I sat beside Yemisi, I said; we need to talk.
Okay! She said as she left the seat close to the Television and sat on the two- seater couch I was occupying. She smelled good. The faint scent of perfume came with her. This girl is clean. Her skin is light and smooth without blemish. I bowed my head in shame, OMG her legs, tapering from the bum short she wore were straight and fresh like vanilla ice cream. My heart beat was racing as she sat by my side and focused on the Television. She does not look me in the eyes. I really felt like having a bottle of Gulder at that moment but I have never drunk alcohol in their house. Even when uncle Goke bought beer for me, we were seated outside the house discussing behind the shop.
I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly so that she would not know that uncle BJ is a Jew man. How old are you now? I asked
You have asked me that before and I said eighteen plus! She said still watching the TV.
Have I? I am so sorry, I said; in other words, you are not a baby! I said.
I am not a baby, she said, still focusing on the TV.
I want to ask you some questions; I hope you will not be offended? I asked
I don’t know o! I hope there is no problem? She asked looking at me and removing her face to focus on the TV.
There is problem o! I said
What happened? Did I do something wrong? She asked
You are doing many things to me my dear! I said.
Ha! Uncle BJ! What have I been doing to you that is wrong?
You have been scattering my head since I came around two days ago! I can’t concentrate! I talk and argue with myself like a mad man! I have not been able to take my mind off the thought of you! I think I am in love with you already! I said.
Ha! Uncle BJ! She exclaimed
You are like a big brother to me! She said.
But I am not your brother and you know that! I said. Do you have a boyfrend at school or at any other place?
No o! She said shyly
Are you sure? I asked.
I don’t have the time for that yet! She said.
And why is that? I asked. You are a very pretty girl; does it mean you don’t have toasters?
Of course I have toasters daily but I am not ready for another relationship now. She said.
What happened to your previous relationship? I asked.
Hmm, it’s a long story, we were secondary school friends, he was a sickle-cell anemia patient, and he is dead! She said.
Oh no! I am so sorry I said. I heaved a sigh of relieve and a silent prayer of gratitude.
How long was this?
After our SSCE. Over two years ago.
Do you miss him? I asked.
Yes, sometimes! He was a very good boy, he deflowered me!
The laughter of Slam started to echo in my head; hahahahahahah! See your innocent girl o!
I shook my head vigorously to send Slam away.
I love you! I said. I don’t care weather he deflowered you or not! I am not a saint myself. I am glad there is no one in your life now, I would have committed suicide if you had told me you love some one else but me!
I don’t love any one o!
Except me abi? I teased
Yes me! I said
I don’t know o! But I love and respect you like a big brother! She said.
Thank you! But don’t love me like a brother any more! Love me like your boyfriend! Like your husband to be! I said
Ha Uncle BJ! She exclaimed meeting my gaze with surprise.
Kilode? I asked
Husband to be? Like my boy friend? She asked.
Yes! I said. We are not strangers to each other and I will wait for you until you are through with your studies. I just want you to promise me that you will be there for me!
She was silent; you are not saying anything, I said
I don’t know what to say nah! I am confused, she said. How can I bring myself to be calling you by your first name without putting the word Uncle or brother?
Forget uncle I beg! I am not your uncle! Your uncle is the village! Forget brother, your brother is reading in the Library! I said. Call me BJ like all my friends do!
She laughed. My Parents would skin me alive.
Don’t worry, when the time comes, they will support us! I said.
My mother loves you, she will be happy about this if I tell her. But for my father, I cannot tell.
Leave your father! Your mother will get him for us! So am I getting a yes? I asked
Yes! She laughed.
Wow! I suppressed my scream by jumping around the sitting room. I pulled her up and hugged her quickly and left her before an intruder bumped in on us.
I love you! I love you! I was saying.
I love you too, she said shyly.
I could not sleep that night, I waited for Slam to talk into my head but he did not come, Satan shame unto you! I said to him. The next morning after Uncle Goke had gone to work and mummy went out, Gbadebo went to school, Yemisi and I were indoors playing and talking, and she could not bring herself to call me Bolaji and I forbade her from calling me Uncle. She will find a name for me in due course.
I left Ibadan two days after. I gave my new-found love all the gifts I had bought for Katty and Tessy, Perfumes, wrist watches, hand bags and T-shirts. I will buy their gifts when I get to Onitsha. I gave Yemisi some cash but she refused it. I asked her how she will conceal the gift items from her parents; she said she will tell her mother what transpired between us once I am safely on my way to the east. I did not know what to say but to hope for the best.
