Emmanuella’s fingers leafed curiously through the glossy colored magazine, wide and overlapping her left hand. Her body hunched forward on the toilet seat with her feet, falling asleep from sitting for too long.

She wiggled her toes to ease the numbing sensation but her thirteen-year-old eyes – wide and enthralled, continued to gaze at the vividly unclad photos with her lips, mouthing the words accompanying the explicit photographs.

She had made sure to shut the door to her bathroom – the only door in the house her mother allowed to be closed…

Chisom was right, these stories were causing the center of her thighs to tingle with water…

So this is what sex is all about.

Another flip of the magazine revealed a fresh story with a photograph of two muscular naked men this time, straddling a tall curvy light-skinned lady.

A threesome…

“Emmauella!!!” her mother’s blaring voice rang through into the bathroom. She leaped to her feet with her heart somersaulting in her chest, “Emma-nue-ell—-laaa!” her mother repeated.

“Ma!!!” She yelled back in response.

Her mother was coming, she had to act fast!

Her confused feet staggered in her spot – charging to go left, then swaying to the right and almost immediately, hopping backward.

Her mother’s feet were drawing closer, she could hear it.

Think Emmanuella, think!

If she drops the magazine in the toilet tank, it would get wet

Chisom would kill me!

“Where is this girl, Emmanuella!”

“Mummy I’m in the bathroom!” her heart was racing 150 beats per minute now. Her head rolled around in circles, searching for a suitable spot to hide the magazine…

She could hear her mother’s feet in her room. With no more time left to think, she whisked to the laundry basket, yanked the cover open and clumsily shoved the magazine in between the dirty clothes.

The door to the bathroom pushed open just as she did a 360 away from the basket.

“What are you doing there you this girl?” her mother’s eyes regarded her from head to toe.

“No-othing” she stammered, holding her hands behind her back and silently praying her mother could not see her chest beating through her shirt.

Her mother eyed her suspiciously, cocking her head to the left and then to the right.

Emmanuela, pretentiously looking confused, followed her gaze over her shoulders: to the left then to the right, before settling her eyes back on her mother and shrugging with her hands still held behind her back, “Nothing mummy”

“Carry your head tie let’s go for midweek prayers” her mother hissed defeatedly then turned around and began walking out of the room.

“Yes, ma” responded a relieved Emmanella. She shot a glance at the laundry basket, tacitly holding her secret and she smiled triumphantly to herself.

“You better don’t waste my time again o” her mother paused to warn her with a finger.

“Yes ma” curtsied Emmanuela, and her feet quickened out of the bathroom.




As Emmanuella snatched her head tie from her wardrobe and hurried after her mother down to the car, on the other end of town, a worried Joyce knocked on her mother’s bedroom door.

“Come in” the mother responded from within, “it’s open”

Joyce pushed the door open and stepped into her mother’s large bedroom. She found her mother spread out on the bed, still in her work clothes and black stiletto’s. “Mummy, you are tired?” the twelve-year-old asked concerned

“Yes,” her mother acknowledged, stilled on the bed.

“Okay” Joyce murmured, retracting backwards.

The mother rose on her elbows at the tone of her daughter’s voice, “What is it dear?” she asked the girl who was already making her way towards the door.

Joyce stopped and turned back around, confusion written all over her face, “I just wanted to talk to you about something but you’re tired…”

“No baby that’s okay. Come,” she patted the space beside her and Joyce walked forward and sat beside her mother, “I’m tired but never too tired to listen to you”

Joyce nodded, twiddling with her fingernails.

“What is it?” her mother’s voice was tender and encouraging. She could see her daughter glaring at the floor, looking unsure, “What is it darling?”

“Mummy, wh-hat is….se-x?”

Her mother smiled, exhaling “Is that why you look so worried?”

The twelve-year-old nodded, finally lifting her eyes to meet with her mother’s stare, who was now sitting upright, “My friends are talking about it in school, they said it’s sweet and that when a boy deflowers a girl, there will be a loud sound that will go paap! And blood will flow and the girl will become wiser as soon as she steps outside the door. Everywhere will become brighter and her eyes will open just like Eve in the bible after she ate the forbidden fruit”

Her mother burst into a peal of hearty laughter, so hard, Joyce lips broke into a smile.

“No baby,” she said, regaining her composure, “that’s not quite true. I should have had this conversation with you a long time ago,” she adjusted herself in the bed and took her daughter’s hands into hers, “sex is an act that happens between two consenting adults who are in love with each other. You know what consent means?”

