My much younger version was just a late bloomer at everything. From math to boobs, it took forever for everything to fall into place. I just felt I was a natural born olodo; it explained everything really, but nonetheless I couldn’t understand what being an olodo had to do with my boobs not growing. Girls my age in my dorm and classroom were already wearing brassieres.
I was 14 when I starting becoming body conscious. I can be so aloof and very unaware of the world I’m in. My joy and pride back then were in books. I loved reading novels and totally immersed myself in them and used to win prizes for best student in English and English literature so I guess I was not a central olodo. Anyway sha, maybe because of all the reading and mentally teleporting myself to another world constantly, I didn’t realize on time that I was the only one without boobs, and the only one who was not menstruating at that time. It was as if we all went on one long holiday with zero boobs and looking like bamboo sticks; but everyone returned 2+ months later with curves and brassiere (those white cotton ones with lace at the top), and Always sanitary pad. Some even had boobs that could feed a whole nation… Everyone except me.
On resumption day, we would check out each other’s provision cupboard stylishly to see what we all brought; those of us besties would merge our provisions together because in boarding school, provision alliance was the key to surviving until the end of the term. I saw the tins of Peak Milk, Milo, Cabin Biscuits. Yes….yes, but what were these green and white sanitary pad packs prominently displayed in the cupboards? I swear I believe each girl did this so that anyone passing by would know she had gone through this transitional rite of passage phase. Everyone except me, that is.
Upon realizing that I appeared to be the only one without an Always sanitary pad and a white brassiere, I cried myself to sleep almost every night. I then decided that I would join this elite group of girls by all means. I spent every moment I had eavesdropping on conversations about boobs and periods and hips and how to grow these things. Then one day I heard some girls talking about an insect that spins round and round on sand, and you can’t really see it unless you dig for it. All you see while it spins is the circular movement in the sand. For the life of me, I cannot recall its name.
Until I heard this gist, I had never heard of this insect before but by the description, I knew I had seen those circular shapes in sand before but never gave it a thought. Apparently, you take the insect from the sand, and you put it on your chest where the boobs ought to be and let it hang out there for a bit. Repeat on the other side of the chest because you know we don’t want one boob now, abi? Then you discard of the insect.
When my dad came to pick me up for the holidays I was super elated to hear we would be spending the weekend at our country home in Ondo town before headed to Lagos. I knew there was no way I would find that insect in Lagos, because there was no sand like that where I lived so Ondo was the place to find it.
I found this insect under the palm trees in front of our house. I took it to the bedroom and sat staring at it, trying to sum up the courage to put it on my chest. I picked it up many times and thought to myself, Seun you must do this thing otherwise you will graduate from secondary school without boobs. You will be the only person in the assembly hall writing WAEC with no boobs. Is this how you want to go down in history?
The more sensible part of me remembered her father is a Pharmacist and mother a trained nurse; haven been exposed to many talks on health & medicine I should not try this because my parents will kill me, should I catch some disease from this thing riding on my chest.
The latter prevailed. I returned the insect to its abode.
Then 2 days before school resumed I had a brilliant idea to cut into pieces an old Ankara cloth that belonged to my mum. I cut it into round shapes, took a couple of her bras and started practicing. I would stuff my bra. There was no way I was returning to school without boobs. No way at all. I returned to school and no one even said anything about my new boobs and the fact that there was nothing there when I showered in the presence of other girls as was customary in my school, but there was a soft rise under my uniform when I was fully dressed. I went through all this trouble and these people did not even notice! Hiss.
Then one day the Senior Prefect whom I had been secretly dating showed up in a classroom where I used to go hide to read a novel in other to escape corporal work. He then decided he wanted to kiss me for the first time. He kissed me lightly and then his hands gradually moved from my shoulder trying to proceed to the boobs. Yepa…mogbe…my eyes flew open kia kia at the realization of what was about to happen, and I ran. I ran from that classroom like Forest Gump and didn’t stop till I got to my hostel. I’ve never run that fast in my life, not even on Inter-House sports day. Touch my boobs and then find out they are pieces of cloth?
I don’t think so, not in this 1996 abeg.
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