“I want bras”
Mum studied my face to figure out if I was joking. I looked back at her matter of factly. Then she looked at my chest. There were two agbalumo seeds dotting it on the left and right. She stared at them, craning her head this way and that, perhaps wondering if there was an internal manifestation that had missed her naked eyes and casual glance. After what I thought was a sufficient forever she looked up at my face again.
“What do you want a bra for?”
I had two fleshy hills sitting on my previously drawing-board flat chest. I had breasts! Real. Live. Breasts! Bras were for breasts, my dorm girls had said.
Bras = breasts
Dupe = breasts
. · . Dupe = bras
It was too simple for Mum to still be asking what I wanted bras for! I mentally checked if I’d been a bad girl. Mum was obviously deliberately playing dumb to punish me for something. She did it often, drove me crazy so I could see how annoying it was when I drove her crazy. Tried hard as I did, my head said I’d been a good girl. A very good girl, in fact! I’d been buttering Mum and Dad up ahead of my new improved senior secondary school big-girl list.
My lips began to tremble.
“Ahh anhhh. Modupeola?”
Mum pulled me to her laps (nobody should say how I was claiming big girl yet went to Mum’s laps. I was still new at the “big” business mbok). I placed my head on her breasts. It was cushiony, so soothing, I forgot all about being big. This was Mum and I’s best posture for having the toughest conversations.
“All the girls brought bras during first term Mummy. Michelle used to give me one of her bras on Friday nights so I too could be among, but you always say I shouldn’t wear other people’s clothes so I thought you’ll want to buy me my own”
“Do you still like your singlets?”
“Not the long ones. They’re old school. I now like only the short ones”
“Okay. We’ll buy only the short ones but we won’t buy bras. Bras are for grown breasts, to support them. If you start using bras now your breasts won’t grow again. Do you want that?”
My jaw fell, horror screamed from my widened eyes. All my dorm girls had jugs. Not my agbalumo business but swingy jugs! I had dreams of growing to jug level too so the butt-of-small-boobs-jokes would stop being my portion.
I agreed with Mum quickly.
“Yes, singlets. I don’t want bras again. Bra is not good for me. Let’s buy many singlets.”