The air-conditioning was on – but for some reason, the car was colder than it was moments ago.
Moments ago, when we left the cinema holding hands. It’s funny how physically close to someone you can be and yet be oceans apart. Sure, she was right next to me; I could smell the lingering scent of her body lotion mixed with her own smell, but I couldn’t guess what she was thinking. I wanted to ask her what; or make a witty comment about the movie we just watched –
But there was a look on her face that silenced me.
We were driving – or rather I was driving towards her house and the silence filled the car with sound. To hide my increasing nervousness, I pushed the radio power button – but she laid a hand across mine. I pushed the button again, turning the radio off but she still held onto my hand.
I turned towards her slightly, keeping one eye on the road. I had watched too many films of guys driving and being distracted by the women beside them. She was staring at me intently and frankly; I started to sweat around the balls.
‘Is anything wrong?’ I asked.
She swallowed. I started to feel the chill – a chill that had nothing to do with the car air-conditioning. My heart was beating so loudly I could feel it pounding against my eardrums. I held her hand back, realizing how cold it was. I pulled my hand free and turned off the air-conditioning – and then, I held her hand again.
‘I – I’m pregnant. Ba – Seun, I’m carrying your baby.’
You know, the reason I don’t answer all those ‘what would you do’ questions in those Facebook groups is because I know it’s hard to say what you’ll do in ANY situation – except you’ve actually lived through it. If someone had told me before I went into the cinema that evening that everything I thought I knew about myself would change in less than four hours, I’d have sworn heaven and earth.
I’m carrying your baby.
And as I sat beside her, driving towards her house I realized I never meant all the things I said to her. Ideas about ‘always loving her’ and ‘wanting to be with her’ were just that; ideas that couldn’t survive in the real world. I opened my mouth to say something – anything, but I had no idea what, so I closed it back.
I looked at her –
She was in the corner of her seat, sobbing quietly. I didn’t notice when she let go of my hand. Comfort her; the kind part of me insisted. Tell her it will be fine – that everything will be okay.
But I couldn’t bring myself to tell one more lie.
The question lies;
Deep within these friendless skies,
Family with who you have no blood ties,
And they talk as if all of life; within blood lies,
What do they know; really?
What do they; or I, or you, for that matter…
What do we know of what truly matters?
Then; deep, within these friendly highs,
Lies the question…
I obsess about the truth. As though that makes me a lily-white saint.
However, in my continued mania, I have come to an uncomfortable question; do I really want to know the truth about everything like I claim to want to?
The answer is unequivocally NO.
Sometimes, it’s better to let some lies lie.
I don’t talk about my dad much.
I mean, I got daddy issues. Who doesn’t? He had/has his failings, did a lot of stuff to my mum, to and my siblings – what father hasn’t?
However, to reduce my relationship with the man who gave me life to a couple of disagreements and discontent on my part? That’s unfair.
I love my old man. I do, I really do. I was thinking about some of the memories I have with him and I realize; I love the old man. Failings and all.
Also, because I know beyond all doubt he loves me. Warts and all.
I always brag about how I got the best of both worlds; how God intended for me to be a writer. It’s true. Is it coincidence that I was born to a father who read everything EXCEPT romance and poetry, and a mother who only read romance and poetry? I’m shared this story many a time, but in case you haven’t heard it, when I was fourteen I accidentally burned one of my father’s hardcover ‘Complete Works: Charles Dickens’. He had warned me several times – he and my mother had warned me several times about reading by candlelight and not placing said candle in a holder. At that time, I was young and headstrong. Like every typical youth, I thought I knew everything.
I sha burned half the book when I fell asleep and the candle burned down to it. Damn thing burned a hole in the living room carpet, burned the pillow my head lay on – I still think it’s a miracle my head didn’t burn off.
However, whatever parts the fire missed, my dad’s belt took care of.
After flogging the fat off my behind (I got most of it back tho) he gave me his volume of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, asked me to read and come tell him the story after a week. His memory was a steel trap. If I dared to edit the story in anyway, he would know. He wasn’t asking for details tho, he wanted an accurate summary.
That was my first review.
How can I not love that man?
My father loves music. I got my schooling on Fela/Sunny Ade/Ebenezer Obey/Don Williams/Jim Reeves/Kenny Rogers/The Beatles/Everly Brothers/Elvis Presley/Sam Cooke/Frank Sinatra/Bob Marley/Brenda Fasie/Mariam Makeba/Harry Belafonte/Nat King Cole/Ray Charles/Stevie Wonder and damn near every classical musician from my father. My love of movies comes from him also; from The Three Musketeers to Casablanca to Gone with the Wind to Casino Royale (the Sean Connery first) to every Bond film; from Connery to Dalton that is, to Tom & Jerry to Bugs Bunny to Looney Tunes to –
Damn. I know you just thought my dad is awesome. You can say it out loud.
