My lil bro, Yimika is 20 today. The the middle child of the woman that my dad married after my mum died. Yimika refuses to buy in to his mother’s message of hatred and even more hatred. JOPA brought us all up to be close but … Anyway, Yimika is just the loveliest, smartest lil bro. He wrote this short story on an important topic sometime ago and sent it to me for my approval last year. The boy is a gifted writer. In this story, he talks about a young boy who was s.ex-ua’ll-y abused by his parent’s househelp. We talk a lot about little girls who are abused by older men but often overlook the boys. I don’t know any man that did not have his first sexual experience with an older female. And usually these females are in positions of trust. Househelp… family friends…aunties…
I loved Yinka’s fiction. At least I hope it is fiction. Fear dey cash me to ask if it is fiction or anecdotal. I hope it is fiction o. Hogod! I really do hope that he was not abused by a housegirl o.
WHEN THE SADNESS WAS EVERYTHING
My life has been a travesty, it has been one catastrophe after another, I’ve seen glimmers of hope, but they were mirages, one minute there were there, but, the moment I got close they vanished. My happiness has been like water in a basket, I’ve been filled with joy for brief moments, but, the emptiness always came back, carving more out of me every time, eventually I learnt to live with despair because I realized that happiness wasn’t meant for me and I accepted it, I decided to wallow in the pain and despair, and eventually it all became part of me, and I felt something akin to peace, a twisted, distorted version of peace, but it was something, my soul was ragged and worn out, and my wounds bled endlessly, but I discovered how to retreat into the eye of the storm, before he came and changed everything.
I was born in the suburbs of Lagos, Nigeria on a rainy summer night in 1987, or so my mother says, right from the moment I let out my first indignant shriek, I was a bundle of paradoxes, I was born with two different coloured eyes, one a dark murky brown, the other a milky white which spoke of blindness, I was never a very pretty infant, I was peaceful though, and I never cried much, I had the tendency to fall asleep as soon as I’d been fed by my mother, at least they thought I was asleep, because I’d lay flat on my back not making a single sound, with my eyes wide open, the first time this happened my mum shrieked, she thought I was dead, I imagine it would have been quite an unnerving sight, but apparently I blinked and began to gurgle as soon as I heard the noise, she soon got used to this quirk and accepted that her precious little bundle of joy wasn’t entirely normal. Sometimes I do wonder if they exaggerate these things, and I can’t be blamed for being sceptical after all I was pretty bland and conventional when I reached my more sentient years, not for very long though.
As I grew up, it was obvious that I was just an ugly duckling and I was destined to metamorphose into a beautiful swan, I do wish I had remained ugly though, that way I’d have escaped some of my most painful memories. As I grew up, my eyes cleared, the shadows that dwelt within them receded, perhaps to taint the murkier depths of my soul, I had taken after my mother I had her even, aristocratic features, with her clear chocolate coloured skin, pearly, straight white teeth and her beautiful honey coloured eyes, there had always been something unnerving about my eyes, they were beautiful, but they were odd, no one could ever look at me straight in the eyes, not even my father, and my father feared nothing.
When I was five years old, my mother had another child, my little brother Akin, he was everything I hadn’t been, he was cheerful, he too never cried, but he wasn’t unnaturally silent for a baby, he was a bundle of joy, always laughing, and gurgling, and in a few months, all attention shifted from me to him, and I thrived, I had more time to explore our large compound unsupervised, I was an extremely curious child, and I loved being free to satisfy my curiosities, this soon got me in trouble. Growing up, my father was the a very high ranking official in the civil service as well as a successful businessman, and as was common amongst the Nigerian elite of the 80’s he had a slew of servants, one of them was Aunty Jumai. Aunty Jumai was the family’s cook, she had been in the family’s service for at least ten years, and she was quite fond of me always spoiling me with sweets and food, in fact I attribute my childhood chubbiness to Aunty Jumai’s influence, she was by extension, my nanny and after the birth of my brother she was almost exclusively responsible for my care, she would bathe me, feed me and take me to school and pick me up after school closed, Aunty Jumai didn’t mind, she was in her early thirties and was yet to get married, and had no children of her own, I was pleased with this arrangement as well, Aunty Jumai would feed me after school and then I was free to run around, climbing trees and exploring our garden, in those moments, I was happy. Shortly after I turned eight, I had my first glimpse of life’s ugly side. One day after school, Aunty Jumai came to pick me up earlier than usual.
“Oko mi ree” she said as she picked me up that afternoon, she k-is’se_d me on my cheek as I squirmed, I never was very comfortable with displays of affection.
“Leave me alone” I shrieked “put me down”
I could have sworn that at that moment I noticed her eyes darken for a brief moment, but I didn’t understand it, I was too young and naïve and I was oblivious to danger.
On getting home that afternoon, she fed me and bathed me as usual, but, rather than letting me run free as she used to, she took me to her room in the boy’s quarters and sat me down in a corner then began to u’ndr’es-s, I was confused and didn’t understand what was happening, soon she stood before me totally na::ke;d.
