V got up to get herself a bottle of water. She was having a rather slow day and had had no time to eat. She thought of leaving the house to get food but thought against it. She felt tired and bored. She sat back down and picked her diary up from the floor where she’d placed it. She flipped through the pages, revising more of her campus life. She read the poems she’d written in there, the songs she’d composed. She smiled. She’d grown totally oblivious of the music playing. She’d reduced the volume and now it only pounded softly in the background. V had written about some of her encounters with men. She’d written a lot about Joel. Joel was her second boyfriend after Martin. There had been one or two guys before Martin but they had never gotten close enough to her to matter. Then Martin had taken her by storm. He was this confident guy who spoke perfect French. V was in love with French back then and so she found it easy to connect with Martin. Martin had however seduced a friend of hers only the next day. V wanted to leave. In fact, she left. She barely knew the guy, and the fact that he could hit on her friend just a day after asking for her phone number meant he was not to be trusted. But then he played guilt trips on her, and apologized, and made it that girl’s fault. V decided to forget it and give him another chance to prove himself… big, mistake!
She had tried so hard with martin. Martin was a snob. He treated her friends with some sort of disdain. V did not like it. She was still a virgin back then, and she knew she was only going to give it to the one man that would take her to the altar. Her granny had told her that in their last conversation. The next time V had met granny was at her funeral. She’d cried her eyes sore but had learnt to move on. In memory of granny she decided her sunflower was to be kept safe.
When Martin had made his first advance, V hadn’t taken it lightly. She said no and she meant it. Martin stormed out and left her in his room. V got confused and scared, she waited for him to get back and when he did, it was getting late. She went back home that evening but had a bit of a problem explaining to the father where she was from at 8 in the evening. V had just completed high school and had passed excellently. Her father had gotten even more protective of her because he saw something there. He loved her, and she loved him. V had decided that she was done with Martin. When she called weeks later to apologize, V decided that it was not going to harm anyone if she listened to him. She left home that Sunday when her parents had gone to church. She knew she wouldn’t be gone for long. But she had no idea she would come back a non-virgin.
She’d said no. She’d protested. And she’d struggled, but Martin had carried on, convincing her that she was just scared and that it was going to be ok. It had not been ok. She had bled, and not just from her nose. V went home feeling strange that evening. She felt bad she had let her granny down, she felt scared that maybe martin would leave her. She was scared that she had contracted something and most importantly, she hoped she wasn’t pregnant. Martin had tried to use protection, but after finding out she was whole, he had ditched it and dived in without a care in the world. V was scared that her father would find out. She didn’t care what her step-mother would think. Rhoda had never believed in her and V had stopped trying to impress her. There had been a case of a guy stalking her in the village, and Rhoda had gone after the guy to find out if the two of them had done it. V had spent her life seeking for her step-mother’s approval. She’d strived to be the perfect daughter. She wanted to get along with Rhoda for her father. She had given up trying when she discovered that there was no amount of effort that would earn her love and approval. She’d then decided to let it go. However, she had promised herself that she would never be disrespectful to Rhoda. She had no idea why, it just felt right.
Her relationship with Martin had gotten ugly. He’d hit on yet another friend, and he’d treated her bad. V was stuck on him though, and no matter how much spite he showed her, she’d been unable to break free from him. She’d cried many a times. She’d felt used, she’d hated men, she’d cursed, but when he hit on a third friend, V decided she was going to confront him. She’d just joined campus and was struggling to find an identity. During the confrontation, he’d called her names, he’d called her ugly, and he’d assured her that no man would ever look at her twice, let alone love her. V’s paranoia had hit the roof. Every advance from a man had been returned with hostility. Mostly because she was afraid of letting them find out she wasn’t good in bed, like martin had pointed out.
Sex with martin had been somewhat horrifying. All four of five times they had done it, it felt painful and horrible. V wondered why anyone would subject themselves to such pain. She wondered why people talked a lot about sex. She wasn’t interested anymore. If she was ever going to wind up with someone in life, it wasn’t going to be a man. Still, she did not break away from him. Her final break came when he gave her an ultimatum. “Give me a kid or just leave me.” V knew she was in love, and that she was stupid and that she was desperate and that she was stuck, but she knew one important thing, she wasn’t about to throw her life apart for a man. She had just joined campus. She was only eighteen. Everyone had high hopes in her. She was not going to get pregnant in her first semester. It was enough that she had given him her virginity. V was certain she was never going to have children till she was married. It was her dream and she wasn’t settling for anything else. That 7th of February evening, as she stated these facts to him while standing right opposite the tall green building in Nairobi – Afya Center, she felt a certain kind of closure. She had made up her mind that school was more important and she was ready to live with it.
In his defense, Martin was scared that she would meet someone her own level in campus and would soon forget him. He attacked her esteem and her confidence. It worked. V shifted her attention to her books. She knew she was done with men.
There was something about Joel. Something that made her miss him after she’d turned him down like had become her norm. Hadn’t Martin said that no man would ever look at her twice? What did they want with her?