It was a drop-dead beautiful svelte that opened the door for me when I reached Mr Adegoke’s house at Ibadan. I had branched at the shop to greet madam and her sales girls before entering the main gate into the main compound through the pedestrian gate. The entrance door to the house opened from the inside just as I was about to open it from the outside.
“Jesu Christi o!” I hissed
“Uncle Bolaji?” She asked
“Yes?” I asked as I peered very well into those eyes. “Don’t tell me you are Oluwayemisi!”
“Of course, I am!” She exclaimed in laughter. “You cannot recognise me again?
“Jesu o! Jesu o! Are you a model at school or something? Jeez! Look at you! You have grown into a beautiful woman! Like a supermodel!” I exclaimed. “How old are you now?”
“Uncle BJ, I am just above eighteen now!”
“Look at you! I don’t know if I should lift you up or hug you or even kiss you!” I said
“Anyone, uncle!” She said.
“Come here! Come here!” I gave her a close hug that affected my crouch once again, I remembered the first day I met Chioma.
“Please, take my bag to the guest room! I said as I discharged from the hug and went straight into the convenience room at the sitting room to caution my emotion. I stayed there for about ten minutes. I did not come out when I heard her calling my name from the sitting room.
This was not any other girl. This was Mr Adegoke’s daughter! My mentor’s daughter! What was wrong with me? I am almost nine years older than her! She was like a sister to me! Suddenly I heard DJ Slam’s voice in my head.
‘Shattap ya Yoruba mgati, mgbati mouth there! Na ya mama born am?’
‘But the Papa na my mentor nah!’
‘Ehen? Na, her father, go marry her? Biko wire the girl!’ Slam echoed
‘Chai! But the girl is innocent nah!’
‘Oh, no! Oh no! Jew man! Is she not above fifteen years of age?’
‘She is eighteen’, I said
‘Then she don ripe be dat! Wire am! Wire am!’ Slam said.
‘Dem take wire swear for you?’ I asked.
‘If you no wire am! Another guy go wire am o!’ That’s all! Slam said as he fizzled out of my head.
I returned to reality as someone banged hard at the door to the convenience
“Ta ni yen? Who is that?” I asked.
“Bolaji!” It was Madam.
“Mummy!” I called back.
I came out to meet Mummy already dressed to go out.
“Thank God that you are around, please look after the house”, she said. “Have you seen Yemisi?”
“No, ma! Yes ma! Yemisi abi?” I was confused
“Kilode? What is wrong?” She asked
“Kosi nkankan ma! Nothing ma!” I replied. “I saw her as I came in, I did not know it was her!”
“Okay! She has grown abi?”
“Yes ma!” I replied.
“Please take care of the house and the shop! You are the man in the house now. I will be back at night, tell Yemisi to prepare dinner before Daddy returns from work”.
“Yes ma’am!” I said
Immediately she left the house, I went to my room to loosen up and relax from the stress of the journey.
It was the aroma of the food she brought into my room that woke me up. I was so famished that I jumped out of bed and grabbed the plate of steaming Jollof rice from her
“Thank you, my dear! I said. “How did you know that I was very hungry?”
She laughed and said, “I don’t know o! You have been sleeping since morning nah, I was knocking at your door, but you did not answer, so I decided to burst in with your food”.
“Thank you for bursting in! You just saved a soul! I would have died of hunger from my sleep!” I said as I ate up the steaming food in a hurry.
“Uncle, take it easy, nah! She said
“Did you cook this food?” I asked an obviously stupid question
“Yes nah!” She said.
“Who taught you how to cook?” Another stupid question.
“Who else, but mummy?” She asked.
“Oh, yes! Mummy! I forgot… So, how is school life?” I asked the first sane question.
“Uncle, wait, let me go and get you drinking water. She left and came back with a cold glass of water.
“Thank you very much!” I said and gulp down some water. “So, school life! How is it? I continued.
“School life is fine!” She said as she sat on the edge of the bed.
