(An edited & longer version. Signed book)
The time was exactly eleven o’clock when my uncle came to pick me up at the motor park.
To my wildest surprise, he came in a BMW and I thought that he probably borrowed a car or a friend offered him a lift to come pick me up.
For a brief introduction, my name is Jennifer Onochie, I was born and brought up in Egenyi 1, a village in Ezza South L.G.A, Ebonyi state of Nigeria. I am 19 and I just finished secondary school Education.
I don’t think it’s nice to tell you about my school because it’s just a community school for the downtrodden if you understand what I mean.
I came to spend the holiday at my uncle’s house while I wait to write my JAMB by next year.
Though my parents aren’t educated or rich, they are trying their best to see that I pass through College and work in a beautiful office.
I am an only child and it wasn’t easy to persuade my Parents to come to Port Harcourt to visit my uncle, but I did it and here I am.
Undeniably, my uncle looked happy to see me, he barely came home (village) to visit us and I can’t remember the last time he did since last year.
I can’t even describe his wife or children, his children haven’t been to the village before and his wife visited only during their marriage ceremony.
Whatever their reasons may be, I still feel it’s abnormal to forsake your father’s land only because of the city that belongs to another.
I got more surprised when the car pulled up in front of a big gate, he punched the horns and the noise blazed over the place.
The gates opened widely, it was opened by Musa, my uncle told me he is his gateman. I chose to call him Aboki (my friend).
I got more amazed when I realized the house belongs to my uncle and I saw two other cars parked in the compound.
I kept quiet though, if he chooses to hide his wealth and pretend to be poor when he comes to the village, he has his reasons and I don’t want to interfere in his privacy.
He took me inside and Aunty felt delighted to see me, at least, she just found someone to help with home chores… African’s and wisdom…lolz.
Wait! I forgot to tell you something!!
I am very beautiful, I grew up in the village, yes! But I don’t look any different from City girls, I can actually take their boyfriends away from them if they aren’t careful.
One thing is for sure, I am decent and I don’t actually have time for boys, if a Nigerian babe wants to get higher, it should be plus meditation minus men!
I was also introduced to their little daughter, Nancy.
She’s six and a bit troublesome. She showed me around the house with lots of giggles and sister this, sister that. She’s a darling and I liked her instantly. Hope you do? Maybe you won’t, ’cause she’s a wide mouth.
At thirty five minutes past four, I was overwhelmed by tiredness due to the day’s travel. I laid down on the couch and dozed off.
The doorbell woke me up minutes later, I cursed whosoever that was disturbing me and I forced myself out of the couch when nobody came to answer the door.
Where are the others? My uncle, his wife or daughter? I looked around but found no other presence in the parlor, I stretched myself and yawned heavily as I went to open the door.
I opened the door and beheld a very handsome face. Every other thing became blurry in my eyes and the only thing I could see was the face of the young man staring down at me.
I swallowed hard as my heart skipped a beat, words can’t describe the feelings I felt and the dirty things that ran through my mind just at that mind blowing moment.
He towered over me so I had to throw my head back to look up at his awesome face, I have seen and met many boys but none as good looking as him.
I can’t even compare his perfect face to the face of the best male model in America. He touched his face cap and that caught my attention and drew me back to reality.
“Ehm, who are you looking for?” I asked him when I caught myself.
“Excuse me?” He looked amused.
“How can I help you?” I refrained from answering his question.
“I should ask you that question, babe” he said and touched my chin as he smiled slyly.
Do you know what I want to do now?
I don’t freaking care who he is or who he is looking for, all I wanted to do is to wrap my arms around him and tell him to take me there and then!
I never felt like that before, what’s wrong with me? I wondered.
I was fine and normal moments ago before he interrupted. Jenny, get your acts together!
“What do you mean?” I blocked his path when he wanted to go into the house.
Does he think touching my chin will earn him freedom into my uncle’s house?
I feel with my heart, not my head, my senses are intact.
“This is my house, damsel!” He said playfully and walked into the house.
I stared at the doorway, looking stupid, looking dumb.
He must think I am a dummy right now!
Oh! How foolish I am!!
It isn’t exactly my fault, how would I know he lives here, neither aunt nor uncle told me about a ‘he’. Their son or his wife’s brother? Well, I can’t say!
I turned slowly to look at him as he took the stairs up, the hand on the railing is what I wanted on me right then.
I want more of that featherlike touch again!
What’s wrong with me?! What sort of crazy things are running through my mind? I think I need to visit the hospital for my own good!
Jenny dear, you are here at your uncle’s place which means he is your uncle’s son and that should be enough to cut off any stupid thought in your mind.
I wish he will just be a friend of theirs and not in any way related to them.
There I go again!
“This is my son, Christian, your cousin!” My uncle introduced him during dinner.
My cousin… I should remember that!
