The first rule I learnt as a child was ‘no boys’. I didn’t get the ‘birds and Bees’ or ‘you will get pregnant and die’ story. My mother was a simple woman and she had a simple rule- no boys.
I was 18 before I got interested in boys. I’m no psychologist but I’m pretty sure years of ‘no boys’ turns your brain into a ‘male avoider’. His name was Femi. He wasn’t particularly good looking, he wasn’t particularly smart or interesting, but when he was around me, my heart seemed to beat faster, butterflies danced in my tummy and sometimes I found it hard to breathe.
He didn’t talk to me. I had a reputation as a ‘man killer’- MK for short. I was so used to the nickname that sometimes I forgot that it wasn’t my real name and ignored my mum when she called me Jumoke.
‘Jumoke, come down, your friend is here’. I already knew who it was. Only one friend came to visit.
‘Hi Arin’, I said to the girl waiting at the foot of the stairs. ‘what’s up?’
‘Guess what?’, she started. I was always guessing, because I had nothing for her to guess about.
“‘Femi asked me out.”
She watched my reaction closely. Even though I never talked about it, she knew. I wondered how she knew.
“Good for you, are you going to say yes?”
“I might. Haven’t decided.”
“How long is he going to wait?”
“I don’t know. He’s a boy. Boys wait.”
I shrugged. After all what did i know. We made small talk about teachers and TV, it started to get dark and she had to leave.
“Arin, Femi is nice, say yes”.
She smiled and left.
I had made a mental note never to ask Arin if she finally did say ‘yes’ to Femi. Afterall what business of mine was it anyway. But as usual I didnt have to ask Arin anything.
“I said yes”. She blurted out on one of her random visits.
A part of me died inside. I smiled and wondered if I should hug her. She was watching my face closely.
“I’ve never seen your room”, she said suddenly
“Your room. I’ve never seen it.”
“My mum doesn’t like visitors in the rooms”
“Your mum is out. It would only take a minute.” And without any particular warning she walked up the stairs like she had been doing it for years.
I hesitated, but eventually followed behind her.
“So this is it”, she said waking into my small room. She sat on my barbie bedspread and I blushed.
“‘I feel bad for you. Your mum doesn’t allow you talk to boys. When are you going to be able to talk to them? University?”
I sat down next to her, unsure of what to say. “Look at you, you’re actually pretty”, she said as she lifted her hands to brush my cheeks. “Femi asked me out because he knows I’m your only friend. I think he was trying to make you jealous”.
I flinched at her touch. I wasn’t sure I understood what she was saying.
“I don’t care, I don’t like him” I said rather half heartedly
“I know you dont”? I could tell from her voice that she was mocking me.
“Really I dont!” I said it loudly this time but avioded looking at her.
“So who do you like? Or do you like girls?” My eyes widened with suprise. The thought of liking girls had never crossed my mind. I turned my face to look at Arin only to find her face within mere inches from mine. And then all of a sudden she kissed me. At first, it seemed like a simple peck and then her tongue slid lightly across the bottom of my upper lip. I responded in a similar manner.
Beep beep! My mother was back from work. Arin was down the stairs in a flash and I followed suit. She left the house through the back door and i went to the front door and helped my mum carry her things inside the house. My mind fluttered and danced in all directions as I went to bed that night. Finally a cheeky smile crept into my lips. I was obeying my mother after all. The rule was simple. No boys.
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