After taking my eyes off Uncle Sam with the anger that was boiling up in me, I looked back at the lady who was standing in front of me with a smiley face. There was an awkward silence for a few seconds before she broke the silence.
“Uhm Meso, why don’t you go and wash up, then come and have lunch. There is enough food to get everyone really tired.” the lady said.
I didn’t want to seem rude or anything so I smiled and replied with an “Okay” before heading back to my room. I washed up, got dressed and decided not to go out. I was really pissed so I laid on my bed and played with my phone. As I was playing with my phone, I got a message from uncle Sam saying to please come outside and behave properly, that he was going to talk to me about the whole thing later. At first, I hesitated and wanted to be stubborn but I didn’t want his fiancé to feel like I’m unnecessarily stubborn so I left to join them outside. She asked me to dish out what I wanted. From the vegetable soup to the jollof rice to the fish stew to the fried chicken. I couldn’t understand why she had to cook this much but I went to the jollof rice pot anyway and dished out a little portion. I was about to head out of the kitchen when she called me back and said to take chicken and meat from the small cooler. I did as she said and I was called back again but by uncle Sam who asked if the food was enough for me. I let him know it was very okay for me without trying to express any feelings or emotions, then I left the kitchen for my room. I was hoping they wouldn’t call me to join them at the dining table since they were going there to eat. I stayed in my room and ate my meal all by myself. It was actually really delicious and I began to think Uncle Sam was getting tired of my cooking. I knew he wouldn’t get married to me but I also knew that most of the attention he had been given to me would be given to his soon to be wife. Each time I thought about it, I became so sad.
A month later, I felt like I was forgotten because uncle Sam barely spoke to me or say the sweet things he always said. He didn’t sneak up on my bed in the night like he used to or even kiss my forehead goodnight. He was always busy, coming home later than uaual and I began to get worried. You know at a very young age, when you lose the attention that you were once given, you feel less loved. I only consoled myself with the fact that uncle Sam had promised to take me to Port Harcourt to see my sister after my junior WAEC. Uncle Sam finally came to talk to me one night about everything that was going on. He said he still loved me but he had to get married and move on with his life like I would move on with mine. He explained a few other things that I obviously knew and understood but I wasn’t willing to accept the fact that he was right. I knew he was my uncle, my late dad’s brother. In fact, I knew whatever feelings I had for him or vice versa was absolutely wrong. But I didn’t see it as anything anymore, not after he was the same person to take away my virginity at a very young age. This weird feeling got weirder every day and I got to live like that.
He announced to me one night that his wedding would be coming up in two weeks and even though he wasn’t doing much, he wanted me to be happy for him. I couldn’t understand what was there to be happy about. He was getting married and I would be the one tossed into the gutter so why was I supposed to be happy. Before his wedding, I started my junior WAEC so I tried as much as I could to forget about him or his wedding and what not. I made sure that my school came first this time. I suddenly didn’t care and started digging into my books. I even started talking to people that I never really talked to in school since I was a loner like I was already tagged by some. I wouldn’t say I made friends but I began to know and talk to certain people. Everything was going fine until my uncle’s wedding eve. I slowly became sad and angry at myself and uncle Sam. After I let him use me to fulfill his sexual pleasures, he was going to get married and I may become his wife’s slave. I would be the one at lost.
The next day which was a Saturday, my uncle finally got married to his fiancé just like that. It all happened so fast I couldn’t believe it. Surprisingly, I saw Esther, my aunty and my cousins at the wedding even though it wasn’t a big wedding. I was surprised because they had told me that they wouldn’t be able to make it for uncle Sam’s wedding but I guess they really wanted to surprise me. I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw them. I hung out with Esther who had added weight and my cousins. They looked so bright and happy. I was happy to see them and to see that they were really happy. Even though at the end, Esther became really sad. She had almost cried that she missed me and our parents. I felt really bad because I couldn’t help her..
After the wedding, they made them stay over at one of our distant relatives’ home. They were going to be heading back to Port Harcourt the next day. I also joined them, just to leave the newlyweds to themselves for the night and spend some more time with my sister. I kept smiling and trying to cheer Esther up while catching up with what’s going on in her life. I had spoken to her few times on the phone but you know it would be way different when in person. So we talked about a few things and later allowed her to rest since they had to leave the next day.