He is. And I’m damn lucky to have him.
No, he isn’t dead nor dying anytime soon. He is as well as a seventy-seven year old man can be. He’s happy, causing trouble for his neighbors and asking me when I’m getting married. I just thought about him today; a long and oft-happy recollection of my growing years. And I am reminded; how blessed I have been.
I’m grateful. Love you, Papa.
Can I take a moment of your time? Can you just give me a moment? Can we take a minute – and talk about #MaleRape?
Can we talk about male rape and how prevalent it is? Can we talk about how no one seems to care? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how even guys think a man wailing about being raped is ridiculous? I’m talking about female on male rape. #MaleRape
Can we talk about how even the ‘victim’ can sometimes be in denial – because of the shame and stigma attached to it? #MaleRape
Can we talk about our attitude towards male rape? How some don’t think it exists? How others think it’s supposed to be fun? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how it’s almost as though until something happens to a woman, it never gets talked about? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how rape is popularly seen as something that happens only to women or how ‘women=victim’ and ‘men=perpetrator’? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how unprotected the male child is – because we take it for granted that he can look after himself? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how quite an alarming number of guys lose/lost their virginity to an older woman – housegirl, aunt, cousin etc? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how male rape is portrayed in the media – e.g Archie and Ms. Grundy in the Riverdale series? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how we never talk about this issue and that issue and those other issues whenever men are the victims? #MaleRape
Can we just talk?
Dear Male Rape Survivor,
Your timing sucks.
There’s nothing wrong in your message. Whether we like it or not, no matter how we try to ignore/downplay it, men get raped too (click here to read my story). It is an uncomfortable reality; one even some other males refuse to accept. However, speaking up ONLY when another female rape case is breaking makes you look bad.
It really is in bad taste.
I do understand it. I understand how it feels; to have your pain and torment and shame made light of – just because you’re some way. Something has to happen to a woman for it to be taken seriously, to get public attention/outcry – or at least for it to trend on social media. Men and their plight are largely ignored – unless they’re doing something wrong.
I’ll tell you something in case you didn’t know; men get sexually harassed ALL THE TIME. Men get propositioned frequently. From the attendant at the filling station to the cashier at the supermarket to the cashier at the bank to the customer care person to colleagues, co-workers, groupies; literary or otherwise – trust me. Sex is hurled at men with the frequency of power outage.
You don’t want to see some of the unsolicited messages in some men’s inboxes. I promise.
Unfortunately however, it’s not supposed to be a big deal. Men ARE SUPPOSED TO LIKE IT. After all, ‘men think about sex every nine seconds’ (I wonder how they arrived at those figures – tie a man down, activate a stopwatch and said, ‘every time you think about sex raise your hand’?!). Men LIVE, BREATH, SING, EAT, SHIT, DIGEST sex – or so ‘they’ say.
Men don’t think about anything else. Frankly, men don’t have the time to think about anything else. Not according to ‘statistics’.
So men smile. And laugh. And suck it up. After all, it’s not anybody’s fault you’re a man, is it? And that’s what men do – suck it up because complaining, whining, crying about – of all things – sex and attention; even when unwanted – is shameful and weak.
Because; as much as we think we know in this day and age, the idea of a man turning down sex is preposterous – almost blasphemy. Such a thing is unheard of.
‘So how is it ‘rape’ if you wanted it, anyway? Are you not a man? Don’t men like sex?’
No. Not all the time they don’t. Just like women.
But that’s beside the point.
I understand ‘men get raped too’ because it seems like it’s the only time ANY ATTENTION can be given to the unfortunate, oft-ignored minority – the male abuse/rape victim. It feels like, ‘shebi I shared my rape story and nobody said anything? How is her rape story different?’
It’s not. However, snatching the microphone from her and pulling a Kanye is not the best way to plead your case. Trying to downplay a rape story because ‘men get raped too’ is not the best way to get people to listen. It is not a competition. Nobody’s measuring dick length by who gets raped the most.
We should learn to talk about male rape whenever we can – not just when the story of a 14-year old raped to death breaks. It makes us look selfish and insensitive – even though we mean well.
Rape is a shitty, horrible thing for anyone to go through, and we should all talk against it. Please, okay? Can’t we all just get along for the good of all?
Not all the time gender war, biko.
It was wrong. This; was wrong.
I wasn’t supposed to be kissing her; that’s why I wanted to stop.
So I started to stiffen my jaw – but then my phone rang. And then, I did stop kissing her. I had to stop kissing her to attend to the phone.
However, by the time I was done with the phone, I had forgotten my initial intention not to kiss her any further.
I just continued to kiss her. Like it was the most natural thing in the world.
And, just like that – I was doomed by my own hand…
Or mouth; as the case was.