“Welcome uncle Sam!!!!” I screamed as I hugged him after opening the door. “How are you, my dear?”, he had replied. Uncle sam was one of my favourite uncles. He would bring a lot of gifts for me and my sister whenever he came for visits. He would take us out and spend time with us. Some people even started calling him our second father because of the relationship he had with us. He was my father’s only brother. He wasn’t married even though he was about twenty-six years old, but he lived a comfortable lifestyle alone in a very fine bungalow. On the other hand, I lived with my parents, my sister, Esther and the house help, Francis who we usually called Frank.
‘Where is your sister?” Uncle Sam asked.
“She is sleeping”, I replied.
“And your parents?”, he asked further.
“They’re out”, I replied again.
“And Where is Frank?”
“Uncle Sam, it seems like you missed everyone oo, this one you’re asking about them like this?” I replied.
“Eh! Yes! yes, I did. So where is Frank?” He asked again and so I told him he went out with my parents. Immediately I said so, he smiled.
“So we are the only ones around?” He said.
“Yes and Esther”.
He moved from behind the couch where he had been standing and sat on the couch.
“Meso!!!” He called my nickname just as everyone did.
“Yes, uncle Sam”. “I’ve told you to be calling me Sam, not uncle Sam, you know I’m not as old as your Father”, he said as he winked at me.
“But uncle Sam, you know mama will slap me when she hears me say your name without adding the uncle before it,” I argued.
“Oya, call me by my name only when we are alone”, he said and I nodded in response. I asked him what he had brought for us this time. He simply gestured his hands for me to sit beside him. I skipped happily as I sat down close to him. He gave me the fancy looking bag that he had been holding and I collected it immediately. Excited to see what was inside, I removed the first item my hand was able to grasp.
It was a nice looking blouse, I smiled when I saw it, but he said it was for my sister so I reached into the bag to grab something else. This time, I grabbed a blouse again, this one even fancier than the first. He said it was for my sister again. This happened for two more rounds until I spoke up. “Uncle Sam, this bag is already getting slimmer oo”, I squeezed my face, but he insisted that I kept checking so I reached for another Item and this time, It didn’t feel the same as the other items I had reached for.
Some parts of this item had soft spots while the other parts had a harder spot. I squeezed my face as I brought out the item. Behold it was a bra.
I looked puzzled when I saw this, but uncle Sam just smiled at me and said, “They told me that you are now a big girl so I just decided to buy this one since that is what big girls wear”.
Indeed, my adolescence stage was running ahead of me as I had started growing breasts and seeing my monthly flow just at the age of eleven, but I was just surprised that my uncle would get bras and panties for me. I was happy that I could add to my collection from the ones my mum got for me, but I felt very embarrassed because even my father had never had to buy girly things like this for me. My mother was always the one who took care of the female issues.
I slowly muttered a ‘thank you’ before he said “So, go and try them, let me see”. I looked at him in confusion and said. “Ahh Sam, I can’t wear these ones in front of you oo”. He just laughed and said that I shouldn’t be shy because he even remembers carrying me naked in his arms when I was a baby. I only used my hands to hide my face from embarrassment but I didn’t try them on. While I was about to leave with the gifts he got for us, he held my hands and pulled me back.
“There is one last thing you haven’t opened”, he said as he handed me another fancy looking bag, but this one was way smaller..
I smiled and collected it with excitement as I dug in to find out what it was. My eyes almost fell out when I saw it was a brand new phone still in its pack and a sim card. I screamed and screamed with excitement as he laughed at my joy. I always wanted a phone but my parents always told me I was still too young to be using one. Even though I told them that my classmates already had phones they still insisted that I wait till I was a bit older. “Uncle Sam, thank you! thank you!”, I blurted out as I hugged him but he squeezed his face instead of smiling with me. “Uncle Sam, did I say something wrong”, I asked but he squeezed his face even more before he opened up.
“Haven’t I told you to stop calling me Uncle Sam? Call me Sam or don’t talk to me again oo” he said squeezed his face while giving me the baby attitude.
I nodded in agreement and said I was sorry before he smiled at me.
