A Nigerian Love Story

Catching feelings can be fun

A Nigerian Love Story

Boys in my community said I was scary. They said I didn’t smile like other girls. That I was too proud, too much. All my friends had boyfriends except me. I didn’t let it bother me.

While my friends were dating, I helped my mum in the market. Her provision store was busy. So many customers and so much to do.

Last April, a boy walked in with his sister. They wanted to buy milk. I attended to them since my mum wasn’t around. I noticed that the boy was polite. When his sister mistakenly dropped the milk, he didn’t yell at her. Long after they left, I couldn’t stop thinking about him.

Days later, he showed up again. This time, my mum was in the store. He was respectful and friendly to her. He said stuff that made her laugh. Next thing, he came over and said his name was Daniel. He looked me right in the eye. I introduced myself and kept working.

When I looked up, he was still standing there. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. He asked if he could visit the next day. I was shy, but I said okay.

Sure enough, Daniel came with a pack of playing cards. We played until we lost track of who was winning. I didn’t care. I enjoyed being with him, talking to him. I found out he lived on the other side of town. I was shocked that he came all the way just to see me.

We started spending lots of time together. He said he liked the way I carried myself. He didn’t interrupt me when I spoke and seemed very interested in my opinions and dreams. He helped out in the store even though my mum told him not to worry. Back home, she said he had good home training. It felt good to hear that.

Soon my mum said we could hang out elsewhere. We started dating for real. We would go to the youth centre and play games. We always made sure we hung out where other people were. Those boys in my community couldn’t believe it. They stared at Daniel as if he had two heads. One of them asked Daniel how he got me to date him. He laughed and said, “That’s our secret.”

Being more than ‘just friends’ with boys is a normal part of growing up. When you feel you are ready, choose someone who treats you right, who likes you just the way you are, respects your values and opinions, who does not pressure you into doing what you don’t want to do.

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