Eketi Edima Ette: What doesn’t kill you… [Nigerian Voices]

by Eketi Edima Ette

Have I ever told you the story, of that time I tried to die, but couldn’t? I haven’t?
Okay, let me give you the gist.

Once upon a time, when I was in SS2, we used to have after school lessons at a nearby primary school. During that time, I had a crush on one boy. We’ll call him Crush of Life.

My friends and I, Fine Girls Gang, often went for the lessons as a group. One of those days, when we arrived, some boys were in the field in front of the classrooms, playing football.

I never liked football until I was about eight years old. To me, it was that boring game that usually came on the NTA channel, right after the WWF wrestling. I didn’t understand it and saw nothing interesting about men chasing a ball around. Not when my heroes like Hulk Hogan, Two by Four, Brett Hart and The Kid had just finished pulverizing their opponents.

But I grew older and began to watch football, so I could avoid having to cook with my mother. It was also perfect bonding time with Dad, who taught me all the football lingo, like offside, free kick, throw in, foul, penalty etc.

Enough of the digression.
While some of the boys were playing and the rest watched, the girls strolled about or sat in cliques talking, crocheting or reading romance novels.

You know how you’re fifteen years old and you think you’re sexy, you know everything and the world is at your feet?
Well, that was how my friends and I felt. So, instead of taking the pathway to the classroom, we deliberately sashayed across the field, our intent being to distract the boys and become the cynosure of their eyes.

The moment I spotted Crush of Life among the players, I increased the swing of my hips. I went from catwalk to donkey-waka. When he smiled at me, I almost twerked with joy. Thin as a wooden ruler, my newly shortened and fitted skirt hugging my non-existent behind and hips, I moonwalked across that makeshift football field.

Some of the boys ignored us and went on playing; others stopped and let out shrill catcalls.
“Get off the field!” the rest hollered, eager to return to their game.

Pure bad belle. Boys that could not do simple admiration—are those ones boys? Mtscheew!

Anyway, I’d almost made it to the other side of the field, when unexpectedly, someone kicked the ball in my direction. It hit the ground, lazily bounced twice and rolled to a stop at my feet. Knowing that Crush of Life was watching, I picked it up, set it down again and lined it up for a shot.

On seeing this, the boys began to cheer me on, chanting, “Kick it high. Into the net! Kick it high. Into the net!”

I tell you, instant adrenaline surged through my body at those chants. Gingered, swaggered and eager to show off my skill, I bent forward just so, set my right leg at a forty-five degree angle, looked down at the ball, looked up at the goalpost, winked at Crush of Life, took a deep breath and let loose a hot kick.

The ball sailed into the air.
Then I heard it.


I neva esperredit.
One minute, I was watching the ball sail over our heads, towards the goalpost. The next, breeze, fresh breeze, was caressing my bumbum.
The fiery hotness of the shot had raised my leg so high, the demure slit at the back of my skirt had gave way.

Oh, the horror! A shaft of shock and dismay ran through my slim frame.
The students behind me, who now had an unrestricted view of my behind, burst into uproarious laughter.

“See shaba!” someone in the amused crowd yelled.

I wanted to die.

Tears pooled in my eyes. I prayed for the ground to open up and swallow me. It didn’t happen.

I turned the skirt around, so the slit, now all the way to the waistline, rested by the side. My light skinned thigh was on display. With my right hand, I firmly gripped the waist band to avoid it completely slipping off and with my left, tried unsuccessfully to hold the sides together.

By this time, everyone was aware of my predicament and laughing their hearts out.

I prayed for all of them to become blind. Nothing happened. In fact, my dear Crush of Life was laughing the loudest. I prayed for him to be struck by lightning. Again, nothing.

Throwing decorum to the winds, I wailed inconsolably as I limped and side-waddled off the field, like a duck with a bad case of kraw-kraw.
But that experience was not without its lesson. That day, I realised that no matter how hard you try, you just cannot die from embarrassment.

This entry was submitted as part of the Nigerian Voices competition organized by YNaija.com.

We publish, un-edited, Nigerians telling the stories of their everyday lives. Read all the narratives daily on the Nigerian Voices vertical. You can also contribute your own story titled ‘Nigerian Voices’ to [email protected].


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