I still remember the day you came. The doorbell rang – two short rings and a longer one, I rushed down the stairs with a ready hug for daddy. I flung myself at him and he lifted me up and planted a kiss on my lips before putting me down. It was then I noticed you leaning against the wall, a brown suitcase beside you and a dour look on your face, as you tried unsuccessfully, to become one with the unflattering brown paint.
’Who is he, Daddy?’ I asked as you peeled yourself off the wall. Dad led me into the house and beckoned you follow. He sat me down and told me that your mum had just died and that you were going to be living with us for a long time. I stormed into my bedroom, furious he had brought someone else into our circle. Mum died when I was two. Now you were the interloper – out to share Dad’s love with me. It was that clear cut to my sixteen year old mind.
So I decided to say no more than the necessary words and be mean to you. All so you would leave. But you didn’t talk to me either, or act like I existed. You went about with that ‘woebegone’ look on your face. Dad tried to get me to accept you. As a bribe, he even bought me the red dress I had admired some weeks earlier at a boutique. I got tired and decided to let you into the cocoon that had been mine and Dad’s. You became a wonderful addition to our family.
You joined my school after the Easter break and everyone said you were handsome. I proudly told them you were my brother.
We grew very close. I told you my girly secrets and you told me some of yours. I still remember some of them. Like the time when you went with Chuka and Bayo to a brothel. Of course you refused to enter the place – or so you said. There was the time you kissed Senior Hilda under the library’s staircase. I could hardly suppress my laugh whenever I saw her. She tried to be nice to me… If only she had an idea I knew why!
You protected me from bullies like Simon who was always pinching my buttocks. Do you remember the day you fought him because he slapped me? You bloodied his nose and let me kick his groin. How I laughed at his howls! He never touched me after that. That was the day I fell in love with you.
Other boys began to pale in comparison when placed next to you in my mind. I compared Phil, whom I hung out often with and found him wanting. His sixteen years to your seventeen made him a baby to me and I didn’t find him attractive anymore. Not after I mistakenly walked into the bathroom when you were bathing. You didn’t hear me because the shower was running, and you were singing ’Shake your tail feather’ and dancing with your back to the door. I stood mesmerized while I watched the soap suds run down your body. Then you turned, trying at the same time to rinse the soap out of your eyes. I saw ’you’ then. My eyes widened at the sight of you down there; long, black and shiny with a sprinkling of dark hair. It scared me a bit and I slipped out noiselessly. I stopped hanging out with Phil from that day.
Daddy wasn’t always home, because the position he held at the office, made him travel often. I was Mum and you were Dad.
We were close buddies till you told me that you wanted to ask Senior Adele to be your girlfriend. I coldly congratulated you and walked to my bedroom, banging the door behind me. I didn’t talk to you for the rest of the day.
When Akpan drove us to school the next day, we were unusually quiet that he had to ask if we were okay. I didn’t say a word to you in school either. During the break, I saw you laughing with Senior Adele. Her hand was on your shoulder. A wave of anger hit me and I walked past you and pretended not to hear when you called my name.
You came back home that day after football practice and told me that you didn’t ask her out again. My face lit up with a smile as I hugged your sweaty body. ‘You don’t like her abi?’ you asked, but I said nothing. Such a girl couldn’t be good enough for you. I was sure of that.
Then my birthday came. I had just turned sixteen. You said I was a little woman and teased me about breaking the hearts of men. I told you then that I wasn’t interested in boys or men. How could I be when you were there for me? Dad threw a birthday party, before heading out to Abuja for a meeting. Something you ate or drank made you sick laterin the evening, and you came to my room. I ran downstairs to call Aunty Bukky, the housekeeper and she got you some drugs. She told me to wipe you with a wet towel when your body got too hot. You slept for a long time and woke up to find me wiping your naked body with the towel. You grabbed the sheet and covered your waist. I laughed and told you that I was wiping your body for the fourth time. You murmured something about ’girls’ and I continued the ministrations. Soon your breath began to come out a little bit faster and I saw the goose pimples on your arms and felt your muscles contract. I asked if you were cold because your body was still hot and you told me to keep wiping. I did till my hand mistakenly brushed over something hard. I looked at you and pulled the sheet away, scared that you were worse. I saw it; long, black, shiny and turgid, nestled in a bush of pubic hair. Enthralled, I touched. I heard you gasp and pulled away, but you took my hand and placed it back.
’Do you know what this is?’ you asked, smiling.
’Yes na.’ I had replied. Mrs Okoro had taught us all about it in Biology class that week. What’s more, I had read about them in novels: ‘I’ve seen Phil’s too, only that your’s is bigger!’ You frowned, then smiled and closed your eyes. I played with your turgid penis, till it began to pulse. I watched in awe as it spurted a warm, sticky, creamy liquid as simultaenously as your body spasmed. Spent, it became limp. I wiped my hand with the towel and curled up next to you and we slept.
After that day, we began to see each other differently. I would catch you staring at me with a funny look in your eyes and I knew I had a twin of that stare whenever I saw you in your boxer shorts.
