As much as I try not to regret it, I sometimes…sometimes…regret missing the innocence I had as a nine year old. Innocence which can’t be bought or ever gotten back…ever!
When i was nine, I never bothered about why we had to castrate our dogs or our goats…my house used to be a mini -animal farm back then, still is…it just felt as if it was the right thing to do. I remember even asking pops one day why we didn’t castrate our cocks too…as in cockerels o!!…can’t remember the reply he gave to me, but I remember that he laughed.
At nine, sex was something very taboo-ish to talk about…heck what am I even saying? At nine, I never spoke about sex; I didn’t even know what sex was. When we saw dogs in the street going at it, we would rush and drive nails into the ground owing to some sort of believe that as long as the nails remained in the ground, the dogs would remain stuck…and somehow it worked, no matter how hard they tried to break apart…and never in my nine year old mind did I know that it was the way they rolled.
There are so many questions I never knew to ask my parents or at least my mum when I was nine. I didn’t ask her where babies came from or why our neigbour’s tummy was big or why my ‘shame’…that was what I was brought up to call my privies…was different from Kemi’s own or why Obinna had beards on his…I called hair growing on the body except the head; beards…actually I called them bia-bia. Those questions just didn’t form in my mind. I didn’t even hear friends or classmates talk about it thus arousing some sort of curiosity, so this in itself came as a surprise when one day…recently…when my kid sister asked my mum in a very innocent way, what abortion was.
I stopped dead in my tracks wondering what could have brought the topic and when my mum answered her explaining as nicely as she could, giving as little details as possible but making sure that the evil was spelt out, she asked where she heard the word from and my kid sister narrated the story of how a friend/classmate related a story she had heard and wondered what abortion meant.
Sometimes, I ask myself, why was I so innocent…believe me I was…then again I wonder, how is it that kids…even nine year olds of today know a lot about sex and I have come to the conclusion that its somehow…not even somehow…generally and easily be linked ‘screens” …talking about TV screens, Mobile phone screens, computer screens…name it.
I wouldn’t lie by saying that I was the type of kid that would love watching “speak-out”…the old and nearly forgotten debate program or any of such dorky ish, but at least unlike kids nowadays…even nine year olds, I wouldn’t find myself fully engrossed in a movie, be it a foreign flick or a Nigerian one except there were lots of shooting or it was a cartoon, but then again…recently again… I was flipping through the channels on TV when my neigbour’s daughter told me to hold on then go back, and when I did, she was like: “Ah! I have watched that film, it’s interesting” and was going to give me the full gist if I hadn’t told her not to worry, that I rather watch it myself.
It was some Nigerian flick and I wouldn’t have minded watching it, but seeing lots of skimpily dressed girls and then getting to the part where a couple wanted to indulge in some heavy petting…as I believe Nollywood has thankfully not yet advanced to full frontal sex…or am I wrong?…I made to change the channel, but what did I hear next?…”Wait! The man that the yeye woman is kissing is her boyfriend o!; Her husband would soon come and catch them”
When I was nine, I didn’t even know how to put on the TV not to talk of flipping through channels and then knowing who was kissing who. I was so innocent; I didn’t even know what they call “blue-film” otherwise called porn. So it amazed me when one day, in primary school, when the headmaster and other teachers brought before the whole school, two boys who they claimed were caught watching “blue film” in one of the boy’s house as it was close to the school and beat them silly…all for watching a boring movie that I felt only showed a blue screen the whole time.
Now, when I look back to when I was nine, I realize I was very naïve. I begin to wonder when I lost my innocence. I know it’s somewhat different now with nine year olds as it was with my pops when he was nine and the way it would be with my kid when he/she would be nine, and all in all, all I can say is that I miss when my mind was a virgin.