The bell rang and I dashed out to see who was at the door, my parents and Frank had returned from their outing.
“Daddy good evening, mummy good evening!” I said as I opened the door for them to come in.
“Ehen, my dear. How are you? Where is Esther?” my mum asked.
“Mummy, I’m fine and Esther is sleeping. Uncle Sam is around and you will not believe what he bought for us” I replied. They all smiled when I said so. I helped them with the things they bought and placed them on the kitchen counter as most of the items were kitchen tools and food items. As we entered the sitting room, I quickly ran to show them my new phone with excitement. But they were busy greeting each other until my mum spoke out;
“Meso, this your phone is fine, it is even finer than my own but wait oo, you know you can’t start using a phone now right”.
I whined and squeezed my face, trying to protest before uncle Sam cut in. “Ahh aunty, leave Meso alone oo, she is now a big girl, many of her mates are now using phones sef”.
I looked at my dad and gave him the signal to help me plead before he nodded in agreement that I should be allowed to have a phone. I was so excited that I ran to my room with the gifts uncle Sam got for me and my sister without even showing them the other things he got for us. By the time I got into my room where I share with my sister, she was already awake. My sister who was three years younger than me liked to have the same thing I had so I knew she would go ask for hers when I show her my new phone. Like I imagined, she jumped up happily when I told her uncle Sam was around but ran out to ask for her own phone when I showed her mine.
Uncle Sam simply told her that she would get hers when she is older. I felt really happy because I started seeing myself as a big girl. After a few hours, around past nine in the night, uncle Sam came to our room to say goodnight. He came and sat on our bed before he started speaking to us. He told us that we should always call him whenever we wanted something or needed help and that since I now had a phone, I shouldn’t hesitate to contact him everyday. He hugged us, kissed our foreheads and said he loved us before going out through the door.
That night, I set up my phone and left it to charge for a while before taking it with me to my bed. My sister had already killed my ears with “I’ll be playing games on your phone now”. I smiled at my Nokia 3310 and closed my eyes to go to sleep before a message came in. And it read:
“My princess, I hope you like this new gift I got for you. Like I said before, don’t hesitate to contact me when you need anything okay? And dial this code on your phone so that you can be credited with five hundred naira. 22212347781736282# Goodnight. I love you”.
I smiled at my phone before falling to sleep..
The next day, when I woke up, I got down from my bed, went on my knees and said my morning prayers. You already guessed what I did next, I reached out for my phone from under my pillow, but I couldn’t find it. I rolled my eyes…..
I rolled my eyes…..
knowing that my sister probably took it since she already told me she would always use my phone to play games. “Esther!!! Esther!!!” I yelled out my sister’s name as I went into the sitting room to look for her. I didn’t know my mum was sitting down on one of the couches so I continued yelling.
“so you cannot greet abi”, my mum said.
“oh! mummy, sorry. I didn’t know you were here. Good morning!” I greeted.
“Ehen, morning! why are you looking for Esther like this” she replied.
“I don’t know if she took my phone”
“E biago ozo!(meaning: you have come again in Igbo language) If you guys like, don’t get ready for church. I and your father will leave without you people and you’ll have to trek, so if you like, get ready, if you don’t like, don’t get ready” My mum said and exited the room.
I left the sitting room as well and headed for the kitchen. That was when I found Esther using my phone with Frank. I quickly went to them and grabbed it from her hand. They both growled, but I scolded Esther for not asking me for permission before taking it.
“Na because say you don get phone now, that’s why pesin no go hear word”Frank said.
I looked at him with an angry look and left the kitchen as Esther followed behind. We went to our room to prepare for Church and not long after, we were ready. We could hear the horn of our dad’s car signaling for us to come outside so we could go to Church. I put my phone into my Church bag as I always called it and left the room with Esther.
After Church, my parents had a meeting in Church both for men and women as usual and so we hung out with our friends while we waited for them. I was talking to one of my friends when I heard my phone ring. I checked the caller ID and realized it was my uncle calling so I excused myself. All my friends were already jumping up and screaming excitedly when they saw my new phone because they thought I wouldn’t be getting a phone anytime soon.
