Growing up in the suburbs was fun despite the downsides that came with it every once in a while. Her grandparents were fun to live with. Her grandfather was the best. V longed for every evening she would come home from school and show them how she had performed that day in school. They were always impressed. Her grandfather always had high prospects for her.
Her teachers too loved her. She was lively, always cheerful, and a fast learner. She had her competitors, she had her friends, and she had a small girl’s normal life, only not entirely. She knew a little something about farming. She knew a little something about catering. When she was older, she watched the farm animals mate. It was always funny.
The planting seasons came, then followed the weeding and pruning and finally came the harvest seasons. Every year had two of each. Their farms weren’t as big, but with her tiny hands, V saw it as a big deal. It was fun spending a day in the farm. The elderly siblings and cousins did most of the work while the younger ones mostly just played. When the harvest seasons approached and the maize stalks were long enough to conceal an entire human being, the elderly cousins and siblings joined in the games. The games then got more intense. The game the older children enjoyed most was playing family. They called it kalongo. They would play the parents, the uncles and the aunties while the smaller children played just that, children.
They would make makeshift homes in the maize plantations with the children’s bedrooms separate from the adult’s. V had once offered to play auntie but had been told that she was too small for the part. She was tiny and young, anyway, so she understood. What she didn’t understand however was why this game was kept sacred, why it was always a secret, and why they always had to have someone watching for any adults coming. One of the cousins explained that their homes needed watchmen. V didn’t believe in watchmen. Or perhaps she didn’t know what that was. Her homestead didn’t have any. They had dogs instead. Her grandfather had and loved dogs. They were big, but she was too young to know what breed they were. They were all phased out before she could. There was Rover, a beautiful huge black and white dog whose tail looked like the tail of the letter R. V always imagined that was the source of the name, more so because there was Goergy, whose tail curled up to form a G. He was blonde. There was a bitch named Bero. She would eat her own puppies, clearly not one of V’s favorites. She too was black. There was Kamwamu, the fiercest. He was tough and black. He was younger too, a ‘teenager’ among dogs. Then there was Tusker, their Alfa. Tusker was a little older than the rest. He was always panting with his tongue out. he was brown with a white belly. There were other dogs too; younger ones, like Tobi and Simba but these five were the fastest, fiercest and the celebrities of their time. Her grandfather owned cows too, and had named them as well. He was obsessive about his animals and took good care of them. Someone should have warned him that he would die by their doing.
V never got to play mother or aunt in kalongo because when she grew old enough, there were no children to play the children. And the older cousins were now sneaking around to play even more dangerous (or fun) games. They were now older and could no longer play around in the corn fields. She got to play other games with them though. They played with marbles, they played draft, and they played handball and all other ballgames they knew about. They skipped ropes, they ran, they fetched firewood, they went swimming in the river, they played with swings, they made slippery slopes and glided on them on their buts or slippery cuttings. They fought, they told jokes, they had sleepovers… they were traditional children being children.
Incest in their days wasn’t unheard of. It was the rhythm of kalongo. However, some of the children took it too far. The male cousins seduced the female ones and played with them. There was a certain female cousin in their time that was unstoppable. That she was her parents’ only daughter didn’t help any whistleblowers much. Then another cousin joined them later, this one younger than V, and she too was afire. V had a crush of her own on one of her cousins, but he was shy, luckily for her. The curiosity never left her alone though. One evening she and a friend of hers went to fetch firewood. Peggy was a year older than her but they were pretty tight. A distant cousin of V’s tagged along. He was visiting with his mother and his infant brother. They decided to swim a little. They all got naked and plunged into the stream. They got carried away by the fun and forgot what had brought them all the way. V wasn’t bothered. She didn’t need the firewood; she had only said that to go hang out with Peggy. They played and swam till the male cousin mentioned something about s3x. One thing led to another and soon she and Peggy were lying on their backs, with the little boy taking turns on each of them.
For V that was a game, but she could tell there was some fun in it. They got home rather late with too little firewood to show for it. V knew sex was wrong and so she had to come up with a story which she realized her mother didn’t quite believe. She was embarrassed after what she had done, but she had a feeling she would do it again. She didn’t break her virginity that day because there wasn’t any to break. She had no hymen and the male cousin had been young too, not capable of breaking hymen. She didn’t know the concept of threesomes existed but she had just had one. It didn’t last long though; they were all new to the concept except, of course, the young boy.
At the age of eight, V had already had a taste of the goods and knew what it felt like. She had no trouble getting involved in it with her friends in class one certain Wednesday. Wednesday evening was entertainment evening in her primary school. She loved entertainment evenings but today she had different entertainment. She and four of her classmates had been fooling around all day. Three of them were male and one was female. One of the guys was too much of a baby. The other two were well aware of sex however, and V had a crush on one of them. The other girl in the group was therefore left to flirt with the remaining boy.