The next day, I said my goodbye with tears in eyes and hurt in my heart as I watched them leave the house in a Taxi. It was time for me to go back home so I was dropped off later in the evening. Thankfully I didn’t have an exam the next day until two days later so I could rest from the whole drama. I got home and met uncle Sam and aunty Jennifer on the couch relaxing and watching tv. Then I greeted them and went straight into my room.
In order to cut things short, three weeks later, I ended my junior WAEC. I had just Lagos state exams left. By this time, everything was normal at the house. Funny enough aunty Jennifer was really nice. Initially, I thought she was going to turn me into her personal house maid like what happens in the movies. Most especially because she was recently married to a man that has his niece under his and now, her care but she was just a really nice person. Maybe she was just pretending, I thought to myself several times because she was just too nice. She cooked most times, cleaned sometimes and bought me things. I started to see her as a loving mother. She was quite young but she acted like a mother with experience, so loving, mature and wise. I started to think less of uncle Sam and feel really happy for her and her marriage. The fact that I got to meet a wonderful woman instead of what I thought would be of me when uncle Sam gets married made me happy too.
One night, uncle Sam snuck into my room and came to lie with me. I was very shocked as to why he was in my room by the middle of the night after two months of being left alone. He suddenly started kissing me all over and tried to take off my clothes but I refused. I refused to let him touch me and was whispering a ‘No, no, no’ so no one could hear, then he got angry. He said I didn’t love him anymore and filled my tiny head with lies that made me feel guilty and so I allowed him sleep with me. After he was done using me as his sex toy, I didn’t feel the same way I did like the other times he had laid with me. I felt different, I felt horrible and guilty. I felt disgustingly strange. I felt like I had just betrayed aunty Jennifer which got me really disturbed. Now, he kissed me goodnight and was about to stand up when we heard aunty Jennifer call out uncle Sam’s name.
I was suddenly so scared because what would be his explanation If he was found in my room by the middle of the night. He left my room immediately and I quickly adjusted my nightgown before pretending to be asleep. I heard uncle Sam say something about him going to check if there was light so the generator could be turned off. I’m sure she would have been confused because it was Mohammed’s job and not his but the liar that uncle is, would have come up with something else to remove any trace of suspicion.
I didn’t see uncle in my room again after another week. Probably because he was trying to avoid getting caught like he almost was the other night. Although, he always texted me, whether I was in the same house with him or not. I didn’t say a word to aunty Jennifer about the other night as guilty as I felt. She didn’t have any suspicious look either so things went on normally until the day things got worse. I had just finished all my exams for junior school and uncle Sam had promised to take me out. I was actually excited and couldn’t wait to spend time with him just as my uncle and nothing more. It wasn’t only because I wanted to spend some time with him but because I was happy that I was finally done with junior school. I had managed to carry my phone to school that day even though it wasn’t allowed. This was because uncle Sam said he was going to text me before he comes to get me since I already told him what time my last paper was going to end. I waited in school for about an hour and didn’t hear from uncle Sam. Another hour went by and all the jss3 students that had been running around all happy and excited that exams were over were already leaving for their homes. It was getting late so I decided to go home disappointed in uncle Sam than wait till it got really dark. I got home and no one was home yet. I checked the messages I had sent to uncle Sam and not a single reply yet. I decided to change and have my dinner while I wait for him to come home.
I was in my room when I heard someone come in so I went out to see who it was and found aunty Jennifer. I greeted her and she asked about my wellbeing, my exams and even Uncle Sam. I told her everything was fine but that I hadn’t seen Uncle Sam. She said ‘okay, my dear’ and left for her room. But before she left, I asked if she was hungry and she said not to bother myself, that she would eat when she was hungry so I went back into my room. Just five minutes later, I heard a scream. I jumped up from my bed and rushed out to see the reason for it. I found aunty Jennifer on her feet standing by the dining table with a very sad look on her face while talking with someone on the phone. Before I could even ask what was wrong, she told me to go get her car keys. When I came back with them, she told me that we were heading to the hospital because uncle Sam had just been involved in a terrible accident while trying to escape some armed robbers..
As we got to the hospital, aunty Jennifer rushed to the front desk at the reception and asked the lady behind for some information concerning uncle Sam. I had anxiously been waiting for her in the waiting area while I watched her talk to the lady behind the desk. Then I saw a nurse coming out from somewhere and aunty Jennifer going to meet her. I stood up when I saw them talking because aunty Jennifer was looking really distressed. The nurse walked away immediately I joined them, so I asked aunty Jennifer about uncle Sam. She didn’t say anything for a while, then sat down on the closest seat as she said;
“They said he’ll be fine hopefully Meso but that he lost a lot of blood due to the shooting and car crash.”