“I heard you are studying Agric economics!” I lied.
“No o! I am studying Med- sug!” She said.
“As in, Medicine and surgery?” I asked.
“Yes sir!” She said.
“Wow! That’s cool, I am not surprised though, and I am just impressed”, I said. “I wish you the best, Doctor Yemisi”.
“I heard you came out with first class in engineering”, she said.
“That’s true!” I said.
“I am not surprised though, I am just impressed”, she said.
“Ahan!” I said.
“Ahan what? She asked.
“You are mimicking me”, I said.
She laughed. “But it is the truth, nah! You have been our inspiration in this house. There is no day my dad does not mention your name while advising us to be the best! You are my role model, my hero!”
I wished she could say “my husband”, for I loved every moment with her until one of the sales girls from the shop came to call her out of my room for an urgent errand.
I could not take my mind off the thought of Yemisi. I was already jealous of the possibility of her having a boyfriend already. A beauty like hers would have been hooked by some stupid campus boys that have made it their birthright to sample every beautiful female Jambite. She was already in her second year and as such would have been devoured by those scoundrels! Yemisi was mine! Imagine the way she served me food in bed. She even knew I had to drink water while eating! What other sign was I looking for? I wish we were alone in the house so we could just be talking.
DJ Slam’s voice tried to get into my head again, and I shook my head vigorously and shouted” Get behind me, Satan”!
He ran away, echoing the words “wire, wire! Wire her”
This was not a girl for wiring but for keeps. A girl to treasure and nurture; a girl that would give me good dreams when she is by my side. A wife material! Her laughter was so inviting and soothing. I wanted to think of her innocence. I did not like to think of those campus boys and their capabilities. I just wanted to think of Yemisi as mine, untouched, waiting for me.
“Waiting for you for wetin? Na you God create her for? Slam’s voice in my head interrupted again.
“Yes, na me! I shouted. “Slam! Leave me, I beg! Make I think!”
“Think well o! But remember that no girl is innocent o!” He fizzled out of my head again.
“Get thee behind me, Slam!” I commanded.
I was possessed by the thought of Yemisi. I was thinking of her as a future partner, my wife! I deserved her.
“Only you deserve her? Just wire her and go your way!” Slam’s voice in my head spoke again.
I pretended to ignore him.
“If her papa catch you! Your own don finish be that!” Slam said.
Mr Goke had advised me that I get into a serious relationship with a girl that would love me for who I am and not for what I will become. I don’t need to look further! Oluwayemisi knows my story, even though she was very young when I stayed briefly with their family during my secondary school days, I am no stranger to her.
The opportunity came on my second night at Ibadan. Uncle Goke and Madam had retired indoors for the night. Gbadebo was reading at the library as he was preparing for his senior secondary certificate examination.
“Come and sit here, Yemisi”, I said. “We need to talk”.
“Okay! She said as she left the seat close to the Television and sat on the two-seater couch I was occupying. She smelled good. The faint scent of perfume came with her. This girl was clean. Her skin was light and smooth without blemish. Her legs, tapering from the bum short she wore were straight and fresh like vanilla ice cream. My heartbeat was racing as she sat by my side and focused on the Television. She did not look me in the eyes. I really felt like having a bottle of Gulder at that moment, but I have never drank alcohol in their house. Even when uncle Goke bought beer for me, we were seated outside the house discussing behind the shop.
I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly so that she would not know that uncle BJ was a Jew man.
“How old are you now?” I asked.
“You have asked me that before, and I said eighteen plus!” She said still watching the TV.
“Have I? I am so sorry. In other words, you are not a baby!” I said.
“I am not a baby”, she said, still focusing on the TV.
“I want to ask you some questions. I hope you will not be offended?” I asked.
“I don’t know o! I hope there is no problem?” She asked, looking at me and removing her face to focus on the TV.
“There is problem o!” I said
“What happened? Did I do something wrong?” She asked
“You are doing many things to me, my dear!” I said.