They had begun jokingly. They were seated on opposite sides of the class desk. Then they had started to touch each other from under the desks. None of the other children got suspicious; no one expected them to be. They then started passing each other notes like I love you and I am your girlfriend. V couldn’t quite tell who started what but she remembered being excited by the idea of it. They all agreed they would do it behind the classrooms when everyone was attending entertainment. All was well. Evening came. They were all excited, all five of them. The baby guy was rather just following around. They did do some of it inside their classroom. This time she wasn’t lying down on her back like she had done in the threesome, she was standing up against the wall and her guy wasn’t at all disappointing. This time it was an orgy. They all shared each other. Three boys and two girls, everything was smooth.
It would have been a fun evening. And it would probably have been the point at which she lost control over her life. She didn’t have a mother then so she might as well have totally gotten out of control. Someone else had other plans for her: a guardian angel. She and her friends had now just left the classroom because the prefects were walking around to ensure everyone had attended entertainment. They snack behind classes because they wanted to do it some more. Then out of nowhere a bunch of prefects showed up. They probably had the habit of checking behind classes or they were operating on a hunch or maybe V’s guardian angel wanted her to get caught. It was such a shame to be caught having sex at that age and behind classes when all the other pupils were elsewhere. It was shame enough that they were actually doing a deed that was reserved for marriage as their CRE teacher had often pointed out. Or was it the CRE teacher? But V was sure she had heard something like that somewhere.
When she heard the much logical “bring your parents tomorrow” she knew her life was over. Which parent was she going to bring? He father was a lion in his own right. Her stepmother wasn’t an option. Maybe she would take her grandparents. Her grandfather was a businessman, he wasn’t an option either. Her grandmother could never keep a secret. She freaked out. She might as well have died that evening on her way home. She got home but never said a thing to anyone. Her sister went to the same school, but lived with one of their aunts. She had trouble getting along with their stepmother and so their father had picked his new wife over his older daughter and had sent Lydia packing.
She had no one to talk to so she let it be. The next morning she went to school as usual, hoping it was all forgotten. At the gate she was summoned to the principal’s office and was sent back home. She didn’t get home. She met a stranger on the road and begged her to play her mum at school. The woman agreed but when they got to school her betrayal was simple; “I met this little girl on the road and thought I should bring her back here. She asked me something about pretending to be her mother.”
Madam Margaret wasn’t amused. She was in charge of such things and now V had just made her own situation worse. She was sent back home with a threat. She didn’t care. As far as she was concerned, that was it with her and school. She was doomed either way. She decided to hide out in a tea plantation not far from her home. In the evening when she heard familiar sounds of students coming back home from school, she emerged and joined them. Day one was over. This became her routine. She would leave home every morning and hide out in the tea farm till evening. She wasn’t sure how long this would take. She wasn’t bothered by the lunches she had to miss either; they weren’t her first. She had a good plan and hopefully, school would forget about it some day and they would let her into class once again. Or perhaps her father would transfer her to another school.
After a successful third day of truancy, Hilda, another cousin of V’s, who also attended the same school, was sent home to V’s parents to ask why she wasn’t attending school. Her message was simple; “you are needed at school to hear what V did.” Hilda didn’t give away the details. Either she understood and feared for V or she too didn’t know. But the former made more sense given the whole school knew.
“What did you do?” was her father’s simple but firm question.
“Nothing… I was just playing in class with the other children and… and…”
Either Titus didn’t care or he couldn’t picture her young innocent smart daughter doing anything worse than playing in class.
“And they sent you home for parents for that?”
“So why didn’t you say anything?” She didn’t respond. He didn’t insist. “Lily, you will take her to school tomorrow, I have things to do.”
V froze. Lily was what her father called her stepmother. V didn’t want her father to find out, but he was more acceptable to her than she was.
“I have things to do too.” She was a primary school teacher. She was only right.
“I’m asking for a favor.”
V crossed her fingers. “OK. But don’t make this a habit. If V wants to play in school that’s her problem, it shouldn’t interfere with my work.”
Titus looked like he had something to say but he didn’t dare sabotage the ok, so he took it.
V went to bed a walking dead girl.
The next day at school wasn’t as horrible as she had pictured, it was a different kind of horrible. First, all the other children had decided to throw all blame on her because they had all brought their parents early the next day. They had been absolved of all blame and had been warned to stay away from her because she was no good. Second, she found out that Madam Margaret hated her. She dared to tell V’s step mother in V’s presence that V had no future. The conversation between the two of them had been mutual and simple.
“Yes, I’m her stepmother. She never said a thing, we only heard about this yesterday.”
“Did she tell you what she did?”
“She mentioned something about playing in class.”
“Yea, right! This student rallied a bunch of other innocent students to have sex in school. Would you know anything about that?”
“No. But maybe her mother would.”
“Probably. This one has no future. If she can do this and she’s only eight, I bet you she will not even get to secondary school.”
“Such a shame! Her father will be disappointed to hear it. She will be fortunate to even finish primary school.”
“I highly doubt she will.”
