Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The world is too big

When I was about 15, I had a friend in my class who seemed to know everything about the world.

In short, she seemed to be totally world-wise.

She always felt she had so much to teach me and I looked at her in awe and wonderment because i felt she knew them all.

Now, Auntie knew about Benedicta because she made it a duty to know all my friends.
It was Benedicta's birthday and she was going to have a party, (I never had birthday parties!) she invited me over and I told her that I would like to attend but I wasn't sure if Auntie will let me.

She looked at me with pity the way she always did and told me that when I finally got out, the world will be too big for me to handle.

I didn't quite understand what she meant by that. I went home and asked Auntie if I could attend Benedicta's birthday and as usual, she turned down my request. I felt bitter and told her that Benedicta said the world will be too big for be to handle one day.

Auntie was so mad at me, I can't quite remember but I think she did slap my face. But one thing I remember, she warned me never to be seen with Benedicta again. She said I mustn't go close to her again and I must avoid her like a plague. She went as far as telling one of my teachers to watch out for me and make sure I never move around with Benedicta because she's a bad influence.

I never told Benedicta what Auntie said but I guess she got the hint and noticed I was avoiding her. She asked me if I'd been forbidden from speaking with her and I lied that I hadn't. What she meant in essence was that, I was so ignorant, I'll most probably get lost in the world which will be too large, complicated and strange for me to understand. I'll most probably snap, try out all bad things and totally loose it.

True to her word, the world was a little too large for me when I just started going out, I was naive, overly trusting, totally innocent and gullible, but I never ever lost it. I took the lessons learnt from home with me. Even though I trusted people, I never let them hurt me.
Today, I guess the world is just big enough for me.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Man-Eating Dog

When I was 10, My Aunt protected me from the harsh realities of life as much as possible.

She practically built an impenetrable wall between the world and I. The only movies I was encouraged to see were Cosby shows, news and a few others. Other programs were heavily guided and even my friends were screened before I was allowed to hang out with them. I mean, I couldn't go for birthday parties, go to church on my own etc..

I had this friend, Mariam who she approved of at the beginning because she was her own friend's daughter. Mariam and I became pretty good friends until one day... Auntie was going out and as usual locked the house gate and went away with the key. That way, I could come out to the balcony but not into the main compound.

Before she left, she explained that she was locking me in because there was a man-eating-dog on the loose. The dog ate only children and girls of around my age. They'd been trying to capture the dog for a while and every soldiers attempt had proved abortive, she said there's a price tag on the dog for any soldier who is able to capture it; so, I needed to stay inside, so that I won't get eaten up by this fierce dog.

About an hour later, Mariam who was around my age mate came visiting. I couldn't let her in because I didn't have the key to the gate and I was scared for her because she was exposing herself to the man-eating-dog. I told her about it and she looked at me like I was stupid and she said, "you mean you believe that dumb story, can't you see through, she said that so that you won't come out! There aren't no man-eating-dogs anywhere, if there were, it will be in the news. I've been out all day long and still will be out tomorrow, how could you be so gullible!"
I didn't quite believe she was right, I thought she probably hadn't been told about the Man-Eating-Dog because, it never crossed my mind my Aunt could be lying to me.

When Auntie came back, I told her Mariam was around and she isn't aware of the Man-Eating-Dog; Mariam didn't even believe me at all and thinks it's all bullshit. I'd never seen Auntie angrier all my life. She was so mad and forbade me from ever speaking, hanging out or being friends with Mariam again. Reason, she was too wise for me! Ironically, when she said that, I suddenly saw my stupidity and knew Mariam was saying the truth afterall.

These things make me laught today when I remember them. It wasn't so much fun back then, but as I think about it, maybe it was for the better. I was lucky enough to escape a lot of trouble my mates got into at very tender ages.