I shook my head trying hard not to let her down. I never saw the butterflies nor did I see the stars. I felt resentment rise in me, as I felt cheated of what may have been a legitimate experience. She was looking at me and I could swear I saw stars in her eyes. Were those butterflies I felt in my stomach, my hands were sweating and I knew I was going to sound like a frog being strangled if I spoke. I took refuge in a screechy laugh. Alarmed at that sound I clamped my mouth shut.
There was a teeny bit of jealousy that rose in me. Tolu my fourteen year old daughter was beginning to look uncertain. I held her in my arms and screamed silently for help and guidance. She wanted to know when she would know she was in love and was asking me what she should feel. Nothing in my warehouse of memories looked like what the romance books says. The clammy feeling, the stars in her eyes and those darn butterflies!. I get all those feelings when I am nervous or am about to hit the roof over something.
Tolu had been told by her friends at school that she would feel all those things when she meets Mr. Right, Ergh! We had to talk, it was standard practice in the house, she asks the questions and I had always been able to answer the questions. Now I am having problem answering this one because knowing my daughter as I do, her next question was going to be if I felt that way about her father. So I took a deep breath, and held her hands
“Darling, love comes to people in different ways, when we are young and start seeing the opposite sex as a bit more interesting than the nuisance we thought they were, our generative instinct is coming into play. We are beginning to be self- conscious, we start wanting to look like the ideal we sense and want the object of our interest to see us as the ideal. I guess that is when we see those stars because we see in the other person something higher than ourselves and we want to be the best for that person. These feelings awaken in us the sense of what real love should be like. It is a beginning my dear but like a fruit just budding, you must allow it to grow, mature and ripen . Remember how I used to tell you not to eat unripe mangoes in the garden? You know you must allow it to mature and ripen and then you enjoy the fruit?”
Tolu nodded and she looked at me as she asked, “So falling in love is like seeing an unripe mango?”
“Learning about those butterflies in your stomach is learning about love and you will need to give the mango time to grow, mature and…..”
“ripen” she finished for me laughing.
I went further picking my words carefullyas I explained about crushes, infatuation and their new definitions of friends with benefits and friends without benefits. She was amused and we chatted for a few more minutes before I rushed off for my production meeting.
Obviously Tolu had only barely understood the phrase about “friends with benefits” because she asked her dad what were the benefits the neighbor’s undergraduate son meant when he said they could be friends. I waited until the wretch got back home and bared my teeth to the miserable boy, explained to him the benefits derivable from a rampaging witch as well as what the insides of a police cell could look like. I smiled as I explained to a horrified young idiot what he could with his benefits.
Tolu is barely on talking terms with him as I revisited out talk and gave details about the meaning of “friends with benefits”
Did I do it right? I have been wondering.
What do you think folks?