-A Teenage Love Affair

Must Read: A Teenage Love Affair… Part 4

If You Missed The Part 3, Read It Here

Half an hour later,the doorbell rang shrilly.

“Who is it?”,asked Miriam as she walked to the door. “Me”,replied a deep male voice. It was Orisha! Miriam walked quickly to the door,her heart racing,and opened it to see him standing there. “What are you doing here?”,she asked in surprise. Orisha didn’t answer her;he just drew her to him and hugged her tightly. “O. . kay,now why are you hugging me?” “Because i was worried”,he replied. “Come in”,she said,and continued a few seconds later when they were inside;”i don’t get,Orisha. Why were you worried?” “You wanna know? Okay. You were supposed to get back to me,to tell me what your dad said about movie night-except you didn’t. Not only did you not reply,it seemed like you just dropped off the surface of the earth. I called you later the day we had lunch;your phone was switched off. I called you the next day;same thing. And the next day,and the day after that-still switched off. I sent you messages on facebook,you didn’t reply any of them. i didn’t see you online. So i was worried. I couldn’t help but wonder,what if? What if you’d had an accident? What if you’d been kidnapped-seeing as kidnapping’s all the rave in Nigeria,i was worried!” She smiled at him oddly,oblivious of his apparent irritation and slight annoyance. The only thing she was thinking about was that he was worried about her,and ‘that meant he cared about her to some extent,didn’t it?’,she asked herself. “What happened mims?”,he asked her. “My dad seized my phone. And banned me from using the computer for a week”,she said. It was part of her punishment. Losing her phone,and access to the internet hurt more than a hundred beatings combined. “Why?”,he asked. She didn’t answer him,so he asked another question. “This didn’t have anything to do with you asking him whether we could go see a movie,did it?” “That’s by the way. My dad and i had an argument,that’s all”. “Oh. Sh*t. I caused this?” “What? No . . No”,she said,rushing to assure him and continued;”This had nothing to do with me asking him about movie night. Okay maybe it did have a little to do with it,but the point is,it was bound to happen sooner or later. There were. . underlying issues that have nothing to do with you,so don’t go beating yourself up about it.” “What else did he do,apart from seizing your phone?”,Orisha asked through clenched teeth. “What does that matter?” “It matters to me”,he said. “Well i don’t think it should. Now can we please stop talking about this?” “Why?”,he asked. “Because i don’t feel comfortable talking about this”. “Why?”,he asked again. “Because.” “Since when did because become a logical excuse?” “Orisha just drop it,will you? I don’t feel comfortable sharing stuff”. “That’s the problem. You don’t share.You keep everything bottled up inside and it’s not healthy! You did the same thing when we used to chat online or when i called from the states. You’d shy away from personal questions”. “Because i’m a private person”,she said. “No. Because you’re scared.” “You don’t know anything orisha.” “But i’d like to. I may not know anything about what you’re feeling,but i do know that talking about stuff helps”. He paused and waited for her to say something. She didn’t. “I have to go. I’m attending afternoon mass”,he said with a sigh,and continued;”When you’re ready to talk,you know where to find me” “Great. Now you’re giving me ultimatums. I don’t like ultimatums”,she said. “It’s not an ultimatum,Mims. I’m your friend,and you’re mine. You should be able to talk to me. You should be able to trust me with what’s bothering you. I’ve gotta go now,though. And if something ever happens to your phone again,then call me from a payphone and let me know what’s up,o.k?” “okay”,she replied quietly. “Bye”,he said. “Bye”,she replied,and continud;”And thanks for checking up on me.” He smiled at her and then left.

Two weeks later. . . . .

