The classroom is empty as usual, I was always the first student to get to class. I walked up to my seat, that seat where I knew I could get a full glimpse of Mr Dede when he walked into the classroom. I brought out my diary to update it as usual. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was but I knew I was in love with Mr Dede. Yes, my class teacher. The way he looked at me when we he was teaching in class. He had beautiful brown eyes and his hair was dark and curly. I was not so sure if it was the way he talked like his tongue was too heavy or the way he laughed and his small white set of teeth revealed. All I just knew was that my 12-year-old self was in love. At this moment, all the Bible lessons I learnt at Sunday school about how Jesus is Love did not matter at all. Mr Dede told me he loved me and I loved him too.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
I remember the day Mr Dede beat me because I scored low in his test. I felt so annoyed and hated after he flogged. How can you flog someone you love? I thought. I cried a lot that day, the cane was painful but it was more painful that it was the man I loved so much that flogged me. After he had finished dishing out maximum Shishis to everybody that day, he dismissed the class and told me to wait behind to see him.
After the class dismissed, I packed my bag and sat down waiting for Mr Dede. I was still angry at him and I did not want to see him but I was not ready for another round of flogging. Mr Dede walked into the classroom now with a less furious face. He was looking handsome again unlike the devil he looked like when he was flogging me. He sat at his desk like I was not there. He picked up his phone to receive a call from someone.
‘Hey baby’, he said to the person on the phone. Hearing ‘hey baby’ got me really furious. Who did this man think he was? So he had the guts to call someone baby while I was angry at him. I was so overwhelmed with jealousy that I closed my ears till he was done receiving the call.
He looked up at me now, ‘Tutu, come here’. I got up reluctantly and was practically dragging my feet to meet him. I stopped in front of him and dropped down my head, I did not want to look at his face but he smiled. Yes, he smiled like nothing had happened and he stretched his hands to pull my face up. I could see his face now and his grin suddenly turned to a frown making me more confused.
‘Hey, why do you think I flogged you like that?’ he asked.
‘Because I failed my test I answered’.
‘Good, it’s good you know that was why I beat. Next time you’ll remember the cane and study well for your test uhn?’
‘I’m sorry I beat you’, he said drawing me close.
‘You know, it’s because I love you too much that’s why I beat you like that’.
My anger died down; he still loved me, I thought. He beat me because he loved me and he wanted me to do well. By this time, I was already on his laps and he was playing with my hair, stroking my fingers and smiling so effortlessly.
‘I love you Tutu, he kept saying, ‘I love you, love you, you’, he continued kissing my cheeks, then my neck.
I was feeling uneasy at his gestures, I wanted to flinch but then, nothing mattered than the fact that he loved me. He continued, kissing my neck and playing with my ears until he kissed my lips so hard I felt his tongue almost going down my throat. He stopped and I gasped for breath at the shock of what he just did.
He smiled at me again and put me down.
‘OK, beautiful Tutu, I’ll be on my way home now. You take care of yourself’, he picked up his bag and left without looking back at me.
I was still in awe. Is that what it meant to be kissed? So, there was my first kiss from the man I loved most in the world, Mr Dede.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
I dropped my school bag on the floor of my room and went straight to look in the mirror, I wanted to see how beautiful Mr Dede said I am. I did and yes I was pretty. My hair was long, dark and virgin and always packed up complementing my dark skin. I touched my breasts and remembered when it was still lumpy like a stone that pained me so much. Mummy told me not to worry then that it was going to grow pretty soon and before I knew it, it grew so big and at ten, I was using large bra size. Maybe that was what made me more beautiful too. I remembered two weeks ago when Mum came home and gave me two pairs of bra telling me how mature enough I was. Mummy bought me a white and black one. I was so excited about using a bra that when I got to school, I pulled Tinuke to the toilet to show her that my breasts were now big enough for wearing bra. That was now something to be proud of. I had what most girls in the class did not have, breasts.
