I am not going to start with pleasantries or recount one of your sweetest childhood memories to make you giggle; I’m pretty sure that’d worsen my ‘boring rating’ in your book. For all I know, you may even tear up this letter without opening the envelope… I’ve had to shout at you once too many times in recent days, and you’ve even had to serve me a retort, a soliloquy or plain mean/disdainful look a few times. We’ve both been hurt. I know, right now, I am not half of quarter-of-a-friend; not nearly a friend as your smartphone (which I bought). So, before I overstress the ish, let this first paragraph suffice for an intro.
I would have written you a poem instead; something succinct, make the message lyrical and short like your attention span (or should I say like most of the dresses you like to wear these days?), but I exhausted my rhymes on your mom. Yes, I’m sorry, it’s going to be a letter: a long one at that, and I’m going to post it on Facebook as an insurance just in case you tear this one up.
I seems like yesterday when I first held you in my arms and then posted the very first picture of pink little you on Facebook few minutes after your mom came out of the labour room, but here you are, a teenager ready to take the world! This beautiful stage of your came upon us, your mom and I, like a bang. Forgive us if we aint adjusting well to it. I had only a few run-ins with my parent/guardians when I was a teen, but maybe it’s Karma’s records on your mom that’s doing us in with you.
Sometime ago, I had your mom talk to you about the anatomical, physiological and psychological (thank heavens you know the meaning of those words!) changes that have come upon you as a young girl. I thought understanding all that could help guide/guard you. For me, I learnt by myself what every button, nut and bolt of the body was meant for; didn’t have the privilege of being taught. The Biology class came late, far after I’d learnt many things myself. I must assume your mom did a good job, and then explain a few other things to you.
Chichi, you loved church, you sang in choir from childhood and you were good at it. Your best friend was pastor’s son, Mitchell, the one that loved the Lord. Recently, I overheard you telling Ekaette that Mitchell was boring; you don’t want to be seen with him anymore. I understand: he tucks in, wears his belt at the waist (not buttocks) and he has never crashed his father’s car before. That is what you call ‘boring’, that is how much you have changed.
Need I remind you of the other changes? You clear your browsing history, every app on your phone is securely locked with a password, your data consumption is at the rooftop, I see many pictures of you on Facebook and Instagram in dresses I’d never seen you wear out of the house (do you actually change into a different dress after you’ve left the house? Chisus!), and your grades in school are dropping like Naira against dollar!
You don’t want to be a doctor any more, yes I know. You want to be an artiste. I can deal with that, but instead of the having pictures of Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and pink all over your room, why don’t you have those of Sinach, Cece Winan and the other ones that love the Lord?
When I say you should return home by 7: 00 pm (and that’s very generous) any day you go out without your mom or me, I mean you should be inside the house by then, not standing just outside the gate gisting with that guy with a single earring that doesn’t comb his hair. Even if he combs his hair and leaves the earrings for the girls, I still hate him! You must not hate whom I hate (why shouldn’t you sef?) but don’t rub it on my face: don’t flout our family rules for his sake.
Sweetheart, when I call I call you pet names it’s so that those boys don’t sell lies easily to you by calling you sweet names you never heard before. I know it sounds dry atimes; for me many times it’s a lot of work to call you something other than your name, but I won’t stop.
Chichi, why do you know the names of all the restaurants, nightclubs and eateries in GRA; are they all lined up on the way to your school, church or house? I get scared when you use the locations of these nightclubs and restaurants as landmarks to direct someone around Port Harcourt. I’ve seen a tattoo on two of your best female friends (the ones that wear contacts, multiple cheap rings on their fingers, and always press their costly phones like their lives depended on it.), thanks for not having one yourself yet. I promise to scrape it with a sharp razor blade if I ever see one on you.
Sugarpie, why is your phone always ringing; is your line MTN’s customer care line? I know it’s only polite for you take some of your calls beyond ear shot, but why do all your calls break you into a run away from everybody? Are you doing drugs, biko?
Finally, I hope this stage of your life passes as quickly as it came. And that soon enough, you, your mom and can sit, gist and be on the same page without someone pressing her phone upandan, and itching to run off outside the compound.