Oh! How shame engulfed me. It was wrapped around me like a wet cloth worn during the harmattan season, shivers running down my spine. Silent tears dripped down my clear and flawless skin. My skin was admired relentless by my peers but I still thought to myself.
”Not again!” I wished beauty could be swapped for the problem I was facing. I wished the cold ground could just open and swallow me. The thought of a 24years old girl wetting the bed was unimaginable and an embarrassment! Why couldn’t I control my bladder? Why did it have to be me facing this type of problem? Why me! Why me! The silence of the brightened room hit me hard as only the birds chippering outside with happiness was my only companion. Probably waking up to start a new day gave them so much hope and I thought.
“Why were the birds given the privilege and I wasn’t”. It was only around 2am and I had slept around 12am with the feeling that if I didn’t sleep for long then I could escape this horrific experience but it always followed me like a plague or an evil shadow, because I always woke up panting like a dog and anticipating the boomerang that was about to be thrown at me. It was always there, the map of Nigeria sitting proudly on my sheets. Not again!!! When will this stop! I wasn’t a drunk, I was a responsible 24 years old girl, I stopped drinking a lot of water, I always used the toilet before going to bed so who did I offend! Where did I go wrong! Who cursed me! What a wicked world! I sat on the floor and wept. How was I going to tell my aunt who took me in after my parents’ death? My mother, Mrs. Rosaline Mbah was always being likened to a goddess. I was always described as my mother’s vomit because of the striking resemblance we had. I tried to pick myself up from my shame as I recalled the accident that led to my parents’ death.
“My little angel” the thought of my dad simmered in. He always called me that when trying to beg me after he must have offended me; he was a stout man with a bald head but he was the best father to me. He excellently was as the best husband to my mum but the cold hands of death snatched them both at the same time, before help could arrive. I remembered the blaring sound of the ambulance and the doctors saying the time of their death, then it dawned on me that I was an orphan. I cried bitterly even though I was surrounded by family and friends. My aunt Muna and Uncle Moses decided to take responsibility of me since then.
Aunt Muna looks so much like my mum and always reminded me of her. She loved telling me stories while sewing and I loved listening to her with a smile always plastered on my face. She always knew when something was wrong with me without being told and always urged me to tell her what the problem was. Uncle Moses on the other hand is a quiet man who loves watching the news, he loves me as much as Obinna, their 23years old son who was never pampered. Mostly, Obinna got the rod of words instead of me, maybe it was because of his inability to secure a job after his NYSC.
“It would build him into an independent man". In Uncle Moses opinion. My thoughts slowly slipped back into my present condition. Even though I always told Obinna my secrets, how could I tell him or anyone else what I was going through! It will end up being a disaster! I tried going for deliverance but it seemed no one had a solution for me. I was giving up, I was tired of such a life. Maybe this was my parents calling me to come and join them, I thought to myself. Frank, my boyfriend has continually endured my profound refusal to sleep over at his place for over a year. I laughed out loud at the thought of that, as hot streaming tears rolled down. How could I sleep over? So I’ll show him my artistic skills? And go back to being single? No! I wasn’t about to take that risk. Frank loved me, of course I knew that, he used every opportunity to show me he did. What a loving soul! He definitely deserved better than being with a hopeless bed-wetter. I laughed out loud so hard, one would think I was going mad! I have been on the floor for over 2hours crying and thinking alone. I needed to stand up and get ready for the day’s work. I wasn’t done being sorry for myself though. I took a shower scrubbing myself like I was trying to wash off the sins of the world from my delicate skin. With my towel tied around my body and folded on my firm breast, Obinna’s loud voice resounded.
“Rose, Mummy and Daddy said you should come down for breakfast and you better do that fast so they don’t send me back here oh”.
“I’m coming twinnie.” I replied as that was what we often called ourselves. I dressed up in a sunflower dress, I love this dress because it always complements my skin. I hurriedly went down the stairs and met a steaming hot bowl of jollof rice. The smell hit my nose and my tummy rumbled to the aroma.
“I know you will come quickly because u love food a lot” Obinna said suddenly and I laughed forgetting my sorrow a bit. I sat down to eat but then, the appetite disappeared as I pondered on how sick keeping my dirty secret was making me. I was still lost in thoughts when my Uncle’s voice jolted me back.
“What is wrong Rose, you aren’t eating? Is something wrong?”
“No uncle, I’m fine.” I barely touched my food when I decided to head for work. I bade them goodbye. On my way to work, thoughts of Frank enveloped my thoughts, today marks our 1year and 6 months anniversary, and then a genuine smile hit my lips for the first time since I heard the first cock crow. I picked my bag from the taxi as we got to the gate of the school.