I would never forget that boring Saturday, when we wanted to watch a new movie. We went to Akpan and he showed us his collections. We picked Naked Weapon, and we ate biscuits and groundnuts while we sat to watch it because it seemed like an action movie. Ten minutes into the movie and we both knew that it wasn’t the sort of ‘action’ movie we had first thought it to be. We were supposed to turn it off and take it back but the images on the screen had us glued to our seats. My head was resting on your shoulders and when you touched me, I welcomed you. My heart beat grew erratic and then you kissed me, and I got lost in the sweetness of your lips. I could hear the moans from the people in the TV. Your touch made me hot and I trembled when you pulled my shorts down. You were the first boy to see me without my panties, I felt a bit shy but then it was you I loved, so I let you look. You put your fingers in between my legs and a sharp cry escaped my lips. You whispered to me:
’Tsssh, I won’t hurt you much’. I believed you because I knew you loved me as I did you. Soon your fingers were replaced by your penis. Pains seared through my body but I dug my nails into your back and bit my lips to keep from crying out. When you rolled off me five minutes later, smiled at me and called me your ’little love’, I knew we had become more than family. That was the beginning of our affair…
An affair that went on till you got into the university. There were times I would miss you and want your body pressed against mine but you were far away. Then I started going out with other boys. Of course, none was like you. They never saw beyond my outer clothes. You were my first and I loved you best.
Something happened a few weeks ago. Aunty Bukky caught me throwing up behind the potted plants in the garden, she called me and looked at me in a funny way and dropped a bombshell.
’You are pregnant Nnenna. Do you know that?’ she asked me and I just kept looking at her. My thoughts ran amok. How could she say I was pregnant? I vehemently refused to accept her word for it, till the indicator of the pregnancy test kit read positive thrice. We couldn’t tell how far gone I was till I went for a real test. I was two months pregnant. Aunty Bukky called daddy before we got home, because she was scared that I would do something foolish.
We got home and he was waiting. He had this disappointed look in his eyes and I just wanted to disappear. He sat me down and asked me who was responsible and I told him I couldn’t say.
’What do you mean? You have slept with lots of men that you don’t know the father?’ he asked pointing at my stomach with a murderous rage in his eyes. I’ve never seen daddy that angry before. And then the tears fell from my eyes as I told him of a party I had attended and got drugged only to wake up naked. Daddy cried with me, and wondered why I had chosen to keep quiet about it. I told him that I didn’t want him to learn of it and be disappointed in me. Then he promised me that everything would be alright.
I had planned to call you that very night but then the news came in: You had been killed by some cultists. My world crumbled.
Mikky, the rape story I sold to Dad was a lie. I didn’t sleep with anyone after the last time I came to your lodge. Surely you remember when. I came unannounced to your lodge and found a girl’s panties in the space between the wall and bed while cleaning up the room. You remember how I flew into a rage and the only way you could calm me enough to listen to you was with a kiss. Of course, it hadn’t ended with the kiss. Our clothes had come off in a hurry and we had the best rough-up sex in our history. In the heated frenzy, we forgot the condom and I had to take those pills thereafter. I took them as prescribed. Lord only knows why they didn’t work. I can’t ever tell Daddy this truth though. That’s why he has to see this baby as the result of a rape. You must know as I do that this baby is a product of love.
As at this moment, I’ve told my friends that I would be travelling to stay with an aunt in Kaduna. Dad had suggested an abortion. I bluntly refused. I won’t let them kill this baby of ours that is growing in me. So, Dad made preparations for me to stay in the village till the baby is born.
The love that I have for the little you in me, threatens to consume me. It even makes it bearable when I remember that I am still too young to be a single mother. And it brings some hope when I remember it’s the only thing I have left of you, asides my memories. Perhaps it’s the maternal genes already in action.
Talking about mothers: I came across some letters from Mfamer Akaayem. That was your mum’s name, wasn’t it? The letters ring of more than a casual relationship or exchange of thoughts. A silly thought crossed my mind when I read them; Could my daddy have been yours too?… It’s quite impossible because Dad would have told us if it was. I won’t ever ask him though. Some things are best left unknown. And of course God wouldn’t have let me love you this much if it were true. Would he?
It hurts so much each time I remember that you won’t ever smile at me while I watch the dimple play on your left cheek. It’s almost as if a drill is in a constant state of activity in my heart. I feel like I have lost everything and I know it’s just the baby and daddy that make me want to face yet another day. As I draw to the end of this, the ink of my heart flooding like the tears blurring my sight, I just want you to know that I would never love another like I loved you. You have that special place in this heart of mine and as I seal this letter, I seal my heart within. Keep it, guard it and love me in return, even if it’s from the other side.
I love you Mikky, I will always do.
Your little love.
Nnenna dropped the pen and folded the letter, pushed back the seat and walked into the bathroom. She filled the bath with water, laid down in it and closed her eyes. Fifteen minutes later she walked out of the bathroom. She walked to her closet and laid out her dress. She heard the sirens heralding the arrival of Mikky’s body. She pulled her hair into a bun and applied black eye-shadow and clear lip-gloss. She put on a black dress and stepped into her black high-heeled pumps. Today was a black day. She glanced at the mirror, picked up the letter and walked out of her room. He had given her something to hold on to here. The letter would be her last gift to him. If the dead could read, he would read it on the other side…
Name: Sibbyllinna Whyte.
Bio: Student. Studying to be a pharmacist and aspiring to be a writer.