The next day at school, the siren went off for our morning assembly. I was certain that assembly was going to be long as it was the last day of school and the incident that happened last night was going to be talked about. After our normal activity on the assembly, the principal walked to the front on of the students for the usual announcement but with a very stern look. She cleared her throat before speaking and then brought up the incident that happened the night before. She said basically everything the house master had said that night and said the boys were not going to go scot free. I wasn’t mentioned because I was just a victim but they did mention that a girl was almost raped by them. Senior Daniel unluckily wasn’t going to go unpunished either for beating up someone to an unconscious state. The three boys who had almost raped me were expelled while senior Daniel was suspended. They were all called out by the angry principal and flogged by the strictest teacher in our school, Mr. Alabi.
Assembly that morning got some looking very excited, some looking very serious and the rest unhappy. The principal made mention that anyone who committed an offence like them or even close would also not go unpunished. I was so sad for senior Daniel because I knew it was all because of me. I started feeling very guilty. If only he had just left the boy when he was still very much okay, this wouldn’t happen. I needed to talk to him but I couldn’t get hold of him because they were all taken to the principal’s office after. The drums began for us to match back to our classes.
Later that day, Anabelle left school for her house as her parents’ driver had come to pick her up and a few minutes later, I was told that my uncle was waiting to pick me up. I was actually expecting my parents to come for me but anyway, I was happy I was finally going home. Even though I wasn’t as happy as I thought I would be, because of the case of senior Daniel, there was nothing I could do. The principal had called me earlier and spoken to me about the whole situation, consoling me and being thankful to God that senior Daniel came on time even though he still ended up doing something wrong. I was pushed to say that senior Daniel be left alone since he was only trying to help but I couldn’t because he wasn’t supposed to overly react and beat someone almost to death.
Anyway, I went to meet uncle Sam who was waiting for me at the hostel gate. He smiled when he saw me even though I felt it didn’t look genuine, He hugged me and told me to go bring my luggage. After I was down with my luggage, I signed out of the hostel and drove off with uncle Sam. The uncle Sam I knew didn’t say much while we were in the car. I was tempted to tell him all that had happened but I kept quiet as the atmosphere didn’t seem like it was convenient enough. When we got to my house, excited to see Esther and my parents (that is, if they would have been back from work), I jumped out of the car. I went to bring out my luggage from the car when uncle Sam told me not to worry as he would help me with it. I skipped happily into the house shouting Esther’s name. I saw Frank who didn’t look so bright but greeted him as he opened the door for me to enter. As I got in, I saw a lot of shoes at the end of the corridor. My parents and visitors! What are they celebrating this time around? or do they want to welcome me from my first come back from the boarding house? I thought to myself.
When I entered the sitting room, I saw a lot of my relatives, including the ones I barely see all looking like a bad omen was in the air. They did not look bright at all. I greeted all of them, looking around looking for Esther and my parents who were not in sight at all. At this point, my smile was beginning to turn into a frown. I looked at uncle Sam who came up behind me and asked him for Esther. He swallowed hard and told me that Esther was in the room. Without even waiting for anything, I slowly left them in the sitting room and walked into the room to meet Esther with aunty Mary who was holding and consoling crying Esther. I went up to them very quickly and confused asking the reason why she was crying. Esther who had been crying looked up at me and hugged me immediately. I hugged her back very tight and asked why she was crying.
I got to find out that my parents had an accident on their way back from the village where they went for my cousin’s wedding. They had passed on even after they were rushed to the hospital. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard all of it. I kept screaming to be woken up from a bad dream. Why must I, at that young age face such? I just didn’t know what to do. I was about to run mad. My eyes became very watered and sore as I cried non-stop. I kept on crying, not listening to my aunties and uncles who were trying to console me. I kept telling them to go and bring my daddy and mummy home. I was not ready to settle with the news I had just heard. Why would so many things happen within a short period on the day I was finally coming home. After counting down days to go home with Anabelle, after senior Daniel had been expelled, another horrible news. There was no way I was going to settle for less. I kept trying to leave the house but they kept pulling me back.
