I remember my first best friend way back in secondary school and how we would have each other’s backs and wait for each other every morning at a popular T-Junction beside our favorite snack store. We had our favorite seats inside the big white school bus. We would usually sit beside the window so we could stick our faces on the glass and talk about everything our eyes could see.

It wasn’t news that whoever dared to sit in our space would have to face us in a word battle; they would be in for it. And so it was pretty easy for any of our teachers escorting us in the school bus to notice when either I or Boluwatife was missing.

Well, we barely missed school, and we liked to assume that everyone was lucky we were always present in school. Why? Because we put the ‘f’ in ‘fun’, we were always cheerful and bubbly. I was the more reserved one. Boluwatife was a bubbly extrovert. It is safe to say that she brings out the extrovert in me whenever she is with me. I can only be called an introvert whenever I am not with my best friend, Boluwatife.

Boluwatife had one secret. I swore to keep the secret, thinking back, I wish my younger self hadn’t listened, but Boluwatife was persistent. I have never seen my best friend look so vulnerable. She has been the best friend anyone could have, so why not listen to her and trust her to be able to figure it out like she said? I thought. Little did I know!

We were just kids; how could we have handled it?

It all started when Uncle Larry came for his NYSC in Lagos and had to stay over at Boluwatife’s house while at it. Uncle Larry did bad things to Boluwatife. He hurt her. Boluwatife stopped being lively and started hating going home. Boluwatife told him to stop, but Uncle Larry didn’t stop until he broke her hymen.

Boluwatife screamed for help, but her mummy was on a work trip, so she left the house to Uncle Larry and the house. All Uncle Larry had to do was get Simi the house-help some data on her phone, and that should keep her busy till someone hurt Boluwatife.

Boluwatife said to stay quiet, and so we did. She was waiting for her mummy to get back from her trip, and she tried to tell her what was happening on the phone, but mummy was always busy. “The gist can wait, darling, I am very busy right now. We will talk when I get back, okay?” was her mummy’s favorite line; we could even recite it in our sleep.

And so we waited. We waited for Boluwatife’s mother to hear her silent cry. We waited for the only second person Boluwatife said she could trust. She said we should wait for her mother. Her mummy has the solution; her mummy will listen.

When Boluwatife’s mummy came, her daughter was in the ICU, struggling for her life. Uncle Larry broke her walls, tried all his sexual fantasies on the thirteen-year-old girl, and left her broken.

When the doctor asked, she said, “I tried to tell Mummy that Uncle Larry is a bad man, but she would say, “The gist can wait, darling, I am very busy right now. We will talk when I get back, okay?”

This time, Boluwatife’s mother is doing the waiting, hoping she doesn’t wait forever for her daughter to be extroverted again.

Abana Asabe Rhoda

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