I entered my first year in the University as the very definition of a green horn but Nii broke those horns off my head.
I could feel his manhood finally go through me after several minutes of teasing. Quite a number of rhythmic thrusts, spasms of pleasure, and he was collapsed on the floor beside me, looking away like I was not even there. This look like regret or disgust always shown on his face each time we had a sexual encounter. At first, it bothered me a little, just a little. And when it began to bother me a little over a little, I asked him about it. “Oh, you just really keep me going until I’m really exhausted!’’, was his answer. So it was a look of exhaustion? I considered it a compliment. “I surely seem to be good at this”, or so I thought. Nii was my senior in school; a fourth year student and that was our umpteenth round of sex. I was the fish that was caught in his ‘October Rush’ net and my, how happy I was to be that lucky. Each year, after the freshmen’s matriculation by October, many lady first year students were ‘grabbed’ by seniors and became their girlfriends. But, I would not say our story was the same, it was not this mere. The beginning of our relationship was magical, even though it is not exactly the same now. October Rush or no October Rush, Nii and I were made for each other. He was my first love and I shared my pride of virginity with him without regrets. My life revolved around him, so much that I could go a week without talking to my father, ignoring his calls because Nii filled my mind, at the expense of my grades. Nearing the end of the final semester of my first year, I was in Nii’s room for the weekend. I was just going through pictures on his phone when a message popped up. “Missed you badly sweetheart, when are you dropping by again? I love you”, it read. My heart skipped a beat, then a thought flipped through my mind, “It might just be his sister or something.” “Get real Kukua, why would his sister send such a message?” another thought made way. “Nii”, I was trembling like the morning Mama left us, “is there someone else?” “Someone else where?” he asked with a suspicious look. “Do you have another girlfriend? Someone just sent a message about missing you and loving you.” “Did I ever say that you had the right to go through my messages?” “I…I wasn’t going…” “Give me back my phone!” he cut in. “What do you take me for?” I blurted out with pain and anger in my heart. “I have another girl, so what? Am I the first guy to do this? We were just goofing around anyway”, he said with his back to me. I could say no more. I picked up my bag and left – dumbfounded.
Thankfully, I didn’t get pregnant. My menses came for the month of July after our break up in May and it was much heavier than usual with sharp pains but I made nothing of it. Then in September, I bled continuously for 15 days – a very heavy flow amidst that sharp pain. Papa was so concerned; he took me to see my mother’s gynecologist, the same one who had delivered me at birth. He run some tests including an ultrasound and arrived at a probable diagnosis: he suspected cervical cancer. The journey back home was a long quiet one. “It took your mother away”, he broke the silence, “Mama died of cervical cancer, but this time. It will not have its way. We are beating this thing.” That was the first time we had spoken about Mama since the morning she died over a year ago. Cancer can be hereditary in some cases and early indulgence in vaginal sex can increase a woman’s chances of developing the cancer; both were true in my case. Two days afterwards, I underwent a procedure called Pap smear which confirmed my status – it was positive.
The months following this were painful. Often times, I felt unseen by God. Though they caught the disease in a not so bad stage, I had to go through chemotherapy and thorough treatment to ensure that we took it out from the roots – Papa would definitely see to that. I was often sick and seldom active, my skin was bare of any body-hairs and I had to stay out of school.
It’s in the darkest night that little lights shine the brightest. It was in these times of pain and hardship, as I watched Papa sacrifice so much to get me quality medical attention, as I determined to go through treatment and get well, that I developed my tough skin. No more timidity – I decided and declared to each day that came, as if to make sure that day went exactly according to my plans. More so, Mama was hard against timidity, she said God wasn’t for it and had written in the Bible to me that I must overcome timidity. I remember her opening up that page where it was and reading it out, only I cannot remember exactly what it said.
Overtime, I began to regain my strength. In the third week of November that year, I was scheduled to take a test which would show whether or not the treatment had been effective and the malignancy had been taken out. I was home with Papa the day after the test when the telephone rang. Papa answered and I could tell it was my doctor on the line. I tried to read the expressions of his face to decipher what they were talking about. But I was hopeful and sure that I was cancer-free. I was only waiting to hear the confirming good news at the end of their telephone conversation. Finally, he got off the phone. “Kuks, you’re a good fighter and you have done so well during this trying time, but we’re going to have to keep fighting.” The tests came out positive – I was not cancer-free, at least not yet, but I will be! The devourer cannot win twice. “You took Mama, but you cannot take me!” I exclaimed. “Exactly dear”, Papa said, and took me into his arms. “I miss her Kukua; I miss your mother so much.” “I miss her too”.
We went through another month of painful treatment and then it was time for another test to check my progress. To the center for testing, Papa and I wore T-shirts on which a seamstress friend of Mama had made embroidery writings that read “Cancer-Free”. Faith moved the mountain; my results came out negative – I was cancer-free! For the first time in a long time, home really felt like what is actually is. I was so happy, I cooked; a gift I had abandoned since Mama passed.
When I returned to school, though I had had to defer my course, I walked the streets of campus with a different spirit – a spirit of victory and pride. I was ready to face any circumstance and beat it!
“Who says it isn’t possible?
Who says you are not capable?
Who called it merely probable?
Realistically, maybe, you really aren’t capable.
But don’t fret, God is.
He is capable and He makes it all possible.”
Those were the final words of my Valedictorian speech on graduation day. Papa was so proud; he stood in the audience throughout my speech.
It’s been five years since that day. I work as a Senior Partner with Design Bit – a renowned international architectural firm in Ghana. Papa is a retiree, we live together in our home (designed by yours truly) at Kanda, a suburb of Accra. Two years ago, we started the Don’t Bet Against Me Foundation; an NGO which is focused on creating awareness on cancer and helping to increase the arte of survival among cancer patients. Each year on Mama’s birthday, we put on our ‘Cancer-Free’ shirts and distribute free freshly baked Awula Bonjour recipe loaves of bread to the homeless on the streets of Accra.