Uncle Sam finally took me away from everyone so he could talk to me in private. He held me close and consoled me. He told me to be strong for my sister, Esther, as she needed me to be as strong as I could be. I kept asking him what I did wrong for my parents to leave us behind. I was now an orphan, barely gone anywhere in life. My parents hadn’t seen me graduate yet. My mum hadn’t danced at my wedding like she promised she would in future. Everything just didn’t seem right. I mean, I did hear of deaths from other close family members. My parents even helped in any way they could to support them but I didn’t think their turn was going to come this soon. I was just twelve years old and my sister still eight. It was a lie, it’s not even possible, they were still alive, I kept telling myself. I came to accept it later on and decided to be the strong senior sister for my younger one, Esther. Life I thought, was useless without my parents.
Episode 19
Two years later
After the death of Mesonma’s parents, their relatives came to a conclusion on who would be responsible for both Mesonma and Esther. As much as they didn’t want them separated, Esther was to move in with one of their aunties while Meso was to move in with uncle Sam in order to reduce cost and reasons only known to them. Things were not so smooth the first few months after the death of Meso’s parents because there were a lot of changes and transition. She was separated from her sister, separated from friends and her old life basically. She also had to change school where she eventually lost contact with Anabelle, her close friend and Daniel, her school father.
Meso’s pov
It was a Sunday morning and there I was in the arms of a man who I thought I loved and cherished. Uncle Sam who had crept into my bed the night before held me close to his chest as he kept slept while snoring noisily. He had made love to me and filled my ears with nothing but love words the previous night. This was my father’s brother. Yes! You are about to say how wrong and filthy it is but at that point in my life, he made me as happy as I could be. He made it seem right, so I thought anyway. When I look back, I wish I hadn’t allowed it.
At the age of 14, I was already experiencing the things I never thought I would at such a young age. Uncle Sam had promised to love me forever no matter what. He had mention so many things I always wanted to hear and he succeeded in winning my heart over with them. I was so young yet I knew what it all meant. This was the phase of my life when I thought I wouldn’t be able to live without my uncle.
It all started a few months back when I had been seriously down. I had been feeling down because I felt like my world was turning upside down. I was being bullied at school and called ugly several times. I was missing my parents and my sister. I was never just in a good mood. This particular Friday evening, uncle Sam came back from work and I didn’t go out to greet him as usual. I was actually just sitting down on my bed in my room with only a towel wrapped around my body. I sat at the edge of my bed crying silently. I was drowned in my own thoughts that I didn’t realize uncle Sam had been calling out for me.
I recall uncle Sam coming into my room like he had just seen a ghost. He came and sat close to me trying to get me to say what was wrong with me. He had said he was calling out my name but because I didn’t answer, he decided to come check me in my room. I remember that the stench of his breath was very discomforting. He had had a few drinks again. Even though he wasn’t usually drunk, he wasn’t still in his full senses. I didn’t care at that point, didn’t care about anything. I was just very upset with life. He held me close, still insisting that I tell him what was going on. So I finally spoke up and told him about everything. How much I was being bullied in school, how much I missed my sister, how much I missed my parents and how upset I was at life itself. He only consoled me and made promises. Promises to make it up to me, promises to always make me happy, promises to do what ever it would take to make me see life as meaningful again.
I don’t know why this happened but it suddenly became quiet and uncle Sam held my face, bringing his lips closer to mine. I don’t know why I didn’t move but I let him take charge. He slowly took off my towel and crashed into me. I didn’t struggle, didn’t object. I let him do to me whatever he wanted. He said he loved throughout that night while he made love to me like he would call it. Because I didn’t know the meaning of everything, I told him I loved him back with tears rolling down my eyes. I thought that was what love was about but deep down I knew it didn’t feel right. My heart aches each time I remember that night because I didn’t fight back. That was the beginning of a forbidden love. Something that should never have been called love in the first place.
