Saturday, 11 August 2018

Small Girl with Big God

The moment I stepped into the house, I knew something was up. The look my mother gave me when I greeted her, the texture of the ‘welcome’ she responded with, the way my father sat; his legs crossed at the feet and knees moving in a combative manner, I did not need to have it spelt out. I was in trouble. But what had I done? 

Did I leave the gas cooker on before rushing off to school this morning? Had I forgotten to greet either of them before leaving the house? Nothing came to mind.

I dropped my handbag and lecture notes on the couch and asked in a tiny voice, “Is anything wrong?”

“Yes, everything is wrong. Everything is wrong, Nenye. My mother responded, jumping to her feet. “You didn’t tell me you have started working as a prostitute.”

“Mummy!” I yelled, shocked that such a word was coming out of the mouth of my scripture-union mother, and even worse to me, her golden child. “Me… prostitute?”

“Ask me again now. Imagine my own daughter confessing with her own mouth that she is a prostitute. Ehn, is that what you went to learn in the University?”

“When did you become so shameless. Going around professing to the world that you are one of those children of the evening of the world, ehn, Nenye?” my father chipped in too.

I was shocked and quite lost. What were they going on about? I looked at my sister, wordlessly inquiring, “What is going on here?” But even the little chimp just shook her head at me in apparent disappointment and looked away.

“Mummy, Daddy, I don’t understand. Did someone tell you I told them something like that?”

My mother spat out, “You, you are the one that told us. And you did not tell only us, you told the whole world.”

Now I was completely confused. “Me?”

Mumsy stretched her phone at me angrily. “See what you said.”

I took the phone from her. It was unlocked and on the screen was a picture of me, on my Instagram page.

“It’s just my picture. I don’t understand how that equates me calling myself a prostitute.”

This time, Ifu, my chimp of a sister responded, “See the caption, you put #smallgirlbiggod there.”


“What is small girl with big God?” my father demanded. “You think we don’t know what it is? You think your mother and I are ancient, abi, we don’t know who the kind of ladies that call themselves smallgirlbiggod are; we don’t know what they do and who their big gods are, abi?”

I was shocked. How did using a hashtag make me a prostitute? Yes, I knew the ongoing trend of people attaching a meaning different from the apparent one to the phrase, but I never expected my parents to have bought into it too. “Daddy, I am a small girl and I have a big God. I don’t know what meaning you people are tying to it…”

Mumsy charged at me at that moment sha. She even almost slapped me. “My friend, you better delete all those pictures right now. Oya, delete them as I am watching you. God will not let you be a smallgirlbiggod, not when I am still alive.”

I was close to tears and wanted to protest some more, but no ‘liver’ to. I brought out my phone, opened my Instagram app and began deleting all the pictures I had used the hashtag on.

Ehennnn, now I can believe that you are indeed not a prostitute. Small girl, big God kwa?” my mother said when I was done, and a smile appeared on her face. “Don’t join bad gang o.”


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