The disdain, spite and disapproval in their tone were more punishment than any amount of beating she could ever receive. The pain was unbearable. The shock was rude. She could understand the negativity from her guardian, but her own teacher? Madam Margaret taught religion and V had never imagined her capable of such hatred. Maybe she was upset because V’s crush was her nephew, but still! V felt hated. She felt unwanted. Her classmates had been warned against her and so she had to keep to herself most of the time. Fortunately, they were all just children and they would soon forgive and forget.
V didn’t. Her stepmother promised not to tell her father only if she promised she would report to her any time any of her cousins did it. After listening to the two women talk, V made it her point to disapprove them. It helped her case that she was very sharp. She frequently topped her class. She was in a private school with children from different parts of the province and more from beyond. To top a class meant you were really smart. She focused on her studies more than ever before. She would finish primary school and join a very good secondary school and she wouldn’t stop there. When V secretly made this resolution, her guardian angel was listening.
She hated sex. The mention of it freaked her out. She heard older girls talk about sex and how they were scared of pregnancy, she didn’t care. Sex was going to wait till she got married. Her hymen started to grow as she would find out several years later.
After her family fell out and her school fee for the expensive private school stopped being paid, V had to change schools. She had to go to a public school. She joined one tough school which was such contrast given she was just from a private school. She’d been used to reporting to school any time before eight and even then sometimes she was late. But now she had to report before six. She was punished severally for being ten minutes late. The punishments were brutal compared to what she considered punishment on the other side. She had trouble fitting in and making friends at first. When she came in shoes she looked odd. Most of the other students came barefooted. When she got her shoes off to be like the rest, she had trouble going to the toilet. She had been taught that that was a bad habit. It didn’t help that these toilets were seldom clean, and were almost full. There was much more playing at the public school, and more working as well. They had to clean the classes themselves, sometimes they had to smear the muddy floors with cow dung. V had a lot to learn in this new school.
Her academics were still topnotch. She topped the class the entire time she was there. Given the kind of competition she had been used to, her grades were secure. She surprised many, given this school was equally tough. It was impressive at first when her geography teacher as well as all the other members of the class bet her that she would not top the class and she won the bet. It was a money bet but she didn’t take it. Then it started getting less funnier especially when a bunch of students from one class ahead of hers were asked to sit an exam with V and her classmates and she was still the best. She started to create enemies fast. Some teachers picked on her deliberately. It was bearable at first but with time she decided enough was enough.
“I’m not going to school today.” She stated the statement casually to her father. She was now in standard seven and living with her father and stepmother in a rental house. Her mother was back and out of logic, the second wife had to leave the house that belonged to the first wife. V’s dad had insisted that he was going to live with V and keep a close watch. He now had a daughter with Rhoda. Rhoda’s niece, Rose, was also living with them.
“I’m already late and those teachers hate me. I don’t want to go.”
“OK, go for only this week as I talk to your head-teacher. I will take you out of there.”
Over the years Titus had noticed that her daughter was hardheaded and the easiest way to get her to do something was to ask nicely, only this time her mind was made up. She didn’t feel like arguing either, so she got dressed and left. She didn’t go to school. Instead, she went home to her mum, got into her mother’s bed and covered up.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in school?”
“I’m not going to that school anymore!”
“They hate me there. Besides, am already late and am done with all that beating!”
In her defense, V had come home occasionally with bruises on her but that didn’t even allow her to seat. Some would last up to three days upon which other bruises were inflicted. Her but was scarred and darker than the rest of her body; and she was dark! V didn’t understand why she got beaten every other time despite the fact that her grades were always up. She didn’t care it was a good school; she already had a good foundation and anyway most of the things they taught she had heard of or learnt already.
“Who hates you?”
She responded as truthfully as she could. Her mother got up with the courage of a mother to protect her own child. It was the kind of thing only a mother can do for a child. She had a quick bath got dressed and before leaving asked if V possessed anything that belonged to the school. She was going to clear her daughter out of that death trap and she didn’t care what V’s dad would say or do. V felt good when her mother came back with signed clearance from the school. She had had to demand for it because as V’s dad had warned, the head-teacher wasn’t so intent on releasing one of his best students. V was glad it was over. Her father too was a head-teacher and understood perfectly. Besides, he was close friends with the other head-teacher, hence the conflict of interest. After a fortnight of lying low, V was admitted to her own father’s school; which turned out to be fun. She topped the class up until her final exam and was admitted to a good provincial school. She was upset that she hadn’t made it to national school but there was nothing she could do. She went to Bunyore girls a tiny thirteen-and-a-half year old.
Before completing primary school, she had boys come to her. Some of her classmates were having sex. She was on another mission. She had to prove to Rhoda, Margaret and the whole world that she had a future and that primary school was not her limit. One Newton had a serious crush on her. From it he got a hug, which for V was such a big deal. When she joined high school, dating was a crime, so she had to forgive and forget the hug. She didn’t want to get into any other trouble with boys: once was enough. She was a long distance away from home and from Newton and so she soon forgot all about him. He didn’t. He sought her out one holiday when she was in form two and kissed her. She didn’t like it. She didn’t like the whole idea. She let him loose and went back to school. He resurfaced on her last holiday of high school. When she went to school for her last term of form four, she started to feel like one of the girls that had boyfriends. The girls were talking about the boyfriends they had kept secret with confidence now and V thought, why not? If everyone else was going to date after high school then maybe she too would.
