Belema and I have been best friends since secondary school.
I can say that I spent 60 to 80% of whatever free time I had back when we were in our teens at her house since they were reasonably rich and had almost everything. They lived in the GRA and had 20 hours of power supply each day. Whenever I went over there, it almost felt like home and I never really was glad about having to return back to my real home which wasn’t so bad but could’ve been better.
We lived in Alakoro street, just off Abuloma road. Our house was only a few minutes walk away from the creek which had been despoiled and had began to smell so badly for years. But my dad was a civil servant and had been so for the most part of his life. Leaving that area would require a lump sum and we were barely managing to keep things stable in our home. My mother had left because she couldn’t get my Dad to leave Alakoro street. She had gone back to Bayelsa to be close to her father’s family and had found a new man as well. That was 7 years ago.
Belema and I shared so many interests and our friendship bloomed so quickly that it didn’t take time for us to become inseparable then she invited me over to her home. The first day I stepped into their living room I could feel my legs shake and my heart stop to beat. I had been awed by its magnificence from outside, but nothing prepared me for what I would witness within. Belema giggled when she saw the awe plastered across my face and my mouth wide open.
She had to pull me by my arm and bring me inside as I was too afraid to bring filthiness and dirt into a place that was so sparklingly clean like the angels of heaven themselves were the housemaids. She told me to sit on the couch while she go bring some juice and biscuits for me.
While she was away… I could only stare at the various pieces of art and sculptures scattered around the living room and wonder.
Belema’s father came home an hour later to find I and his daughter dancing to a song on TV which had its volume increased so much so that we didn’t hear him drive in and open the front doors. I stopped in mid dance-step and glared at him.
The first thing I noticed about him was how young he was. Belema was only a year younger than I was at the time but no one could really tell the difference. I had expected her father to be like mine. A middle-aged man with wrinkles scattered across his face and white hairs beginning to show across his face. Belema’s father looked like one of the youngest teachers in our school who the girls had gossiped about a lot and even placed bets on who among them would first profess their lust for him. He even looked younger and more handsome than any father I had ever seen. I suddenly couldn’t feel myself move anymore as my senses had been confronted on two fronts. The fact that Belema’s father had caught us dancing in his living room or the fact that Belema’s father was too young to be called a father.
Belema laughed and introduced her father to me after she had introduced me to him. I maintained a calm composure and said a feeble “good afternoon sir” and he replied me with a smile and a firm voice. He told Belema to be mindful of how loud she raised the volume of the TV and asked her if she had done all her assignments.
“Daddy!! I’ll do it later nau. It’s Friday and I have the whole weekend. “
“That’s what you said last week Friday and I saw you trying to finish up your Math assignment on Monday morning in the car.”
“Daddy you know I don’t like Math. This one is Biology. It won’t take me anything.”
“If you say so. Have you offered your friend anything?”
“Yes Daddy and Fubara said she likes our house very much and wants to know if she can come anytime she likes?” Belema asked her father something I’d never mentioned and my mouth opened to protest. But her Dad replied before I could.
“Of course she can, but as long as dancing in the sitting room won’t be a recurrent activity.”
Belema laughed and agreed. I could only bow my head and admire the pretty marble floor.
We went to Belema’s room and she was already talking about something else when I was still wondering how she could be her father’s daughter. I didn’t know when I blurted out.
“How old is your dad?” she stopped talking, looked at my face to see how serious I was and then laughed for a few seconds.
“Why are you asking me that? He looks too young?”
“Have you seen my Dad?” was all I could ask her.
She laughed again.
“Yes, I’ve seen him. Hmm. I don’t like telling the story because sometimes I don’t understand it but the long and short of it is that he got a girl pregnant before he got admission to study in a university in America. My grandmother took care of me for 4 years before he returned and got his job and I began to live with him when I was 6 years old. He’s 32 years old now, I’m 14. I used to have a nanny come take of me until I turned 12 and told him I could take care of myself and the reason I don’t have a stepmom yet is because I don’t like any of the girls he’s brought home for dinner.” She said that last part with a stern face like she was in charge of her father’s life and had the power to dictate to him who he should or should not marry.
All I could say when she was done was “Wow.” Both of us not having mothers in our homes was one thing we shared in common but I never knew the true story about hers until then.
“Have you ever met your mom?” I asked.
“No, and I never want to meet her. Dad told me that he loved her and planned to have a long relationship with her but his admission came and she tried to use the pregnancy to tie him down so he wouldn’t leave because she knew if he left she would never see him again but as far as I’m concerned she was a gold-digger and used the pregnancy as leverage for my grandparents to pay her off with a lot of money. I’m right because she travelled to Ghana or somewhere I don’t know with the money and no one has seen her since then. She’s probably dead.”
After that day, I always looked forward to seeing Belema’s Dad whenever I went to her house. I always referred to him as ‘Sir’ whenever I greeted him until one day when he told me that I should say ‘Uncle Taribo’ instead.
It wasn’t long before I started to feel butterflies in my stomach towards Uncle Taribo. So much so that I thought about him a lot and even dreamt about him some nights. It didn’t feel right that I felt the way that I did towards my best friend’s dad but I saw so much in him that I wished my father had or could’ve had, I saw so much in him that I wanted in a potential boyfriend or future husband.
The more I spent time around Belema, the more my feelings for her father increased. It got so bad that I began to compare him to all the boys who came around me and wanted to be my boyfriends or just have their way with me. I never even considered any of them.
When I knew I was in deep trouble was when I began to think of a way in my head that I would let Uncle Taribo know that I wanted him to do to me all the things that I’d been imagining in my head when the both of us lay down naked on his big bed.
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