As John and Ada walked home, they talked about what they wanted to study at University. This is when a girl walked up to Ada and whispered, “Hi, it looks like you have a visit from Aunty Flo, she’s already spreading some jam on the bread.”
John overheard this and understood immediately – he had three elder sisters so he knew almost all the menstrual euphemisms/terms.
“You can have my cardigan,” he said.
Ada’s face turned red but she took it from him, tied it quickly around her waist and ran away without uttering another word to him.
He remembered the first time they were taught about puberty changes taking place in boys and girls – that was about five years ago. Some of the boys giggled, while others made disgusting faces when they heard that girls would have to bleed every month.
Looking around the class, John noticed that some girls looked scared, while some of them looked uncomfortable; their different reactions made it easy to tell apart those who were already getting monthly visits, from those who weren’t.
As an innocent and naive eleven-year-old, he got home that day and asked his sisters why girls had to bleed every month. The question made them uncomfortable but they told him that it was Mother Nature’s gift to women when they attained the right age.
He wasn’t satisfied with their response – [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”null”]who was this Mother Nature and why did she choose to give them that kind of a gift?[/inlinetweet]
Being a lot older now and with easy access to the Internet, he had asked Google all the questions he had carried about in his mind since forever.
Meanwhile, at home that day, Ada had sat on her bed wondering if John would ever talk to her again and if he would ever want to touch his cardigan. [inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”]She hated herself and she hated that she was a female.[/inlinetweet]
She sulked in self-pity while searching for a painkiller and a hot water bag for her cramps, when her phone beeped.
It was a message from John saying, “Hi Sprinter, you should have just seen how fast you ran away today because you didn’t want me to know about Aunty Flo!”
When she didn’t reply, he sent in more messages:
“I am a guy, but I totally understand Aunty Flo…
I am a guy, but I totally understand your mood swings…
I am a guy, but I totally understand that those painkillers at a particular time of the month aren’t for headache as you claim them to be…
[inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”]
I am a guy, but I totally understand that you bleed every month…
I am a guy but I would never consider you to be unclean or dirty…
I am a guy and I know all about menstruation.”
Ada was dumbfounded and had to pinch herself to make sure she wasn’t dreaming.
“How do you know all these things?” She asked.
“You know how curious I can be, when people refuse to talk about a topic, it makes me inquisitive.” He replied.
She didn’t know why, but she felt a great sense of relief after their conversation; they were best friends who told each other everything, but she had always felt that she was keeping a secret from him every time her periods came by…
At school the next day however, she walked into class and smiled at John who looked knowingly back at her as she sat at her seat.
In the afternoon, just before the long break, she felt uncomfortable and decided she needed a change of sanitary pads. She rose up her hand and said to the teacher, “Excuse me Ma’am, I would like to go to the toilet.”
That was something she never would have thought of doing before, because she was so self-conscious and would have much rather sat on her seat till her outfit got soiled. [inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”]But talking about menstruation yesterday had given her a higher level of self-confidence[/inlinetweet] – it was a boost to her where many other girls were lacking. She was done hiding it as she thought to herself “And so what if the guys find out?”
Author: Prisca Ilozumba
Prisca is a Nigerian pharmacist who thinks young ladies should be taught to love their bodies.
Illustration by Aditi Gupta.