Newton was a footballer whose football came first. V tried to date him. He was a shy guy, she was a shy girl. She had trouble hugging him still. She now knew about pregnancies and had started having her periods and so she had to just wait a while till he married her then she would hopefully put out. He advanced her a number of times, she said no. She still hated sex. For her, it was a torturing memory. She was always scared that someone would catch her again. Once was enough. He didn’t mind when she said no. Perhaps, for him, she was worth waiting for. V visited Newton’s home a number of times. His mother loved her. When her results came out and she had a plain A, Newton’s younger brother confessed that he wanted to be just like her. Newton had a C. He announced to V someday that he was going to join the army.
“If you do that I will have to break up with you.”
“Why?” he sounded upset and surprised.
“I can never get married to a man who has full access to a gun and knows how to fight. I don’t want to be battered.”
It did not help that V’s mum had been a victim of battery. V had promised herself that she could never let a man get away with laying hands on her. But now the one man she wanted to be with wanted to be a soldier in the army!
“You know I could never hurt you! I love you, V”
“I love you too. But if you join the army I could never marry you.”
They became distant. He visited less frequently. She visited him but he would always be away playing football. Sometimes he would leave even when he knew she was coming. They started to drift apart. George saw a new face in the village and decided he would take a shot.
V had been home very few times given her father had moved to his new home when she was in form two. All the boys were scared of her. They were also scared of her father and they dared not approach her. V was fierce. She never talked to strangers, especially male ones. She hated boys; they were the reason Madam Margaret had said she had no future. But there was something intriguing about George, especially the fact that he’d been bold enough to talk to her when all other village boys couldn’t.
George was handsome and built. V had seen him at her private school when she was younger but he had been two years ahead of her. She knew him because he was cheeky and was always making a mistake somewhere. Maybe he was somebody – hadn’t he attended her private school. He stalked her. She had no idea that was dangerous. Given her own boyfriend was nowhere to be found, she thought it was sexy to have a cute boy appear everywhere she went.
Then he said hi. The next day he accepted her invite and visited her place; V rarely ever left home and so she preferred to have her guests visit her. The day George visited was the same day her cameraman dropped by to tell her that her photos were ready and that she could pick them whenever. The guy could have brought them but he too had a crush on her and wanted an excuse to see her some more.
“I will take you.”
They left for the studio but George insisted he had to go home and pick something. She went with him. They would just pick it and head for the studio. When they got there, the rhythm changed. They were in his little house and there was no one else around. He set his radio to a radio station that was rocking at the time. He offered V a fruit. V sat down on a table chair patiently.
“Can I sit next to you?”
“Why do you need to sit? I thought you were to pick something before taking me to the studio.”
“Yea, but you’re not in a hurry, are you?”
She allowed him to sit next to her, it was his house after all, and he could sit wherever he pleased.
“I feel like touching you. May I?” Well, V had spent a lot of time with Newton but he was never this forward. She felt impressed.
“OK” she shrugged.
Moments later, they were kissing. The kiss was erotic. The first kiss she had enjoyed with a guy. She felt breathless. He was coming on too strong, however. He touched her breast, forcing V to pull from him.
“No! Not like that!”
“Why not… You are my girlfriend, aren’t you?”
“I am not just yet. I have a boyfriend. If you want to me to be yours you have to wait till I break up with him.” V had her manners in check. She had watched many soaps and she knew that that was how it was done.
“But you already kissed me; we might as well just go all the way.”
“It was a good kiss, but that’s it. I will only have sex after am married.”
He laughed. That was his first mistake. There was nothing funny about that statement. Newton was ok with waiting. If he, George, wasn’t then he wasn’t the right guy for her. V got upset and left. He followed her and apologized. They made up along the way and kissed some more. She never made it to the studio. She was horny, something she’d never felt with Newton. It only meant one thing; she had to break up with her first boyfriend.
“Who, Bush?” There was disapproval in Newton’s voice. He was hurt. He tried to get her to stay but her mind was made up.
“Yes! You are joining the army after all!”
“Yea, but V, that guy is beneath you. Besides, he was suspended for making out with a girl in school and is still on suspension. You picked him over me?”
The rest of the conversation was disinteresting. She had to find out what he meant that George was still in school and was, in fact, on suspension. As it turned out, he was right. George had done six years in high school instead of the usual four, and was now in his last year. He was also notorious and had made out publicly with a classmate – he attended a mixed day school. She dumped George. She didn’t get back with Newton though. Instead, she travelled to Nairobi for her award and met Martin.