“Ha! Uncle BJ! What have I been doing to you that is wrong?”
“You have been scattering my head since I came around two days ago! I can’t concentrate! I talk and argue with myself like a mad man! I have not been able to take my mind off the thought of you! I think I am in love with you already!” I said.
“Ha! Uncle BJ!” She exclaimed
“You are like a big brother to me! She said.
But I am not your brother, and you know that!” I said. “Do you have a boyfriend at school or at any other place?”
“No o!” She said shyly.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“I don’t have the time for that yet!” She said.
“And why is that?” I asked. “You are a very pretty girl. Does it mean you don’t have toasters?”
“Of course, I have toasters daily, but I am not ready for another relationship now”, she said.
“What happened to your previous relationship?” I asked.
“Hmm, it’s a long story, we were secondary school friends, he was a sickle cell anaemia patient, and he is dead!” She said.
“Oh no! I am so sorry”, I said. I heaved a sigh of relieve and a silent prayer of gratitude. “How long was this?”
“After our SSCE. Over two years ago”.
“Do you miss him?” I asked.
“Yes, sometimes! He was a very good boy, he deflowered me”!
The laughter of Slam started to echo in my head; hahahahahahah! See your innocent girl o!
I shook my head vigorously to send Slam away.
“I love you!” I said. “I don’t care whether he deflowered you or not! I am not a saint myself. I am glad there is no one in your life now, I would have committed suicide if you had told me you love someone else but me!”
“I don’t love anyone o!”
“Except me, abi?” I teased.
“Yes me!” I said.
“I don’t know o! But I love and respect you like a big brother!” She said.
“Thank you! But don’t love me like a brother anymore! Love me like your boyfriend! Like your husband to be!” I said.
“Ha! Uncle BJ!” She exclaimed meeting my gaze with surprise.
“Kilode?” I asked.
“Husband to be? Like my boyfriend?” She asked.
“Yes! I said. We are not strangers to each other, and I will wait for you until you are through with your studies. I just want you to promise me that you will be there for me!”
She was silent.
“You are not saying anything”.
“I don’t know what to say nah! I am confused”, she said. “How can I bring myself to be calling you by your first name without putting the word Uncle or brother?”
“Forget uncle, abeg! I am not your uncle! Your uncle is the village! Forget brother. Your brother is reading in the Library!” I said. “Call me BJ like all my friends do!”
She laughed. “My Parents would skin me alive”.
“Don’t worry, when the time comes, they will support us!” I said.
“My mother loves you. She will be happy about this if I tell her. But for my father, I cannot tell”.
“Leave your father! Your mother will get him for us! So, am I getting a yes?” I asked.
“Yes!” She laughed.
“Wow!” I suppressed my scream by jumping around the sitting room. I pulled her up and hugged her quickly and left her before an intruder bumped in on us.
“I love you! I love you!” I was saying.
“I love you too”, she said shyly.
I could not sleep that night, I waited for Slam to talk into my head, but he did not come. ‘Satan, shame unto you!’ I said to him. The next morning, after Uncle Goke had gone to work, mummy had gone out, and Gbadebo had gone to school, Yemisi and I were left indoors, playing and talking. She could not bring herself to call me Bolaji, and I forbade her from calling me, Uncle. I believed she would find a name for me in due course.
I left Ibadan two days after. I gave my new-found love all the gifts I had bought for Katty and Tessy- Perfumes, wristwatches, handbags and T-shirts. I would buy their gifts when I get to Onitsha. I gave Yemisi some cash, but she refused it. I asked her how she will conceal the gift items from her parents. She said she would tell her mother what transpired between us once I was safely on my way to the east. I did not know what to say but to hope for the best.
As she came into my room to help carry my travelling bag to her mother’s car, I quickly closed the door and pulled her close. The scent of her perfume charged my senses as I planted my mouth on her luscious lips, she responded. She held my head. I almost cried.