A kiss helps to reduce blood pressure.

No, I did not just make that up. I read it somewhere.

Wonder if it is true though. Dad suffers from blood pressure issues, will his heart benefit more if I tell him this?

I think not. Dad is old school. We never sit and talk. We sit, he talks, I listen… I’m expected to obey. That is how it works with him. I never got puberty-sex education talks from him. He only looked at me when I turned sixteen and he caught me staring studiously at some ancient Playboy mag I can’t quite remember how I got it, and said in his deep, gruff voice, “If you are getting that itch, be sure to use a condom.”

And that was end of my sex education.

I don’t have the itch, and I don’t think I’d be needing a condom for a long while yet. Certainly not in 2016.

So this is my fifth week and my goal is yet to be attained. I am not worried… well, vaguely so, to be candid. Someone among you thinks I suffer from an obsessive-compulsive disorder. I don’t really. Is it disorder to worry about my health and the possible, and very much possible, side-effects of a mouth-to-mouth kissing?

I think not. Don’t you indulgers in the breaking of the Lord’s sixth commandment worry about the possible malignant side-effect of HIV and other venereal diseases?

You know thinking about these venereal diseases makes me wonder if I’d ever be prepared for sex. If kissing alone can be so harmful, how much more the joining of one’s body to another, right?

Thankfully, my goal this year is to lose my kiss-virginity… nothing more. And I just discovered a few positive things about kissing. Yes, I particularly sought them out. I need something to boost my courage. So there’s reducing the blood pressure and then there’s the possibility of it helping to burn of calories.

Well, I am not in need of that particular effect, yet I wonder how vigorous one has to kiss to effect burning of calories. And 8 – 16 calories? That has to be some really long kiss. I think I also read something about it fighting off cavities. Yikes! This one gave me some bad moments; and still does. Like bloody marys! I am expected to wash of possible cavities on some chick’s teeth with my saliva? Really?


No thinking about the negatives… focus on positives. Balance up my blood pressure with a good kiss… yay!

But no kiss all through that last week of January. And on the last Saturday I wake up feeling like I needed to understand something. A lot of questions just keep buzzing through my head. Why this, why that. I feel at odds with myself and with the world. I try to eat my breakfast but could not work up the appetite to. Usually I love pancakes especially the way mum makes them with meaty-veggie fillings. But this morning, I can’t finish my three generous helping. I can the leftover and dump it in the refrigerator.

Mum gives me the you-must-eat-that-or-nothing-else look. I pretend like I don’t see the look and shuffle to the living room. No movie to hold my interest for long. Mum joins me an hour or so later. She switches the channel to Africa Magic Plus. I roll my eyes but wisely, keep my mouth shut.

But my thoughts wouldn’t stay shut.


“Hmm.” Her eyes stay on television.

“Why doesn’t dad stay with us like every-day-all-year-round?”

It takes a moment before she shifts her eyes and looks on me with this queer look. “Shebi, you’re all right today? What kind of question is that? Are you suffering from memory loss? Or is it a complete loss of your senses kpatakpata that you’re suffering from?”

I sigh. She is right to question my present state of mind. Of course, I know why dad doesn’t stay with us on a permanent basis. He has another family. Yes, my dad is married to two women; my mum is the first.

Don’t guess, I will tell you. He decided to marry another woman when mum could not have another child after me. I was eleven when my step-mum moved in and me and mum moved out and came to Lagos soon afterwards.

I know all of this, yet I wonder if that is why I am… well, I am so weird about getting real close to girls. Maybe I am relationship-shy… if there’s such a thing.

“Why are you asking?” Mum is still watching me. “What is wrong with you now?”

Yeah, you guessed right, this is not my first time asking bizarre questions.

“Nothing is wrong with me, mum.” I lift up my shoulders in a nonchalant move. “I guess I’m just wondering if dad cares about us as he does aunty Tomi and my brother and sisters.”

I call her aunty, as instructed by mum. And I have a half-brother and two half-sisters from her union with dad.

“Of course he cares about you.” Mum gives me a reproving look. “You are his first son and no one and nothing can take that place.” She made a cluck with her tongue. “If you’re missing your father, then travel to Abuja and see him. Spend a few days with him.”

I shake my head. “I don’t want to go to Abuja.” I do not. Dad and I are not close and I am not missing him. “Do you miss him?”

I am as shocked as she is by this my last question.

“Emma, if you don’t want to watch this movie, ejo let me watch it in peace.” She lets out a hiss and switches her gaze back on the television. Then after a long moment, she mutters. “Maybe.”

“Maybe?” Even though she shoots me a quick glare, I am not daunted. “You miss him sometimes, right? I mean he is still your husband. Were you two very close before aunty Tomi came in?” I wasn’t that young then, but I just could not remember if they’d been particularly close.

“Are you looking at girls now, Emma? Is that why you have all these sabi-sabi questions?” Her eyes are now pinned severely on me. “Is it that Naomi girl? Shebi you know she is older than you?”

“Mum, age don’t mean anything in this day and age.” I roll my eyes. “Besides, I am not thinking about any girl.”

“You better not be.” Her mouth is pursed in a displeased pucker. “You’re still too young and girls of nowadays are just troublemakers. I don’t want a grandchild yet. I’m warning you o, Emma. Eh!”

“Mum, I don’t want a child yet too.” The very thought makes me shudder involuntarily. “I was just thinking of you and dad and…”

“Leave me and your father alone.” Mum interrupts me. “We understand ourselves. Focus on your future. When we you be going to check on your results?”

“Soon, mum.”

The change of subject is a clear indication that the talk on our family and my probable interest in girls is over. I let it drop and after some minutes, I left her to her home video.


Journal Entry:—No kiss and January is done. Hmm!


But as I drop back my journal, I hear mum’s call. “Emma! Emma oh! Mrs Ogunleye and her daughter, Jummy are here!”

Oh gawd! Jumoke… just the kind of trouble I need now! And yes again, you guessed right… Jummy wants a piece of my lips… like for real. Yikes!