With Austin Imoru
IT was a black night. The sky refused to spark with its usual flames, the moon lost its glory, the stars were cold and spit no colour. It was a night of thunder. The clouds were sad and ready to pour down rivers of tears. It was a night made alive in my soul forever.
The thunders came clashing, at first, it was like the rains it herald will spilt the earth in two. But there was no rain, it was all thunders. Thunders in a night full of nightmares. My nightmares, terrible tales I have dreamt of since I first heard about my hometown. Dark tales created out of my own fear. Lines I could trace but couldn’t see the end. whether it be tragic or comic. However the beginning is nothing but nightmare.
It was my first time in my hometown. It was an experience drawn out of a fairy tale. The rustic environment, the landscape, the trees, the streams, which I particularly fell in love with, my grandfather and many other things, I can’t express in writing. My hometown was an island drawn out of a picnic pleasure I thought could only exist in a fairy tale. I could live here all my life and dam the noisy city. But there was something else that turned my little paradise into a nightmare, my first cousin. Timothy.
His family lived in Warri, while mine lived in Kaduna. They came home too for the Christmas. Only that they arrived before we did. When I first set my eyes on him. I knew I was in big trouble. He was the first man that caught my breath hanging on my throat. couldn’t take my eyes off him. And as if the same force was working on him, he kept starring at me, which made me very uncomfortable.
I discovered later that he was three years older than me. He was nineteen while I was sixteen. Timmy as he was fondly called was the first son of my Aunt. who was the only person I knew in my Dad’s family since she had once visited us in Kaduna. Timmy sought for every opportunity to sit close to me. And each time he did I have this obnoxious feeling that I will etherise my virginity to this captivating cousin of mine. I knew incest was a grave sin but I couldn’t help it. The powers that exude from his body were bigger than me.
It was obvious, Timmy was in love with me from the first day. but what I didn’t realise was that my attraction to him was written on my face too, I tried to fight the ugly feeling but I was helpless.
If I had only confided in an adult maybe I would have been saved from this horrible night of thunders. But who would have listened to me? Mum was certainly not the type to talk to. Dad would have laugh and told me my feeling were part of my growing up. Aunty Kate (my mum’s younger sister) would have sounded the alarm, bringing the entire family together to come and hear my sinful thoughts. There was really nobody to talk to. I was all-alone with my lustful thoughts.
I resolved to prayers, praying that Timmy should not take his plans to the next level as he like touching me. particularly on the wrong places. I avoided being alone with him. Each time we happened to be alone. I will gather every strength in me to get out of that place. Then came the night of thunders.
It was a cold dull night. unlike other nights in the village when the moon flirts in its splendour. On normal December nights, the moon in my hometown is so full that one will almost think that it was drawn closer by magic because it seemed twice it usual size. Well. this night was different. The sinister darkness seemed to speak the inevitable to my skin Somehow I could tell sometime was going to go wrong that night.
All I can remember now is the thunder, the gentle push on my grandmas woody door, the room my younger brother and I slept on. I can still remember how my younger brother slips out of the room as if acting out a plan and disappeared into the main house, I was scared My parents were in the main house. I couldn’t tell the where about of grandma. who alone lived in the small adjoining little house to the main house we (my younger brother and I had to share her little house with her to keep her happy.
My fear was not that of the darkness but of not knowing where grandma was. Grandma was certainly not in the little house. Just as I was getting a little bit used to the nights of thunders, the worse happened. I could still remember every sound of that thunderous night void of rain as if it happened a moment ago. Each time I remembered, a cold shiver runs down my spine.
After my younger brother left the room, a cold breeze started penetrating through the old door into the room. I knew the old door wasn’t lock but wasn’t ready to go and bolt it, beside grandma might come in anytime. Another thought kind of played in my mind, what if Timmy choose this night to hatch his plans. As if to answer my thoughts, the breeze blew the old door wide open, no it wasn’t the breeze. Someone bigger than my little brother was squeezing himself into the room: I wanted to shout for help or asked aloud who that was when I heard his voice.
Felly are you sleeping?’ he asked.
I kept very still, pretending to be fast asleep. I never wanted him to touch me. I wanted him to go away. I knew how vulnerable I was at the time coupled with my feelings for him I wanted him to go away. But he walked closer to the bed where I laid. I could hear his footsteps. even now and his cologne was quite suppressing. God please let him not touch me I prayed silently.
Felly, it is me Timmy, I just want us to play a little’ he breathed the words into my ear. 1 know you like me. Felly, I like you too. We can play, you see no harm to it’.
I turned on my bed still pretending to be under the influence of a deep lethargic sleep, while using my hand to tell him to go away. My mouth couldn’t say the words. I guess that was my final mistake. Instead of him to go he slide into the bed with me. I felt him behind me and that was all I knew.
It is terrible to say but I was deflowered by my cousin, in my grand mother’s old bed. What is there to say? That I liked it or that I hated it and I have never quite forgiven myself for being so stupid. And the worst was that he almost did it again while we were alone in the orchard at the end of grandpa’s garden behind the house. That happened long ago. almost 2O years ago I am married now with two kids but each time there is thunder I still see myself on that sinful bed. How can I make this guilt go away?