Head 6 – High School Diaries
Once I vowed never to forgive daddy for how he emotionally abused Mama. Well, today of all days, I chose to forgive him. Even though I hadn’t made contact with him for years, I knew deep down in my heart that I needed to let go of all the pain and bitterness I held against him.
Now, I’m reminiscing on one of those few occasions when he played a fatherly role in my life. It was one of those short yet exciting seasons.
It all happened during this period in high school. It was very common to see Mama at school during visiting hours. Unfortunately, she had to fly to India on this particular day for her public speaking tour, so I knew it was going to be a no-goodie Saturday, which was fine because she made sure I had everything I needed in advance.
My friends and I decided to skip school and have fun. So, while pretending to be unwell, we had our exeats signed and ended up at a nightclub with VIP tickets. It was my first time there, and I felt like a bad-ass girl with my altered outfit above my knees.
We took to the stage and twerked with the crowd urging us on until Samira signaled to me that her sponsor had arrived at the VIP section. She wanted us to meet him, promising that her sponsor could link me with his colleague and lavish me with expensive gifts. I had nothing to lose, but it seemed like fun to be known as the smartass bad girl of the century, so I caved.
‘Come on, let’s go milk these cows dry.’ She remarked as she pulled me along.
The VIP section of the nightclub was nothing like I expected. You could tell the environment seemed ‘safe’ yet unhealthy. It was choked with thick smoke from affluent men blowing chunks of smoke from expensive cigars. They didn’t appear to have any worries in life. They were high profiled men who were present to spend money on anything in skirts. And I was more than willing to help milk the fat cows.
A well-built bodyguard blocked our paths and scrutinized us but was unwilling to let us pass. He appeared to be a terrifying figure, not the kind to meddle with or bribe one’s way past.
‘Calm down, big man, we’re here for a specific cause.’ Samira began to flirt with him.
‘Let them through!’ said an authoritative voice, and that became our password.
As we passed, the guard stood aside, watching us with a straight face. No smiles. No winks. Perhaps he felt we were too young to be here. But that was his problem.
‘Zaaaddddyyyyy!!’ Samira sang as she fell on the older man’s lap and kissed him on the lips. She would do anything, and I mean anything, to grab the final penny from a wealthy man. I stood there like a zombie, watching their public display of affection until he turned to face me.
‘Who is she?’ he said, still staring at me.
‘That’s my colleague.’ Samira responded.
‘New blood.’ He said, still observing me.
‘Do you prefer her or what?’ Samira sighed and rolled her eyes.
‘Come on, baby girl, no one can take your place. I don’t like the way she’s standing there like a spy.’ He sighed. ‘Get this damsel something to drink,’ he added, and turned to the bartender a distance away.
I turned in the direction of his voice and headed over to the counter waiting to be served.
‘Tequila or Vodka?’ he inquired.
‘Huh? No, I am Funke.’ I responded, perplexed as to why he would want to flirt with me.
‘No, I meant the sort of drink you prefer,’ he laughed.
‘Okay. Err, Fanta?’
He hesitated and asked, ‘You’re new here, aren’t you?’
In response to his question, I nodded.
‘Why did you choose to be here? You are not a bad girl.’ He stated.
‘I am. I am one badass girl,’ I said, trying to justify those words.
‘No, you aren’t. And I could tell from the moment you walked into the club.’ He placed a bottle of Shandy on the counter and pushed it towards me.
Are you stalking me?’ I sat completely still. He could be a kidnapper or a stalker. I thought.
‘I mean no harm, but every night I count the number of girls that walk in and fall victims to these elderly men.’
‘Hundred of girls might come in, and only ninety might return home. You’re young, active, and gorgeous. This makes you the ideal candidate for their unethical behaviours. Do you want to waste your life?’ He almost yelled probably out of pain.
‘I’m confused.’ I took a sip.
‘These folks have nothing good to offer. If you take their monies, your entire life will be ruined. And if you get intimate with them, you will need a monthly budget to treat STIs. I’d leave if I were you.’ He dried his hands from touching ice cubes and took another order.
‘I only came to have a good time.’ I defended myself.
‘Listen, my sister used to say these exact lines anytime I warned her to stay focused in school. We came from a poor neighbourhood which required that we take up jobs to fend for ourselves. Unfortunately, her desire to live an extravagant lifestyle pushed her into the hands of cruel men. It was a night like this, that she got killed while having fun with a politician in a five-star hotel.’ He sighed.
‘Oh, God! That must have been awful. So sorry – ‘ I had barely ended my sentence when Samira showed up and dragged me along.
‘You must meet someone wonderful. He is quite wealthy and a very generous sponsor. You’ll have a good time, girlfriend!’ she squealed with delight as she slid a piece of condom into my hand.
Was she expecting me to sleep with a stranger on our first meet-up? This was not something I intended to do. If Mama ever found out I was sleeping with men and especially men old enough to be my father, she would kill me.
I came to a halt, and she did as well.
‘I can’t.’ In hushed tones, I said.
