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The One Thing We Forget to Tell Our Young Ladies

Esinam called me one day when I was going to town. I hadn’t seen her for 3 days and her call made me curious to find out where she’d been.

“Ah, my friend, I haven’t seen you at your mum’s store for some days now. Did you travel?”

“No, auntie Abena,” she responded shyly. “I was at home.” Her mannerisms differed from the usual exuberance she exhibited and for an 11 year old to look a bit shy and reserved raised my alarm bells. What was going on? I just couldn’t put my finger on it and prod as I could, she refused to tell me why I didn’t see her all those days.

My Uber arrived and I had to leave but promised to visit her that evening. All throughout the day, Esinam’s thoughts rang through my mind. When I moved newly to this area, Esinam was the only one who went out of her to become my friend. Storekeepers would usually ask if you’re new should they see you buying often from their store (this could take some time as they want to be sure you aren’t merely passing through the neighborhood) but pretty Esinam asked me where I was going on the first day so that she could help me with my load of a bag of sachet water.

After getting to know my place, she’d usually pass by everyday after school to greet me. When I realized she did the same thing to all their customers on my street, I spoke to her to stop and only greet when we come to her mum’s store. Her personal safety was my concern. I made sure to explain my reasons to her mum who thanked me for it. According to her, she never thought to stop her because it made the customers loyal to her as there were 4 more convenience stores on her street but what I’d told her was very true.

Since then, I’d become a de facto friend of the family and was made privy to anything happening around them. That’s why Esinam’s silence worried me. After work, I passed by their store. I didn’t need to but thought maybe her mum would be forthcoming. She was. When I asked she said, “your daughter is now a woman oh. She started 3 days today,” which she ended on a laugh.

I smiled with no little relief and asked one very important question at this point in the Twi language, “so did you tell her that with her menses comes feeling horny so that she wouldn’t want to entertain boys?”

Esinam’s mum’s eyes bulged from their sockets as the truth of my question rocked her tiny frame. She was a woman of about 45 years but looked younger for her age because of her features. There was no one else in the store except us and she shakily sat down as she muled over my statement. It was a profound one which she obviously hadn’t thought of. She’d made me privy to all the young girls sleeping around with married men and sugar daddies etc and I’m sure she made the link because a couple were her daughters age.

Then. “Esinam!” She bellowed which made me start. I’d never heard her shout like that before. Esinam responded from inside the house and her mother told her to hurry and come to the store. When the girl came, her mother told her to follow me to my house. That I had to lot to tell her. I didn’t know I was going to teach her anything that day but thanks to Google I was able to get pictures and videos for my friend to watch. After some 15 minutes she said, “so that’s why I felt so strange when Camal (one of her classmates) touched my shoulder. For the first time in my life, I wanted him to touch me without stopping.”

It was an informative 2 hours for her and I’m glad I taught her. It makes me wonder though. How many parents tell their daughters that starting menses means, they’ll feel horny twice a month for days at a stretch and that it’s a feeling they’ll feel until they near menopause? This will help these young ladies to understand why they feel the way they do and not be lured in by guys who want to sleep with them.

Want to share your story anonymously? Kindly send a mail to manokekame@gmail.com

Written by Abena Magis

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