I did not expect to meet Sanya at home at this time especially knowing he was meant to be playing ball with his friends. He was playing video games in his room, he glanced up at me and gave a thumbs up.
‘Where have you been?’ he asked
‘Tinuke’s house’, I answered.
He chuckled, paused his game and pointed at my lips
‘Is that why you have lipstick on?’
I tried to wipe off the lipstick as fast as possible but he did not stop laughing.
I walked away to my room angrily. I remembered how Mr Dede said I should try and visit him some time. How was I supposed to tell my Mum that and she would allow? I had to look for a tangible reason.
‘Eureka’, I thought. The only way to be allowed to Mr Dede’s house was by lying it was for music practice. Mum loved music and she certainly wanted us to play instruments in church so, it was not so hard convincing her that it was for the purpose of playing the keyboard.
Sundays used to come with a lot of stress and worries. From how we would spend long hours in church to how our parents would be engaged in long meetings at the end of the service. Today was Sunday again and I only worried about how stressful helping Mummy out in the kitchen would be after the service. She would always bore me with bible stories and how I should pick good lessons from different bible characters. Today’s story was about Delilah and Samson. According to her, Delilah was a bad woman, she caused a man of God to fall.
I thought of telling her about Mr Dede and how much I was in love with him. I was not ready for that I thought, I did not want her to slap me and think I was not a good girl. After the silent lunch, I did the dishes and reminded Mum that I was going for music practice, this was the one thing I always used to get away with going to Mr Dede’s house.
In her drowsiness she answered ‘OK, be careful’. And that was it.
I picked my short blue gown, packed my hair up, used some powder and a little lip gloss before picking my music note and left. Sanya winked at me when I passed by his room and I waved him bye. Mr Dede’s house was like 30minutes walk from my house so I rode on my bike to get there on time. I packed my bike at his backyard before going to the front door and knocked.
I knocked thrice but did not get any response so I went to the window of his room and knocked to alert him. I could hear that his TV was on and was loud which was probably why he did not hear me. I knocked the window but he still did not hear until I shouted ‘Mr Dede! Mr Dede!’
He heard this time around and walked to the front door to let me in. His hair was rough and he looked unkempt. He was putting on a light blue boxer and his chest was bare. I could see the strands of hair from his chest down to his belly button. He smiled as always and let me in.
‘You didn’t go to church?’, I asked
‘No dear, I didn’t, I woke up late and was too tired to meet up with church’, he answered.
I sat on the small sofa but I was uncomfortable with the usual darkness of his parlour.
‘Come, let’s go inside my room’, he said and I followed immediately.
Getting to his room, I noticed he had been watching a movie. His bed was rough and there was a glass cup filled with reddish liquid that looked like Ribena placed by his bed. He beckoned to me to sit down and I did on the edge of the bed.
‘Let’s relax your mind a bit, so watch my movie with me’.
‘OK’, I answered. I definitely could not say no.
The movie continued; it was an European movie. I didn’t know the title but he assured me that it was interesting. He served me some biscuit and cold juice and I soon relaxed into the movie. I didn’t seem to understand what was going on in the whole movie. It was not like Austin and Alley on Disney and definitely not like I Carly on Nickelodeon. There was a group of people, they seemed like the bad people trying to kill some good people but some bad people were also part of the good people. I admitted that I was confused and bored.
Mr Dede glanced at me and said ‘Hey, are you bored?’
‘Yes, I don’t understand the movie so well’, I answered eating the last bite of my biscuit left in my hand.
‘OK, here’s what will happen, I’ll remove this and we’d watch something you understand very well and you’ll even get to learn from it for future purposes’.
‘Give me a minute’, he said.
He went to his drawer to check for some movies before he eventually brought out one. I could not read the title of the movie clearly so I just waited for him to play it. He served me more biscuit and juice and I was gladly enjoying myself until when we got to a particular scene in the movie. It was in an office and a Boss called his Secretary. She wore an outfit that revealed her cleavage and exposed the massiveness of her breasts. The boss was trying to put her through some work but she seemed not to be paying attention and she was biting her pen continuously and was dancing like a snake until her boss looked up at her and jerked.