Martin was an improvement from George in terms of class. However, the chemistry wasn’t as intense. Martin was attractive to her because he had seemed out of reach. She loved the thrill of being with him. Their first kiss wasn’t as erotic. It was just that, a kiss. But she was nervous herself. They were at Alliance Française in Nairobi passing time after the French event they had attended. V had been awarded a trophy and martin had been awarded a trip to France in a different category. V was glad. They flirted that day and exchanged phone numbers. V knew him from high school and she’d noticed him then. She was too shy to even eat after the event. It didn’t help that most of the food served in the buffet was new to her. It was her first buffet and she didn’t know exactly the limit of the food to serve. V had been used to sufficient heavy food. The idea of having tiny servings of varied cuisines was not entirely welcome to her. But she had to blend it. Above all, she had to try not to embarrass herself before Martin. As would be expected, she left the dining room as hungry as she had gotten in. She soon forgot about it however, at Alliance.
She fooled around with martin who decided he would give her a hard time when he noticed she had a crush on him. He stalked her the entire evening and got a nervous kiss out of it. They were in the company of two of V’s friends, Cynthia and Judith, who had attended the function to support her. There was also Justus; an old friend of martin’s who also worked at Alliance Française. They parted later in the evening and V pecked Martin goodbye on the cheek. She didn’t join them the next day. Martin took that opportunity to pursue an oblivious Cynthia and got a peck from her too. Cynthia had then called V to ask if there was anything going on between her, V, and Martin. Both girls realized that they had been played and decided to walk away. But when Martin realized that he would spend more time closer to V when he left the big city, he decided to push his luck with her. He told her that Cynthia had come onto her and that he wanted V instead. After some persuasion, she believed a guy she had just met over a friend; a mistake she was sure she would never commit again.
She spent a month at Lydia’s in Nairobi then travelled back home. Martin had travelled a while back and never grown weary of asking where she was and why she wasn’t coming. She was totally convinced he missed her and he loved her. She herself missed him loads. She loved the guy: mostly because she had now realized he was a catch. At home she got herself busy. Her dad started her a small business that kept her busy and fit.
One weekday she went to visit Martin at a school where he was teaching French. He took her to his room in the teachers’ quarters and made out with her. V wasn’t quite horny. Not as horny as she’d been with George. When he started to undress her she protested. He didn’t bother to discuss it with her; he got so upset and left her seated on his bed. V wasn’t sure whether to leave or stay. Besides, she didn’t carry any money with her; she’d assumed that he would be a gentleman and ensure she got back home on time. So she waited. He took too long and she started to get frustrated. She called and after some begging he came back. They talked about it and she explained that she didn’t want to have sex until she was married.
“It’s ok. I understand and respect you. I’m so sorry I left the way I did, but I promise I won’t ask you for sex again, until you are ready.”
She hugged him goodbye. She had no money on her. She was certain of one thing though, she had to get home somehow. She called a friend of hers who owned a bike and he agreed to come pick her up. She would pay him when she got home. When he arrived, Martin was aggressive with him. He didn’t understand why V had called a friend to come all the way and pick her. He most crucially didn’t understand why he had dropped everything and come for her. He decided to flush out his insecurities in an unpleasant manner. V was upset. She promised herself that that was the last he would see of her.
He didn’t call when she got home. At some point she got curious and called. They had a fight for an entire week. He was still upset about not getting some. Two weeks later he invited her again. Said he had gotten her a gift to make up for how he’d behaved earlier. V figured there was no harm in accepting an apology. This time she took extra cash just in case he behaved like he had the previous time. She loved the guy and wanted to believe he was a good guy. That Sunday she had been left home to take care of her younger siblings. On top of their first child together, Rhoda had conceived twins, a boy and a girl. They were about three and the older daughter was about eight. V was a month short of eighteen. Her father left her in charge of scaling and cooking cow legs, which was a delicacy in her days. She loved those and had learnt how to prepare them for soup from her father. She did her chores very fast that day then left, promising the children that she would be back shortly. She knew they were safe, and besides they were good caretakers of each other. She wouldn’t be gone long, of that she was sure.
In martin’s room, a struggle ensued. Despite having promised previously that he would never ask her for sex until she was ready, Martin demanded for it. She said no. He assured her that it was ok, that she would be fine. V didn’t believe him; she didn’t want to get pregnant or infected with HIV. Those were her biggest fears.
“I will use protection, I promise.”
“I said no! Besides, I need to get going.”
He got on top of her. She was in a skimpy black skirt and a flirtatious luminous green short sleeved top. Perhaps she provoked his desires. According to her, she was just trying to be sexy for the man she loved. With her dressing, the fight was totally out of her hands. He kissed her the entire time, to assure her that what he was doing was right; that everything would be fine. V kicked, all the while helping to part her own legs. She gave up when he slid her panties down. When he got up to wear a condom, she sat up sharply, but he didn’t let her leave. He pushed her back down and after some more struggling got on top of her and into her. She wasn’t in the least lubricated. When he tried to enter her the first time she felt a sharp pain. She winced and pulled him away from her. He urged her to relax. He assured her that it would only hurt that first time. So she had grown a hymen!
