My name is Toni and this is where I choose to start my story.
I don’t have a lot of memories from before I reached the age of 10 but this? This I will never forget!
My family and I lived in a block of flats when I was growing up. The apartment next to ours was occupied by an Igbo family with older kids. Adaeze, Chidinma and their 17 years old brother, Chuka. How can I ever forget Chuka?
My family and theirs became very friendly, too friendly if you ask me but nobody asked me and why would they I was only eight. My mom had a beauty salon down the street and after school I would go there to do my homework. When I was done she would say to me “Go home and have lunch and then you can go over to aunty chidinma’s if you don’t want to stay home with Promise.” Promise was our maid whom I didn’t like very much so of course I would go to Aunty Chidinma’s house. At night her siblings and she would come over to my house to watch the NBC TV drama – Passions– which used to air on AIT. My family owned the only generator in the compound at the time.
One day I went over to Aunty Chidinma’s house as I normally did but she wasn’t home. I was considering whether to leave when Chuka switched to the cartoon channel and asked me to stay, I did. The truth is I was fond of him. I always acted shy around him but in school I would tell my friends that when I grow up I would marry my neighbour Chuka. What a laugh!
Chuka asked me if I wanted to see his room, I nodded. I was happy he was even speaking to me. We got into his room and he told me to sit, he gave me a Milky Way chocolate bar and asked me about school. After a little while he said “come and sit on my lap” I obliged, he played with my hair and kissed my cheek, I was okay with that and then he asked “will you do something for me?” I nodded, “lay down on the bed” I can’t say why but I didn’t even think about it before I obeyed.
I went home in tears that afternoon, thankfully no one but Promise was home. How would I have explained what Chuka had done to me that afternoon.
After I lay on the bed, he lay on top of me with only his shirt off and started moving forward and backward -what I know now to be dry humping- he said “I’m the daddy and you’re the mummy and we’re doing what mummies and daddies do.” I knew this was wrong, very wrong but I didn’t know how to get out of it. I didn’t want to upset him. When he was done he made me promise not to tell anyone.
I didn’t go to Aunty Chidinma’s house the next day, I wasn’t sure I still liked Chuka and I definitely didn’t want a repeat of what had happened the day before so I stayed home that day and the day after and the day after. The next day Chuka showed up at my house. Promise was in the kitchen. He walked into my room and told me to come to his house, when I shook my head, he said he would never talk to me again and called me a fat ugly child. I immediately began to sob. The next words he said to me broke me “If you won’t be my friend I’ll make your baby sister my friend” and then he left.
The next day I went to Chuka’s house, he took me into his room and before he told me to lie down he jerked his hips upward and downward and said “look something is dancing, touch it”. He went ahead to repeat what he did on the first day and when he was done he said to me “if you tell anyone what happened you will die and because of what we have just done I own you so you must not hide from me”, he pulled his ear “have you heard me?” I simply nodded.
This continued until Chuka eventually left for the university and then his family moved out of the vicinity.
I never told anyone what happened.
I always wondered what my reaction would be if I ever saw Chuka again, I never quite figured it out until I did see him again at my cousin’s wedding. He looks really good was my first thought. My second? Something must be seriously wrong with me. My third thought? Toni, walk away.
I walked away.
Thank you so much and God bless. xx
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