Before I could say ‘Jack Robinson’ she was already naked and her boss was too and they were on the table, putting it inside each other. I choked on my biscuit, Mr Dede rubbed my back and gave me some juice to recover. He smiled again but this time, it was somewhat mischievous because the scene kept playing and the moans of the actor and actress were so loud now that it filled the room but he did not stop playing it. He paused it now and looked at me
‘Tutu, you know you’re a big girl now and this is what big girls watch’, he said and then winked. The movie continued playing and different scenes of men and women nude, having sex came up and somehow, I was more interested. The moans were getting to me, Mr Dede was acting weird, closing his eyes and clasping his hands together, he stood up to go to the bathroom and I could see his penis from his trouser standing out and strange, I did not understand what was happening.
He came back, sat on the bed now very close to me, placed a hand around me and whispered into my ears
‘Big girls also practise what they watch so you should practice this someday’. I could not make sense of what he was saying exactly but I wanted to watch more.
There was a knock on the door.
‘Hold on, I’m coming’, Mr Dede said standing up to put on a black trouser hanging by his bed stand and quickly reaching for a green t-shirt. He picked the remote, switched off the TV and ordered me to the living room with his keyboard. I did so immediately. He finally opened the door and lo, it was Sanya.
‘I came to get her’, Mum said it’s getting late’.
I was already at the door so I told Mr Dede goodbye and followed my brother.
Throughout the bike ride home, I tried to talk and laugh so Sanya would not suspect that something was wrong. It worked as we laughed and played all the way home that evening.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
So, I thought about what I watched at Mr Dede’s. I wanted to watch more as the images kept flashing in my head and the moans kept ringing out loud. I could not wait for another weekend to go to his house. Another weekend came and yes, I asked to watch more and Mr Dede laughed like a villain and we practided what we had been watching. He told me to unbutton my shirt that day that he wanted to see my breasts. My heart was beating so fast but nothing really mattered at that moment, it was simply an act of love. He thought me stuffs that kept ringing in my head everyday and night and I could not sleep properly.
I didn’t know if it was still love but I grew fond of Mr Dede more and more. I wanted to always be with him and he never stopped saying how much he loved after kissing me and fondling with my breast. I was in love.
We kept seeing each other then one day, it seemed different. Mr Dede was really angry that day, I did not know why he was angry but he kept on punching the wall continuously, I was scared. He suddenly pulled out his belt and placed it on his bed, he told me to lie down flat and I did without hesitating. His eyes were red with fury. He reached for my skirt and yanked it off. He did the same with my top and unhooked my bra. He started by slapping my breasts continuously, pinching my nipples so hard and pain ran through my body.
‘You’re hurting me’, I yelled.
‘Shut up, it’s because I love you’, he said and continued.
‘Mr Dede, you’re hurting me’, I said close to tears and trying to get up.
‘Lie down now’, he said reaching for his belt. I struggled to get up but he lashed me with his belt and flung me on the bed pouncing on me like an hungry lion. He lowered himself and roughly put my legs apart to reach inside of me. I let out a shout as I felt the painful throb. I cried and cried and yelled. He picked up his belt again and continued beating me to stop yelling till he was done’.
I saw blood, blood!! I was scared, he had injured me. I thought I was going to die.
‘Oh my Gosh, what a mess!’ he said walking to the toilet and ordering me to follow him. He washed me clean, hugged me and kissed me. He told me not to tell anyone what happened if I did not want to be flogged again.
