By Lilian Hall (real name protected)
I grew up in the neighbourhood of Imusin in Lagos. I was a young dashing lady with all the attractions that a man could desire. Nobody needed to tell me I was beautiful (I think I am still beautiful). That sense of completeness overwhelmed me as a young girl and I saw every other person as less than me. It was indeed the pride of life.
Interestingly I am not from a broken home. My father and mother were together and they seem to love themselves. But my father was always away on business trips while my mother a petty trader was so engrossed in her trade. We had few times to share together. I was a day student in one of the secondary schools at Ojuelegba, Lagos. As a student I was entitled to a daily allowance of N50. That was in the 90s. I did not have problems getting money from my parents. Though they were not particularly rich, there was always a flow of money due to the nature of my mother’s trade. She sells drinks and bottled water. My father was always travelling attending to one contract job or another. I was the first child. I had two other brothers. We were quite close as a family and everything seems to be going on well. I was a Christian in the nominal sense of the word and never really got involved in church activities. For me church was an escape route; or perhaps a place where people go to hibernate. I did not take church leaders and pastors serious because I saw a few who did things that were quite astonishing.
I remember as a young girl, a supposed brother who was quite evangelical made an attempt to sleep with me. By then I had not had sex with anybody. He tried to seduce me in the course of a supposed counseling session. I was the one who went to him that Friday evening to tell him of a dream I had the previous night. I was so disturbed by that dream that I felt like confiding in him since he was known to be quite evangelical in the church and zealous. Many people had respect for him. I was there with him in his sitting room. His wife and children had travelled. Before he concluded the session with me, I saw his hands moving right towards my lap. I felt a sharp sensation and quickly withdrew. I was 14. Since I had not had sex in my life I was scared. I tried to run away, he advanced towards me and right there his manhood was sticking out. I shouted. The people living in the compound knew something was happening. They quickly came knocking. “Se ko si o” meaning hope no problem, an elderly woman said banging on the door. This young evangelical brother calmed down and he started pleading with me. He opened the door and told the woman I screamed because the dining chair fell on my leg. I looked at him with disdain and walked out on him but kept the experience to myself.
It was that experience that hunted me and lured me to an endless sex life that would have altogether claimed my life. Exactly two weeks after that experience I began to imagine how it is to have sex. What further compounded my case was the increasing attraction I got from male folks. Every man around me wanted to touch me and relate with me. I felt quite loved. But it never occurred to me that the definition of love by many people is lust. People claim to love but only have lust. What many call love especially for people of my age then was actually infatuation. By this time many of my friends regaled me with stories of their sex-escapades. I enjoyed listening to such stories and imagined that one day I would experience what they were talking about. While in school young girls of my age would come talking about their sex lives. Sometimes the discussion got so animated that those of us who had no experience of sex felt we were missing something.
At home there was nobody to talk with. My father was not always around. My mother had so much in her hand that she hardly spared time to talk with me. Most time I came back from school around 6 pm because I used to attend extra classes. Between the ages of 14 and 17 when I left secondary schools my mind had become so preoccupied with the talk about sex that I was fully prepared to explore that world. There was no check whatsoever. There was in fact no talk about it in the church we were attending. Nobody talked about it at home. So I was just on my own ruminating on it and looking at possibilities.
I finished secondary school and had very good grades in my WAEC but it was difficult getting admission. I had to stay home for about two years while processing admission to the university. It was in the course of staying at home; sitting at the shop of my mum that life began to wear a new look for me. Young men would come and buy things and I was the one attending to them. Suddenly my mother felt since I was old enough to handle things there was no need to come to shop as she used to. She started trusting me with the trade and in fact was not keen about my education. At a point she was contemplating a part time programme for me so I could help her with the business. She was becoming so prosperous selling drinks and it was getting into her head. My mum would go out and come back in the evening most times. I wondered what she was doing outside. I later found out that she was keeping a date with another man. I saw the man once but I was not bold enough to confront my mother. My father was quite oblivious of this. He comes home only to eat sleep and the following day off he goes in the name of prospecting for business. I cannot tell if my father had extra-marital relationship but there were no sign that he had. In the case of my mother it was obvious to those of us her children that somebody out there was taking her attention.
So I carried along and was doing the business for her while she goes away doing her thing. Just about six months after my secondary education while in the shop a young man came to buy packs of bottled water and drinks. It was a Friday. The young man lived in the neighbourhood. I had known him for quite a while but never had anything to do with him apart from the usual pleasantries. Unfortunately we had run out of stock. My mother had earlier gone out. She was to ensure we got fresh supplies of drinks that day. So I pleaded with the man to wait that my mother would soon be around with the supplies. I offered him a sit in the shop.
He was too willing to wait. But that was the wait that brought an end to my virginity right there in the shop. By 6pm my mother had not come. By then we had got talking and he too was sharing experiences of school with me. He was a secondary school leaver too but he was not interested in going further. He had taken to trade and was doing well with the trade. We talked on virtually everything and before I could gather my senses I was right in the depth of his hands. One side of the shop was closed. It was already dark. Right there the memory of the evangelical brother that wanted to take advantage of me flashed through. I imagined that hand again. But this time around I was willing to eat the forbidden fruit. I was willing to damn the consequence. Nobody told me to close the shop when it was already 7pm and my mother had not come. I had to close it. My siblings never used to come to shop. They go from school to home straight. They were boys. Unfortunately the two of them died in an accident a few years ago (that is another story).
So I was left alone with this young man. Looking back I have a feeling that the man was packaged from hell to open the floodgate of immorality in my life. For everybody who goes into the abyss of iniquity there is always a starting point. There is a starting point of sin and if one is not careful one could go on and on to the point of destruction. That was my case.
That Friday, this young man passed through me. There was no hesitation from my part. It was as if both of us had known and planned that the action would take place. I did not feel any sense of guilt and did not think I had done anything wrong. For me it was an exploration. The young man left eventually. He did not buy what he wanted to buy and perhaps he did not want to buy anything as I later found out. It seems to me that he had the mind to come and sleep with me. But that was just the starting point. I had gone beyond the bar and things were to later take a destructive turn for me. But I failed to see the danger early enough. But my mother, my mother! When did she come home that night? I waited for almost one hour my mother was not coming. My mother sauntered in at about 8 pm in the evening telling me stories that had neither head nor tale. She was herself engrossed in series of immorality. It turned out to be the case of mother and daughter.