“Hello?”, I said as I picked the call.
“My baby, how are you?” uncle Sam said.
“I’m fine” I replied.
“This one you’re sounding so cold, what is wrong with you?” he asked but I told him I was fine, I just needed rest and so he got relaxed.
He said he just wanted to hear my voice since I didn’t reply his message yesterday night so he told me to end the call so we could text each other instead. I ended the call and a minute later, I got a message from uncle Sam and we started chatting, but I went back to meet my friends while we were chatting. Meanwhile, my friends were still hailing me and I felt my cheeks turn red with excitement and embarrassment.
A few minutes later, my mum and dad were through with their meeting so we all left for our house. When we got home, I went straight to the room, took off my Sunday wear and switched into more comfortable clothes. Immediately, I took out my phone from my bag and continued chatting with uncle Sam. We were chatting about random things until he texted
“Meso, I want to ask you something and please be sincere with me oo” I looked at the text confused because I couldn’t guess what he was going to ask me.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” The next text read.
I opened my mouth when I saw this because it never even crossed my mind and It was weird that my uncle had to be the first to ask. I replied with a “no!!! uncle Sam, I’m still a small girl now” but he just replied with;
“Hmmm, small girl ke. Do you know how many of your mates that already have boyfriends or are even married? You’re talking about small. You’re not a small girl oo”
“But my parents still say I’m small, and if my mummy should even find out I have a boyfriend, she’ll bury me alive.”
“hahahaha, Meso you’re so funny. I’ll tell your mum”
“Ahh uncle sam, please oo. I’m just joking oo”
“I know, I wasn’t going to tell anyway. That reminds me, I want to take you out”, he finally said.
“Oh!! but we are yet to have our first term exams so mummy and daddy will not want us going out,” I replied.
“who is we?” he asked.
“Esther and I now”
“No I don’t mean the both of you, I want to take just you out”
“But why would you want to take just me out?” I asked.
“Because it’s your turn this time, next time it will be only Esther but that will be after your exams since you’ll be having your exams now” I agreed and so he said we’ll talk later. I smiled at my phone and was just so excited that I was now taken as a big girl. In a month’s time, I would be turning twelve and I couldn’t wait.
Two weeks later….
I was sitting all alone in a class, waiting for one of my friends to be done with her extra lessons when Micheal, one of my class mates came in.
“hey meso!!” he called out.
“hey mike”, I replied.
“senior Daniel is calling you” Micheal said.
I couldn’t figure out why he was calling me. Senior Daniel was one of the ss2 boys who people said was wicked. I was very scared of talking to seniors because I didn’t want to be punished for any little thing. So I summoned up courage and went to the ss2 floor, looking through the classes hoping to see senior Daniel who called me. Before I got to the last class, he came out from the class and smiled at me when he saw me. I smiled back, not knowing the reason for it. Immediately, he told me to follow him and I followed behind.
We got to a bench not too far from the tuck shop, where they sold snacks and food, he sat down on the bench, gesturing me to sit beside him and so I did. He started off by asking If I was scared and I told him I was scared a little. He just told me to relax because he meant no harm and so I became at ease. Senior Daniel only told me he wanted to take care of me as my school father. He told me he was ready to help me with anything and since I would be starting with my first term exam as a jss1 student, I shouldn’t hesitate to meet him if I needed any help.
I just couldn’t understand where all this came from because I had never even spoken to him. I nodded because I knew it was normal for a senior boy or girl to make you their school daughter or son. Before we left, he asked If I had a phone so he could always call to make sure I was okay and so I said yes and gave him my number. We left the scene and I went to check if my friend was done with her lesson. I was a bit excited because I now had a school father. Some of my friends were already posing with their school fathers and trying to make every other person Jealous.
When I got home, it was a few minutes past 4:00pm and so I went into my room to take off my uniform, Esther was already sleeping as usual. Before I could even take my clothes off, I got a message. I didn’t want to open it just yet because I needed to do some things so I dropped the phone aside and left to do what I had to do….
TO BE CONTINUED
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