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Photo: 18 Years Old, Unsure And Indifferent! By Joy Isi Bewaji


It was a passport photograph I took around the neighbourhood. My father had this gargantuan house at the bank of the sea in Kirikiri – three storey tall. That was where I recorded my uneventful growing up. Nothing happened. I just grew up. I didn’t go to parties. I didn’t tell a lie. I didn’t play with sand. I wasn’t even curious about sex. I wasn’t nice either. I just didn’t care much for a lot of things and a lot of people. I think I was afraid of knowing what the world was really about.

Heck, I never went near the sea that the house I lived in stood. I didn’t even glance at the corner of the building. Thinking about it now… WTF?!

One time, my half brothers and I stumbled on a book in my father’s library, at the pent house, overlooking the gorgeous sea full of Ilaje fishermen's shit (they perched at the base of our house to shit. The sea carried it away almost immediately), it was a book on the intricacies and beauty of sex. The book came with drawings and illustration of sexual positions.

I mean, any normal teenager would be curious about that, no?
I took one look at a page – the sketch of a man, lying sideways with the woman’s thigh in his hand, lifted above his head, and an easy, glorious entry into her kingdom; I frowned, closed the book and never went back to it again or read even a single line.

It wasn’t like I cared for religion. My step mother attempted Catholic attendance, all my half-siblings and my very pious Catholic aunt were known and loved in church, following the routine of communion and all the other church-y activities. Nobody knew me. I slept half the time when the priest preached, I was bored by its repetitive mode of worship. I stopped altogether after, say, 8 visits. I was the “other daughter.”
“So how is your other daughter?” They would greet my stepmother, asking of me. I was invisible. Nobody saw me literally, and I loved it.

I walked the stretch to and fro our house to the bus stop every other day. I made no friends. I wasn’t curious about people. I didn’t even know who our neighbours were. I never said “hello”. I listened to music. I dreamed a lot. I liked my company.

I pretended I wasn’t smart. Ok, may be I wasn’t pretending. May be I am dumb and I don’t even know it; like the bumblebee and that quote dedicated to its own delusion – “aerodynamically, the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway”.

I was 18, and I didn’t want to fly. I just wanted to have good grades and be left alone.
Some things have changed. Not a lot.
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