I recall writing about my first Valentine in one of my earlier stories. Well the card I got during that Valentine landed me in serious trouble afterwards and till today I didn’t know how I wriggled out of it.
Let me describe the card: it was pink handcrafted thick paper designed with foil and rose petals (the person that gave it to me read architecture). The guy used cursive to write Happy Valentine and pasted one long stem rose and a small bottle of perfume on it. It was on a class of its own.
So I cherished this card with a passion (after all it buoyed my status in school by lifting me to the grade of big girls). So what did I do to it? Since I knew my parents would not approve of the card, I hid it in my box. When I’m happy, I would bring it out and caress it like a lover. In sadness, once I set my eyes on it, my mood would be lifted. I even left the perfume and the withered rose untouched.
I was about to go back to boarding house after Easter holiday when my parents discovered the card and hell was let loose. After packing my stuff, my mum would sniff (the word we used to describe my mum’s inquisitiveness) around my box and bags. In that process, she saw that card and letters I exchanged with the guy and took them to my dad.
I was coming back from church service when one of my brothers warned me of impeding “60 minutes at Entebbe” (our term for serious heart-to-heart talk with our parents that might lead to beatings). In my mind I said ‘warrever’ my close ally (dad) was around.
I entered the sitting room and my heart sank. My precious card was on display and the letters were scattered all over the floor. My dad was looking mournful, mum (that woman ehh) just got up and pounced on me. Before I could say Jack Robinson, my blouse was already in shreds.
She was screaming “let me strip you naked so that the whole world will know there’s nothing on your body yet!!!” I couldn’t even cry but stood quietly and took all the beatings.
Later they told me that I wouldn’t go back to boarding house or even school anymore.
My mum said “since you have a boyfriend, I will make sure you get married at once”. I thought they were joking until I spent one week at home; me that loved school so much. That was one of the worst week in my life. I cried and cried and couldn’t eat. And to make matters worst, my dad hadn’t spoken or glanced at me for once.
I reflected on what my life would become and remembered one of my classmates Chinwe that dropped out and was hawking bread…in my mind I said ‘tufiakwa’. I crawled to my parents’ room one night and begged them while wailing.
After that week I was back in school but very sober and as for that card, I didn’t know what happened to it. Neither did I care.