I’m lying on the bed, having the worst of cramps, trying so hard not to snap or yell at my roomies who are preparing for lectures. It is 8:14AM and there is just a shaft of sun ray in the room, fusing with the electric light to give us illumination.
I have been thinking a lot since I woke up. Of childhood. Little beginnings and once in a while surprises. Growing up, I had wanted so much to be an adult within a twinkle of an eye. I wanted to wear pretty dress, have boyfriends and paint my lips a screaming red. No one told me to be careful of what I wish for. No one told me adulthood is a big scam.
Once I had run away from home. Because my mother don’t want to let me be. I was tired of her shoving my dumbness on my face and reminding me that my twin sister has just one head. Or her calling her mother to tell her that Chinwe did poorly again in school. She can’t spell, she forgets her alphabet, she only knows the two times two tables (Yes, I was that dumb)
I had been thrilled with the aspect of being alone and away from home. Being away from my mother’s constant nagging, my sibling’s mockery and our home tutor constant praise for my sister. To me, being independent was the best feeling ever. Hey, I get to sleep when I want, eat what I like and even watch movies all day.
I wonder what would have become of me if a church member hadn’t seen me wandering the street of Lawani, biting my nails and staring at sign posts. I might have traced the Indian temple whose sign post had fascinated me. Heck! Who doesn’t like to get rich without having to kill anyone? Who doesn’t like to get exam success without opening a book? I might even get a ‘touch and follow’ ring, that I would use to get people- most especially my mother- do my wish. But no, I was stopped by a woman with slackened arms who fed me beans and took me home to my mother.
After that day, a lot changed. Changed in the sense that I got a new friend- the woman’s daughter, who though was older than me let me be me by not making me feel spiteful about my inability to remember the things I read. This friend introduced me into the world of novels. Novels not the regular storybooks we were coerced into reading in school. I started reading books. Books that never did tell me that adulthood is a scam. Books that made adulthood seem like it is just a walk in the park.
I’m unlearning now. Laughing at that boy across the street who wants to be all grown and carefree. Who is tired of school and wants to be in control of life. Son, tomorrow you will be an adult and wish to be a child again. You will be this young girl who wakes up every morning with a groan. Who is confused with the right decision to take. You’ll find yourself asking if this is what it is. This confusion. This indecision. This fear for the future.This is how it hit us in the early twenties. I pray in your time you have someone to lean on.