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It is true that as parents we are the architects of our children’s take on life. While many try very hard to do their best, there are still some who don’t quite make the mark.

Unfortunately the right to procreate has been given to all; as HE does not discriminate. Success in parenting the right way is determined by things way beyond commonsense. There are kids who have everything as appropriately required from the beginning, yet still get messed up.

Cruelty and betrayal are taught to us every day of our lives by both kin and strangers. I believe it’s the world we now live in. Take a look around. It’s in your face every day: reality shows, peer pressure, sports, etc. Heck, we even have motivational speakers teaching cruelty and hatred; all in the name of getting one over.

This is the new culture for young people and they learnt this from society as a whole, not just parents. The real task is how do we stop this? Or at least make our children remember that they always have a choice to be the weirdo or odd ball, if the need ever arises or to make that choice to either stand out or join the status quo.

Two separate incidents come to mind. The first incident took place some years ago…

One evening, a friend of mine called from London. The kids had just finished dinner.  I was surprised she called, seeing that it was around 2am over there. From the sound of her voice I knew something was bothering her.

Chelle! I exclaimed happily,

“How the heck are you gal?”

“Just hanging by my lonesome” she replies in that throaty voice of hers.

“What gives Chelle? Why are you up at 2am, by your lonesome at that?” I replied mimicking her voice to make her laugh.

And laugh she did and it was throaty and contagious. I love her laughter, deep from the belly as my grandma used to say.

“It’s snowing freakishly over here.  Central heating is on the blink and I’m too cold to fall asleep”.

“Hmm… great time for nookie. Why aren’t you wrapped around that handsome man of yours?

There was silence for a moment, then she says “handsome has been gone for two months now, and I….

“What do you mean gone? I cut in.

“Gone as in the hell out of my life” she replies calmly.

***

Chelle and I have been friends from High school. She was just one of those people you could always depend on; kind to a fault and always there when you need someone. Unfortunately she just was not lucky in love.

I think it’s the bleeding heart syndrome she has, and men have taken advantage of this for so long. Until Money (that’s her boyfriend’s nick name by the way,) came into her life.

Money was devilishly handsome and brash, but in a really sexy sort of way. Chelle’s first response when he started talking to her was standoffish, which surprised us all because she is the sweetest thing ever; regardless of the makeup of the other person.

This made the chase even sweeter for Money and he persisted. Flowers, texts, calls etcetera. He did all the right things to get her attention. Chelle still ran. Money eventually grabbed her one day in front of her mom and planted one smack on the lips. The room seemed to freeze that day, everyone starred, surprised while Chelle’s mom had a wicked grin on her face.

Chelle tried to pull away, but he was stronger. I guess she liked his lips, and whatever Money’s tongue was doing in her mouth seemed to be working because she relaxed and kissed him back. Everyone cheered and clapped, Money laughed and took a bow, walking over to Chelle’s mom and gave her a hug.

Poor Chelle, you should have seen her face. It turned out Money had been talking with her mom and she had encouraged him to go for it. You see, Chelle is her only child. A mother gets weary watching love come and go season after season. She wanted desperately for Chelle to be happy.

That’s how Chelle and Money came to be a couple. He has been a hustler all his life. He was that boy who sold sweets in elementary school at three times the price to desperate classmates because recess was over and they had no choice. He peddled purses, shoes, clothes…you name it, he did almost anything for a quick buck; this was in high school. University saw him dealing phones, dvd’s …anything to keep cash flow going. And so everyone called him Money, because he loved the dealings and was darn good at it.

Now all grown up, Money had not done badly at all… he was obscenely loaded! This was one relationship I believed was meant to be, they were good for one another. To hear Chelle say he had gone was rather unsettling and sounded out right crazy!

***

“Hey! Hey! Slow down Chelle. WTF…what do you mean he’s gone?”

Her voice broke as she began to speak…It started about three months ago when she had the flu. Another gal pal of ours, Sonia came over to play nurse. All went well as she made soup for Chelle and kept her company because Money was out of town. He called several times in those two days, but mainly spoke with Sonia. Chelle was asleep most times and when Sonia woke her up to speak with him, Chelle would say she should talk with him…heck, they all were friends. There was no reason for her to feel strange or otherwise. Sonia took care of her from that Friday until Sunday after midnight when Money finally made it home. He took Sonia back to her flat, and by the time he got home, Chelle had fallen asleep again.

 

Everything seemed fine until she began to notice that Sonia was not showing up for any of their gatherings any more. She avoided her calls and several times when they planned for lunch or something, Sonia would cancel at the last minute. She mentioned it to Money but his response was “women!”

