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BE YOURSELF

Author  Okhilua Desire
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Get me the wrenches.” Papa would say to me and my heart would burst into a million flowery pieces that sat softly behind my chest. Papa's words were direct and they made me feel important. I was twelve and I remember my fingers travelling through his tool box enthusiastically until I found one. Whenever he was working on his 1997 Mazda, fixing up its parts by himself, that was the best time I remembered. He never had a problem with me by his side, unlike Mama who would scream at the top of her lungs saying, “You are a girl, Ose. Leave the spanners and come help me in the kitchen.”

I would also remember Papa saying, “Leave the girl, let her be, can you not handle the kitchen yourself?” And I would smile shyly knowing I had defeated my mother with my father’s help. Papa defended me times without number and sometimes i would either be embarrassed or proud.

After I had turned fourteen, I changed school and I noticed there was something odd with me. I had began to give in to the thoughts of wearing my brother’s clothes. One afternoon mama saw me in one his clothes and screamed. “Osedebamen!” She called me. “Go and change those clothes before I descend on you.” Papa who was having his dinner yelled back at her to leave me alone. It sounded really rude but I loved it, I loved it so much and I wanted to hug him tight. The feeling of love, warmth and trust shrouded me, ever so soothing and I knew then that my father was for and with me no matter what. 

At eighteen, during my first year in the university, I met someone who made life more meaningful for me. I had only read about this kind of love in books and seen them in movies. As the holidays came, I ran home and told my father. “Papa, I think I’m a lesbian.” I said. His response was a hard knock from his belt buckle  which landed on my cheeks, uprooting my teeth.



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Read : 'A Log of Upturn Twist' series here every Sunday by Okhilua Desire.
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BE YOURSELF

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