Monday, 26 August 2013

26 August, 2013.

I sat at my usual seat at the front my eyes focused on the teacher , frequently, nodding my head in understanding. I heard nothing, I just watched her lips move. I was afraid to look at the time like the other kids. I was afraid Mrs. Ezinne would tell Mama that I was becoming rebellious. Mama visited school often to see all my teachers, asking about my attitude to school work, my general behavior and the type of friends I kept. She told them to monitor me and they were to report to her if they had any complaints. I still remember when Mr. Ladipo told Mama that I had begun to follow boys only because he saw me with Chinemelem at break time, who came to ask me to explain some Math problem to him.That night Mama came to my room in the darkness of the night and used Papa's belt to flog out the demon of whoredom from my body. Mama says that demons are weakest when you attack them in the middle of the night. So that night at two am, Mama lashed me repeatedly while speaking in tongues. After that I stayed away from everyone. Mama taught me to talk to no one. "You don't need friends Nne'm, they are distractions. I sent you to school to study and nothing else." So at break time, I sat by myself in a corner solving my assignments and staring longingly at the other children playing together. My tummy grumbled too. Mama never gave me money or food for break time.And she taught me not to collect "witchcraft" from the other kids. Even on birthday celebrations in class, I would politely decline. Because of this attitude, I had no friends. One time, I was too hungry. During Cynthia's birthday. I let myself take the cake and sweets she shared. I hurriedly ate the cake and I saved the sweets in my bag for the next day. I forgot to take the sweets from my bag so Mama discovered them when she went through my school bag as she normally did. She slapped me repeatedly on the mouth asking me who I had collected the "mami water" from.
Things became worse when I entered secondary school. When Mama noticed I had started growing breasts, she made me wear big clothes. "Your body is God's temple", she said "...respect it". When we walked to the market together. She would make disgusted noises when she saw the young ladies skimpily dressed. Her "hmm"s and "haaa"s and "Tufikwa"s would be loud enough for the person it was directed to. Some of them walked past quickly, ashamed of themselves, others would eye Mama and hiss or throw in and insult or two. During such occasions, I would be quite embarrassed and quietly pray for the ground to open up and swallow me. One night, Mama came to me while I was sleeping, feeling my legs, then my laps, her hands traveled still in between my legs. I tried hard not to cringe, and lay still. After a while, she left the room. The next morning she called me. "Adanma, you sleep like a drunk, a man can have his way with you. You must learn to sleep with one eye open always." So the next time she came to me. I held her hand to stop her and she nodded in satisfaction and kissed my forehead. "Sleep well my child" and left the room.
I began to know sadness more than before and in a new light when I entered the University. I had no friends. In fact maybe no one wanted to be my friend. I was the girl they laughed at. I was the girl who wore the worn out clothes that were several sizes bigger than her. Guys wanted nothing to do with me, girls also.I knew loneliness intimately. Mama still came around to make sure I didn't backslide from the ways of the Lord. She came to talk to anyone who would listen to her. My professors pitied me. Some advised her to let me be, that I was grown enough to make my own choices. Instead she told me to beware of those lecturers that she was sure they wanted to sleep with me. Mama would make me kneel outside when she was about to leave and she would pray for me in the open where other people on campus would see and laugh. Mama made me scream amen to the prayers. If I was not loud enough or if I did not say "Amen" when I was  supposed to, Mama would knock me hard on the head for being ashamed of Jesus. "If you are ashamed of Jesus, He will be ashamed of you too". Mama scarred me in so many ways. But I feared her too much to disobey her. Sometimes I wished her dead in my mind. The only reason why I never added that in my prayers is that I feared the thought of her dying as much as I feared her....

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