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BN Prose: Today, I’ll Be an Octagon by AnuOluwapo Adelakun

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Last night, my boyfriend of 2 weeks broke up with me. He thinks he might be dating someone else and being with me is absolute infidelity on his part. I had looked at him as a spectacle rather than a disgusting object while he let out the words like a shameful politician who had failed his followers. Somewhere in my mind, I felt nothing but pity for him. How confusing and complicated things must be for him to have to choose between two women who simply wanted acceptance, to give and be given love and maybe to exit the league of over ripe spinsters  who were constantly asked when they would get married.

I didn’t feel used even though I had let myself go while our flash relationship existed. I didn’t feel embarrassed about how I had burst out crying after he stole a kiss from me because I never imagined that the day would come when he would express his love for me through the passionate exchange of saliva. I didn’t feel vulnerable. I had graduated from victimhood a long time ago.

It took the sighting of a few stretch marks crawling up my arms to my shoulder for me to realize that I had been indeed used and dumped. It was a familiar feeling. That same one I had whenever I kissed my boyfriend behind our class in high school. It was like that disappointing feeling of sudden ‘teenage pregnancy’ which my grand aunts had guaranteed was a consequence if ‘you let a boy touch you’. I would feel depressed for days following the kiss and punch my stomach till my skin turned purple so that no life could be formed in me. Somehow, my breasts would feel fuller and I would imagine the disappointment on the faces of everyone who heard I had gotten pregnant. No doubt, it would have been the end of my life.

“How did I become the third wheel?”  I asked myself as I scrambled through the fridge for some ice cream because ice cream is loyal when a man leaves you for another woman and chocolate too; sometimes.

As I sat on my couch to feed myself to comfort, my thoughts drifted back to that still moment when he unveiled the existence of a third person in what I thought was our simple equation of love.  I swear I had seen my future babies in his eyes. In the blink of a deceitful eye, I became saddled with the responsibility of finding the X in his love equation because he was Y; always needing an X. One thing was sure though, I wasn’t X and I sure was not in any equation; not with him.

Something must have jolted me back to reality. Maybe it was because the Ice cream was too loud or that the Tv tasted too sugary. At that moment, life couldn’t have been more garnished than my mother’s vegetable soup.  It was the mouth watering wonder which graced our dining table on Sunday afternoons while I was growing up.

‘Siju, you are quarter to marriage and you still want me to supervise you in the kitchen? Your mates in the North are mothers of several children.’ mum would say as I helped her out in the kitchen after enduring a long service at church mostly because of the women who were busy doing  a rather adapted form of Michael Jackson’s moon walk during the thanks giving segment.

“You better buckle up. No man wants to marry a woman who cannot cook” she would add.

But that wasn’t the only thing that would make me desirable to a man. According to my mother, I also needed to know how to wash the collar and armpit area of a man’s shirt very well and press clothes like the employee of the month at a 5-star laundry mart. I also needed to know how to manage a man’s mood and compensate him appropriately on our matrimonial bed before other women push me out of my ‘husband’s house’

In short, I had to be clay; ever ready and willing to be molded into different things, objects and shapes. I needed to be spontaneously adaptive so as to fit into what a man would desire in a wife. And if I didn’t? I would end up being like my 52-year-old aunty who had no husband or children and who wore deep red lipstick, shiny eye shadow and too much powder – even when she went to bed.

But I’m Sijubomi.  And clay was too boring. I wanted to be something else; perhaps the huge multicolored feather on the hat my mother wore to special church occasions or the beautiful gold fountain pen which my father carried everywhere proudly. And so I wasn’t surprised when our neighbors whose bungalow stood behind my mother’s hedge of flowers began spreading rumors that I had become a prostitute. They painstakingly classified me even. I was the type who slept with big lawmakers in our town because I moved out of my father’s house into a rented flat in one of the high rise buildings at the Government residential area where visitors had to show off invitations to get access to residents.

So, while I wait for my mother’s phone call, which was sure to come in later this evening, I’ll practice my silence when she asks me:

“Siju, How far? Do you realize that you are one year away from the official age of menopause?”

Silence.

Are you there?

Silence.

‘Hello o! (Talks to my father) these MTN people have started again’

Hangs up.

It’s a perfect plan because today, I’d rather count how many stretch marks now grace my arm.

I’ll simply be an octagon.

Photo Credit: Dana Bartekoske Heinemann | Dreamstime.com

AnuOluwapo Adelakun is a Women & Girls rights advocate, Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker working on issues affecting marginalized girls and women in Nigeria. She's a UNICEF Voices of Youth alumni, Carrington Youth Fellow of the US Consulate in Nigeria, US Consul General Award Recipient, UN WOMEN/Empower Women Global Champion for Change and UK Chevening Alumna. She's also an ardent reader of African literature and an unrepentant fan of the BBC series 'Call the Midwife'.

9 Comments

  1. Anne

    February 14, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Interesting. I’ll forever advocate abstinence. There is something so conquering about it. That fact may be too deep for many young people to understand. If you did not go to bed with him, you will raise your head up high after a failed relationship. My friend’s boyfriend regretted his actions so much but my friend could still relate with him casually by saying ‘ you messed up and that’s your bad ‘ Why? No strings or bodies attached. Go your way I go my way and that’s ok . Once you start having sex, you complicate everything. In fact, it makes dumping you easier which many women don’t understand. Just like I said, it is deep. Remember your physical and emotional safety are paramount. God is watching.

    • Iris

      February 14, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      Lol I know they’ll be coming for you on this blog for the sex comment (assuming anyone reads this) so let me intervene small. I completely understand what you mean about abstinence making it easier to walk, but it may not work for everyone. There’ll be virgins or women who haven’t slept with the guy but will feel it just as much. Conversely, there will be those who have had a sexual relationship and will still walk with heads high. The messier ones happen when the woman has slept with him willingly but it’s because she think it will help the relationship and take it to the next level of strength or make him stay or position herself for marriage, which is why I keep saying premarital sex is not for everyone. Thats when you start hearing stories that touch the heart. I think many women globally find themselves in that situation. The irony is that prior to the breakup they think they are sexually liberated.

  2. Debbie

    February 14, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Beautiful piece hun! :way 2 go

  3. dee1

    February 14, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    R

  4. dee1

    February 14, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Some people can not but have sex in a relationship. If they are’nt in a relationship, then it’s fine but once they are committed, they do the do without any expectations from the partner and no regrets afterwards. Are these people weird?

    Note: Christian and very aware of the fact that it’s not acceptable but totally lacks self control.

    Should this kind of people kill themselves?

  5. Trix

    February 14, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    your write ups are always so much fun to read, oh my goodness *lmao ! Nice one Anu!!

  6. Oj

    February 15, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Interesting read Anu. Welldone, i look forward to reading more.

  7. geenie

    February 19, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Quite right. You can walk away with your head high when there was no sax involved. There’s this great and fulfilling feeling that come with abstinence. It pays to abstain, it pays big time.

  8. Ade

    March 10, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Nice write up. I enjoyed it.

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