Love Starts Innocently - by Abidemi Adebola

True love isn’t found, it is built

Abidemi shares an interesting “fictional” story that would get you wondering how long your innocence lasted before love claimed it.

They say people fall in love three times or more in a life time, how this happens we do not know for sure but since growth is in phases perhaps our understanding and expectation about love also changes.

The first love is usually innocent, love for the sake of love and nothing else matters, unfortunately it is this kind of love that makes a girl lose her virginity. It is also the kind of love that introduces a boy to the pleasure of sex.

Going forward, a girl could easily become a heart breaker and the boy could also transform to a monster. Therefore, in the next phase, Love is no longer reckless or careless but very conscious.

In the second phase a girl would have learnt how to keep more than one boyfriend, while the guy would have mastered the art of keeping more than two girl friends at a time.

In the third phase, most people have grown to know what they want and are out there looking for it. In some cases, we find love based solely on conviction in the third phase of love. I must say that this is not always the case, there are exceptions but, in our society, this is almost becoming the norm.

We have a society that is not built on romantic love. Our grandparents and some of our parents never existed on that platform, marriages were more like a duty between a man and woman. For most of us we understood love better through the music we listened to, while for those who find pleasure reading; novels have done more to teach us about love than anything else.

Lionel Richie, Phil Collins, Diana Ross, Sade Adu, Anita Baker, Kenny G, Bryan Adams, Boyz2men and a lot more have done a huge work in sensationalizing the idea of love in our hearts and bringing the human reality of love to us than any other.

The pacesetters series, Sydney Sheldon, Mills and Boon and romantic writers were treasure hunts for emotional stories for us.

1986

Do not blame me
I was like the flower
I knew only the sun and the earth
No one to teach me about love
No one to talk to me about love

I was already in love before I knew the meaning of love yet I was just seven years old when my heart leaped into the consciousness of love. For a seven-year-old child, life could still be very strange. All you had was your home and your school in a very big world where so many things were happening that you knew nothing about.

If love is what I think it is, then the first girl I ever fell in love with was Sade, my classmate. I loved her colour, I loved the way she walked and the way she smiled. Flashes of her teeth are still in my memories like lightening. I remember her clean school uniform, white socks and black shoes.

I was the only one in the world that knew I loved her. I had to keep a lot about her inside of me. Back then, I never knew one was supposed to tell someone how they felt about them especially when you actually love them.

It never occurred to me that love established itself in expression. I never knew lovers kissed, held each other’s hands and hugged each other. My parents never kissed, they never hugged and they never held hands or maybe they chose to do it in my absence – I had never seen uncles and aunties doing it either!

There was this feeling about Sade that was different; different from the way I felt about my parents, different from the way I felt about my friends, family, class mates and any other girl. I understood this feeling better when she smiled.

1989

The Sony Disc man portable music player was out at the time and some of my uncles were flashing it around. The Nintendo game was out too as well as the Panasonic VCR.

I had watched “Big” by Tom Hanks and I loved the movie. I had watched “Blood sport” by Van Dam and “Coming to America” by Eddie Murphy.

I read Enid Blyton –the famous five, Peter pan and other books. I already listened to Onyeka Onwenu’s “one love”, William Onyeabor’s “Fantastic man” and “when the going is smooth”, Atlantic Star’s “secret lovers”, Peter Cetera’s “the glory of love”, Simply Red – “Holding back the years”, Nu Shooz – “I can’t wait and others”.

Those years I had seen and heard my uncles and brothers talking about girls, some even fought themselves over girls. I once saw and heard my sisters and aunties gossiping about men, some even fought each over men.

I knew I couldn’t live carrying this feeling inside me forever, it felt like a ripe mango which must fall. I cracked my brain on what to do but my creative space was empty. I felt like talking to my sisters and uncles but I couldn’t. I was afraid, I was ashamed and I was timid all at the same time.

I can remember it was a very wet day, the rain was drizzling and it was break time. The class was in no particular order, everyone was talking to one another, girls were in different groups and boys were too. I separated myself wondering how best I could do what I had in mind. A small folded piece of paper was clenched in my fist. I summoned all the courage I had in the world to walk up to her.

“Sade, I want to show you something”

She smiled “what is it?”

Her smile almost threw me off balance, but somehow, I handed over the folded paper which was as small as a coin onto her tender fingers. Her fingers were soft, fresh and fluffy. Immediately, I ran out of the class and sat at the back of the school building. The rain was still drizzling at the time, but I wasn’t bothered. I sat thinking about her, the note and her friends.

I held a stick writing aimlessly on the wet soil while rain drizzled on my head. Until the closing hour I stayed back outside, alone, not returning to the class for the day.

The next day I came in a little late, looked straight at Sade, she returned the look with a smile. Her shining white teeth was a huge relief, I felt comforted and became at ease with myself and all that had happened the day before.

The following week after school hours, as we were all finding our way home, I dropped another folded piece of note onto her pretty fingers. She collected it and smiled at me. I didn’t wait to see the end of it- that same feeling made me run off again. I ran beyond the house stopping under a huge Orange three some distance away from the house. I sat down under the three until sun set before I headed back home.

The following day, I came into the class late, looking straight towards Sade, but there was no smile from her. Before I settled myself at my desk, Sade’s mother and the class teacher walked in.

“Femi, come outside!”

I could already see the same notes I handed to Sade – opened and attached together on the teacher’s desk.

“Yes sir!”

Till today, I can’t explain how I got myself to the front of the class but I did despite my soul and feet heavy like a rock!

“Did you write this to Sade?”

“Yes, I did sir”
“And tell me, what is the meaning of this?”

I kept quiet looking down at my school sandals.

“Oya, take it, read it to the class” he pointed the cane at me with his left hand pointing to the note on the table.

“I love you Sade from Femi” I picked the second note “I love you always Sade from Femi”

The Class was in absolute silence!

I managed to look up and saw Sade crying with her head bent over her desk. I started crying too.

“You are too small for this, you should study your book instead of writing romance letters. Your parents must hear about this!”

“Lie down on the desk with your head facing down, this will teach others a good lesson”

In front of the class I was beaten twelve strokes of the cane.

“Now go to the back of the class – kneel down, close your eyes and raise your hand up in the air!”

I ran off to the back like an unfortunate mouse with tears running down my eyes and mucus crawling down my nose.

The matter was brought home by my class teacher who came to the house by 7pm in the evening to show my parents the notes. The beating continued for a long time, most of my sisters and uncles started to call me, lover boy. I hated it!

I soberly and painfully absorbed all the shame, beating and pain for love.

I learnt my first lesson; there is a thin line between love and pain!

 

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4 thoughts on “Love Starts Innocently”

  1. Pingback: Love comes back – Akin Akingbogun

  2. What an interesting piece and story,rather sad Femi was punished for his emotions towards Sade and I bet Sade wasn’t on her mum’s side too but definitely there could have been a better way of handling the issue by the adults involved. I felt exactly the way Femi did back then but never had the courage to write out my feelings to anyone..Lol

  3. Hafees Lekan oyekunle

    This is what is called Children also fall in love but do you know that this has worked for some people ignorantly. Femi the lover boy.
    Nice one

  4. Nice story,
    I could relate with every part of it. I had similar exfeelings but never had the guts to express it due to fear and timidity most especially after I witnessed the punishments of other students for same reason.
    Nice story though with sad ending.

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