not even ready or mature to nurture my own self?

“Berema…” I heard someone call from a distance. I looked behind me to catch Awusa and Finima running towards my direction. I was in no mood for a chit-chat so I looked back at the water and continued throwing back the crabs I had caught back into the water.

“Berema…” Finima continued when she got to where I was seated, “Did you not hear the announcement that was made earlier today?” I ignored her comments and continued my throwing “Why are you here like you are not meant to be a part of us? Are you not going to participate in tomorrow’s festival?” I stopped throwing and stood up still looking straight at the water.

Baptizing my legs in the river’s warmth, I let the waters flow back and forth, caressing the sole of my feet and my ankles, as I moved in deeper. I did not like to be disturbed in moments like this, I did not understand why Finima could not just go away on her own in peace. Awusa watched in silence as Finima proceeded to drag me back from the water.

Bereft of strength, I splashed back to the floor and picked the nearest possible crab to fling at her. Awusa caught my hand from behind. He was stronger than both of us, so it was a given that I could not have fought back totally.

Belligerent as I was, he held me captive in his bosom.

“Berema…” he started. All I could hear was his baritone and nothing more. I was confused. Was he calling my name? “Berema, what has been going on with you for the past few days? Why have you been so distant?” he asked. I looked away as I refused to answer his looming question with Finima looking at me like I was some theif.

Bizzare as it sounded, I could not trust my friends to tell them anything. I mean, I do not think any one cared about anything apart from themselves. How was I to tell them about the beast I faced every night on weekdays – weekends are for family, booze and friends? How was I to tell them I was never a virgin ever since I started attending the festivals? How was I to tell them how I had been constantly raped by my Father since I was five [5]? How was I to tell them that the self-acclaimed Virgin festival was just a mockery to the gods we served? How was I to tell them that I was not ready to marry anyone from our Island? How was I to tell them that I wanted to see what lies beyond our Rivers? How was I to tell them that I had liked Awusa ever since I was old enough to know what it meant to like and touch?

Bethrothed he was already to Finima and I had no choice than to be happy for them. Awusa was already Twenty and tomorrow would be Finima’s last Virgin festival rite before she married Awusa. Finima is Eighteen [18] like me too and happy to be getting married. Would I blame her? It is all we live for and hope for here at Bonny Island. After all, Finima would join the successful others since Awusa was a bonafied fisherman and a rider of ferries for the ‘red-looking-people’.

Blotches were all over my legs but I had to keep them hidden in wrappers to avoid raised eyebrows and several questioning. My three [3] brothers hardly stay home so they are not aware of what father keeps doing to me. I cannot tell them for fear that someone might strike someone and somebody may die. I cannot handle another death. Mother’s departure still frightens me. I cannot seem to get over it. I do not want to get over it. I want to join her.

Blinded I was by hope. Hope that something would change and liberation would fall upon us. Hope that the ban of marriage would be lifted from the age of Twenty and moved to maybe twenty-eight [28]? Hope that someone would come to save me from the clawing hands of my black impish father. Hope that I would maybe die and go to a peaceful place.

Blatantly, I look at my two friends and smile aloof. There was nothing I wanted to say. There was nothing to say. Tomorrow is just going to be another lie, clothed in wrappers and oyster covered breasts and a virtual walk of shamelessness.

Bickering about the issue was pointless. Talking about the beast I faced every night on the weekdays between my legs was pointless as well. I had grown used to it. I no longer had feelings. I just wanted to leave Bonny Island.

Blimpish as my father was, it was hard to tell the truth about him. I stretch my legs into the water as I feel the sands rush with the water and settle beneath the back of my knee. Awusa is caressing my face and looking at me worriedly. Finima is holding my hand and smiling at me. I want to tell her. I look at Awusa. I can not bear to let him hear my ordeal.

Bracing up myself, I make to stand as I pull away from Awusa’s hold. I fall upon Finima as I hear her laugh at me. I join her in laughing too. Her laughter is throaty and husky. It is easy to sway someone to join her in her laughter. It is mesmerizing.

Baroque music is the next thing I hear. I turn and see Awusa singing for us both. It is hard not to smile. His words are choicy and touchy. I feel the need to cry. My throat is heavy. I gasp for breathe. My bones become brittle.

Breathing hoarsely, I quickly move away. I may explode if I stayed there much longer. Somebody grabs me from behind… “Leave me please.” I surrender “I need to fix my attire for tomorrow’s festival” I reply without turning to face him. I know it is Awusa that has held me back. I hope he does not feel the pain in my voice.

Bruising in pain, I hear Finima’s feeble reply “Let her go, Awusa…Come, let’s go and join the others at the Kongo house.” I feel Awusa letting his hands off me as I run away in shame.

Alpha Series – ‘A’s story

PS: So we were given a task by Kofo on TLC [The Literary Cafe] whatsapp page and I thought it would be a good idea to do a story of it as well. You can check out similar posts on the Alpha-series on Kofo’s blog here . Enjoy!

“Beginnings are usually very scary and endings are usually very sad but it is everything in between that makes it worth living…” 

Acknowledge my presence as I strut into your head with my words. Hello there, I should manage to say…let me introduce myself properly.