Chelle’s mum managed to calm her down. She knew Sonia was one of her daughter’s few close friends still present there in London, so once more she decided to play God in her child’s life.

She decided to pay Sonia a visit; maybe she was going through something difficult herself and did not know how to handle it. One day after work, she drove down to Sonia’s street and soon found a suitable parking space. As she walked down to the building, she suddenly stopped in her tracks. At the corner by the end of the road, was parked Money’s jeep. That’s strange! She thought to herself. Alarm bells immediately went off in her head.

Unlike her daughter, Chelle’s mom was one tough broad. You really don’t want to mess with her.

Luckily she caught the door as another tenant entered, so she did not have to buzz Sonia. Her heart suddenly began to beat faster…she was scared all of a sudden. Somehow she already knew what she was about to find out, and though she knew the truth was important, she hated to be the one to tell her baby about it. Money!  That bastard! He was just like the rest of them. How could Sonia do this? How could she?

The elevator took her to the tenth floor and with slow tentative steps she approached the Sonia’s door. Voices came through faintly from inside. She stood there for a minute and then rang the bell.

“Who is there?” Sonia’s musical voice asked?

“Management” Chelle’s mom answered disguising her voice.

As the door flew open, she pushed past a stunned Sonia into the flat. There, sprawled on the rug was none other than the bastard himself Money; half naked in his boxers nursing a glass of brandy.

 

“You” Chelle’s mom gasped launching for him

“Mariam! Noooo!” Money yelled jumping to his feet to grab his pants. It was already too late. Chelle’s mom grabbed a lamp and flung it at him, he dodged and it crashed to the floor. Sonia was hysterical by now, hands cupped together as if in prayer “Oh my God, oh my God” she kept chanting.

Money had one foot in his pants and was still hopping around like a court jester, as Chelle’s mom snaps away on her phone.

“Shameless, classless bastard! God! To think I got Chelle into this!” She yelled at him.

Money now in his pants moves away from her, hands on his head with the kind of look that says “I’m seriously fucked” begins to speak.

“Shut up!” chelle’s mom roared.

“You only reverted to type, as for you…” she turns to Sonia, “I hope he is truly worth betraying your best friend over”.

Chelle’s mom walks out of the flat, Sonia’s sniffling fading away as she approached the elevator. It was then that she felt the tears rolling down her cheeks.

***

 “Seriously!” I gasped horrified.

“WTF! WFT…!” was all I kept repeating. It didn’t sound real to me as Chelle narrated her horror to me.

Not exonerating Money in anyway, but I was more shocked over Sonia’s part in all of this. She and Chelle were the only two out of six of us living in London. The rest of us lived in different parts of the US.  Sonia and Chelle grew even closer over the years. Sonia had gone through a traumatic divorce five years ago after ten years of marriage. We all know she pulled through only because of Chelle.

We meet up once a year for two weeks, no kids, men or emotional baggage; just us gals. We had been doing this for four years now. Sonia’s face came to my mind, sweet beautiful Sonia. Her husband, Anthony, had cheated on her for years until she found out. He took everything in the divorce; the one thing she treasured and got was Jr. their 9 year old son.

Anthony stuck him in some silly private school in Switzerland, just because he could afford to, and also to make Sonia miserable. How could she now turn around and do the same thing to another woman? It wasn’t for material gains; Sonia was rich, as in old money kind of rich. Her dad was in real estate and owned premium buildings in London, N.Y, and South of France. Everyone had frowned when Sonia came home one day with this Benin boy. He was rough around the edges, working class background with a genius IQ, and a hunger to succeed.

Sonia was a wild child and she liked to wind her father up, so she stuck with him. Years later, Anthony’s hunger paid off, and he started making money. They marry against her father’s wishes, and when it ended, he was the first to say “told you so”.

How is it that Sonia has now developed amnesia all of a sudden? How could she now turn around and betray Chelle, over any man, much less with Money, whom she has known less than three years?

***

Chelle’s voice comes on again and she tells me that her mom did not tell her what she had found out immediately.  That day when Money came home, he was cold and withdrawn. Chelle had asked what was wrong, he said he was unwell. Poor baby she said reaching to give him a hug, thinking perhaps she had given him her flu. He stiffened when she held him, and still did not suspect anything. Instead she called her mom to have a chat; all worried about Money and his wellbeing. Her mom had had just about enough of him that she screamed that Money was a bloody grown man and why the hell was she fussing so much about his flu.