Now, I was not sure if he still loved me or if everything he did to me was what love meant. If you love someone, why can’t you tell people, I thought. I cried and cried getting to my room that evening. I wanted to tell someone what happened, wanted to explain how much I was still hurting under. I thought of telling Mummy but of course, she’ll be in church attending various meetings and praying for people and she’d probably kill me with preaching before I can even talk and Mr Dede warned me not to tell anybody. I was just going to keep it to myself.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
I got home from Mr Dede’s house half past seven. Thank God, Mum’s car was not in sight so I snuck in to avoid Sanya but my body was still sore from the beating, the sores and the ache in between my thighs from what Mr Dede did to me. I tiptoed and tried to pass by Sanya’s room. I was successful, I tiptoed into my room and locked the door. The room was dark so I went to switch on the fluorescent when I screamed at seeing someone in my room. It was Sanya.
‘Why did you scare me like that?’ ‘What are you doing in my room? ‘
Sanya was not smiling at all. He kept a stern look and asked very seriously
‘Where are you coming from? ‘
‘Mr Dede’s house now, you know’.
‘So, how’s your keyboard practice going?’
‘Fine? Tutu, is there something I should know that you’re not telling me?’ ‘
I looked away, I was not really ready to deal with this. ‘No’.
‘I’m not joking Tutu’
He laughed out loud, and pocketed.
‘I read your diary today and it gave me an hint’. I kept quiet.
‘I’m just simply asking, what has been going on’? I maintained my silence.
‘Adetutu’, my brother called out at me, ‘tell me everything, every damn thing that has been going on’. I was still confused, I did not know how to break the news to him, it was one of those things I dreaded telling him. This time, he moved closer to me and clasped my hands together ‘it’s okay, spill it, talk to me’.
‘He forced me to sleep with him’, I said looking away.
‘What?!’ ‘What the hell are you saying?!’
Sanya’s hands were already clasped together at this point, like he was preparing to beat someone up.
He clenched his fists and hit his hand many times on the table, he paced up and down, rubbing his hand on his head and shouted ‘Ah!!
‘I’m sorry’, I said sobbing
‘I thought he loved me’
‘And he beat you like this uhn’ he yelled checking out the wound on my back and neck. Sanya walked out of the room very fast with his fists clenched.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
‘Ah, my God, the devil has succeeded. Ah, my daughter, won ti get mi o. It is definitely the devil’s work’. I stepped out of my room to where the noise was coming from. Definitely, Sanya had broken the news to Mummy.
‘Tutu, there’s a demon inside you and it is the demon that made this happen to you’, mum shouted removing her scarf and almost untying her wrapper from jumping too much.
‘Oya kneel down, I need to pray for you’, she said and Sanya yelled at her.
‘Mum, it is not prayer she needs now, it is not! She has been abused, she needs care, love and attention not prayers. There is no demon in her, she just needs us to be there for her now and most importantly fight for her. Mummy, you need to go and deal with that stupid Man.
‘Yes yes, it is true, bring the car key, I’m going now now now, stupid man’, she said finding her way out.
I went back to my room and continued sobbing. So, I thought I was in love but I wasn’t sure anymore. Did love mean everything Mr Dede did to me? Do you hurt those you love and still tell them you love them? I continued to wonder. If this was what love meant then I hate love, I don’t want love, I don’t want someone to love me and I don’t want to be loved either. I picked up my diary and wrote boldly on the page ‘I Hate Love’.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Mum came back later that night without uttering a word to anybody. She just got in and walked straight to her room. She was tired I guessed and she was trying so hard to deal with all of that without Dad being there. I thought about my Mum and how she was dealing with having to separate from Dad. I was just eight when Dad left us. Mum cried a lot and even when I told her to stop crying, she’ll continue telling me how much she loved our Father. She had resorted to being so religious, paying less attention to us at home. She was dealing with her pain and not involving us in her life anymore. She still loved Dad. Did Mr Dede love me the way Mum loved Dad?
