#StoryTime: Catching Them Young or Something Like That

Some days back, my friends and I were discussing the many things we grew up hearing from our mothers. The things we grew up to find out were many variations of the real. Fables, we called them, even though they weren’t stories of animals. “Faabu”, was the word we used. “Faabu” being our Yoruba variation of the word because growing up, we also learnt “Faabu” meant stories. “Faabu” was the safer word because we couldn’t very well call our parents liars. But now we know that those stories they made up were just to protect us.

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It’s the year 2001 and I’m trying to decide if I should kill myself or wait for my mother to come back and do it. You see, I’m 15years old and I have just committed the most heinous crime of sitting on a boy’s legs. One of the many evils my mom has been warning me against since I was 12.

“Don’t ever sit on a boy’s legs or you’ll get pregnant”, she said over and over and over again in the past few years. She has said it so much it’s beginning to haunt me in my sleep. Now I have done it. I quietly move to the bathroom where we keep detergents and soaps for all kinds of washing in the house. There’s Omo just by the bathroom window, there’s Lux on the soap dish close to the shower, and there’s toilet wash on a corner on the floor. I’m trying to decide which of them will be the quickest and best way for getting myself out of this world before my mother comes back from work.

Then I remember the rat killer mommy bought sometime ago. I read somewhere that whatever can kill a rat can kill a man. Maybe that will help me. But why did I let Monica dare me to it in the first place? Monica is my best friend and she was at my place last Saturday when my mother decided to remind me of the mantras that have guided my life so far. “Don’t sit on a boy’s legs. Don’t let a boy touch you, else you will get pregnant. In fact, if you see a boy, run the other way”. Through it all, Monica’s face wore that look of mischief that tells me when she’s up to something.

Then in school today, she dared me to sit on Kiibaati’s legs or I give her my lunch for a month. A month is too much for a foodie like me. Also the whole class was there when she said it. I couldn’t let them think I was a coward. So I swallowed hard, flung my head backwards the way Monica does when she is in trouble mode and did the dare. Oh lord, I almost fainted. But this pride of mine, the one mom always said I got from my father, held me seated firmly on Kiibaati’s legs.

Now here I am thinking of all the ways to kill myself. So far, all the options seem torturous and it will be horrible if my courage fails me halfway through. Maybe I should just wait for mom to come and do it herself.

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