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Dear Edem my love,
Putting pen to paper on this day is one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to do. I am about to disclose something that happened to me, way back in Junior High School, which even my parents have never heard about.
Well, unless this letter finds another way into their hands, they will still be in the dark about what their daughter suffered at an age, when I tried and failed to put on a brassiere to hold basically nothing on my chest.
Before I met you, I had had much difficulty in sustaining any meaningful romantic relationship, ever since I legally became of age to be in one.
This was due to the fact that, for most of my life, I had used sex as a bargaining chip to get what I wanted. Ever since you caught me ‘in the act’ with my boss and subsequently initiated the divorce, I have debated with myself on how to explain my actions, albeit inexcusable.
On the day my class was marched from the Primary School to the Junior High School, we were so happy. It was as though we had finally been launched into adulthood. As adolescents, we were not ignorant of the changes in our bodies.
While the boys were growing taller and developing deep voices, the girls were developing a breast or two; some small, some big.
Those days, we did not give much thought to whether somebody’s buttocks was big or small. Obviously, there were no phones or social media pages, to tell us what we should look like or how to pose, in a bid to thrust what was ‘not there to be there’.
I remember that my best friend began to menstruate around that same time and we had absolutely no idea what to do about it. We then went to the school washroom, where I gave her my nice handkerchief to use… Well, what did I know?
I can answer that I did not know much when I got into JHS; and yet, my Math teacher had set his predatory eyes on me.
At the time, I was pleased that he chose to be extra patient with me, so that I could understand what he was trying to teach me. He unsurprisingly became my favorite teacher even though I could not say the same thing about his subject.
After a morning assembly one day, Mr. Odum ‘cornered’ me to say that he liked me and would want me to be his girlfriend. I covered my face and started giggling, thinking that he was playing around with me.
“Seriously, in what world do I look like somebody’s girlfriend?” I thought. Then he shushed me and begged me to never tell anyone what he had just said – not even my best friend, Asana. Afterwards, he advised me to stay away from the small boys, as they could ruin my future. He, on the other hand, would take very good care of me; and then he gave me some money for lunch.
As a child growing up in a low-class home and neighbourhood, nobody had paid much attention to me, so I liked that Mr. Odum had noticed me. Nevertheless, I did not say yes to his advances, which turned out to be my biggest ‘mistake’ at that time.
My favorite teacher unexpectedly turned me into his ‘punching bag’ or was it ‘caning bag’? He found all sorts of excuses to beat me in class; if my mates made a mistake, I would get beaten. If I failed any other subject, he would volunteer to lash me, even if that was not the punishment for it. I had undoubtedly failed Mathematics, before I ever got the chance to write a Mathematics examination.
After a while, I became less enthused about school and dormant in class, which my friends noticed. They asked me what was happening and so I decided to open up to them. That was how I learnt that Mr. Odum was not the only teacher using the pupils to ‘pick his teeth.’ In fact, one of the girls bragged that she was enjoying her relationship with the French teacher, as she had help not only in French, but in other subjects as well.
I took her advice and my life turned around for the ‘better’, in the school. My first sexual encounter happened in Mr. Odum’s house, on a weekend when I was supposed to be having extra classes. He was impatient and demanding; I wished to never go back there again, but I could not count the choices that I had, if any.
These escapades continued, until he left the school two years later when his fiancée found us out and she had threatened to leave him if he did not transfer from the school.
The sordid affair with my teacher ended, but I was not the same girl anymore. I had transformed from that timid, shy girl to a brazen young Miss and I was not afraid to go after what I wanted.
I did not have much difficulty in studying to pass my exams by myself, yet I wanted to replace Mr. Odum, in order to continue receiving favours – needed or not.
So the prey-turned-predator in me initiated other relationships, with another teacher, as well as the most brilliant guy in the school.
Yes, I passed out with ‘dirty’ flying colours, but I did not care. And this is how I went through Senior High School and thus, the University. If I was not seeking ‘help’ from a lecturer, it would be a course mate or a teaching assistant. As usual, none of this was for free…
When you walked in on my boss and I two weeks ago, I was banging my way to a promotion that I was not sure I deserved.
You conclude that I am just a dreadful person. My parents believe I have been bewitched. My pastor is getting ready with his anointing cum deliverance oil.
Although I do not have a medical diagnosis to state what kind of sickness I have, I admit that I have a serious problem and I am prepared to seek the right kind of ‘help’ this time.
That is why today I am stripping myself bare, before you. Know that I would do anything to save our marriage, but I do not think I can go through this without you by my side.
Please forgive me, Edem.
The writer, Akosua Asor Amponsah, works with Citi FM/Citi TV. She enjoys fiction and relationship writing