All that rang in my head was ‘shooting’. Uncle Sam was shot? I almost said out loud. I was so scared because I knew that there was a probability he wasn’t going to make it. At that moment, he was in the emergency room so I bowed my head and said a little prayer. I asked God to help uncle Sam so he could live again. I begged God and promised him that he would change his ways and I would change mine as well. In my mind, I thought God wanted to punish us for the things we had been doing behind the curtains. I looked at aunty Jennifer who sat beside me with her face buried in her palms. She was muttering some things and I could see she was really worried. Tears were rolling down her eyes and I joined her in tears. Not just because I was worried about uncle Sam, but also because uncle Sam and I were guilty of a crime that if only she knew, would be so disgusted with us and feel even worse. She looked up and saw me crying, then held me close to her chest, whispering to me that it would be alright. She also said a little prayer and I whispered an ‘Amen’. Aunty Jennifer was a good woman. As much as I loved uncle Sam, I knew she deserved a better man. A lot was going through my mind as my head rested on her chest. After about an hour, a doctor came out to meet us at the waiting area.
“You must be Sam’s wife and his niece”
Aunty Jennifer stood up and responded with a ‘yes’.
“It’s a miracle he’s alive.”
When we heard this, we sighed in relief and thanked God.
Then the doctor continued, “….Please come with me to my office.”
We followed him to his office and he spoke to us concerning uncle Sam’s condition. He told us that uncle Sam was really lucky to have still made it even with the shooting and car crash. He also said if he hadn’t been brought to the hospital immediately, we would have probably be mourning him already. Then aunty Jennifer said she wanted to see him so the doctor picked up the landline, dialled a number and spoke to someone, before a nurse walked in. The nurse was asked to escort us to uncle Sam’s room so we left with her. We got into his room and saw uncle Sam in the worst condition we had ever seen him. He had bands on his left arm extending to his chest area. He had a drip placed on his wrist with an oxygen mask resting on his nose and mouth. He really was in a horrible state. He was asleep, so we took our sit on a couch that was in the room. None of us could say anything because we were still trying to believe the state of uncle Sam. It was not a pleasing sight at all. Uncle Sam woke up after some hours. It was about 10:00pm in the night. Neither I nor aunty Jennifer closed our eyes to rest. We had been waiting for uncle Sam to wake up so when he opened his eyes, aunty Jennifer went and sat beside him. I just sat where I was and watched them both. I watched as aunty Jennifer leaned in and pecked him on the cheek. He was trying to smile at us but I could see he was in pain. I was only at peace because he was alive. Aunty Jennifer had asked if I wanted to go home and I had told her that I was fine staying with them so we were up till about 2:00am.
At this hour of the night, uncle Sam suddenly started gasping for air. I couldn’t understand what was happening because he was using an oxygen mask. My heart was racing as aunty Jennifer signaled to go get the nurse or doctor. I ran out and returned with a nurse who checked and saw that his oxygen mask was working fine. She tried doing so many things but it didn’t take long before uncle Sam stopped breathing. The nurse looked at us and said he was dead. He was recorded as a dead man right there and then, in our faces.
“eeehhhhhhh, eeeehhhh, Sam! Sam! Samuel!” aunty Jennifer who was right beside uncle Sam shouted while crying and gripping him..
The only thing I can remember is that at that moment, I blacked out. I woke up beside a very sad aunty Jennifer who was seated on a chair with some people I guessed were her colleagues, consoling her. She had even stopped crying. She was just mute. I looked around and found myself laying on a hospital bed with a drip placed on my wrist. Then, my eyes went straight to the wall clock that hung on the wall directly opposite me and saw I that it was almost 2:00pm. I was about to get up when one of her colleagues asked me to lay back while she goes to get the doctor. The doctor came into the room and checked me up. He said I was discharged but decided to spill the result of my blood test, they had obtained when I passed out.
“Do you know that you’re pregnant?” the doctor asked, looking down at me.
I looked around first and saw that everyone in the room heard the doctor including aunty Jennifer who laughed sarcastically before maintaining an expressionless face. The people around her were just talking to her I guess trying to console her. I thought I didn’t hear properly after the doctor broke the news. First, uncle Sam was dead, and then me being pregnant. This had to be a dream.
“Pregnant? I’m pregnant?” I asked the doctor in a surprised but sad low tone.
