Mr. Dom: "Hurry up Belinda or you'll be late for school".
Came the voice of my dad Mr. Dom (short for Dominic), from the parking lot. My dad is a tall, dark, masculine man in his early forties with little or no gray hairs to compliment his age. He is a rich man who works in a big company as a managing director and he's also a personal assistant to the CEO of DELTON CONSTRUCTION COMPANY (DCC). He is also an Estate Manager, he graduated 13 years ago with first-class from the University of England. My mum's name is Helena but everyone calls her Mrs. Dom, a Clergy In a law firm. She's in her early thirties, a daughter to a one time famous Lagos Politician. She's slim, fair-skinned, tall and beautiful with dark long hair. She looks 25, people say I'm a shadow of my mum cause I look just like her. I have two brothers Dave and Justin. Dave is the eldest while Justin is my elder brother. Dave is at Oxford University, he's studying Accountancy and he's in his third year, while Justin studies marine engineering in the same school and he just got In. For me, my name is Belinda and I am the last child and the only girl child of my parents. They call me the pride of the Doms, I am being loved and cherished by everyone especially my dad, I am 17years old now, 10 months ago was my birthday and I had the most wonderful birthday party ever. I'm in my final year in secondary school. Ok to the main story.
Belinda: Dad I told you I can always go to school on my own (I said as I was coming in from the main building). For crying out loud, I'm 17 years old now, I am no more a kid, I can take care of myself.
Mr. Dom: Honey, no one is disputing the fact that you are a grown up girl now, but mum and dad still has to protect you from the dangers of this world and moreover the traffic in Lagos is too dangerous for you to go to school alone and you ain't exposed to that yet.
Belinda: Dad who's talking about traffic here, King's College is just a few miles away from home and I can always find my way down there.
Mr. Dom: On foot?
Belinda: On foot.
Mr. Dom: Alone?
Belinda: Perhaps with friends
Mr. Dom. Look here Belinda, I can't expose you to such danger. Have you forgotten this is Lagos and a lot of disastrous things happen here and I'm not ready to take any risk.
Belinda: But dad...
Mr. Dom: Belinda we wont have this discussion again! Now you can go into the car.
Mrs. Dom: Darling I think you should listen to her and give her a chance. (my mum said approaching the car) don't you think you are overprotective of our daughter?
Mr. Dom: Honey I won't like you interfering in this matter. By the way ain't you going to the office?
Mrs. Dom: Honey, my 2 weeks off from the office begins today so I'll just be at home, probably go shopping and do some cooking.
Mr. Dom: That's alright, please do well to pick Belinda after school I'll be in an important meeting so I won't be able to do that today.
Mrs. Dom: Of course, I will.
Mr. Dom. Alright see you when I'm back (gave her a kiss.)
Mrs. Dom: Bye darling ( she stood back and waved at us as we zoomed out of the compound.
I couldn't concentrate in class. I was busy pondering on the discussion I had with dad this morning. Of course, I have every reason to worry about it, I was bothered. I am no more a kid but why does dad see and treat me like one? All my friends have the freedom they need but mine is different. Is he afraid I might misbehave or join some bad companies? I know I'm a good girl, I don't have bad friends, I don't even have a boyfriend and moreover am still a virgin though I have few guys who have been disturbing me for a relationship but I've always turned them down. I was still deep in my thoughts when Miss Lizzy, our Chemistry teacher walked up to me and called my name.
Miss Lizzy: Linda (as she always calls me) Linda.
Belinda: (I looked up looking startled, didn't know she has been calling more than once.) Yes miss Linda
Miss Lizzy: Linda, are you okay? You look tense and absent-minded. You seem lost and not partaking in the lesson. Are you sick?
Belinda: No miss Lizzy, I just have a slight headache, I didn't have a good night's rest maybe that's why.
Miss Lizzy: I think there's more to this than just the headache. This is a pandemonium and I seem not to understand you, I'm confused. Anyways, meet me in my office during break.
Belinda: Yes miss Lizzy.
Miss Lizzy: (to the class now) so, class, Isotope is one of two or more forms of a chemical element which have the same number of protons but different number of Neutrons in their atoms. They have...(bell rings. She looked at her time and sighed then she looked at me as our eyes met.)
