Story Written By Ogechi Alabi
Two girls were trying to outdo themselves to impress me over Amanze. They bought and brought gifts for me. I got a teddy bear from one of them. The other bought me a beautiful lace top. I showed them to auntie when she came back but I didn’t tell her the real reason why they gave me. I didn’t think she needed to know.
“I hope they don’t want anything from you. It is not a girls’ only school; so why are they buying you gifts?”
“They claim they just want to be friends with me. I can return if you say so”
“I hope they are not intending to do ‘supe’ with you”
“What is that?” I inquired from my auntie.
“It is a sexual relationship between a girl and her fellow girl. It is called lesbianism but when I was in school the slang name was ‘supe’”
“You mean girls have sexual relations with their fellow girls?” I asked with my eyes wide open in disbelief.
“Yes, they do. During my time they did and I think it is worse now”
“Tufiakwa!” I said while snapping my finger over my head to remove the sacrilege.
Auntie Nneoma laughed at my reaction. I know I behaved like a bush person but the information was just too much for me to bear. I had never heard of it or seen two people indulge in such. I hoped that was not what the girls wanted. But they had made it clear it was Amanze they wanted. I couldn’t suggest that auntie Nneoma.
Amanze was at home for six weeks. I only ran into him in the house him three times in those six weeks. He hardly came into the main house and when he did, it was to play with him mother. His father didn’t have much time for his ‘play’. They watched football together most times. I wasn’t a television person so I stayed mainly in my room after I have finished my chores.
One evening, there was a knock on my bedroom door. When I went to open it, it was Amanze. I greeted him and asked him if he needed anything. He ignored me and walked into the room.
“So this is where you stay? You have made it into a lovely place. Why are you always holed up in the room? I never get to see you. You are my cousin but we don’t interact. Let’s get to know each other. Mum said you are very brilliant; what’s your favourite subject?”
I was sitting on the chair facing the reading table when he came in. He sat at the edge of the bed close to where I was seated. I was not comfortable with him sitting that close to me but what was I to do? I was wearing a long skirt which I pulled up so the breeze can touch my legs. I didn’t want to embarrass him by pulling down my skirt suddenly so I stood up instead and walked to the side of my table and sat on the window ledge before I answered, “Mathematics I would say. But I also love Chemistry and Biology”
“You are smart. I can see you are always reading. The house truly has transformed under you. Your room especially. This used to be dump. You have made good use of my old reading table although I didn’t do much reading on it. It holds fond memories” he replied smiling mischievously.
“It obvious you didn’t as the table is still brand new”
“Does the airconditioner here work?” he asked as he worked to turn it on. It didn’t work. “I will tell daddy to fix it. You are such a smart girl and you deserve the best”
“Smart girl? This is sounds strange. Why did you want to see me all of a sudden?”
“Your girls in school told me how they get across to me. I didn’t realise you were the go between”
“I am not. I don’t know what they are looking for but I am not a part of it”
“You don’t have a boyfriend?”
“No!” I replied very enthusiastic.
“Why, you are old enough to have. You are a fine girl. You are not very beautiful on the face but you have lovely legs. I haven’t seen your body shape to judge. Lift that top up let me see your waist”
“Excuse me! I can’t do that. What do you want to see my waist for? Please I do not fancy this type of conversation. I will leave the room for you, whenever you are ready to leave you can go”
“Are you always this dramatic? I was just playing with you. All you village girls, that’s how you pretend expecting us to run after you and in the end when we touch you small, you will be groaning like a bitch in heat”
“God forbids! You can never touch me. If the other girls allowed you touch them that’s them but I, Akwaugo, will never allow you touch me. O wu alu. Abomination that will require cleansing. Incest. Never”
“You are dramatic. I was just testing you. Take a chill pill. I have enough girls to toy with. You cleaned my room up before I came. I appreciate the work you did. I saw that you removed my old clothes. They were causing a cluster in my room. My mum said you cleaned and sent them home. You are smart. I like you. You might end up being my favourite cousin because you have a smart head on that shoulder of yours” He stood up smiling at me as he made his way to the door. “Your air conditioner will be fixed today ok? Bye for now” and he left.
