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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

AGE OF CRISIS --by Nickz

(Image source: www.flickr.com)

I face the partly broken mirror hanging on the old wall. I can see my reflection but I’m not sure how I should feel about what I’m seeing. I can feel the chill breeze blowing on my nudeness but that’s not my worry. I don’t understand why these buds on my chest are becoming larger and painful. Oh! And the left bud is slightly bigger than the other. I put my palms to feel; they’re soft and smooth but I dare not put pressure else they hurt. I look lower at my image; I used to have this kind of growth on my head but now, they’re appearing down here too, and under my arms.

I cannot play with Mesoma, Ebere and Chichi because many times, they laugh at me and say I’m long like the masquerade that walks on sticks. I cannot play with the big girls too; they keep saying my height is deceiving me, that I’m not their mate. The grown boys on the street used to look at my face while talking but they don’t do so anymore. Yesterday when Chima called me to sell akara for him, he was staring at my chest and the akara I handed him fell on the ground.
Ngozi, one of the big girls tried to make me afraid. I know she is lying. She had said to me, “Look at you, almost a big girl like us. Very soon, you’ll start to piss blood and will not even know when it will come out.” She had laughed scornfully and left. I know she is lying. Every normal person pisses urine, not blood. Maybe she’s sick. I don’t believe her but I’m still afraid of what she said.

What will happen to me? Did mama pass through all these things? What if I ask her? Will she beat me and say I’m playing bad play with my body? Maybe I should ask her. Maybe she knows better. I put on my shirt, pants and skirt and cast a last look in the mirror. I can still see the dot on my buds showing over my shirt. Maybe this is what Chima was staring at. I am becoming sad and confused. I don’t know how I’ll start but I need to talk to somebody, I need to talk to mama.

I walk under the thatch shade we use as kitchen to meet her. Even when the morning is chill, she’s sweating from the heat of frying akara. She’s frying with one hand and struggling to wipe sweat from her forehead with the hem of her wrapper. I walk in looking down, twisting the edge of my shirt like I had done something bad. I am feeling very afraid and ashamed to ask mama. I walk closer to her and opened my mouth to ask the first question on my mind. “Mama, I – I –em - -is it normal for – ehm…” She is not listening to me but she knows I’m here. Instead, she cuts me off and is unhappy with me from the way she is talking. “Amaka why did you not come and mix this beans for me ehn? You this girl! You think you’re a woman now ehn?” I cannot say anything again. I get the sieve and she scoops out the brown balls from the frying oil into it.

I’m carrying a bucketful of akara on my head, hawking on the streets. The boys are still staring at my chest but I look away from them. Maybe it's a normal thing but it doesn’t feel normal. I will live my life and whatever comes, I’ll take it.

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