Miriam and Orisha had been spending a lot of time together. By some sort of unspoken arrangement,neither of them mentioned the talk they had that Sunday. Her parents went to work everyday,and her junior brother went to school,so her days were free,and she spent them hanging out with Orisha. They’d checked out the Badagry slave ports earlier that week. Now they were at the beach. They’d gotten there early that day,before the sun came out,and now they were seating on the cool sand under the shade of a luxuriant palm tree,eating the little picnic he’d packed. Miriam knew he wanted her to open up to him. He hadn’t said it,but she knew that was what he wanted,and that was something that wasn’t easy for her;opening up to someone. She was a bit of a loner,even in the company of her family,often retiring to the seclusion of her room to write;since she needed silence to ‘get her creative juices flowing’,in her own words. She bit down into the piece of chicken thoughtfully,and a little sauce dribbled down her chin. ”You’ve got a little something on your chin”,he said,and without thinking about it,picked up a serviette and dabbed it off. His fingers,’beautiful fingers actually’,she thought absently and couldn’t believe she’d actually thought about it,his fingers lingered on her jaw. There was a moment,during which the sounds of the ocean around them faded out and they were in a world of their own. Then his phone beeped-he’d just received a message. The moment was broken,and she looked away. About half an hour later,just after they’d finished eating,she asked softly:”Is it okay if we talk now?” “Yeah”,he replied. “My dad and i. . . don’t get along”,she began. “Things were fine between us when i was younger,infact we were kinda close,but when i hit teenagerhood,things changed. My dad started comparing me with my big sisters,which was,and still is very annoying. I . . don’t get noticed when i’m around them. It’s almost like everybody compares me with them,and i always fall short;i’m not perfect enough,i’m not pretty enough. . . . ” “You’re beautiful”,he cut in softly,his deep voice resonating with feeling. “I’m okay,Orisha,but come on! You’ve seen my sisters. You know what they look like. They’re unbelievably gorgeous”,she paused,and continued,sounding conflicted;”I love my sisters,i really do,but it’s just. . . It’s hard to be in their shadow all the time. And then recently,my dad’s been obsessed with making sure i don’t get spoilt. He wasn’t a liberal father before,but now things have gotten worse. He thinks keeping me cooped up in the house will somehow protect my virtue”,she said,getting riled up just thinking about it. “He doesn’t give me an inch of freedom,he doesn’t trust me. . . It’s suffocating. No one understands me. Even when i’m surrounded by my family i feel alone. . Different”,she said. “I know what it feels like to be different”,he said,and continued; “When we moved to the states,everything changed. We had a new house,new neighbors,new school,new weather,new everything. Moving away from the people and things i knew and loved was incredibly difficult. For months,i felt different,out-of-place,like i didn’t belong. It was hard.” “So how did you take it? Did you act out?” “If by act out you mean did i dye my hair purple,smoke pot”,he joked with a smile,making her giggle,and continued;”then no,i didn’t,but for a while,i was really angry”. “At who?”,she asked. “My parents. We left Nigeria pretty suddenly. No one asked me what i thought-we just up and moved,and i was angry at them for making me leave. And then i was angry at myself for resenting them when i knew they were just trying to make things better for our family. But,eventually,i got over it.” “And i will?”,she asked with a smile. “Yeah. Pretty much”,he said in reply. They fell into a comfortable silence. She was wondering how to thank him for listening to her vent about her issues. Venting hadn’t solved anything,but it’d certainly made her feel better. She had to thank him,but she didn’t want to sound sappy either. While pondering over her little dilenma,he handed her a canned sprite. “Thanks”,she said,and continued;”for this,and for everything”. “You’re welcome”,he replied and continued;”Now hurry up with that. I see some killer waves on the horizon. Let’s go get drenched!”. She grinned at him broadly and drank the canned coke as quickly as she could,after all,the waves were calling out to her.

‘Orisha and a couple of their old primary school friends were organising a party,a get together of their set. The party was being held at Paul’s place(Paul was a mutual friend),and with the way things were going,the party was going to be a huge success. Those were the thoughts running through Miriam’s mind. It was a Friday evening,and the party was to be held in exactly one week. Her parents were seated in the living room,watching the evening news when she came in and sat down. She took in a deep breath,and then said;”Daddy? I need to ask you something.” “What?”,he replied. “I need you to please extend my curfew next week friday.” “Why?”,he asked. “A couple of friends have organised a reunion of our primary school set and it’s next week friday”. “You want to go to a party?”,her father asked. “Daddy,please. They hold these reunion bashes every year-i’ve never been to any of them. Not even one. This would mean so much to me dad”,she said earnestly. “No. You’re not going to any party”,her father said. Miriam laughed bitterly and asked aloud;”Why did i even bother?”. She stood up from the sofa and went up to her room.

“Okay,this is getting too much,Moses”,her mother said to her father after she was gone. “What’s getting too much?”,he asked. “The way you’re treating her. She’s not a kid anymore Moses. She’s 16,and she’s never been to a party!”. “That’s not true Efe. She’s been to parties. . . ” “Yeah. . Wedding parties,and birthday bashes that end at 5pm. They don’t count. She hasn’t been to a real party”,cut in her mom. “Oh,so you want her to go to this party?”,he asked. “I should’ve sai this a long time ago,Mo,but i didn’t. You’re the head of this family,and i didn’t want to question your authority. . and i was confused. I didn’t know what to do with Miriam-and maybe i still don’t,but i do know that what we’re doing now-flogging,threats,yelling,it’s not working. Not for her. Maybe it’s time we changed our methods. Miriam is 16. She’s young,full of life,and very responsible most of the time. She deserves to have a little fun,and you need to realize that”,she said. “I don’t believe this,Efe”,he began,and continued;”I’m trying to protect our daughter,and you’re criticizing me?”. “From what,Moses? What are you trying to protect her from?”.she asked. “You know very well what happens in parties,Efe”,he said.


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