If you are reading this, please be aware that this story is a fiction. It does not apply to anyone in particular but it is something I believe the world should be aware of. Sometimes we might not smell the burning food even when it’s right under our nose. There are so many things happening in the world. So many young girls, so many young boys in need of help, in need of mentors, in need of guidance. They are either being abused by relatives, friends, strangers….etc. We need to be conscious about everything and everyone around us. What you think does not/can never happen might actually have happened/is happening. Let’s be careful, spread the word. And try to save many from dipping their fingers into the fire.
Episode 20
That Sunday morning, I got out of uncle Sam’s arms, leaving him snoring on the bed. I went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. I fried some plantain and egg then boiled water for tea. I wanted to be done before he was awake so I could serve his breakfast immediately. He always enjoyed when his breakfast was ready before he was awake and I had taken joy preparing it for him always. I had been draining the last set of plantain when I felt someone from behind hold my hands that held the plantain in the strainer. I knew it was uncle Sam so I turned to face him before greeting him. He planted a kiss on my forehead and greeted back.
“Hmmm, Meso will not kill me with food. Who knew the small Meso of those days could take care of a grown man like me. Why wouldn’t I be happy?” he said smiling at me.
I only blushed and served his food on the dining table where I joined him. We talked about a few things laughed about some until he kept a straight face. He stared at me for a while before he said;
“Meso! I love you so much okay? I’m not going to let anything harm you or your sister. I know so many things have happened in the past and so many things are happening now but it’s what we call life isn’t it? Just let me know whenever you need me. Any time you need my help, you know where to find me Meso.”
I looked at uncle Sam for a while before saying;
“I wish Esther lived with us”
“Meso, you know the reason why Esther stays with your aunty. She is still much younger than you are and needs guidance. Remember everything that was explained after the meeting with everyone two years ago. I promise that it won’t be like this forever. You will get to be with Esther soon. They all just want you to finish your secondary school in Lagos first. And you know all about cost as well. See…..”
At this point, uncle Sam stood up and bent down close to me. He held me close to his chest while he consoled as tears were already streaming down from my eyes. He continued with his talking and consoling until I told him I was okay and not going to cry anymore. It became quiet for a while and I decided to ask him a question;
“Can I ask you a question?” I said to him.
“Of course! You can ask me anything.” he replied.
“Sam, when you get married, what will happen to me?”
He must have been very shocked because he paused for a while and just before he was about to answer, he heard his phone ring so he excused himself and stood up to get it from the room. I immediately stood up, packed the plates and took them to the kitchen. I decided to wash the plates, then clean the house as uncle Sam was not yet back from where he went to get his phone. After I was done with the cleaning, I retired for my room. As I got into my room, I heard uncle Sam call me from the living room so I quickly went to answer him. When I got there, he was all dressed up in a casual outfit. Before I even asked, he already said he was going to meet up with a friend and I was surprised because It was just 11:36am on a Sunday. Nevertheless, I didn’t ask further because I knew he was a busy man. He brought out some naira note and told me to use it to  get anything that was needed by me or the house. He was very fond of doing that. It was a Sunday and I wasn’t planning on going anywhere so I told him, we didn’t need it as usual but he insisted I kept it anyway so I collected it and thanked him. As usual, he pecked me on the lips and went out the door while I shut it close.
I got back to my room, went to take a shower and after went straight to lay on my bed. I hadn’t been to church for over a month and I didn’t have any reason. Uncle Sam didn’t also care as much because he always said he wanted to spend the Sundays with me alone. Even though he didn’t mind if I wanted to go to church, I never just did for a while. So as laid on my bed, I thought about a lot of things. I remembered Anabelle who used to be my close friend that I hadn’t spoken to in a while. I also thought about Daniel, the senior who was my school father and it made me miss them a lot. I remember I used to get in touch with Anabelle but after a while, we lost contact. I never even spoke to Daniel after that day he got suspended for beating up a student. I used to ask Anabelle about him but she always told me that she hadn’t seen him in school either. I still felt guilty because everything that happened to him was all because of me..
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