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Thursday, 3 December 2015


Chapter One: Let’s Meet Peter

You know my name already. I'm 20years old, light-skinned and the height of Ramsey Noah. I won’t say I’m athletic because I’m almost opposite; no six packs, no bulging chest, not even a single visible vein on the arms. I hesitate to call myself chubby but that seems to be the word. In the judgement of my elder sister and Mom, I am a bit effeminate but I refuse to believe them. My elder and only sister tease me so often that I got used to her jesting. “I almost had a younger sister!”, she would say. I had grown over the childhood annoyance and long before age 20, I had completely accepted and appreciated my natural physique and personality.

Growing up hadn’t been a tough experience as far as home was concerned. My parents were successful in their occupations. Mom worked at Zenith Bank and Dad was the regional manager of TORQUE, the only engine assembling company in the south. Most of the necessary things we required were provided for such as good education and sound discipline. Mom believed in “spare the rod and spoil the child” concept. Dad believed in the “dialogue and diplomacy” approach. I loved them both but everyone knew I tilted more to Dad than Mom, just as Imaobong, my sister tended towards Mom in a way I couldn’t figure out. I and Dad were close as buddies.

After primary school education, Mom had strongly suggested I attended a federal secondary school instead of a private. She believed I needed some less pampering experience to set me up for manhood. I didn’t really understand her because I was just ten then. It was after crossing into the gates of Federal Government Boys College, Ikot Esin that her words became lucid. Like a big blue shark, the gates opened up hungrily, swallowing and devouring every bit of me, far more than my Mom wished. It was painful and crushing for an innocent boy of ten. Six years experience in Ikot Esin was enough to pump in androgen into the most effeminate male. It was miserably tough and awful initially before I could fully blend, though the quality of education was good. During the junior years, we survived like rats in cage; never knowing which will be picked out for the next injection. The better years started partly in first year of senior class and then progressed through the remaining terms. I remember at the end of the first year’s first term, I had desperately wanted out. Dad felt for me but Mom convinced him it was necessary for my upbringing. I cried and wept but the decision had been made. I knew Mom was touched but she couldn’t help doing what she felt was necessary for me. She had embraced me tight and kissed my forehead, gave me some assuring words before she stuffed some thousands into my palm and left, at the beginning of the second term. I could remember, that same day, while walking towards my dormitory; I was confronted by two tall senior students. They robbed me of the money, there in the open. Thank God I had stuffed a good part of the money in my socks because they had only made away with the ones in my pockets. One didn’t have to learn all wisdom in class. After those early terms, I realized complaining to my parents wasn’t the answer. Dad and Mom didn’t have to know all I passed through each day so I stopped reporting the bullying and harsh treatments. They throw you into a hellhole, stop looking for a long rope out no matter how scorching. At some point it’s gonna cool, probably when the coal hurlers are on break.

At the end of it all, the sweet innocent boy died slowly and a new Peter was born; a male Peter, a more confident Peter. It took six years of evolution to bring out a young, smart, handsome Peter from me. Nothing really scared me anymore. I didn’t stutter or play with my fingers when I interacted with strangers anymore. My effeminate and innocent appearance diminished, though I still was chubby. Mom was right but it wasn’t easy. Thanks but no thanks to her.

For any young man in the early twenties of life, some natural emotions for the opposite gender were inevitable. These emotions could be strong, weak or not there at all. For most of my friends and peers, getting girl friends was as important as breathing oxygen. You didn’t have at least one, then you were either a bloke thrown down from the ‘20s, a eunuch, a living corpse or gay. Whatever it meant to them, I couldn’t change my stand on this so-called girl thing. I wasn’t gay and girls weren’t my game. I played cards and scrabble. I talked to girls only when the need arose and the chances for such needs were as thick as a split hair. I usually enjoy listening to my friends’ relationship stories and all the sweat they break to penetrate the hard-to-get souls. “All you need is the courage, the communication and the cash then a clean shower and a comfortable bed will be inevitable”, one of my folk usually sings, making it sound so easy and enticing than reality. It was often ridiculous and unbelievable.