‘I was under the impression that you want to be cool like me.’ She raised her brow.
‘Yes, but everything is happening in a haste.’
‘Should I pass him on to a serious girlfriend?’ she asked impatiently.
I gave a nod.
‘Silly! When are you going to learn? When are you going to have the experience to brag about as a woman? You need to relax a little.’ I felt embarrassed when Samira began to yell.
‘I am not prepared. I prefer to –’ I tried to explain.
‘Be holier than thou? Don’t start saying things like “principles,” “virginity,” and “bluh-bluh-bluh!” You must live life to the fullest without regrets!’ Samira was getting furious. Was she high or, most likely, drunk?
‘They’re married men,’ I added.
‘Married men who are sick of their spouses,’ she replied. ‘And as a result, they left their homes to be with us. It tells how important we are to them. Maintain a calm demeanor and go with the flow. It’ll be over before you know it.’ Samira said calmly, realizing my discomfort.
‘Alright.’ I sighed.
‘That’s my girl! The guard will lead you to his room. I’ll be right next door if anything goes wrong.’ she smiled with an assuring look. Was she going to come over and save me?
As I followed the guard to the reserved hotel room, I squeezed the condom in between my fingers. I didn’t have to worry because Samira was going to be in the next room. She knew men like the back of her hand, and she commanded them with the authority of a tyrant who controlled dogs.
‘Here you go,’ he said as he opened the door and shut it firmly behind me once I got in.
That’s when I went completely still. My father was naked on the bed sipping a glass of red wine.
Didn’t the Bible state that seeing one’s father unclothed was a curse or something? Lord have mercy!
‘Dad?!!’ I passed out from the shock which had just slapped me in the face.
He was fully clothed by the time I awoke. In the middle of the turmoil, I sat up. Was this true? Tears streamed down my cheeks, as I locked my gaze on his.
‘Are you alright?’ he asked, drawing out a chair to sit next to me.
‘Obianuju, what are you doing here?’ he inquired. He had always loved that name.
I stayed silent.
‘You are not supposed to be here. This is a place for bad girls; girls without morals, girls who believe that this is the best and quickest way to make money, girls -‘
‘Girls who wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t entertained them, daddy.’ I sighed. ‘You never stayed at home. You never contributed a penny. However, you are the wealthy sponsor who is spraying money on all of these bad girls. Why are you so surprised to see me here?! I also came to look for a sponsor!!’
‘You can’t do this, Obianuju. You’re my daughter,’ he said.
‘I have no intention of doing this with you. The club is packed with other wealthy men.’ I can’t believe I just said that.
‘I don’t want you sleeping with any of my colleagues or any other man,’ he responded.
‘You know, you have to support your orders by playing your fatherly roles better. However, you do that better with other girls.’
‘You won’t understand.’
‘That you have been infected with the male disease called womanizing? How? Make me understand since girls my age appear to be having a good time. You never spent time with me when I was at home. I barely saw you at home. I was looking for a father who would be my best friend and would tell me all I needed to know about the opposite sex, but you were nowhere to be found. Are you now ashamed that I want to sleep with other men?’
‘Baby girl, I know I’ve been a bad parent, but this isn’t the place for you. These girls will pay dearly in the end. That’s something they’ll never tell you. I sincerely apologize. I promise I’ll make things right with you. But for the time being, I’m sending you back to school.’ He rose to his feet and grabbed his phone and wristwatch.
‘I came with a group of friends.’
‘You’ll be leaving without them. My daughter should neither be found in such a place nor the company of bad girls. You’re a priceless treasure, sweetie. And I hope you aren’t sleeping around already.’
I sat there silently.
‘Obianuju?’ He was taken aback.
‘Not yet,’ I rolled my eyes.
He exhaled heavily, ‘Thank God.’
What is the significance of virginity? I mean, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Or is it?
According to Samira, bad girls are most likely to walk down the aisle earlier and have children without complications, whereas virgins stay single almost forever and experience difficulties in getting pregnant after all their level of abstinence and faithfulness. And overall, most males prefer ladies with prior experience. This keeps the men at home.
‘Let’s go,’ dad murmured, jolting me back to reality. ‘Wait a minute, toss that condom in the trash can. You won’t need it. And I don’t want you sleeping around, protection or no protection. Call me if you need anything. I’ll remain in the country till the end of my five-year contract.’
Daddy dropped me off at school. It was something out of the blue but it felt so good! The housemistress had called an impromptu roll call, which I missed. That meant a month of suspension or hard labour. When I glanced at my father, my eyes informed him that something was wrong. Was he going to stand up for me or just let me face the music? I didn’t trust him to rescue my tail, so I devised a strategy right away.
‘Dad, if you don’t defend me, I’ll tell everyone you tried to rape me in a hotel room, you’ll be jailed, and you’ll never see me again.’ I fixed him with a blank gaze.
He seemed perplexed.
‘Obianuju? Did you just threaten me?’ he asked, turning to face me.
‘You heard me clearly,’ I answered.