Chelle freaked out and began to cry. She wondered why was her mom being such a bitch and then she hung up. She felt all alone; Money was not feeling well and was withdrawn…and her mom had gone all psycho. She said she cried herself to sleep, but not before trying to call Sonia to talk with her, but as usual, no answer.

 

The next day her mom came over just before going to work. She simply handed Chelle the phone and said “here”. At first she did not make sense of it, Money looked rather silly hoping around with one leg in his pants.  Wait a minute she thought, how the hell did her mom come by such a picture? It was then her mom sat down and told her everything.

Chelle said she could say nothing. After what seemed like hours but really only twenty minutes, she cuddled up to her mom and began to cry. Chelle said Money never came home after this day. He came by later that month to pick up his things; always making sure she was out of the flat. Chelle never bothered to ask why or what happened, and Money never explained either. As for Sonia, Chelle said she later called her, several times but did not speak with her. The last she heard from friends, Sonia was in rehab.

They said she left her flat in her panties with no bra. The building security called her dad; he was the landlord. He came for his daughter, and put her in a facility. She feels sad for Sonya; her father finally has control over her.

***

I have kept more in touch with Chelle. She’s doing so much better now, but it took some time. I contacted our four friends and told them Chelle’s story. Like me ,they were shocked that Chelle had kept all this to herself. We arranged our meet later that year in Denver. This time Chelle came alone; she told us Sonia was on the mend and that they had started speaking again but still had not seen each other since the incident.

The rest of us were happy to be there. We talked, laughed, cried and talked some more.

Chelle met someone in Denver, He’s half Nigerian.  His father is Italian and his mother Igbo. Chelle now seems happy.  A lot more talkative and witty… There was a radiant glow in her face that we all noticed, and liked very much. We told her to be naughty and spontaneous. Adaku the loudest mouth amongst us yelled “live a little” as she pulled Chelle down into the snow. Adaku works for the U.S. Marines and knows twenty easy ways to kill a man and she tells men so. She’s been married now for thirteen years and Okey knows he is marked for life. She tells Chelle to let her know the next time any man wants to mess with her.

Okay, I have to go back to my introduction before this story; relationships are built in diverse ways. We all want the most worthy basis to be TRUST. Looking back to my friends and I; I begin to wonder about something that also happened more recently.

This really creeps me out. Just last week, we took the kids bowling and ran into a friend from their school. The girl’s mother says “hello” and they pick a lane next to ours. We soon began to talk whilst the children bowled. She tells me she was glad they ran into friends of her daughter Kayla….”she’s been miserable since Friday” her mother says.

Why I ask? Then she goes on to tell me about a group of girls whom Kayla had been friends with since kindergarten, how they had removed her as their friend on Facebook. “That’s not nice” I say really surprised.

I know, Kayla’s mom replies…would you believe they told her they did it because two boys from their school had asked them to do so. They say my little girl thinks she’s so cool but they will teach her a lesson. If the girls did not do it, they would not talk to them anymore and they would also be deleted from their Facebook.

You can imagine my horror…people these are 4th graders! I begin to wonder what kind of a world we live in, when little children terrorize each other and Facebook has become a weapon to oppress.

As I watched the kids bowl and play together, I smile broadly. Kayla was so cool. She was a gorgeous little brunette who would definitely become a stunner in the near future. My question Is, how could her childhood friends give her up so quickly over some boys?

Then there were these little boys who have already began to exhibit traits of dominance so early in life. What exactly had them spooked so young that their desire to control consumed them so? I discussed with Kayla’s mom at length, curious to find out what her child’s initial reaction had been.

She told me Kayla had asked all of the girls what was more important to them, their friendship or doing what some boys they did not even know wanted, just because they thought they were cute. She told them it was up to them to choose.

Wow! What a remarkable child I said, looking her way as she threw her bowling ball and cheered on until it struck the pins. “Her little heart was crushed when all those little freaks one after the other deleted her as a friend” her mother replied, clearly hurting for her child. Hard to believe how young it starts huh? She said softly.

I immediately look across to my girls, they were on Facebook too. In fact I signed them up myself in order to monitor everything they do. How would they react to such a thing happening to them? Had I made a mistake by letting them join? Are their little hearts able to take such rejection?

My girls are twins and are very close. In fact they are best friends and tend to have this shield around themselves from everyone. I tell Kayla’s mom to make sure she sends a friend request to my girls, “they will never do what a boy tells them to do “I say with a wink, it’s a twin thing…but am I really sure, I begin to wonder?

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