“Oko mi, come here” she said after she lay down on her bed, she spread her th’ig;hs apart and motioned towards her mou.-nd,
“Take off your clothes and come here” she repeated, this time with anger in her voice.
I didn’t understand what was happening and I remained hesitant, so she stood up and angrily walked towards me, she angrily tore my clothes off and carried me to her bed, she then lay down flat and placed my unaro;used gr-oin against hers and began to rub against me.
It was sticky and uncomfortable, I tried to scream but she put her hand on my mouth and started th-rus-ting.. with an urgency, soon she started to sob, and I went completely still, I felt sad and guilty because I thought I had made her cry. After she’d sobbed for a while, she stopped and held me tight, really tight, it hurt, and it was uncomfortable, but I was too scared to say anything.
After a while, she let go of me and, she spoke
“Get up and put on your clothes” she said
I let out a sigh of relief and hurried to retrieve my clothes.
“Now carry your big head away from here” she said again after I had put on my clothes.
As soon as I got to the door and turned the doorknob, she called to me again,
“Hey, boy” I froze “if you dare say anything about this, I’ll take you away from your mummy and daddy and you’ll never see them again”
I began to sob,
“Please ma, don’t” I said
“Then don’t tell anyone” she said, this time, she locked eyes with me, briefly and growled “now get out of here, I want to pray”
As I left her room that afternoon, I felt awful, this might be a cliché, but I did feel like everything that happened was my somehow my fault, I mean I had made her cry.
That evening, when my mum came back home, I was scared to go meet her, I was scared because I thought that perhaps, if I talked to her, or hugged her, Aunty Jumai would see me and get angry, and take everyone away from me, I thought she’d take my mum away, take my dad away, and take my beautiful little brother Akin away from me.
I really don’t know what came over me, we were having dinner, a meal Aunty Jumai had cooked, when the sadness overcame me and I began to cry, I couldn’t seem to stop, everyone was surprised after all, I was the child who never cried, I was supposed to be the happy one, the one weird one yes, but this was new.
“what’s wrong Kunle” my mother asked, the concern was clear in her eyes
“I don’t know” I said “I just feel sad”
My parents had never been the persistent type though so they just held me until I calmed down.
And that was when my battle with depression started, I felt violated, I didn’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone, I became a recluse, I didn’t want to play in the sun again, my natural curiosity faded and I was fine with being alone in my room, this was worsened by the fact that aunty Jumai still kept on using me and I began to throw tantrums anytime they tried to get me to leave the safety of my room or eat or take a bath, I froze every time I saw Aunty Jumai because I expected her to hurt me again. I was a mess and it was obvious to everyone that something was wrong everyone except my parents who dismissed my episodes as me being a spoiled attention seeking brat. Eventually the long holidays came and it was time to travel again. It was a family tradition to visit a new location when the long holidays came around and this time we were supposed to go to New York City, I was excited and my parents were seemingly happy to finally see me return to something that vaguely resembled my former self. But things didn’t work out as planned and a week before the trip, my father called me to his room saying he had a surprise for me.
“Junior” he said “I think it’s time you learnt a lesson” I wondered what he wanted to tell me.
“for a while now you’ve been acting like a spoilt little brat, and I’m not going to have any of that! You aren’t going on this trip with us son”
I was stunned and couldn’t believe my ears, there I was going through so much pain and happy to be offered an escape only to have the window through which I’d hoped I’d escape slammed shut and bolted down, again I was devastated, and my tantrums became worse. It was agonising watching everyone else prepare for the trip but I pretended not to care, in fact I was too dead inside to care, every time my mum looked at me, she looked at me with guilt in her eyes and every time I saw this I thought to myself
“good, let her feel guilty” I wanted everyone else to feel the pain I felt
I think it was that guilt, as well as the fact that she had a friend whose child had been denied entry into the United States, because he had caught and was just recovering from a highly contagious disease that made her decide to have Bode come over to spend the holiday with me.
The Adenirans were very good friends of my parents, my mum had met Linda Adeniran in a British boarding school, they were both children of highly successful Nigerian businessmen who believed that the best gift they could give their children was good education, as well as the fact that, it seemed like a good way to flaunt their wealth, my grandfather took great pride in the fact that he could give his children the same things the former colonial masters could offer their own children. But it was hard for my mother and Linda, being transplants for an entirely different culture to adapt in a new and totally foreign environment, their paths crossed and they quickly bonded and became inseparable, they became more than just friends they became sisters. They eventually met Segun Smith and Tunde Adeniran who were best friends and just as inseparable as they were and My mother fell in love with and married Segun while Linda did the same with Tunde, so you see the Adenirans were more than friends to my parents, they were family, in fact my dad ran a highly successful business with his best friend so our lives had always been intertwined.
My mum always tried to force me to be friends with Bode Adeniran, Linda and Tunde’s first son, he was a year older than me, and even more good looking than me and worst of all he was perfect in every area in which I was flawed, he was everybody’s golden boy and even my parents preferred him to me. But I was never interested in being friends with him I preferred my own company, it was customary for our families to plan their holidays together and since it was obvious that neither of us were going on this trip with them, they decided to have us spend the two-month holiday together. Finally, the departure date came and Bode arrived at my place looking sullen and hugging his teddy bear, I dreaded his arrival especially since I’d have to share a room with him, not because of a lack of space, but because our parents thought it would help us bond better. We both refused to see our parents off to the airport choosing instead to stay at home watching cartoons under the vigilant supervision of Aunty Jumai.
