I learnt the art of lying as a teenager. I didn’t like the word “lying”. I rather termed it “playing smart”. If I wanted more money for snacks during recess at school, I would invent fictional fees which covered the extra expenses. If I wanted to hang out with my friends I would use a false excuse. If I wanted to skip classes, I would feign ill-health. If I was caught in the act, I would fabricate more stories to cover my tracks. Thus, I always manipulated my way into getting whatever I wanted. Being an only child, my parents were liberal with me. They obliged my every wimp and hardly reprimanded me. I disliked the help. She always gave me this stern stare. She detested my incessant lies and how I easily got away with them. She thought I was spoilt but could do nothing about it as she was forbidden from rebuking me. “She can shrink in her cocoon of morality for all I care”, I thought. I continued to bask in the euphoria of my crafty exploits until one day it all went wrong.
It was on 27th May, 2011. I had earlier informed my parents that I would be having extramural lessons after school hours. A lie they effortlessly believed. In actual fact, I wanted to hang around with Ekene (the boy I liked in class) after school. So the chauffeur didn’t pick me up at the usual time after school hours. I had scaled through with yet another lie. I happily skipped down the path that lead to the school farm. I got to the mango tree beside my class farm lot. We often sat under its shade to rest after tilling the soil. My tiny biceps always hurt after each farm work but it was a convenient escape from the boredom of the classroom. Ekene often helped me mould the soil into ridges as I prattled away with my friends. A noise from the nearby bushes cut off my streams of thought. It was Ekene.
“Oh! Chioma you’ve not gone home?” he asked which made me smile rather sheepishly. I reached out for one of the green leaves on a branch of the tree and began fondling with it. We talked for a while. Most of the words were his. I simply laughed at his bland jokes and watched the way his lips moved as he spoke.
“I have to go. My driver will soon be here” I said drawing the conversation to an end.
“Okay let me walk you down” he replied. As we turned to walk back, he briskly pulled me to his bosom.
“You know I like you Chioma” he said. I would have said something but his lips were already pressed into mine. The slimy saliva on his tongue spilled all over my mouth. I forcefully pushed him away
“Stop that” I spat.
“Common, no one will see us”
I became alarmed. I made to use my heels but he roughly shoved me to the ground.
“No Ekene! Leave me alone!” I screamed to no avail.
He pinned me to the ground with the weight of his body atop mine. I screamed for help but none came. He quickly pushed my skirt above my waist and thrust into me. Blood seeped between my thighs and tears dripped down my eyes. I didn’t understand what made Ekene turn beastly in split seconds. The stern stare of the help flashed across my mind. I remembered all my tricks and lies. I was the architect of my fate. I had fallen into the pit I dug with my own hands. In the pain and shame of those seconds I swore never to lie again.
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