“Yes! Miss Meso, you’re one month pregnant. You haven’t had any symptoms?” I shook my head in reply to the doctor as I began to shed tears. How was I pregnant and didn’t have any symptoms? I did miss my period but I thought it was normal after I learnt about irregular periods. It didn’t even cross my mind that I could be pregnant. I was definitely pregnant for uncle Sam. I cried even more when I remembered that he was no more. There was obviously no other explanation. I remember it was about a month ago when uncle Sam came to lie with me the night we almost got caught. I didn’t want to believe my ears. Not after uncle Sam already passed away. What would I say to aunty Jennifer? How will I tell her that uncle Sam was the father of my unborn child? What would I tell my sister, my relatives? This would be too much to bear in just a day. I thought about uncle Sam and I didn’t know whether to cry that he had gotten me pregnant just before his death or to cry that the man I once said I loved and couldn’t do without was nothing but a corpse. I couldn’t understand what was happening. Everything was too confusing. Was uncle Sam really dead? Am I really pregnant? I couldn’t even say much again so the doctor spoke to aunty Jennifer and I in his office before we left the hospital. One of aunty Jennifer’s colleagues drove us home. Even when I had just heard the news of my pregnancy, the only thing I could think of while seated in the car was uncle Sam. I let down the tears that I had been trying to control but hid it so that aunty Jennifer who sat beside me wouldn’t see me. She didn’t even say anything to me. Nothing about uncle Sam or even my pregnancy.
Nobody in the car even acted like they knew I was pregnant. Neither did any of us mention uncle Sam. I looked to my right where aunty Jennifer sat and found her in a worried state. Her face was swollen from crying a lot. I was expecting her to ask me questions concerning the pregnancy because we were both seated at the passenger’s seat, behind. I was ready to lie to her that I was once raped by a stranger but she didn’t say a single word as we drove home. It even scared me because I thought she would have guessed uncle Sam as the father to my baby. When we got home, we saw cars packed both outside and inside the compound. Everyone was waiting for us to come back because of the news of uncle Sam, including his families and friends, except my relatives who lived outside Lagos and Esther.
As I got inside, I went straight to my room with tears still in my eyes. I sat on my bed as I wept bitterly. At that moment, some of my aunties and uncles walked into my room and came to console me. They sat beside me and told me to take heart even as they were trying to console themselves. Everybody had a worried look. When the doctor had said he survived, I didn’t know things were yet to get worse. I thought he would live and things would be different after the promise I made to God. Nobody couldn’t just believe that uncle Sam would leave this soon especially after just getting married. I even heard aunty Jennifer from the sitting room wailing and screaming on top of her lungs for her husband to be brought back home. She shouted for a while, then kept quiet before continuing with her lamentation. She bitterly cursed and cursed the armed robbers who had caused the accident.
My relatives who surrounded me thought I was mainly crying for uncle Sam but I was crying because of the guilt that I felt, because of his death and because of the baby in my womb. They didn’t even know I was pregnant except aunty Jennifer and a few of her colleagues who still hadn’t said a word about it. I wished I could turn time or change a lot of things but it was too late. It was probably when he was coming to pick me up, that he got attacked. This thought caused me to blame myself for everything. From his death to my pregnancy and the pain everyone was going through.
I had a plan. I suddenly stopped crying, then wiped my tears and told my relatives that I wanted to sleep so I could get some privacy. Only one of them stayed with me for a while before I was left completely alone. I told myself that I wasn’t going to keep the baby so I decided to abort the baby on my own. I even thought of committing suicide because I believed it to be the best decision for myself. I didn’t want to live to see the shame and disappointment that I would bring to my family when everyone finds out that I was pregnant for my dead uncle.
To leave the house, I had to pass through the back door so no one could see me. I had already gathered all the money I had saved from the times uncle Sam gave me money. I put them into my small shoulder bag, put on a sandal and left my room. The back door was in the kitchen and my room was on a corridor which was the closest room to the kitchen. The kitchen wasn’t around the sitting room where everyone was present so I was able to get out of the house through the back door. I didn’t see Mohammed at the gate so I ran out as fast as I could, making sure that I wouldn’t get caught.
I managed to escape and walked as far as I could from the house. It was dark after sunset and I had a scarf tied around my head and face so no one could easily recognize me. I was crying as I was walking. I finally got to the bus stop and entered the first bus that stopped at my front. I didn’t even want to know what kind of bus or where the bus was headed to. I just wanted to be as far away as possible from everyone I knew..
TO BE CONTINUED