She lay still and winced and cried then gave up. He got off of her when he was done and left the room to call his friend and tell him that he had scored. V sat up. She could hear him speak from the adjacent room and figured from his excitement that it was probably not such a bad thing after all. She pressed her thighs together when she sat up. She couldn’t get dressed; there was some blood in her area. She got tense, her head started to ache followed by a fresh steam of blood from both her nostrils. She had problems with nose-bleeding back then but this was rather unexpected. Martin didn’t take too long, he came back to the room, phone in hand and handed it to her.
“Hey, V..! You told me the last time you visited Martin that that was it” She didn’t respond. Martin had used his friend before to get her to talk to him. “So how was it? Did he score?”
She hung up the phone with rage. This wasn’t her friend, but his. What business did he have asking her how it had been? Why had Martin told him? And… on phone! Couldn’t he have waited till evening to tell him in person? She was angry but confused. Martin was being the sweetest he had ever been with her.
“So, where is my gift?” She asked on their way out. He hadn’t mentioned anything about a gift the entire time they were together.
“I just gave it to you.”
“What exactly did you give to me?”
He downplayed the statement with “You’re right I called you over to give you a gift and you ended up giving it to me.” She didn’t like the sound of that. But she had lots of things to think about other than his lie to get her to go over to his place. Was she going to get pregnant? Was church over? Had she been discovered at home yet? Would they be able to tell that she had had sex? What would she do if she’d contracted something from him? Bust most importantly, she felt different. She felt like a certain bandage of innocence had been ripped off of her. She didn’t feel like a small girl anymore, she felt like a woman. She suddenly felt all grown up. She was scared, she was confused. It didn’t help that George was still hang on the idea of the two of them. He still came to her home drunk to cause a scene. He had tarnished her name and now some people whispered about how slutty she was. It didn’t help that George knew about Martin. He threatened to hurt her physically. He stalked her everywhere she went. At some point she had to involve her father and even he couldn’t completely scare him off. His school work could wait; he wasn’t going to let this damsel slip out of his grasp before he could land her!
She got home and finished her chores. No one seemed to notice that she’d left at some point. Her current fears were resolved. All she had to do now was wait a few months to establish if she was paged.
She didn’t feel the urge to see Martin in a long time. She felt a certain pull toward him, but she was still upset. The next time she agreed to meet him was in a public place where he was taking his students for music festivals. She was a fan of those and so she agreed to meet him. She took a friend just in case. She wanted to keep him off, and to show him off as well. Martin didn’t make a move that day, not on her at least. He was engulfed with lust for V’s friend Anne. At the end of the day, V went home defeated. She cried the entire evening and only stopped when everyone got back home.
Martin didn’t seem bothered. He hit on V’s friend, some more, later that night. V knew because Anne told her. Martin went as far as telling Anne to ask V if she was ok with the idea of the two of them dating. V didn’t believe in fighting over a lost love. Her paranoia never let her. Or perhaps it was just her pride. She called martin to tell him she was ok with him dating her friend, she just didn’t appreciate the fact that the friend was the one to ask. He denied having done it. The argument went on for the better part of the night. V was still too inexperienced to recognize hokum. However, by morning she was sure that she couldn’t forgive him. That same week, Martin’s trip to France happened and he left. He would be away for a month. That was enough time for V to move on. Or so she believed.
After Martin travelled to France, someone called her, with a strange number. She called back and both of them realized they didn’t know each other. However, this new caller fell in love with her voice and decided he wanted to meet her. V was single and with no reservations. She had been hurt by Martin and maybe she was best off meeting someone else.
Steve was a great guy. But they both found out that they knew Martin. Martin’s friend, the one V had met, had tried to call her with this other guy’s phone knowing his friend was out of the country and figured he would try his luck. When she didn’t pick up, he gave back the phone to the owner. When V called the owner, none of them knew what had happened till later when they met and both happened to know a Martin. They both realized they couldn’t do anything. But when they parted V realized she liked Steve. He was quite mature and soft-spoken. He was a gentleman; a sharp contrast with her immediate ex. For some reason Steve liked her too and they hit it off. They tried staying friends, but the more she knew him, the more she was attracted. After a month of running from their feelings, they shared a kiss. It wasn’t exactly platonic. V realized she probably liked the guy because he was different from someone she hated. She figured if she gave it a chance, the kiss would feel right with time. However, that same evening Martin called to say that he was around and wanted to talk. She agreed to meet him. She wasn’t interested in meeting him for his sake; she wanted to meet him to tell him she had met someone else.
They met along the road and walked a while until he was ready to leave. In the short moment they were together, she fell in love anew. He looked better than ever. He was built, he looked taller, he had big headphones on that seemed sexy to her at the time. He looked good generally. He smelled good too. V realized that despite herself, she missed him. He hadn’t kept in touch the entire month. He hadn’t even brought her a souvenir, but she loved the guy. When she parted with him, she called Steve to inform him that she hadn’t been able to tell Martin anything.