As she came into my room to help carry my travelling bag to her Mothers Car, I quickly closed the door and pulled her close, the scent of her perfume charged my senses as I planted my mouth on her luscious lips, she responded, she held my head, I almost cried.
JANUARY 1997; I met a very complicated situation on my return to Owerri, strange things had happened while I was away.
I entered the Hotel premises at 4.PM with my luggage strapped on my back. I was expecting a warm welcome from my colleagues and a subtle reprimand from Oga Dan for staying away longer that I was permitted. I met people wearing long faces as they went about their duties. No one paid me any attention rather they were starring at me as if I was a stranger.
I walked to the bar and brought out a chilled bottle of Gulder from the Gulder branded Chiller to calm me down after a long journey. The DJ Cubicle was closed; it was unusual for Slam’s office to be close at such hour when the business of the day was gearing up. He normally plays blues or roots reggae at such hour. Emeka walked into the bar to collect some drinks so I greeted him and asked after DJ Slam but he pretended not to hear my question.
Emeka! Is it not you that I am talking to? I asked
I should be asking you! He snapped
Asking me? As how? I asked
You no know? He asked
Know wetin? I asked
Okay! Dey there dey pretend, when Police come carry you go, you go confess! He said and walked out to attend to Customers.
Something was amiss, so I gulped down all of my beer and carried my luggage to go to my room upstairs, I entered the reception and asked the receptionist for the key to my room.
Go and ask Oga Dan! The receptionist told me.
Oga Dan? Why? I asked.
He has to authorize the release of the key to you! She snapped.
Haba Chinwe! It is me o! Bolaji! Am I a stranger here? I asked
Please go and ask Oga Dan nah! I am busy please! She snapped and started tapping the key board of her desk top computer all of a sudden.
I dropped my luggage behind the door and made to go up to Oga Dan’s office.
Hey Oga! Chinwe called out.
I looked back at her not sure who she was referring to. She pointed at my bag
Carry am go I beg! She said
You mean my luggage? I asked
You heard me! She snapped
I quietly walked back and carried my bag.
I knocked and entered Oga Dan’s Office; he was surprised to see me.
Omo! He called out
Oga Sir! I remain loyal sir! I saluted him
Where the hell have you been to all this while? I expected you to be back after one week but you have been away for three months or there about!
I am very sorry sir! I had a lot of family issues to sort out sir! And since my NYSC programme is still far away, I decided to take out time and sort certain things out. I explained.
You are welcome! But there are problems here o! I don’t think you are welcomed here any longer o; he told me as calmly as he could.
What happened sir? No wonder every one I have met had been some how cold towards me. I said.
Excuse me for a minute! He said and left the office to return after five minutes.
Yes BJ! Welcome back! He said with an enthusiasm that was not there few minutes ago. Are you a member of a secret cult? He asked.
Ha! What? Me? No o! How can i? I was confused.
Are you sure? He asked suspiciously.
Haba Oga Dan! You no trust me? I asked him.
Hmm, trust you? I used to trust you but from what I have heard about you so far I don’t know if I can trust you any more.
Oga Dan, please talk to me! What is all these about? And where is Slam? At least he will tell me what happened if none of you what to tell me. His Office is closed at this hour and I asked Emeka about Slam but he said I should know better, me that have been away for some time now! Biko dede, ogini n’aeme ebe a? I asked in igbo language.
You and Slam disappeared about the same time last year; he said he was going for political runs while you said you were going for family visit. Is that not so? He asked
You are right sir! I replied.
Slam has been dead and buried! His headless body was dropped outside our gate. This happened the second day you left, and since then you have not come back here! What have you come back here to do now when you are a wanted criminal?
Jesu Christi! Jesu Christi! Headless corpse? I asked.
Yes! That was what his people buried. He said
Oh my God! Slam is dead? Goose pimples came all over me and I began to cry.
There was a loud knock at the door of the office as I asked him
So what are the Police doing about it?
Oh! The Police? He asked; come inside please! He shouted for the person knocking to come inside.
The door opened and three armed uniformed Police men entered the Office.
Good day Officers! Oga Dan stood up: this is the man we have all been looking for; he is one of the suspected Cultists!
My bladder gave out its content immediately and a feverish feeling over came me. I was feeling burning sensation from inside me as I felt the cold hands of raw fear. I looked from Oga Dan to the Police. I felt like a Dog whose owner is selling it to a Calabar or Ondo man.
Are you Mr. Bolaji? The one with the pistol asked.
I nodded my head.
To be continued