Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Agony Of Cramps :by Victor Daniel

I grew up with a lot of girls, mostly older. I never really noticed when they were menstruating, either because they almost pulled through those days of agony like every other day or because I was too young to connect the dots. I have a younger sister with whom I share house chores with, and on certain days she would sleep longer and spend more time in bed or mostly withdrawn, and my parents wouldn’t bother her. I didn’t like the bias but I never talked about it. I would just do my own part of the work and let her do hers whenever she chose to get up. 

I had almost no knowledge of what women went through during their periods until I was a first hand witness of it. 

I had this girlfriend whose school was just in the next town. She came over when she was free to spend time (and sometimes money) with me. On this particular trip, right went left and she misplaced one of her bags at the park, and it was the bag she kept some of her toiletries in, including her pads. It wasn’t her time of the month but it was quite close so she had taken them just in case. She came over and it was all fun for the first two days until it came. It came a bit earlier so it was sudden. That dehumanising and utterly frustrating spoilsport in the form of menstruation came- with a lot of baggage. It wasn’t a funny one. 

To make it all worse, hers was particularly painful, as always. Everything changed. OK first, it came unannounced, embarrassingly. The only luck we had was that we were in the room alone when she started feeling the sensation very strongly. She felt the blood coming. It was left to me to have to dash across the road to get her pads from the store. It all seemed like an easy task until I got there and I met the sales girl, and two other customers… Both females. 

“Oga wetin you wan buy?”

… Silence… 

“Oga answer me na”

I looked at the two girls standing there, their were both looking right back at me. It felt like the first time I had to buy a condom… Or even more awkward. Because as a guy in the university it’s pretty normal to buy condoms, not Pads. 

“Una get toothpick?”,  Was what I first asked. As if the situation wasn’t embarrassing enough I had to ask for toothpicks in a chemist shop. The girl was already getting impatient. 

“Give me pads, one pack”, I finally managed to say without looking up to meet the very awkward glances on the three girls in the shop. She gave me, I paid and dashed out immediately. 

“Oga you no go collect your  change?!!”, she yelled as I was already halfway across the road. She could keep the 50 naira. That was the beginning of a long chain of a very long 5 days. It wasn’t funny. One moment Bae would be all smiles and fun and the next moment she was wriggling in agony. Different positions in bed. Suddenly the bed wasn’t big enough for the both of us anymore so I had to sleep on the rug. My wall paintings sef hear am. At one point I was suspecting that she was ogbanje and using the period thing to cover up. 

She couldn’t sleep at night. Me too. She would doze off for a couple of minutes and then let out an agonising moan from beneath her breathe, turn in bed holding her belly… Man, I was scared! I turn nursing father overnight. For a moment I had a slight taste of what men with pregnant wives went through. 

“I’m sorry dear”,

 “you’ll be fine love”,

“I’m sorry dear”, 

Were my most spoken words in those days. I became a professional masseuse. I had to massage her belly and the sides whenever the surges came. And then I realized she went through this phase every single month. 

At that point I understood how hard it was to be a girl. I knew how the slight stomach aches ruined my days. I finally understood how strong most women are to go through their everyday activities even while passing through their menstrual circle. Then I understood how strong pregnant women really were, and how enduring  a man had to be, to have to be there all the way for their ladened wives.
This is no fiction.


  1. Wonderdul piece .... truth is it really is no fiction because I go through exactly that every month if not worse sef


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