In this series, people (mostly me, my friends and close associates) are writing letters to certain individuals in our lives who have in one way or the other hurt us or cause us grieve. This is not a pity party but an avenue to speak up, take back the power and free ourselves of whatever grudge we held. This is our responses.
We meet again.
Well, not exactly, but technically, in this letter.
I know you’re thinking, and a lot must be running through your mind right now.
I guess you do deserve it – the restlessness that this message should bring you. No peace for the wicked, yeah?
So, this is me dropping in to give you a dose of your own medicine.
Don’t dare roll your eyes. Listen carefully to my words, for only then will they sink into you, and tell you what you must hear.
I’m sure your mind is trying to decode why I’m reaching out, and you’re quizzing, “What does she want from me?”
If you’re gonna take a while to think, I doubt you’d remember much, cos like the Yoruba proverb goes, “He who defecates hardly recollects, but the one who cleans the mess rarely forgets.”
It’s been, what..two decades and counting (right?) but the stench of your perversion still reeks in the recesses of my memory. The filth of your “youthful exuberance” has yet to fade. Neither has the passage of time put an end to the trauma that you set in motion many years ago.
I recall being a very playful child. Scratch that, I’ve still got it in me to play. To revel. And to banter. Maybe with a splash of adulting now thrown in the mix, I’d pass as an “extrovert” but we both know there’s nothing further from the truth.
I played so much it earned me names. And that’s fine; because good or bad, names speak to what you’re perceived to be. Thankfully, no one has the monopoly to name you correctly. Deep down, we all know what we really are, beyond the names others bestow on us. But many times, we may choose not to recognize it. Doesn’t change the truth, though.
And I sure hope that your conscience is doing a great job in that regard.
So, my playfulness earned me a reputation. Cool.
But worse, it earned me a toss-and-turn-and-kick-and-rollover kinda sleeping pattern.
Perhaps, I played so much in the daytime that my body couldn’t bear to keep still at night, both at Mom’s and whenever I came through Granny’s on my way to Dad’s.
And so, I was expelled from the bed, from beside Grandma, where I could soak in the warmth of her body and the scent of her Morgan’s pomade as its excesses seeped into the cotton fabric of her plain blue pillowcase.
Looking back now, I’m certain that was the beginning of my descent: from who I should have been to who I am today.
You know the yearly reunion thingy we do? Yeah, we still get together as a family, and every time I step into that room, I stare at the weathered rubber tiles on which the mat used to be laid. And nothing else runs through my mind except the first time I caught you in the act, crouching over my unfledged body and fondling away.
Now I wonder what must have been the cause for your motivation because, at barely 6 or 7 years old – as I must have been at that time, I doubt there was anything sexually-appealing about me. But you did what needed to be done for your pleasure.
But you see, I don’t need to go visiting to see or remember cos it stays with me. It’s imputed in my memory, although foggy, and it’s more than a glimpse in my mind’s eye. I carry it everywhere I go.
Right now, I know you’re itching to say a word or two, but I’ll have you recall that when I woke up to find you on me that night, even in the dim, lantern-lit room with my eyes questioning, your index finger on your lips signalled your order of silence.
You shut me up that night, forever. Strange that it worked. Because I never spoke about it, letting you continue. But thankfully, it wasn’t until recently that I could bring myself to begin to heal.
You wielded the weapon of silence constantly, your poker face directed to me while you smiled with our other cousins.
Remember our visit to Isolo and how you stopped me from laughing with the others at a hilarious comment ‘B made about an Indian movie.
Stupid that I remember that, yeah? Well, stupid are you, too, to have been the cause for such unkind, lasting memories.
You don’t know it but you relinquished your power to Time. I soon grew out of that silence…into fear, awkwardness, and shame. No thanks to you I became misunderstood.
But I won’t give you that benefit. You must only know me as I am now. That scared girl is gone. And she’s not coming back.
That reminds me, you tried to throw me off balance when, out of the blues, last year, I got a Facebook notification of you requesting to be my friend.
Did you suffer amnesia of some sorts? We stopped being family, and we’re certainly not friends.
Thank you for helping me see why it’s important to be a voice for others who, like me, have suffered, felt shame, and experienced self-loathe, all in secret.
And if you still want to say anything, please let it be you clarifying how many times you went through the motions on me.
I hope that this letter finds you reminiscing, both about everyone you’ve wronged and who has wronged you. Reach out to the former, restitute, and make amends. Be open to the latter so that their sincere apologies can be expressed. For the greater part of my life, I’ve been more sad than happy, more ashamed than at ease but now I realize that the burden of these kinds of emotions only belongs to unrepentant villains. And I hope you do, too, soon.
About the Author
Hello! I’m ‘Dayo Onabade, a habitual daydreamer, an avid reader, and unrepentant scribbler. I’m fascinated by the stories of random strangers and I’ve published books about them in my imagination. I see huge resemblance between unrelated people (and no, it’s not my head!)
My volunteer work at STER (Stand To End Rape Initiative) is super-important to me as I anticipate a safer world for girls, women, and ultimately every victimized individual.
I am Christ-o-centric. He’s my Biggest Reality, and I’m always happy to talk about Him. BTW, I think DODO is Bae and there’s no amount of Popcorn large enough to share. I share my thoughts on Instagram (and observe the banter on Twitter) at @the_aphorist_.