“Yes, it’s when you agree to something”

“Exactly, and an adult is someone who is eighteen years old and above. You are only twelve so you’re not an adult yet, okay?” She grinned and Joyce bobbed her head. “So sex happens between two adults who really, really love each other and agree to take that road. A first experience differs for every woman; while some bleed a little, others do not bleed at all but there is definitely no outburst of sounds or wisdom acquired afterward” she concluded amused.

Joyce chuckled too, “My friend has a sex book she’s lending to everyone. She also says she has videos”

“Well, those exist but you and your friend really shouldn’t be looking at those”

“Why mummy?”

“Because those videos and such sex magazines do not portray the reality of sexual intercourse. When you read and watch those, what you will have will be an unrealistic knowledge and expectations about what sex should be, also,” she tapped the tip of Joyce’s nose with her finger and Joyce giggled, “the models used in acting those videos and posing in those magazines might make you think that your body is not perfect as it is but you are beautiful, just as you are. You are God’s perfect creation”

Joyce smiled warmly, “thank you, mummy, I would not read the magazine when it gets to my turn,” the mother nodded smiling, “And I would not have sex until I’m an adult and in love”

“Or better still married”

“Like you and daddy?”

“Yes, like me and your daddy…”

“Hello?” Joyce’s father’s voice called from the doorway.

“Dadd-ddy!” Joyce jumped from the bed and ran into her father’s arms.

“What’s going on here” he asked, embracing his daughter.

“Sex education” his wife responded from the bed, happy to see her husband.

“Ohhhh I see,” He leaned back just enough to look at his daughter’s face, “and what did you learn from mummy?”

“To wait till I’m married, an adult and in love”

“Aha! That’s my girl” he lifted his palm in a high five position and Joyce slapped it, giggling.





The sound of the clanging bell sent the students rising from their desks to proceed for their break.

Some students made their way out of the classroom, others remained seated to complete their notes, but adrenaline-filled Emmanuella hurried over to Chisom’s desk with Joyce joining in a matter of seconds – they were the three musketeers of their class, inseparable in all their doings.

“Oh my god!” began Emmanuella, “my mum almost caught me yesterday”

“What?!” chuckled Joyce

“I’m telling you like, I went into the bathroom, hid, and was like reading the magazine cause you guys know my mum is so religious and strict and all…”

Joyce nodded

“She started calling me, I had even forgotten we were to go to church…”

“Hope she didn’t seize the magazine” chipped in a nervous Chisom, it’s Peter that borrowed me that stuff o”

“No nah, it’s in my bag” she patted her shoulder sling bag hanging down the side of her waist.

“Better” relaxed Chisom,

“So what happened?” an amused Joyce asked.

“I hid it na!”  she replied and the girls giggled, “Mumsy will just be doing strong thing, she doesn’t know somebody is smart. Anyway Joyce how do I give it to you? I’m done”

“Nah” Joyce shook her head

“Ah ahn!” Chisom and Emmanuella exchanged surprised glances, “don’t you want to know and experience sex anymore?”

“This book is amaze-balls!” persuaded Emmanuella, “Like, you will become this big girl, you will know so much, I was even so wet like reading it”

Chisom guffawed at her remark.

“No, I’m good” Joyce insisted, “my mum told me about sex and I think I’ll wait till I become an adult and I’m in love, married even”

“Wow” murmured Emmanuella but Chisom roared laughing, “Nobody waits till marriage to have sex anymore”

“Your mum spoke to you about sex?” a surprised Emmanuella probed.

“Yes, she told me everything”

“I wish my mum was like yours”

“Abeg give me my magazine” snapped Chisom, “wait till marriage ke, something that me and Peter have done many times. Your mum is just trying to deceive you; you don’t know what you are missing…”

“I’m sure I would find out at the appropriate time”

Chisom gave a long hiss, and Emmanuella remained dumb-founded, envious of the bond shared between Joyce and her mother.

“Are you guys going to eat again or not?” snarled Chisom who inwardly, resented her mother for not guiding her through all the questions that had filled her head at an early age about sex and boys.

If she did, maybe, just maybe, she would still have her virginity at fourteen, and known what to do when twenty-year-old Peter introduced her to sex…

Maybe she never would have gotten pregnant nor followed Peter to that dirty place he took her to have an abortion last two weeks, “Abeg let’s go!” she snatched her back pack and began marching out of the classroom.

Joyce and Emmanuella followed her lead.