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QUIET


I REMEMBER MY FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL IN AMERICA. I REMEMBER IT LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY. I WAS NERVOUS, BUT NOT AFRAID. MY RELATIVES TAUGHT ME THAT I SHOULD NOT FIGHT, UNLESS I WANTED TO GO BACK TO MY COUNTRY BY MYSELF.

SO I BECAME QUIET.

ME, THIS LAGOS KID WHO COULD WALK 30 MINUTES FROM SCHOOL TO HOME ALONE AND UNAFRAID BECAUSE I WAS READY TO FIGHT, BECAME QUIET.
I WAS A RESPECTFUL CHILD, WHEN I WAS A LAGOS KID. I’D SIT IN CLASS, OR CHURCH WITH MY FRIENDS AND I NEVER GOT IN TROUBLE.

UNLESS SOME KID NEEDED ME TO REMIND HIM THAT EVEN THOUGH THIS CUTE UNIFORM DRESS I WORE REPRESENTED ME AS A LADY, I WOULD NOT HESITATE TO BEAT HIM LIKE A BOY.

SO BEING QUIET IN AMERICA WAS NOT DIFFICULT, BUT IT WAS NOT EASY.
I SAT IN CLASS ON MY 1ST DAY OF SCHOOL READY FOR WHAT THE TEACHER HAD IN STORE. REALITY STRUCK ME WHEN I HEARD THE TEACHER’S ACCENT. I WAS NOT AFRAID, BUT I WAS WORRIED THAT I WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO MIMIC THAT ACCENT.

SO I KEPT QUIET, JUST IN CASE I WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO FIT IN. I WAS BUSY RUMMAGING MY BACKPACK WHEN I REALIZED THAT THE TIP OF MY PENCIL WAS BROKEN. “SHIT”.

EVERYONE TURNED AROUND TO LOOK AT ME. A GIRL BUSTED OUT LAUGHING. “SHE SAID THE S-WORD!” I JUST GLARED AT HER WONDERING WHAT WAS SO FUNNY ABOUT “SHIT”.

“SEE AS E DEY LAUGH LIKE MONKEY. ABEGY SHARRAP”, I THOUGHT. I DARED NOT SAY THAT OUT LOUD BECAUSE I DID NOT KNOW WHETHER ANYONE UNDERSTOOD, AND I DID NOT WANT TO FIGHT.

THE VOICE OF MY RELATIVES ECHOED IN MY EAR, “DO NOT FIGHT ANYONE WHEN YOU GET THERE. FACE YOUR BOOKS.”

AND LO, THOSE VOICES TAUGHT ME HOW TO BE QUIET.

Originaly published on parallelmagz.com

Odabó,
OLUWANITORI

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