Sweet Sixteen - The Drive
This chapter is a flashback as contained in the 16-page letter. Aliya is 12 years old and just returned home from the boarding house when she goes on a drive with her father.
During the drive, Aliya sees some girls hawking and she envies their freedom. She fees they are free to go around, meet people and have fun but her father cautions her, explaining that things don’t always seem like how they look. Though Aliya is born into a comfortable home, she isn’t allowed the freedom of going wherever she likes.
This situation explains the irony of life as no one has it all. Though, Aliya is born with a silver spoon, she is not afforded the luxury of going wherever she wants or meet other people randomly. She lives in a high fenced house and also goes to a boarding school.
On the other hand, the girls hawking on the streets may seem free and may be having fun, in Mr. Bello’s words ‘they would not mind trading places’ with Aliya in air-conditioned car. Then, another disparity that exists between rich and poor children is the fact that rich children are naturally expected to do better in life because they have all the comfort in the world.
However, the zeal, willingness, determination and desire to become great which propels some poor children is usually enough to make them eventually great.
During this drive, Mr. Bello seizes the opportunity of the informal atmosphere to give his daughter sex education. A few days earlier, Aliya has seen her menstrual period for the first time and her father deems it fit she needs to learn about this important aspect of a woman’s life. He teaches that menstruation is the body’s way of telling a girl that she is biological ready to be a mother, which means if she has unprotected sexual intercourse with a guy she could become pregnant.
It is obvious that this is the first time Mr. Bello is having a discussion about sex with his daughter but surprisingly she already knows so much about the subject. This is an indication that in the present age and century we live in, sex is no longer a hidden issue that is only discussed in hush tones, but it is everywhere. Aliya already learns about sex from the TV, friends, magazines, books and movies.
Aliya already has the basic knowledge of what sex is all about so her father gives her guides concerning sex and other things he refers to as fifth, which can corrupt the beautiful room which is her mind. He advises her not to watch movies scenes that depict sex and also be watchful about the company she keeps.