Baptist model high school where I taught Science. Trust me, I was good at my job and it has always been my passion. Why won’t it? When it was the medicine to my sore that refused to heal. I didn’t want my sorrow to spoil my day so I tucked it back wherever it was coming from. Getting to the school, the smiles on the kids’ faces lit my face as I returned their greeting with a smile on my face showing my perfectly created face. With my dimples sitting on my left cheek, my perfect jawline, my pointed nose and my natural hair which I hurriedly styled into a bun, nevertheless it got the admiration of people. I swayed my hips as I walked into the SS1 class for my first work of the day. I braced myself for their usual “Good morning ma’am” that resonated than my morning alarm. I won the award for the best teacher last year, I was proud of myself as I gave myself a pat on the back. After the greetings and they were all seated, I started my teaching.
“Anita what is wrong with you, you seem to be lost in thoughts?” I asked the short child who was never quiet.
“Nothing ma, I’m sorry ma.” She apologized.
“It is fine, just pay attention to what I am saying so you won’t say I haven’t taught u in your exams” I replied and continued with my teachings. The day dragged so lazily as I continued teaching classes after classes till I was done teaching for the day. I dragged my feet back to my office and before I could remove my shoes, Anita strolled in.
“Anita, can I help you?” I was concerned.
“No ma, I mean yes ma.” She sounded confused, I knew something was wrong.
“Have your seat Anita, you know you can always talk to me if you can’t go to the counsellor’s office.” I said softly putting my arm around her as she sat.
“Yes ma, I know. Ma, Ma.” It seemed like she was debating whether to open up or not.
“We all have problems, I have mine too but if u aren’t ready to share it then it is fine to wait until you are ready". My mind wandered to thoughts of my bed-wetting problem, I couldn’t tell anyone about it so I could understand how Anita felt. I was still in my thoughts when Anita’s shaky voice said;
“Ma, I bed-wet and my parents are very upset with me” I was shocked, we were both having the same problem. What advise was I supposed to give this girl when I couldn’t even stop the problem from happening to me?
“Ma, did u hear what I said?” Of course I heard her but what could I say to soothe the shattered heart.
“Anita, how old are u?” I was surprised my voice came out without cracking.
“I am fifteen ma” she said with her head bowed.
“Anita, don’t let what u are facing affect you academically, you have a bright future and so much more to gain. Talk to your parents, tell them you are not happy bed-wetting and wished for it to stop, maybe they will be able to find a solution to it.”
"Thank you ma, I feel better and I’ll do as u have said.” she said as she smiled walking out of my office. I was happy I could do something to make her smile. I packed my bag and got set to leave.
I remember how we met; He had been jobless after his NYSC, sitting at d same barbing salon where I went to meet up with Obinna. One thing I noticed was his constant gloomy face. He said hi to me and tried to make a conversation but I wasn’t ready to make any friends. I answered him coldly and when he asked for my number, I had a double mind about giving it to him but ended up doing so. We continued talking and he told me his problems, his joblessness, about his really ill mother. This made me remember my dead mum as I touched d pearl necklace which was the only remaining possession of hers that I had with me. I immediately asked for his account number and transferred him some money so he could sort the hospital bills. I knew he felt reluctant to collect money from a girl but I forced him to take it. A little while later, a parent engaged me with an open job slot; just in case I knew anyone interested. Iimmediately, I told him about it and that was how he went for the Job’s interview and got the job. Now he is a manager at a bank.
After the day’s work, it was time for my man! As I left the school premises around 5pm waiting for Frank to come and pick me up.He was such a gentleman that never kept his woman waiting. Barely two minutes after getting outside, I saw his black car moving towards where I was standing, pretending he didn’t see me, and behaving like he wanted to hit me. This was his usual play, as I always ended up screaming and telling him to stop it, I certainly would feel good about being one legged. He laughed, showcasing his perfect dentition with clear white teeth complementing his Melanin colour.
I entered the car and we went to have dinner. We also visited so many other places. Oh! I loved this man! Not that I didn’t know before but it grew daily like a flower blooming beautifully. After having so much fun with my heartthrob, he decided we go to his place. The sex was mind-blowing, he just knew how to drive my emotions wild. I felt like was going to break and when he slid into me, it was gentle and sweet. He said he needed to savour my sweetness and not treat me like he was a savaged beast. Bliss!!! I thought to myself until I felt the wetness between my thighs!
My God! I had dozed off! How could I have made such a mistake! What was I going to do! What will I tell Frank! I was confused at this point. Frank turned in his sleep and that was when I realised he was lying right beside me. Then a thought came running through my mind. I got a glass of water, and then I woke Frank telling him I had spilled the water on the bed. He looked at the bed, looked at me and then it hit me with the sad truth that he knew I was lying! He wasn’t dumb! But he played a fool just to save me from shame. We changed the sheets and I washed my cloth and we both resolved to sleep on the cold tiled floor. I woke up at d break of dawn and so did he because he had to go to work. I was scared of losing him. He took me into the bathroom, removed my clothes and his and decided to bathe me. I was confused and then his question hit me like a sharp pricking of a needle.