“Don’t tell him anything, please. I want him to hear it from me.”
She toyed with the idea but finally spilled that night. He hated her. She understood. He called her a whore. V figured that was harsh coming from a guy she had slept with only once.
“You should ask Steve to teach you how to treat a woman btw!”
That was a jab to Martin’s ego that would take forever to heal. V wasn’t into telling people mean things on purpose, but she could retaliate if she wanted to. She broke up with both guys and decided to leave them alone.
September came and she had to join campus. She was now eighteen but her father still had trouble recognizing her as an adult. However, when he realized he wasn’t going to watch over her daughter all the time, that he wasn’t always going to fight her battles, he decided it was time to let go.
“You have come this far. None of your relatives from our side have ever made it this big. I trust you know what you want from life. So when you get to campus, do what feels right to you.”
Those were his words the day she left home, despite the fact that she was still in his company. Titus was going to travel with her daughter and make sure she got into campus comfortably. V had been brought up in a fashion where she made most decisions for herself. Her mother was seldom around and she couldn’t talk to her stepmother about things. Sometimes she involved her father when she could but sometimes she sought advice elsewhere. For instance, V had learnt everything about menstruation and sanitation from her classmate, Valarie, back in primary. She was still young then but was always scared she would get her periods unprepared. They didn’t come until she was 14 one December holiday while she was in high school but at that time she already knew enough about it and she didn’t need to tell anyone. She had taken care of herself since. With her kind of growing up, V rarely ever felt embarrassed. She barely ever got shy either. She had grown into a bold girl, but had problems with one-on-one conversations especially with alpha females or cute males.
Bottom line, she joined campus and settled in with the help of her father. Her extended family had been impressed by her performance and had all given her a little something for her pocket money at her sendoff party. Campus was awesome! She just had to tell Martin about it. Martin asked her to meet him when she contacted him. He was living with a rich uncle in Nairobi. He had quit his teaching job and was now looking for something else to do. V agreed to meet him for old times’ sake. She spent the night over and had some more painful sex. She didn’t know that that wasn’t how it was supposed to be. She wondered however, why people made a big deal of sex: nothing good could come from it and it was not only embarrassing but painful too. She still couldn’t get sufficiently lubricated; he never gave her that time.
As usual, they had a fight when she was about to leave which meant he wasn’t going to see her off nor ask if she had enough money to get her home. By then, she was used to it. She always had money on her. She did that whenever she went to visit anyone, it had become a custom for her. Consequently, she never asked for anything from him. She would arrive, catch up vaguely, have sex, fight, then leave, in that exact order. He’d stopped telling her he loved her and she forgot to care about it. She didn’t expect him to. She didn’t know she quietly needed it though. Martin was a funny guy and great company. She loved all the moments they had before bed. He was good for her ego too. She felt good dating someone who was at the time, and according to her, out of her league.
The fight they had that morning lasted a while. She played games on him in the meantime. She would text with new numbers and flirt with him. She loved it when he fell for it every time. She also loved to flirt with him even when she knew he wasn’t flirting with her in turn, but with the character she was impersonating. She did that every once in a while when she was idle. One October she created a character that happened to know V. He fell for it as usual. But this time, he decided to call her on her phone to ensure she had no hand in it. V sounded as indifferent as she could when he called. Realizing he still had a hold on her, he invited her for yet another sleepover. She went. In her head, she was going to bust his balls and leave him the final time. When she got there, her heart took over and she slept with him again. It wasn’t that simple, first she decided to punish him. She pulled away during sex and made it impossible for him to finish it. He begged and rolled on the bed, desperately trying to nurse his blue balls. She felt tickled watching him. He rubbed on her thigh and finally came on it. V felt triumphant. Mission accomplished! She got up to dress and leave but he was staring at her with a sharp sting in his eyes. Fortunately for her, he wasn’t the kind of guy that hit women, because she could tell he was on the verge. She felt sorry and went to kiss him. For the first time, she got wet. The sex that night felt different. She felt like she was a part of it. It felt lively. Morning came, they fought and she left.
When she got to her room, she found out he had been flirting with her improvised character. She called him and they fought more intensely than before. They finally broke up when he turned the fight into an ultimatum. He wanted her to bear his child so that he would be sure she was his. She called his bluff and walked away. She was glad she had gotten some good sex out of it. However, she had gotten some heartbreaking insults in the process. He had called her a ‘black bitch with a big ass’ and had assured her that no guy on campus would ever hit on her. If they did, it would be to use her. She believed him.
That first year in campus, she stayed away from boys. She wasn’t going to let them use her. She made friends on Facebook and even met two of them. The chemistry with derrick wasn’t right. Teddy wasn’t exactly her type, but one hell of a kisser. She didn’t want to date because she believed Martin. She believed him when he said she was poor in bed and when he said no one would ever love her. The fact that she was poor in bed made her seal her thighs. She wasn’t about to embarrass herself anymore with her poor coital skills. As far as she was concerned, she was done trying. Fate didn’t think so. It brought about Joel.