That's for you then, follow me Miss Linda. And class we'll talk more about Isotope tomorrow in our next class. See you tomorrow. (She took her books from the desk and walked out and I followed her behind.)
Miss Lizzy is our chemistry teacher, she's in her late twenties, she's very dark in complexion, she has a gap tooth and that's the only thing I admire about her facially. She goes on a low cut, dyed and gelled. She is average in height and size, not too slim and not fat. She's friendly, she wears medicated glasses and I've never seen her take them off. She loves heel shoes and she dresses very simple with little or no makeup. I like her and I know she likes me too.
Miss Lizzy: Come in Miss Linda and have a seat.
Belinda: (I looked shy as I drew out the office chair and sat down, I couldn't look her in the eye, I just looked down rubbing my two hands together) Thanks, Miss Lizzy.
Miss Lizzy: I'm very sure there's something bothering you Linda and I don't mind if you share them with me. Right now, see me as a friend and your elder sister and not your teacher. I could help you. (I couldn't speak, I just kept silent. Everyone knows how shy I could be and miss Lizzy knows that too.) Listen Linda (she continued), I know you're growing up and there are certain physiological and psychological development going on within you now. Sometimes you may not be aware of it, and there are also some mental changes going on too. It may be hard for you to understand these changes now but I know definitely as time goes on you'll adapt. Linda you are not just my student, but also my friend. Feel free to talk to me about anything. You're my favourite student, I love and cherish you too. Listen I know you may not feel comfortable talking to me about your personal issues but here is my card (she picked a complementary card from her desk and handed it to me) feel free to call me anytime you think you are ready to share your problems and secrets with me. You may go for your break now. (She leaned against the chair and placed her head against it. I just stood up slowly and walked to the door. I was about opening it when she called out again.) Linda, I'll be expecting your call. (She said as she smiled at me and I returned the smile leaving the office. I breathed out heavily as I walked down the long pavement to the class. It may not really sound like a big deal or an issue to deliberate on but I am sick and tired of dad treating me like a fish who is not allowed to go out of the sea. I was still in yet another thought when my friend Gena held my shoulder from behind.)
Belinda: Ah Gena you scared me
Gena: (chuckled) scared you? I know you felt that way too when Miss Lizzy called you in class today, You looked up scared. I too have been noticing you today, in fact, everyone did. It's not like you, what's wrong and by the way, gist me what did you and Miss Lizzy discussed about?
Belinda: Which should I go first?
Gena: Hmmmmmmm the former, then the later.
Belinda: You like gossip but I'll tell you since you are my friend. It's my dad.
Gena: You're dad? (gasp) what's wrong with him? Is he sick? Is he dead? Did he get fired from work? Did he have an accident? Did he...
Belinda: Gena! (I stopped walking and shouted at her, I couldn't hold it anymore. Gena has always been a talkative and a gossiper and sometimes I wonder why a calm girl like me chose her to be my friend but I like her though, she isn't boring, she's nice and fun to be with) My dad is fine, he's at work, and no he didn't have an accident.
Gena: (exhaled) thank God. So what's it then?
Belinda: He's over protecting me and I can't take it anymore. I talked to him about it this morning, that he should at least let me go to school on my own instead of dropping me off but he bluntly refused. Gena I'm 17 and I am not a kid. Next term I'll be done with secondary school and I'll be 18 then probably I'll be in the university so what reason does he have to treat me like a pet that is not allowed to go out of the house?
Gena: (laughs) but you know that's what you are Na, Daddy's pet.
Belinda: Oh you think its funny right?
Gena: No no no Linda I didn't say so just that your dad is a man with too many rules and policies and with philosophies very different from every other men. Thank God he's not my father. Mine doesn't have such time to tell us what and what not to do, he's always working with mum at the clinic and they come back very late at night. Sometimes they come back the following day. So I have all the freedom in the world.
Belinda: Oh Gena you're such a lucky girl I wish my dad was just like yours. Only family outings on Sundays and shopping on Saturdays make me feel the heat of Lagos. I'm so street sick. (Bell rings).
Gena: That's the bell. Lets go we'll talk about it some other time. And please cheer up so that our classmates won't start coming to ask you what's wrong. (Gena said as she dragged me through the school pavement to the classroom. I wish I'll be able to pretend it doesn't bother me anymore but am not sure I'll be able to do that.)
To be continued...