“The First Time” by Aisha Ali



"The first time"

I was fourteen, I think. I was in Dar es Salaam. We were travelling for the holidays with my cousins whose father was from Zanzibar and, after a month there, were making our way back to Nairobi. The house in which we were staying had three stories and my cousin and I had been assigned a bedroom in the top level which had a staircase to the side leading to the roof. That evening we watched a movie, I don’t remember which one exactly, but it was probably Indian. My cousin and me were sharing a bed and our family friend, who was also my cousin’s boyfriend, was with us. He had sneaked in.

After the movie ended, we switched off the light to sleep. My cousin and her boyfriend lay on one side of the bed and started whispering to each other. I tried to pretend that I didn’t hear…

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