Now, back to me; I’m not gay so don’t get the impression. It’s not that I'm unattractive that the pretty girls wouldn’t come my way at all. In fact, they occasionally did come my way but only gave up few days or weeks after they read the invisible “I’m not interested” signs. I simply didn’t wonna put the ‘in’ to the ‘volve’ on dating. One thing I knew, females were dangerous. I’ve heard about them, seen a lot too and even imagined how it would be like with them. Aside my sister, my Mom and cousins, I’ve always refused to associate myself with any group of females or to get closely attached to one. Girls were like negative electrons; always on the demanding and receiving end. It’s always money, gifts, outings and more money and all you ever get from them is “you’re such a sweetheart. Can we do this again someday?” or “I haven’t received the alert yet” or “oh sweet, we can’t do this today. My regular visitor is around” or “I’m tired please, just need a break”.  I didn’t have to be in a relationship to know how much it sucks. I've seen most of my guys sinking into slavery to please their girls with material things beyond their reach. People were supposed to find love and comfort in relationships but unfortunately, it just couldn’t be so in many instances. Everything was so artificial and selfish in this age. My decision on this was purely self-made, not from parental advice, moral or religious principles (my family wasn’t much of a religious kind, just so you know. It was more of “know the right thing, do the right thing” type). Peter says “NO TIME FOR GIRLS”.

I’m not anti-social—no way. I could be sanguine and spirited most of the times if the atmosphere was pleasant enough (especially during games, movies or jesting). Few other times, I could be quiet and withdrawn. To some extent, I like social networks and interacting online. Chatting with virtual friends from around the country was pleasurable, especially with females. It was easier to maintain a chat relationship with females online than in real life affair. I could go into the general chat rooms and if I happened to find anyone interesting enough, I added them to my private chat list and then we keep the flow going. One of the simple secrets of sustaining a flow with the ladies was to make them the subject of attention and interest. Compliments and nice words were great seasonings too.

 Now let’s put the descriptive and narrative essay aside. At some point in the life of every young person, there’s always a peak point, as I call it. Most of the times, there must be a turning point to usher in the peak point. This moment in life is a time where new things are discovered, self rules are amended, and you no longer become the audience but the actor. It doesn’t come like breeze at all, but like a torrent-carrying and absorbing you at a high speed that it scares the hell out of you when it slows down for you to breathe. I don’t know if this makes sense but I think it will, sooner or later. Ikot Esin was a good instance of a turning point in my life but it later seemed to be a preparatory for the most significant one. The major turning point in my youthful life started when I gained admission into the University.

Two years after Ikot Esin, luck smiled on me as admission finally came. I was admitted to study Architecture in Western State University (WSU), situated in the heart of Greenland Sate. The institution was just where I wanted admission-the western part of the country-far, but not too far from home. I needed a place I could be free from excess supervision and monitoring (Mom could be a microscope if she wanted to), a place I could obtain education and at the same time explore the great abundance of campus before graduating. Few of my friends told me a lot of stories about Western State University (WSU). I needed this taste of happiness and independence and so I considered my admission a dream made reality. Unfortunately, my parents were concerned about how I would fair in the west. Though they were glad I gained admission after two years, they were somehow worried even after my assurances that I’ll do ok. It was a bit surprising and disappointing when Dad made arrangements with Aunt Mabel, his cousin who incidentally resides in same city where I was to school in Greenland. I was to live with her for the time being. Aunt Mabel was a single business woman in the early thirties. She was a very nice and accommodating lady and had always wanted someone from home around. I had no problem living with her. I was only perturbed that my plans for WSU would be dampened. Everything was set for travelling and after first week of resumption, I was already leaving for WSU.

Somewhere deep within me, I knew many things would not be the same again in my life. I knew that for sure, just the way I knew I had two thumbs.


(...to be continued)

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