Her first impression of Joel was that he was a rich boy. Those always freaked her out. She and Joel shared some classes at the time. Her first year was almost over. She was still single and disinterested. When Joel approached her and Angela, she instantly assumed he was interested in Angela. She and Angela had become friends somewhere during her first semester when they had both changed their courses to Engineering. They had hit it off and were inseparable. Angela was a very pretty girl and V a very smart one. When guys approached them, it was to hit on Angela or to ask V about something they had done in class. Joel didn’t seem interested in mathematics questions so she instantly assumed he was interested in her friend. V was funny too, with stupid jokes that even she herself laughed to. Joel walked with them from class but that wasn’t her problem because she knew he wasn’t interested in her. She made her jokes, she talked without breaks, she was loud… she was simply herself. She and Angela were going to lunch and Joel joined them.
He only made his interest known after lunch. V was more shocked than flattered. How insane was this guy? How would he decide to go for her out of the two of them? She figured he was pulling her leg and so she gladly turned him down with the classical “we can only be friends”.
Joel wasn’t exactly excited to hear that. According to him, if he wanted to be friends he wouldn’t have bothered to ask. He would simply fit in. He resorted to ignoring her. This got to V and she started to miss him. Just like that, she had herself a new boyfriend. They hang out and chatted a lot but she avoided being alone with him. She was poor in bed and she had nothing to offer him. As far as she was concerned, she was probably also a lousy kisser. Her self-esteem was the lowest it could be. She felt ugly and insecure. She masqueraded this so beautifully in her huge character. She was all over the place, never allowing anyone to read the insecure mess she was beneath. Joel was coming too close though and it freaked her.
One evening he called her over and she joined him in his friend’s hostel. They watched a movie together and realized only at the end that it was too late and she couldn’t get back to her own place. They left the friend’s room and went to Joel’s because it was closer. V panicked. She was going to spend the night with the guy and was too scared. It was only 11. What would she be doing with him for the entire night? It definitely wasn’t going to be sex because she couldn’t let him find out how pathetic she was. But what else would she be doing? She didn’t want to sleep by his side. What if she snored? What if she farted in her sleep? She couldn’t let him in on her secret insecurities just yet.
In his room, he put on another movie and sat by her side. They both agreed that they would watch till they couldn’t any more. Whoever wanted to sleep would then sleep. She stayed up all night and at some point watched him fall asleep so peacefully on her shoulder. He looked like a baby and she could literally feel herself fall for him. At about 3 or 4 he went to bed and she stayed fixed on her seat, eyes on the computer screen. She wasn’t even watching, she was simply staying not-asleep. In the morning, he got up to begin his day. V couldn’t believe that he hadn’t attempted to make a move on her. He had completely laid his hands off of her. She shot up from the seat and hugged him so tight just before she left. She couldn’t prevent herself from weeping with emotion. Perhaps Martin was wrong about something after all. Here was a guy that said he wanted her and yet had not touched her the entire night. It was the first time Joel had seen her cry. He freaked out and held onto her tight in a manner that seemed to reassure her that he would always be there.
V spent that week still trying to believe that she had spent an entire night with a guy who hadn’t tried to make a move on her whatsoever. Did I mention she was still inexperienced? That weekend she kissed him. They resonated. The kiss felt right. She especially loved how his lips were pink and how they always seemed to burn hers when they touched. Joel loved kissing her. She loved spending time with him. They made out a lot but she always got away before it got too serious. She was scared of losing him. She was convinced that as soon as he found out that she didn’t know how to dish it out he would leave her. She had just started to love again and wasn’t about to let it slide. She held on and held on till several weeks later when she was out of excuses. He had been patient enough and maybe she owed him the truth. She confessed to him that she sucked and he promised everything would be ok.
She invited him over to her house. Her roommates were away on their own escapades. They made out and finally went all the way. V remembered distinctly that she was on her back waiting to receive it. When Joel slipped into her and she didn’t move, he held her by her waist with one hand and aligned her. He moved her to him when he moved to her. She realized what he was trying to do. It was kind of embarrassing. She decided that the next time they would do it, she would be better. V had no problems with flexibility, of that she was sure. Now she knew what to do with herself. She had a lot to learn, and she was started.
The sex felt a lot better as well. It was protected. Toward the end at some point, she felt the latex burn her. Fortunately, he came. He was upset though when he asked V where her roommates were and she innocently stated that they were away doing “the same thing we are doing here.”
“What is this to you? Just some game thing everyone does?” He sounded really upset.
She wanted to say yes, but she figured he wanted her to admit that what they had was special. It was, no doubt, but she didn’t want to be so uptight about it. Besides, the roommate she was referring to was also in love with her one boyfriend and so chances were they were also doing something special like V and Joel. That conversation was brief to V. To him, it was going to be a source of trouble.