"Since when?" His thick husky voice rang through my ears again. I was speechless! I was consumed with fear! Shock gripped me and my body shook with tears filling my eyes but I answered.
“Since I was 20” he continued bathing me like he didn’t hear what I said and I said it again.
“Since I was twenty”.
"Why didn’t you tell me?" He asked, I was silent, dumbfounded, I couldn’t breathe. Something or someone was squeezing my heart like it was a piece of paper about to be thrown into the thrash. I looked into his eyes and it was void of any emotions, I knew I had lost my one true love, how would I explain to him? What will I say to him? I was vibrating like a leaf left out in the cold storm. Shockingly, he hugged me and kissed me and said soothing words. Hot tears I had been holding back started pouring down like heavy rain, I thought I had lost him. What did I do to deserve this man? He was my ray of hope in my dark and gloomy life. We went on having our bath and no words were exchanged. It was a comfortable silence appropriate for that situation. We got out of the bathroom and got dressed. I left some clothes behind in his house so thanked God I had something to wear. We were getting late so we skipped breakfast and he dropped me off at work and went about his business. I walked to my first class of the day with a dull face, on seeing my kids I was filled with my usual smile. Seeing Anita, I remembered our last conversation and asked her to see me after the class. I finally had a free period, walking down to my office, Anita walked up to me with a beaming smile.
“Ma, I talked to them and they understood and did not judge me and promised to find ways so I could stop bed-wetting” I was overjoyed;
"That’s beautiful, I’m happy for you. Now run along, you shouldn’t get to your class late".
“Yes ma.” she jolted joyfully. My free period went by so fast but lunch period came by quickly. At lunch, I got to my table and received flowers and chocolates. I was confused because it wasn’t my birthday neither was it valentine and then I saw the beautiful card, it was from Frank. My man! I didn’t expect him to understand so perfectly, he is God’s special design for me. I read the card and he asked me to meet him up at a lounge wearing the red dress that was packaged alongside other things. I wished that the time could go by quickly. After the closing of the school for the day, I hurriedly picked my bags and I rushed home in a taxi. I had my bath, sprayed a nice perfume and got dressed.
Obinna, the usual chatterbox looked at me and smiled.
“Lover girl, where are you rushing off to like this?”
“To your girlfriends house!” I mockingly replied
“You are off to see Frank right?”
"Yes sir, I smiled back". I bade my aunt who was cooking and my uncle who was watching the news goodbye.
“Oh, Rose come back early” he said without taking his eyes off the television.
"Okay sir.” I said while putting on my shoes.
“Rose, what do u want for dinner?” my sweet aunt asked”.
“But u never ask me mum.” Obinna’s jealous voice rang out and I laughed.
“Anything Aunty.” I replied walking out of the house. I ordered an Uber and the Lagos traffic showcased itself with the sun hitting the wound up glass of the car. Getting to the lounge, it was decorated beautifully and Frank looked more handsome than ever, I was drooling at the sight of him as I walked slowly to where he sat. “Hey boo I smiled as I moved closer to him.
"Hey babe" he stood up and gave me a light kiss on the lip. So, what do u want to eat or drink? I chose a drink on the menu and ordered, so did he.
“Copy copy, you copy me a lot. Why did u order the same thing I did?”
“Because I always want whatever u want” I blushed. I was still laughing when a waiter came to deliver a beautiful cake to our table with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen, seated at the top of the cake.
“Sorry, that’s not...” I couldn’t complete my sentence as I saw Frank going down on one knee and propose to me.
“Rose, I loved you. I love you, and I’ll always love you Irrespective of your short comings". "will you marry me?” he popped the question.
“God my answer is yesssss!!”I screamed for joy as I handed him my left hand and he slid the beautiful ring into my finger. My joy knew no bounds, I was getting married my head was spinning. It was a quiet proposal and the best. He promised that we were going to solve the bed-wetting problem together but that didn’t change his feeling for me. I couldn’t stop staring at the ring as we went to his house together. That night, I called my uncle and aunt to share the good news and they were extremely happy for me. I slept in Frank’s house and that night, he held me tightly to sleep but woke me at intervals to go and pee but still, as usual I woke up like a dog, looking for the map but there was nothing, nothing!!!
For the first time in 4 years I didn’t pee on the bed! I cried, because I was happy, overwhelmed with joy. I woke him up to tell him the good news and he smiled and hugged me. We went back to bed together and for the first time in years, I was at peace with myself as I thought with silent tears dripping down my cheeks.