It wasn’t as painful as Amina had explained it to be or maybe as injurious as I had imagined it will be. Amina had painted a “knife-cutting-through-skin” picture when she narrated her ordeal the first night as a “virgin”.
“Mehn, the thing was painful o. It was like my laps were going to be torn apart. As in……”
Kofo, our roommate quickly refuted her claim: “Hmmm, no o it depends on the guy o. Torn apart ke?” Actually, I was part of those who had thought Kofo was a very bad girl due to the nasty things she frequently uttered, but for the first time agreed with her on the notion of the “first night” as Michael came into me slowly. It was like passing through fire at first.
Michael and I had been dating since year one, and I’d always loved him because he respected my view on sex. Although he had tried so many times to persuade me on different occasions and, my firm ‘No’ had always got him straight back to his senses, on this day, the way he looked at me had me suspecting something was going to happen.
Firstly, he called me very early in the morning to say the usual “I miss you,” and explained he would like me to spend the night in his house. Since I wasn’t going to be busy, I accepted delightfully. Around 1:00pm, he called me to come downstairs and my roommates started with their usual ‘Na you o,’ especially Kofo. I smiled and proceeded downstairs to meet him.
Michael was not like other guys; in fact, he was just perfect. Apart from his intelligence and handsome face, his good command of English had always got my head spinning. “Who wants to marry a man with an Igbotic accent?” I always asked myself jokingly. The way he calls me ‘IMA’ sweetly always made my ears feel they were imported. He was just so sweet.
When I got downstairs, his eyes immediately set me questioning if I had applied the right make-up as I gave him the ‘what-is-wrong-with-me’ look; examining my skirt, blouse and body simultaneously.
“Ima, my goddess,” he said softly and watched me giggle. His smile was priceless as he embraced me. And I could immediately perceive the scent of his cologne. Michael was just perfect. I adjusted my seat belt as he drove off, and looked forward to having a nice time with my Michael.
‘Food?’ He asked sweetly.
“No, I’ll cook when I get to your place.” I replied.
“Village girl oshi,” he teased jokingly.
“Ehen, leave me like that,” I replied with amusement. In a matter of minutes, we were at his Surulere apartment. The interior decoration of Michael’s room had always made me find him all the more attractive. I always looked amazingly at the way the painting of the walls had matched perfectly with the rug in his room. His craze for beauty and perfection is just so spectacular. He easily outshone other guys I had met before.
I walked to the kitchen to drop the ingredients we had bought on the way to cook the soup I had in mind. I was undressing in the room so as not to stain my outfit before beginning my cooking when I sensed Michael. He stepped in gently and shut the door carefully behind him. I could not hold back the laughter.
“Hmmm, I jus…just want t to…em… know…em how you…you are doing.” He stammered.
“Michael not again na,” I protested softly.
“Baby, I know but you know I have tried.” His voice was gentle.
“Tried?” I shouted. “Michael, but you know for God sake that I’m still a V?”
“Ehen na. That’s what I’m saying.” He moved forward slowly to embrace me and I rebuffed him with dismay. “I will be gentle. I swear.” He exclaimed.
“You swear?” My ears seemed heavy all of a sudden.
“Yes, Ima love.” And that was it. There is just a way he calls my name which aroused me all the time and he knew this. What was it about him, was it the way he called my name or just simply because he was who he was? I struggled to figure it out as I looked at him in pity and imagined his pain. The poor boy had been holding himself for the past three years and he was still here for me. I smiled and looked him straight in the face.
He understood my surrender and moved closer to me, planting a deep kiss on my lips as he unstrapped my bra. My nipples were standing firmly in salute to the wakeup call of my prince. I felt slightly embarrassed. He touched them playfully with his fingers and listened to my moans with pleasure. Then he lay me down gently on the bed as he sucked on my nipple before carefully removing my underwear. I was a river already beneath. He smiled as he listened to my heartbeat and carefully uttered while he removed his boxers, “I’ll be gentle.” By now my heart was pounding heavily as I tried to imagine how painful it was going to be. I felt like running out fast as I could because I was scared but could not overcome his suppressing hold. Maybe I had wanted it anyways. Then he slipped it through. I felt slight pains between my thighs combined with a feeling of a tear and was about to scream when he withdrew slowly immediately. Then he slipped it in again and pushed. There was a slight rush but soon I began to enjoy the ride.
Amina was right. But I think Kofo was more correct. Michael was that kind of guy she was talking about. A guy who understands and does it so gently you would only feel slight pain. I clenched my teeth and held his shoulder while he pounded and slightly listened to the lyrics of Asa’s Be My Man, which seeped into the room through the window from the stereo of a neighbour. I closed my eyes and welcomed his strikes gently. It was like…Then, Michael was pounding real hard when I suddenly felt a vibration.
“Could that be my phone?” I wondered. And then the vibration started again. Michael annoyingly picked the phone and wanted to cut the call when he stopped and exclaimed “Mama”. I jerked up immediately, collected the phone and examined it. It read “11 missed calls.” My heart pounded in hard beats. Eleven missed calls! Mama hardly calls except Ulom; our neighbour’s son was around to help since he was the only literate in our community. What could the problem be?
“Baby, just relax okay? Maybe she dialled it unknowingly.” He said and tried to continue. I pushed him off me and looked away absentmindedly trying to imagine what must have happened. Is it that she felt something strange has happened to me? I asked myself. I decided to call immediately. What could have made Mama call me eleven times?