Despite the fact that we had a guest who she had to take care of as well, Aunty Jumai still found time to fit me into her twisted schedule and on the third day of Bode’s stay with us, Aunty Jumai called me into her room and defiled me once again. This time I couldn’t help myself, and I cried while she used me.
“Shut up!” she snapped and I felt lightning strike, she had hit me.
When she was done with me she wore her clothes and took me to go and get some food, that night we had ice cream for dinner.
And that night I wept, Aunty Jumai had just put us to bed, and I laid there in the darkness, Bode beside me. The events of the day kept replaying in my head and I rubbed my hand across my face, my head was pounding and I began to cry, I tried to stay quite but apparently I failed because, after a while I felt a pair of hands wrap themselves around me, and unlike Aunty Jumai’s they felt warm and comforting, I angrily pushed them away and felt the tears burn even hotter, but after a while I felt them around me again this time I gave in and began to cry even harder, I cried until I fell asleep.
The next day I woke up feeling like the weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
After we’d had breakfast that day Aunty Jumai asked me to come with her to her room, my heart began to thud and my palms became sweaty. I hunched my shoulders and stood up to go with her.
“can I come with you” I looked back surprised, Bode sat there with an angelic look on his face, no one could ever say no to Bode.
Aunt Jumai smiled “don’t worry Junior, I just realised I have something important to do” she said as she hurried away
From that day onwards Bode followed me everywhere, he was my bodyguard.
Eventually I began to open up a little towards him, we began to talk about the little things, we’d spend long afternoons exploring the compound after a few weeks I became comfortable enough to tell Bode about the big things as well and after a while he knew everything about me but he didn’t know my biggest secret, I was comfortable enough to tell him my biggest secret. Eventually though he began to wonder why I was so afraid of Aunty Jumai, she seemed like a nice lady to him.
So one day Aunty Jumai decided to try her luck again, this time Bode had fallen asleep while watching cartoons I began to sweat on my palms and my heart began to thud. I looked anxiously at Bode, but he seemed to be in deep sleep, we had exhausted ourselves in the garden earlier that day.
I got up slowly, my shoulders hunched and I followed Aunty Jumai. We got to her room and Aunty Jumai began her routine, soon my clothes were off and I was on top of Aunty Jumai, but, shortly after we began, the door handle turned and Bode stepped in, he took one look at us and began to scream Aunty Jumai pushed me off her and got up in alarm, she ran to Bode and wrapped her hands around his mouth, she had a pleading look on her face after a while, it seemed like Bode had quieted down she let him go.
“Bode please, don’t say anything about this” she pleaded. She got up quickly, asked me to put on my clothes and began to put on hers.
From that day, anytime Aunty Jumai looked at Bode, she had a scared look on her face. She never tried to get me alone after that. The holiday seemed to pass quickly after that and I made wonderful memories with my new friend and brother.
Soon the holidays were coming to an end and it was time for our families to come back and I was excited, I had missed my parents and my sibling.
When I saw my parents I ran to hug them, Akin looked chubbier and his skin was glowing, I had missed my little brother.
I spent the rest of the holidays playing with the toys my parents had gotten me with Bode, his parents had decided to let him spend the rest of the holidays with us. The day Bode left, I could barely eat, neither could he, we didn’t want to be separated but he had to leave, after he left, I retreated into my room and refused to leave. When night came, I lay down in my bed feeling cold and lonely, it had been a while since I’d slept alone.
The next day I woke up because I felt a heaviness and I woke up to eyes watching me, Aunty Jumai was in my room, she had a wicked smile on her face.
“my love” she said “oko mi, so you thought you could escape? I have missed you” she soon stood before me na;ke;d. She looked at me for a while then she climbed into bed with me and began to fondle my g;en:ita:ls, the door opened and my mum came into the room, first she stood, staring in shock, then she went ballistic, in a moment she was on Aunty Jumai, she beat her up as she cried and wailed loudly, soon my dad rushed into the room to find my mum beating up a very naked Aunty Jumai, tried to intervene and after a while he finally got my mum to calm down and she told him what she’d witnessed, to say the least my dad was furious, he hurried to Aunty Jumai’s room and began to throw out her things, he had the policemen throw her into the car and he drove us to the police station. He told me to tell him everything that had happened as a policeman recorded. Eventually we got to go home my parents felt guilty, the hugged me and cried, after a while the Adenirans came over, they had heard about what had happened. I was happy to see Bode, I quickly ran to hug him, I eventually got transferred to Bode’s school and I got to see him every day. And like that a chapter of my life closed and things were good for a while.
My parents pressed charges and Aunty Jumai got 40 years in prison, years later I heard she’d run mad and had to be remanded in a mental institution. The friendship between I and Bode grew stronger. My life wasn’t a smooth road after that though, but that’s a story for another day.