Amanda is my name, okay maybe my second name not my first. Daddy called me Oludare a lot but I prefer Amanda – until after he died.

A day before I was born, Mummy said Daddy prayed a lot, a lot for a boy. They had waited 7 years for another child after my sister and they both wanted a boy.

Agreeing not to do a sex scan, they hoped in God’s will and waited patiently till I was born.

Alas, I broke everyone’s heart and turned out to be a girl.

Arrival of a boy or not, a new child was born and day by day, my parents slowly came around to embracing me as the child they needed.

Although, it wasn’t easy for me in the beginning, having to grow up thinking there was a mistake to me, but somehow it prepared me for tougher tasks ahead.

Aspiring to be just like my Daddy and more was everything I could dream of. I needed to make him proud, I needed to make him want me, I needed to make mummy see Daddy in me…it became my daily mantra.

Actions of strength, courage and independence became my daily attitude. There was no room nor time to depend on parents who thought I should have been a boy, even at age 6.

Adolescence passed me by even before I became a teenager. It was pointless having to wonder what it felt like to finally grow two mounds of flesh on my chest region or what it felt like to have a boy kiss you or what it felt like to have the regular Monthly flow or what it felt like to receive flowers and fall in love or what it ever felt like to have a boy just smile at you and melt your heart. That would have been gay for me. I was already a boy from the very start!

Alternatively, I was what you regularly referred to as ‘Tom-boy’. I indulged in swimming and Athletics ranging from Marathons to Sprints to High Jump and the Pole vault. I played the cricket with my Daddy and Lawn tennis with my elder sister. I would have played football as well at junior high but I just did not fit in with all the other macho boys. So I began to work out and tone my muscles a bit. Daddy was excited, I could tell.

At Academics, I was on top of the bright list. I did not waiver in my position, after all there was no negative distraction. I knew I had bigger responsibilites ahead so I put in all my efforts.

Acquintances, I had. Associates, I made but no real friends. Why? Because none could understand me and what the girls cared to talk about were boys, fashion, food and free money. No real challenge of some sort. I hated gossips, so I distanced myself from girls and their prying eyes. Yes, I did have two male friends; Oscar and Martín. They challenged me. They saw me as a fellow. They treated me with equal hands. There was no talk about girls or fashion, only future goals and aspirations.

An Adult I soon became and I felt greatly responsible for all my Daddy’s asset and estate. I was done with College and Masters, distinction in both, yet I felt cheated. Why didn’t I get a scholarship for a Doctorate degree? Was I any less deserving? Daddy and mummy had been proud nontheless but I had a higher standard and goal.

After Daddy put me in charge of administering most of his estates and asset, I thought nothing else could go wrong. With big sis married and two (2) kids of her own, I began to dream of having my own mini family. Problem was, at age 25, I had never been in a single relationship, never given any guy the chance, never thought i’d ever need to, never thought I would need any form of intimacy. I was happy in my own self but now I began to feel lonely, began to need a soft touch of another, began to wonder how my lips would react to being kissed. I cried some times on my bed, knowing I may never get that feeling.

Admitting that I had money was not the problem. I was rich, young and independent. I was smart, strong, Bold and beautiful. That was not my problem as well. My problem? I needed a man. I wanted a man. I was already 28, what was I to do?

Ask the bible said, and you will receive. Oh did I ask? I started asking men out but after a week or two, i’d realize, they were not my type. They had no real value, no sense, no standards…I couldn’t deal.

Allowing myself to wallow in self pity, I soon buried my head into work and forgot about my intimacy cravings. However, several years later it came back. Martín got married and Oscar and myself were obviously in attendance. Best friends of the groom. I felt proud knowing my one true friend was getting married but deep down, my heart began to envy and itch for a soulmate.

Aristo I found myself becoming at age 37. I began to like girls, their lushious curves and shapes and the firm mounds on their chest – something I didn’t have in abundance. I let myself be deflowered by the use of sex-toys and vibrators. The dudes were just not working hard to hold my attention, so I leaned more to being a ‘sugar-auntie’ to the girls I found witty and whimsical.

Auspiciously, I found Christ at age 48 and wondered why I hadn’t thought of becoming a nun. I stopped being a sugar-auntie, I stopped living in nightly puffs of smoke and bath-tubs of alcohol. I stopped living in the fast lane because it only drove me insane and brought me shame & pain.

Adopting kids became my next option but seeing how hard it was, I opened a kiddies-shelter for the abandoned babies and less-privileged. Daddy and mummy gave me all the support I needed. I later realized, I had put too much pressure on myself from the very beginning. I forgave myself and my parents as well.

Answering Natures call, Daddy died at age 106 and 3 months after, mummy followed suit. I didn’t want to be consoled. I didn’t know where else to turn. Daddy left me with so many assets, so many wealth – yet I felt powerless, I felt alone. I had lost a true friend, my confidante.

After-all, I was the boy he never had. My foundation became his kids and mine; bearing his name, my surname. I know he is smiling down at me, I now answer to the name Oludare. Forget the no man thing, I am my own ‘man’ and I am happy with these kids. I look forward to nurturing them in the right manner. Thanks to my sister, I get a few tips now and then.

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