By now, Michael was in the bathroom cleaning up while I longed for the voice of my mother behind the phone.
“Hello! Mama,” I greeted when her voice finally came on.
“Ima, ppp…pplle..please come home.” Mama’s voice was shaky as she spoke.
“What is the pro…” I wanted to ask but she cut off immediately. I became hot from within all of a sudden. A lot of questions ran through my mind as my heart started beating frantically.
I set for my village early the next morning. My head still unclear of the questions which had made it very hard for me to sleep. Michael tried his best to calm me to sleep but my worry only kept both of us awake. My mind was fixed on the eight hours journey to Oron.
“Mama still would not pick her call, at least she should have told me what happened” I said to myself annoyingly. I was so worried; I didn’t notice the bus moved quite swiftly. At 5:45pm, the atmosphere of my village greeted me with praises at first only to be engulfed by a cloud which was pregnant. The trees were looking dull as the leaves were not so green. Who knows maybe it was because of the hamarttan? I walked hastily and was tempted to even run until I could see our compound. I stopped to observe. The normalcy was beyond normal and it quickly relieved me of some thoughts. But as I moved closer, the walls of our house were in tears. Mama came out immediately after being informed by someone that I was around. Her eyes were filled with tears already. She embraced me tightly and cried softly.
“What is wrong?” I asked. She exhaled deeply.
“Imayen, your father is dead!” Immediately, I felt a tightening in my stomach. My heart pounded in heavy beats and I couldn’t hold back the tears. “How? When? What happened?” The questions dropped simultaneously.
“He fell from a tree!” Mama answered in tears. Papa had always complained of a back pain since I was twelve, and he had promised not to climb any tree only to eat back those words when I gained admission into the university. Papa had promised to give me a sound education to make me a good woman, and had even borrowed money from his friend to set up his farm.
“Imayen,” mama continued, “remember your father borrowed a huge sum of money?”
“Yes, I remember.” I answered sorrowfully.
“Well, the creditor had demanded to be paid in the traditional way.”
“To find the money within seven days or forcefully take the debtor’s daughter.”
“When is the last day?” I asked, my breath catching in my chest.
“Today!” Mama broke down in tears and wept bitterly. I felt empty and my legs suddenly felt too weak to support me.
“So, mama why didn’t you inform me since,” I questioned angrily.
“Ulom has not been around,” she answered gently amidst tears “the boy gained admission into one the federal universities, and had left the village several weeks before the incident happened.”
I could not contain my tears as I tried to imagine mama moving from house to house trying to reach me. Then I asked, “ who is the creditor?”
“Chief Ekemini,” mama said with disdain on her ashen face. Chief Ekemini had always looked at me lustfully since I was twelve. I could recall how he had spanked me on my buttocks countless of times playfully as he uttered, “Fine girl!” Then he would smile with his disgusting coloured teeth. His right hand was always attached to his groin had made me always wonder if his manhood was falling. Who would have been surprised if it was after thirteen children? My heartbeat increased slowly, as pain and disappointment ravaged my entire being. Mama held me close to herself and said soberly, “Imayen, it’s a man’s world; we are just struggling to live in it.” Those words pierced my flesh. “But remember you are my pride,” she continued, “that’s why I named you IMAYEN. Maybe you can d something about it” she uttered pitily.
Soon, I was in Chief Ekemini’s house. The tight corner by which my loads were accommodated made me feel smaller than ever. I thought about Michael and wanted to cry. How can he tell me he can’t help with common fifty thousand naira? Even when my life depended on it? I thought he said he loved me? These thoughts continued to baffle me. Suddenly, Chief Ekemini entered. He laughed in an annoying manner and said “fine girl.”. I felt irritated. His coloured teeth revealed his desires as he moved closer. He decided to undress me gently, smacking his lips together in anticipation. This only angered me and I tried not to succumb to him but remembered I could do nothing. Finally, he was done undressing me and my nipples watched him awfully. He jerked with delight and pushed me on the bed. I lay unmoved as he removed my underwear. I grieved with sorrow and wished him dead instantly. Then he removed his wrapper and balanced on me with his hairy body dripping sweat. The little room felt hot. The palm wine stench oozed from his nostril and made me hate him the more. I closed my eyes in disgust and felt a sharp pain as he slipped into me. But this pain was not like that of my first first night. It was that of my dignity as a woman. The pain of being disrespected. I wanted to scream but closed my eyes instead as moved heavily with all his might.
The tears from within increased as I thought of Michael. He turned me the other way in a bid to make me appreciate his efforts but my body remained unbroken. Soon my motionlessness made him irritated and he fumbled hard with my nipples to get that sound of satisfaction. But I remained silent.
“You be wood?” He asked. I said nothing. “And you are not even fresh!” he raised angrily. I remained silent. Aggrieved, He began to pound heavily until he could breathe no more. But still I absorbed the pain until he became frustrated and stood annoyingly to get his wrapper. He dashed out of the room in annoyance. The tears dropped in large droplets as I stood up weakly to clean myself. I picked my phone and dialled Michael’s number for the seventy-second time only to be answered by the usual “the number you are dialling is switched off.”
Tears dripped down my eyes heavily. Mama was right, it was a man’s world. She had explained to me how she and papa had struggled to have a child and when they finally did have a child, she told me of how hell had set loose because I was a girl.
“But why?” I had asked her annoyed. The reply was the same, “it’s a man’s world; we are only struggling to live in it.”
“So, where is the female’s world?” the question ravaged my soul as tears flooded my eyes continuously.
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