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
I don’t know what Mum said to Mr Dede but she kept quiet about it. Was she fine with it? Was she hurt? Had she warned him? I was curious to know but she would not say anything. When I tried to ask her, all she told me was that I was going to be fine. Going back to school, it did not seem like he had changed at all. He called me after school, told me how much he still loved me and wanted us to continue seeing each other. He even promised not to beat me again. I knew I couldn’t resist him when he talked in his low voice with so much remorse. I fell for it and then he beat me again and kept on sleeping with me.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
‘Adetutu, I love you very much and I will not watch anybody hurt you, so tell me the truth. Sanya and I had not had the time to sit and talk things through and I did not tell him that Mr Dede was still abusing me.
‘Is he still hurting you?’, he asked.
‘Yes, yes, but there’s nothing I can do because he said he’ll kill me this time around’, I spoke in anger.
‘Nonsense, Get up! We’re going to his house now’.
‘No, no, Sanya, we can’t do that. He has very big knives, he’ll kill us’.
‘We’re just going to talk to him. No fighting, don’t worry’.
Sanya and I walked silently to Mr Dede’s house but my heart was beating really fast as we were getting closer, I did not want anybody to be hurt especially not Sanya. I didn’t understand why Sanya wanted to fight. I loved Mr Dede, he did not just understand. I enjoyed it whenever he slept with me but I did not like the beating but I could still manage, I thought.
Getting to Mr Dede’s house, the door was not locked so we walked in and reached for his bedroom. I kept pulling Sanya to calm down but he did not. We perceived a nice aroma from his kitchen, someone was cooking. Then we heard the sound of his bedroom door and he said’ Baby, make it snappy, I hope the food is almost ready, I’m really hungry’.
There was definitely a ‘baby’ he had. Sanya pulled my hands, dragged me and barged into his bedroom
‘What are you rats doing here?’, will you get out of here, my baby must not meet you here at all.
‘Oh, what stupid, unfortunate baby are you talking about ehn?
‘You’ll seriously pay for this with your life and I won’t stop, I swear, I won’t stop until she gets justice, you stupid fellow’, Sanya yelled.
‘What nonsense!! Please get out of here now before I loose my temper. Did I force her to be coming to my house in the first place?’
‘How about we tell your baby what you did to a twelve year old girl ehn, let her know what a hero you are’
Mr Dede got up to reach for his belt and walked up to us ready to lash out on us when Sanya shoved me behind him pointing his finger at Mr Dede ‘You will not touch her’, he said.
He began to flog Sanya mercilessly. The speaker of the TV in his room was so loud that nobody could have heard what was going on. Sanya also tried to struggle with him but he was too strong so he pushed Sanya on the bed and continued punching him. I was so confused, I could not do anything. Mr Dede reached for his drawer and brought out a knife. My eyes lit up with fear. ‘Sanya, sanya, I shouted. He’s going to kill you, he has a knife’.
He raised the knife to stab Sanya when Sanya reached for something in his pocket and stabbed Mr Dede. Mr Dede held the knife to his chest as he slowly fell down, trying to gasp for breath.
‘What have you done, Sanya? ‘ I love him, I still do, why did you do that?’
‘Will you shut up!!! What sort of stupid love is that? You don’t know anything’.
‘I defended myself and you, what Mum could not do’.
‘You’ve killed him, you’ve killed him, I said
‘No, he’s not dead yet, he’s still gasping for breath.’
‘Let’s get out of here’, I said.
‘Baby’, I heard the female voice from the kitchen area, I’m coming, the food is ready. I quickly ran to hide inside the wardrobe while Sanya hid behind the bed stand.
‘Baby, the food is here’, she said walking in with a tray in her hand and wearing a big shirt, Mr Dede’s shirt of course.
‘Baby?’ ‘Babyy!!! She said screaming throwing the Tray on the floor. I could not catch a full glimpse from the wardrobe but Sanya hiding behind the bed stand suddenly shouted.
‘Mummy!!! This was when I opened the wardrobe and finally saw the lady dressed in Mr Dede’s big shirt, the baby.
‘Mum-mm-y!’ I said in shock.
‘Sanya, Tutu, she said’ looking confused, mad, pathetic all at once, scratching her hair close to tears.
Sanya and I looked at each other in confusion…’Mummy!!!’