New African Writers
Bode Osanyin

I Loved A Girl

 Within God’s will, sexual union fulfills its purpose only when it is an expression of love. There are two different things in sexual relationships:

You don’t love a girl when you go to bed with her; you only have a sexual experience not an experience of love. Sometimes we do not know what true love is. When you are attracted to a girl and say, “I love you�, what you really mean is: “I want something, not you but something from you. I do not have time to wait. I want it immediately without delay. It does not matter what happens afterwards. Whether you become pregnant, that has nothing to do with me. For me it is right now that counts. I will make use of you in order to satisfy my desire. You are for me, the only means by which I can reach my goal. I want to have it, have it without any further delay, have it immediately�. This is the opposite of love. For love wants to give. Love seeks to make the other happy and not himself. You act like a pure egoist. Instead of saying you loved a girl, you should have said “I loved myself alone and for this purpose I misused a girl�.

This is what it really means when you say to a girl, “I love you�. It means, “You are the one whom I longed for. Without you I am incomplete. I will give everything for you and I will give up everything for you. Myself as well as all that I possess and I will live for you alone and work for you alone and I will wait for you. It does not matter how long. I will always be patient with you. I will never force you, not even by words. I want to guard you, protect you and keep you from all evil. I want to share with you my thoughts, my heart and my body. All that I possess. I want to remain always at your side�.

 Do you now understand how far your experience was from an experience of love? You do not even remember the name of the girl {sometimes}. For you she wasn’t even a person. Not even a number. You are not interested in her past and certainly not in her future. You did not even care what happened in her heart when you possessed her during lovemaking. And if she became pregnant, that is her affair. What does it matter to you? After all she is old enough to take care of herself. No! , You did not love her. You only lusted for her. For true love involves responsibility, one for the other.




Virgin Bride

 I woke up with a start. The cock crowing; the goat bleating, the dog barking. Oh! It’s only my father’s animals performing their daily routine in our compound this morning. Yet why this sinking feeling inside me? Ah! Today they come to pay the price. My bride price or rather the cost price?

Today Nze the prince, son of the late Eze along with his entourage will come to pay my dowry. What my father calls “the bride price�. For six hundred thousand naira I shall be bought. This body shall be bought by that beast like creature in human skin.

I remember six market days ago when he came with some elders to make the final arrangements with my father. His eyes ravaged my body almost to nakedness. Like a … what was that phrase my teacher used in class the other day? Aha! Like a fox ready to pounce on it’s prey. With his blown cheeks and potbelly. His ill fitted shirt tucked into his trousers belted below his belly, he looked like an under dressed clown. So this is whom I shall soon call my husband. He whom shall possess my body. This vast body, which God created. I Adaure, daughter of gold. Over my dead body!! I’d rather die than be defiled by him.

Against my will I am being forced to marry this man. Father says he cannot afford to pay my school fees anymore and I have to drop out. Besides, he keeps falling ill these days. So if I marry the prince, I shall be able to complete my education. Oh! Father, oh! Mother, I do not love this man. My heart belongs to another and you know it.

Uchenna my love, my life. He whom poverty decides to separate from me because he cannot afford my bride price.

Father says I am being thick headed and selfish. Do I not consider their struggles and my siblings? Will love put food on our table and complete my education? Mother says I should not worry about love. After marriage to the prince, I shall grow to love him. But how can I love one man and grow to love another?

I get up from the bed and walk to the window. Mother has already started preparations outside with her fellow women who came to assist. With pots and pans clattering everywhere, firewood and tubers of yam heaped on the ground, a goat by the corner being untied by some young men, I knew food was underway. She says until our in-laws arrive, I am to rest and do no work at all. I look beside me, resting at the back of the chair near my clothes basket is the “Ngbaji� which I must wear around my waist today for the ceremony. An attire signifying virginity and fertility in its purest state. My husband must find me a virgin on our wedding night. Ha! Ha!! I laugh. If only they knew. A virgin in deed.

Out of misery and despair, I had persuaded Uchenna my love to meet me by the bush path on my way to the stream two days back. And in the sacred abode of our love nest, I gave myself to him. My heart, my soul, my flesh all in that painful-sweet sensation. Our reserved love for our future together had been consummated prematurely all because of our oppressors. But I did not mind. I could cherish the feeling all my life even if we never saw each other again. Is it not money they want? Good! After the wedding ceremony, my husband would only realize that I am a second hand commodity and perhaps in annoyance and with a bruised ego of course, kick me out of his house and life. How interesting that would be. At least by then, his money would have made better the lives of my family. Who knows, I may even get to be with my first love at last and live happily ever after with him after all.

As I look on at the scene outside, with mother and those women making the fire at this stage, I just wonder… All these preparations for a virgin daughter? For me? I shake my head from side to side feeling a bit sorry for them. Tsk! Tsk!! If they knew. If only they knew.

US - Africa Literary Foundation

Chimdi Maduagwu, PhD
Executive Director
US-Africa Writers Foundation
Dr. Bode Osanyin
Chairman, Department of Creative Arts
University of Lagos
Department of Creative Arts
Akoka, Yaba
Lagos, Nigeria

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