But these feelings of mine aren’t what I should be feeling considering the fact that he’s my cousin.
Am not typically shy, but I couldn’t even meet his gaze when he spoke to me.
“Nice to meet you and I hope you brought a lot of things from the village for us, especially fruits?”
“I did, but I don’t remember putting yours because I didn’t know Uncle had a son, one older than me!” I said with an eye roll.
My uncle and Aunt laughed, they took it as a joke, but I think I’m being serious, if not that I came visiting, I wouldn’t know my cousins. A gorgeous young man and a cute little girl for that matter.
“Then, you should go back to the village and bring it with you now that you know!” He teased me.
“You know what? I will give you transport fare, go bring it yourself” I laughed.
I glanced at his face for the first time since we met again at the dinning, his eyes were intimidating and I had to look down at my food again.
“Okay ma’am, you win!” He said, throwing his hands up. Everyone bursted into laughter.
“You can’t even argue, I thought you would do more than give up!” I mocked him.
“Would you rather I argue like a market woman? I don’t do that, real men don’t say too many words” he said smiling.
“Mmm, noted!” I exclaimed.
“But brother, I am a woman as well and I don’t talk too much” Nancy came in.
“You are not a woman yet, ma’am!” Chris killed his sister’s joy, everyone bursted into laughter at her reaction.
She threw her spoon at him angry that he isn’t a supportive brother and reported him to their parents, I couldn’t stop laughing.
“Who said you aren’t a woman, baby? You’re more than a woman” her mother supported her.
My Uncle could only laugh, he added simply; “Women and men in the house, let’s observe some table manners”
We finished the rest of our food in silence. When everyone was done eating, they all left while Aunt and I cleared the table.
“Can I help with anything?”
I didn’t look around but I knew it’s Christian that came back, so funny my heart leaped into a joyful hop at the sound of his voice.
“We are good, son,” Aunt replied.
He didn’t go, he came to stand beside me and his eyes were on me even though he was talking with his mother.
When Aunt finished what she was doing, she left the kitchen. I forgot how to breathe, does he notice what his closeness is doing to me? Does he feel the same? Is he suffering me with his nearness?
“Should I help you with the plates?” He requested.
“I will take care of it, it’s nothing” I said but he’s already rinsing one of the plates, I didn’t stop him.
I can’t breathe while he’s near, but am excited he was there with me. It’s a crazy feeling.
“Tell me about the village” he raised a topic.
He’s a good conversation starter, I don’t need to be told, but I know that’s not exactly what he wants us to talk about.
“Why haven’t you visited the village all these while?” I changed the topic.
“You make a habit of answering questions with another question, I asked you to tell me about the village first, remember?” He retorted, chuckling.
“I guess you aren’t ready to get the full gist about the village, if you are, answer my question” I returned.
“Okay, I don’t know why, but my father doesn’t want me to and I can’t disobey his orders,” he replied.
“Why would he do that?” I asked curiously.
“Did I not tell you that I don’t know? And I can’t question him, whatever his reasons are, he knows better” he said with a shrug.
I cleaned my hands on a towel after washing the last plate, I started setting the ones he had rinsed.
“So unfortunate” I murmured to myself.
“Excuse me?” He looked at me. Damnit! He’s so close that the air from his nostrils was grazing my left cheek.
I just want to go on tiptoe, wrap my arms around him and give him a deep kiss.
“I wasn’t talking to you, anyway, about the village, there’s nothing special about it” I told him as I took the last plate, he was cleaning his hands.
“Special or not, I want to hear it” he said and went to sit down on the kitchen stool.
“If you desire so much to get village gists, you shouldn’t have been so engrossed in your City life that you forgot your ancestral home!” I kicked his guts with my words.
“Fine! I don’t want to hear it anymore” he walked away, I ran after him.
“Hey, don’t take it too seriously, I was only joking!” I caught him at the base of the stairs.
He’s a fast walker, his strongly built long legs aren’t for fancy. I held onto his arm so he wouldn’t go away.
“I see, I’m not angry, I just lost interest in your gist!” He said, I thought he wanted to shove my hands away and go off but he didn’t.
“I… I will tell you…”
“I don’t want to hear it anymore” he cut me off, but he still stood there and looked at my face like he can’t just go.
“Okay, then” I moved away from him and turned to leave.
His laughter stopped me in my tracks and I turned to mope at him.
“Surprised?” He snorted, still laughing loudly.
“Shocked, I… I didn’t expect that” I stuttered.
“Don’t worry, I am not angry and I don’t think I will ever be with you. Even if you don’t want to tell me about it, I have something to show you in my room, let’s go!” He didn’t wait for a reply, he grabbed my hand and we ran all the way to his room.
“Sit down on the bed, let me see…” He squatted beside his CD player, to select a song I assumed.