“You are a shame to this family”, “you are a disgrace”, “You are nothing but a disappointment” all these just because I got my nose pierced.
I came home, excited, with a fresh new nose piercing I have been longing for, for the longest time now. I ran into my mother’s room so excited to show her my latest body modification. I thought she would get excited with me too but that hope was shattered quickly. She had the most displeased look on her face as she got up from her bed and began to hurl the most insultive phrases at me.
“Mummy it is just a nose piercing”
“Just a nose piercing? Bola have you ever seen me with a nose piercing? Your older sisters, do they have one? Where are you learning these careless acts from? It is certainly not from this house. You want your daddy to talk badly to me abi? No, your plan would not work Bola”
“Mummy relax” I tried to calm her down, as she was already on her feet, barely hanging on to her wrapper tied around her.
“Before I open my eyes, I want you to take out that evil thing from your nose. Bola do not let me unleash the bad side of me on you today”
That was just for a nose piercing. Do not get me started on when my mother thought I got a tattoo.
We had just had a filling dinner of pounded yam and egusi and of course as the last child of the house, I was left with the duty of washing the dishes.
As I cleaned off the plates and started arranging them on the high shelf, my mum walked in. I knelt and greeted her and she raised her hand in return.
As she was about to say something, she paused and squinted at my left arm which was stretched out towards the shelf.
“Bola what is that?” she asked, pointing to my left arm which had a little dark figure peeking out from under the long-sleeved sweater I had on.
“Oh mummy it’s-“ she cut me off with a deafening slap on my right cheek.
I stood there in shock, not able to formulate a proper sentence.
My dad rushed in, “what was that? Mobola what is going on?” he asked my mother who just stood there breathing heavily in anger.
“Daddy Ola, take a look at your daughter’s arm, is that not a tattoo?”
My dad had a puzzled look on his face as he said, “tattoo? In my house? She cannot try it.”
“Mummy-“ another slap. Tears rolled down my face as I cried uncontrollably in the middle of the kitchen.
Before I could open my mouth to speak again, my mother spoke up, “follow me”
She walked out of the kitchen, grabbing a belt from the dining table and headed towards the direction of her room.
Her voice echoed out, “I am sure you heard me correctly Bola”
I walked out of the kitchen, my hand still on my face from where her hand had previously collided with.
That night I was mercilessly beaten like a thief who stole a phone from “computer village”.
She later found out two days later, that the tattoo she thought she saw was an old scar I had gotten from when she placed a hot iron on me because I had spoken back to her.
Of course, there was no apology and she blamed me for not speaking up.
It’s my best friend, Amaka’s birthday. She just turned eighteen and she organized a birthday dinner in a restaurant in Ajah. I live in Festac Town so the restaurant is like two hours away if there’s no traffic.
Surprisingly, my parents agreed for me to go. It felt like a trap but at that point, I did not care, I just wanted to leave this house even if it’s just for a few hours.
We had a great time at Amaka’s birthday dinner and I had to leave early to beat the traffic going back home. I hugged Amaka goodbye and she ordered a taxi for me to take me home directly.
The taxi arrived and I was soon on my way. The taxi driver was a middle-aged man who had a shining bald head and a protruding belly which was pressed up against the steering wheel. He did not say a word throughout the ride home and a comfortable silence filled the air.
Much to my disappointment, we encountered a traffic jam which looked like it was not clearing up anytime soon. I glanced at my wristwatch and saw the time read 6:45 PM. My parents had previously told me to be home before 8:00 PM. I said a silent prayer to myself for the traffic to clear up quickly but that did not work.
We were stuck in traffic for hours and somewhere along the line, my phone battery died and I did not have a portable charger on me.
After about an hour thirty minutes, according to the taxi driver, we were out of the traffic.
The taxi pulled up at the gate of my house and I was met with my parents, dressed in their nightwear, standing outside the gate.
I got out of the taxi and bid the driver farewell and he drove off, as Amaka had already paid him.
I walked up to my parents and I knelt, greeting them.
My dad walked back into the house and I was left with my mother who had an angry look on her face.
“Who was that man Bola? You are already following men?” The accusations again.
Of course, my beloved mother did not let me explain and the beatings resumed, adding to my collections of scars on my body.
She got the belt, her favorite weapon.
As she used the fine leather belt to design my body with beautiful slashes of art, I stumbled back and fell, my head colliding with the corner of the coffee table.
I fell unconscious and was rushed to the hospital.
I was not scared. It was peaceful.
As I struggled to keep my eyes open, I saw my beloved mother crying hysterically above me, as I was wheeled into what seemed like a hospital on a gurney. My father also has tears running down his cheeks.
Why are they sad? Did they not do this to me?
They were stopped at a point by the nurses as they were told they cannot go any further.
I saw my mother on the floor, screaming with my dad clutching her in his arms.
The surgery’s over. I did not survive it. My beloved parents mourn me. The pain is finally over.
I am free.