Dad scolded me today because of my grades. He said I was being too playful in school and I was burning away his sweat. He threatened that he was going to withdraw me and take me to a public school if I did not improve by the end of the term. He did not bother to know why I was doing poorly. I could no longer concentrate at school. When my teachers are teaching, all I see is Aunty Halimah’s naked body and Mr. Kola’s image in my head. He told me to close my eyes when he was doing what he was doing but I have a mental image.
When I get home and it was time to do my assignment, Aunty Halimah’s hands were always in my pants when nobody was around. I could not concentrate. I only looked forward to the time I could bury my face in Aunty Halimah’s naked chest so I could feel comforted. She would tell me I could touch her anyhow I wanted that her body was for me. She would attempt to put her breast in my mouth but I was never comfortable. It was only for babies, at least that was how I saw mum feed my two sisters.
Dad withdrew me and put me in a public school. He said he was not ready to waste money on a nit wit like me. I overheard mum fight with him over that decision, but it was final. The boys in my new school were bigger than me. Each time I passed through a group of boys, they hurled stones at me and called me smallie.
I never measured up to anything they did. One day, Obi put cigarette in my mouth and I fought with him. I was just thirteen and the thing almost choked me. He beat me while the other boys cheered him. When I got home, dad saw my torn uniform and bruised face. He charged at me and beat me insisting I was a disgrace to him and I had turned myself to a fighter. I did not say anything.
When mum came back, I heard dad’s voice raised at her. He told her to talk to the disgrace of her son. Mum shouted back and their voices matched each other. You have to quit your job, I heard dad say. Mum went silent for a while. I’m not quitting my job. You can choose to quit yours. Dad raised his voice again and the next thing I heard was a slap and a shrill cry from mum. Things had not been the same since that time. Mum and dad became strangers to each other and I was nowhere to be found in their lives.
Aunty Halimah had filled the gap well. She came to my room that night to comfort me. I was beginning to enjoy her comfort and was eager for night to fall so I could be with her. I knew she would always come to my room if the coast was clear.
The boys at my school kept picking on me. My teachers would always call me olodo. Mr. Kola always came to my new school to pick me up after school so we could go to his house together. Aunty Halimah was always there every night.
Andrew flung the journal across the room. He had had enough. He ran out of the room down the stairs. He went straight to Halimah’s room but she wasn’t there. He searched through the house but couldn’t find her. He stomped off to his room. He cast a glance at Shalom who lay sprawled on the floor. He picked up the journal from the floor and flipped to the last few pages.
By the time I was fourteen, I was already smoking. The boys in my new school introduced me to it. They said I was always looking like a dodoyo (sluggish person) and that I needed to be high. They took me to their joint. They poured out a coloured liquid substance for me in a plastic cup. Immediately the content entered my mouth, I spat it out. It burned my tongue and my eyes turned. I earned a slap for that action. Some of the boys held my hands down as another one poured the content in my mouth. My head felt light and it seemed I was in another world. After few weeks, I got used to it. I drank it like I swallowed saliva. I drew in cigar like I drew in air. I was beginning to like my new life. Aunty Halimah and Mr. Kola on one hand, cigarette and alcohol on the other. It was my new normal. Dad and mum were never around, and my sisters were taken to granny’s place…
To be continued…