And here is something new from Benita Okafor, a very talented writer.
“Welcome uncle Sam!!!!” I screamed as I hugged him after opening the door. “How are you, my dear?”, he had replied. Uncle sam was one of my favourite uncles. He would bring a lot of gifts for me and my sister whenever he came for visits. He would take us out and spend time with us. Some people even started calling him our second father because of the relationship he had with us. He was my father’s only brother. He wasn’t married even though he was about twenty-six years old, but he lived a comfortable lifestyle alone in a very fine bungalow. On the other hand, I lived with my parents, my sister, Esther and the house help, Francis who we usually called Frank.
‘Where is your sister?” Uncle Sam asked. “She is sleeping”, I replied. “And your parents?”, he asked further. “They’re out”, I replied again. “And Where is Frank?”, “Uncle Sam, it seems like you missed everyone oo, this one you’re asking about them like this?” I replied. “Eh! Yes! yes, I did. So where is Frank?”, He kept asking so I told him he went out with my parents. Immediately I said so, he smiled. “So we are the only ones around?”, He said. “Yes and Esther”. He moved from behind the couch where he had been standing and sat on the couch. “Meso!!!” He called my nickname just as everyone did. “Yes, uncle Sam”. “I’ve told you to be calling me Sam, not uncle Sam, you know I’m not as old as your Father”, he said as he winked at me. “But uncle Sam, you know mama will slap me when she hears me say your name without adding the uncle before it”, I argued. “Oya, call me by my name only when we are alone”, he said and I nodded in response. I asked him what he had brought for us this time. He simply gestured his hands for me to sit beside him. I skipped happily as I sat down close to him. He gave me the fancy looking bag that he had been holding and I collected it immediately, excited to see what was inside. I removed the first item my hand was able to grasp. It was a nice looking blouse, I smiled when I saw it, but he said it was for my sister so I reached into the bag to grab something else. This time, I grabbed a blouse again, this one even fancier than the first. He said it was for my sister again. This happened for two more rounds until I spoke up. “Uncle Sam, this bag is already getting slimmer oo”, I squeezed my face, but he insisted that I keep checking so I reached for another Item and this time, It didn’t feel the same as the other items I had reached for. Some parts of this item had soft spots while the other parts had a harder spot. I squeezed my face as I brought out the item. Behold it was a bra. I looked puzzled when I saw this, but uncle Sam just smiled at me and said, “They told me that you are now a big girl so I just decided to buy this one since that is what big girls wear”. Indeed, my adolescence stage was running ahead of me as I had started growing breasts and seeing my monthly flow just at the age of eleven, but I was just surprised that my uncle would get bras and panties for me. I was happy that I could add to my collection from the ones my mum got for me, but I felt very embarrassed because even my father had never had to buy girly things like this for me. My mother was always the one who took care of the female issues. I slowly muttered a ‘thank you’ before he said “So, go and try them, let me see”. I looked at him in confusion and said. ‘Ahh, Sam I can’t wear these ones in front of you oo”. He just laughed and said that I shouldn’t be shy because he even remembers carrying me naked in his arms when I was a baby. I only used my hands to hide my face from embarrassment but I didn’t try them on. While I was about to leave with the gifts he got for us, he held my hands and pulled me back. “There is one last thing you haven’t opened”, he said as he handed me another fancy looking bag, but this one was way smaller. I smiled and collected it with excitement as I dug in to find out what it was. My eyes almost fell out when I saw it was a brand new phone still in its pack and a sim card. I screamed and screamed with excitement as he laughed at my joy. I always wanted a phone but my parents always told me I was still too young to be using one. Even though I told them that my classmates already had phones they still insisted that I wait until I was a bit older. “Uncle Sam, thank you! thank you!”, I blurted out as I hugged him but he squeezed his face instead of smiling with me. “Uncle Sam, did I say something wrong”, I asked but he squeezed his face even more before he opened up. “Haven’t I told you to stop calling me Uncle Sam? Call me Sam or don’t talk to me again oo”, he squeezed his face, giving me the baby attitude. I nodded in agreement and said I was sorry before he smiled at me.
The bell rang and I dashed out to see who was at the door, my parents and Frank had returned from her outing. “Daddy good evening, mummy good evening!” I said as I opened the door for them to come in. “Ehen, my dear. How are you? Where is Esther?” my mum asked. “Mummy, I’m fine and Esther is sleeping. Uncle Sam is around and you will not believe what he bought for us” I replied. They all smiled when I said so. I helped them with the things they bought and placed them on the kitchen counter as most of the items were kitchen tools and food items. As we entered the sitting room, I quickly ran to show them my new phone with excitement but they were busy greeting each other until my mum spoke out, “Meso, this your phone is fine, it is even finer than my own but wait oo, you know you can’t start using a phone now right”. I whined and squeezed my face, trying to protest before uncle Sam cut in. “Ahh aunty, leave Meso alone oo, she is now a big girl, many of her mates are now using phones sef”. I looked at my dad and gave him the signal to help me plead before he nodded in agreement that I should be allowed to have a phone. I was so excited that I ran to my room with the gifts uncle Sam got for me and my sister without even showing them the other things he got for us. By the time I got into my room where I share with my sister, she was already awake. My sister who was four years younger than me liked to have the same thing I had so I knew she would go ask for hers when I show her my new phone. Like I imagined, she jumped up happily when I told her uncle Sam was around but ran out to ask for her own phone when I showed her mine. Uncle Sam simply told her that she would get hers when she becomes my age. I felt really happy because I started seeing myself as a big girl. After a few hours, around past nine in the night, uncle Sam came to our room to say goodnight. He came and sat on our bed before he started speaking to us. He told us that we should always call him whenever we wanted something or needed help and that since I now had a phone, I shouldn’t hesitate to contact him everyday. He hugged us, kissed our foreheads and said he loved us before going out through the door.
That night, I set up my phone and left it to charge for a while before taking it with me to my bed. My sister had already killed my ears with “I’ll be playing games on your phone now”. I smiled at my Nokia 3310 and closed my eyes to go to sleep before a message came in. And it read:
“My princess, I hope you like this new gift I got for you. Like I said before, don’t hesitate to contact me when you need anything okay? And dial this code on your phone so that you can be credited with five hundred naira. *222*12347781736282# Goodnight. I love you”.
I smiled at my phone before falling asleep…
To be continued