I released a heavy sigh as he left the room. I was tired of standing and being afraid. I locked the door behind him. What was wrong with him? Why did he ask me to show him my waist? Is that what he does to the girls that come around? I didn’t want to know. I was preparing for my promotional examination and I didn’t want to be distracted. I went back to studying.
That evening, Uncle Emma called the air-conditioned repair man to work on the air conditioner in my room. The man repaired it and showed me how to use it. We left it on while I saw him off and worked a bit in the kitchen. When I went back to my room, it was very cold that I had to turn it off. But, I appreciated it. The weather was quite hot and the coldness helped me assimilate better.
The students in my school sent letters through me to him. I gave uncle Chike as usual. As he was about leaving to give him, Amanze was walking towards us. He had seen me give uncle Chike the letter.
‘I knew you were the courier they used but you denied it. Come with me or I will report you to mum and dad” he said to me, “and bring my letters along”
I was confused on what to do. I didn’t want to go to his quarters. I stood where I was contemplating on what to do when he added, “Chike, give her the cigarettes to bring with her”
Uncle Chike advised me to go but I should not let my guard down. If he tried anything, I should shout and scream, he will be there faster than I would expect. I was still scared. Each step was I took to that boys’ quarter were heavy and filled with uncertainty. I didn’t want auntie and uncle to find out about my escapades. I prayed in my mind and promised God that if he saved me, I would never do such again.
“Come in. Why are you so scared? I don’t bite” Amanze said to me as I stood by the burglary proof. I was still scared. He smiled and those dimples on his face made him look so cute and harmless. But I just couldn’t let down my guard. He led me into the sitting room. There were cigarette butts on the table and floor. There was an opened bottle of brandy. He had on shorts and singlet. I gave him the letters and the pack of cigarette. “Come and sit down, I want you to read what the girls in your school wrote to me”
“I would rather not. It is a private letter and should only be read by you alone”
“But I am the one it was addressed to and I have given you the permission to read it to me. So, read the letter to me”
I opened the letter to read. It smelt funny. There was a handkerchief inside. That was were the smell was from. It was perfume. I handed the blue silk handkerchief to him. It was so soft and slippery. Amanze smiled while he placed it close to his nose to smell it. I brought out the letter that was within and read aloud.
My dearest Amanze,
How are you today? I hope you are doing better than me.
I cried last night after you left. I would miss you so much.
You asked me to write and tell you what I will miss most about you. Amanze what won’t I miss?
I will miss they way you smile at me when you see me. I will miss the beautiful dimples on your cute face. I will miss the way I have to tiptoe to kiss you and the way you cuddle me in your arms as though to protect me. Is it the way you look at me when you lead me to the bed to lay down, your eyes never leaving mine or the feel of your beautiful soft hands against my skin?
Amanze, what wouldn’t I miss? Is it the way you undress me without taking yours eyes of mine consuming me in the process?
I stopped. This was too personal and intimate; I couldn’t read any further. I handed the letter back to Amanze.
‘What happened?” he asked.
“It’s too intimate for me to read to you”
“But I asked you to read it”
“I’m sorry, I can’t read such intimate details”
“Then I will read it to you. You can’t leave; if you do, I will take this letter and others to mother and report both you and Chike. Chike will lose his job instantly. Is that what you want? You costing him his job?”
“Please, I am sorry for collecting the letters from them; it will never happen again. Just forgive me and let me go”
“Not until I finish reading the letter. Will you finish it or I should?”
“You can read it”
I love the feel of your na.ked body against mine, the way you caress my body and make me shiver. I will miss the way you love me. The way you possess and take total control of my whole body. The way you stifle my moans with kisses and take over my entire body….
I closed my ears with my fingers and eyes shut in agreement with my ears. I didn’t know if he realized I had stopped listening. The way he read it was so seductive and I wondered his intention. I was still like that when I felt a hand on my wrist. I quickly opened my eyes and jumped back.
“You are funny. Why are you behaving like a saint? I like Chiamaka, she is beautiful and very sweet. Tell her I got the letter and I held it close to my heart after reading it. I will miss her. Say the same thing to others who come to you to get a letter. Tell them I had no time to write but they are always close to my heart” he laughed as he was saying the last sentence.