‘Yes. And everyone would believe me since you’re a womanizer, and to make it seem more credible, I’ll inflict wounds on my body to illustrate my point.’
‘Wow. I can’t believe my daughter is threatening me.’
I rolled my eyes, undeterred by his words.
‘Where did this idea come from? You’ve never been like this. You were young and naive. How did you get here?’ he asked, still in a daze.
‘After seeing you naked and being convinced that you truly chase women? Things aren’t the same as they used to be. These scenes will stay with me. These memories will not dissipate, and once I set eyes on you, they will resurface.’ I responded.
‘Don’t be silly! To point accusing fingers at me, how clean are you? And, if nothing else, you must respect me because I am your father!’ he said.
I went completely still. I had irritated him. That was not my intention. I went too far I guess.
‘I’ll personally hand you over to your housemistress to be punished. And I don’t mind if you mention my name. Do you think it is my loss if you report me for attempted rape or whatever nonsense you want to concoct? You’ll never get me back, and I hope you realize how stupid your plan was.’ He had his grip on his steering wheel so tightly that I thought it was going to snap.
‘I’m sorry, Daddy. I just don’t believe you’ll come through for me. And-‘
‘Do you think stating all of this would make a difference? That is blatant contempt. I didn’t expect this from you.’
‘I am sorry.’ I almost burst into tears as I whispered.
‘It’s alright. And quit questioning my abilities to defend you. You’re my baby. I adore you to the moon and back. I would go to any length to protect you.’ He let out a sigh.
‘Thank you, daddy. So, what’s the plan?’ I was hoping for a positive response.
‘Just go in. I’ll handle it all by myself.’ He assured me.
I was about to open the door when I turned back to face him. ‘Brown is my favorite colour.’
He cracked a grin. ‘I suppose you still enjoy chocolate and cookies.’
I nodded and smiled.
‘I love you, sweetheart.’
‘I love you too, daddy.’
‘Always be a good girl.’ he advised.
‘Will you pay me a visit at home as well? Mama never sacked you. You chose to leave.’ I opened the door.
‘I’ll give it a shot.’
‘That would be nice. Good night, Daddy.’
That was the end of it; I went to the boarding house and never got into any trouble. After that incident, life at school changed since daddy showed up every visiting hour to take me out or spend time with me on campus. Mama became enraged when she discovered he was coming around to see me, but what else could she do? She knew deep down in her heart that he had the right to see me, so she didn’t fight him.
The next days were fraught with increasing tempers in the boarding house as Samira continued to accuse me of betraying the group. As if it were my fault. I couldn’t tell everyone that the man I met in the hotel room was my father. I was not going to betray him. I’d already said enough to him.
‘Betrayal?’ I questioned, my eyes fixed on her.
‘You heard me, nerd! We all went together, and you didn’t come back with us. We were all late for roll call, yet you were never penalized like the rest of us. How do you explain this?’ She appeared to be enraged. Samira’s fury was poised to erupt like a Russian missile.
‘Must I explain myself to you? When I entered a stranger’s hotel room and the door was securely shut behind me, you left me to my fate. Did you inquire about the trauma I experienced? Did you investigate how I got back to school? Who are you in God’s name that I should respond to?’ I retaliated.
‘I don’t require your lies to be assembled as an explanation. You wished to be cool like me, and I was attempting to help you. The very least you could do was say thank you, yet here we are, with you being unappreciative.’ She chuckled.
‘Well, that’s your loss. And keep in mind that your concept of cool has to be updated. Because sleeping with men and draining all of their monies is far from the definition of cool. And if I were you, I’d quit disrespecting myself and go back to my books. You come from a wealthy home; why are you sleeping with your father’s colleagues and passing it off as cool?’
Well, who is this newcomer battling the all-powerful Samira, who was ready to turn red? She’d attempt to manipulate me and make me into one of her puppets if I didn’t speak up for myself. No way!
‘I hate you, Funke! We are no longer friends. And if you ever cross my path, I’ll deal with you terribly.’ She yelled.
‘I couldn’t be happier than to be out of this fiery furnace. It’s never been a beneficial move to be friends with you anyway. And keep in mind, if you try to play any silly games with me, I’ll contact your parents and inform them of the type of life you’re living on campus.’ I challenged her.
If there was one word that terrified Samira, it was the word “parents.” Seeing her parents during visiting hours made her sick to the stomach. That was my safe word to keep her a safe distance away from me.
Once Daddy’s contract expired, I didn’t hear much from him, which made me unhappy. But, at the very least, having him around was helpful. That was one of the few occasions he behaved like a father, and I cherish those memories. Daddy may be the worst but, at the same time, the finest. I simply wish I could see more of his excellent qualities. Unfortunately, it was the precise opposite. But, as I have stated, I chose to forgive him for the sake of my sanity.
The presence of a father figure in the life of every woman is important. If you lack one, get in touch with a potential father as soon as possible. Not those that will take advantage of you but those who’ll guide, provide and protect you in return for nothing.