That night, Uchena would be too enchanted, too drawn by her magic without knowing it. The spell won’t wear off until he is atop her, too eager. When the enchanting young face suddenly flips to the angry mother of the girl he raped ten years before he married his thin, lifeless wife, he would scream. The fairly old woman would laugh wickedly. Trapped by her magic, Uchena would struggle to pull out of her, to run.
Failing, his screams would tear the night, his fears finding their pitch.
It would not have happened if the girl wasn’t fifteen, too close to sweet Uncle Uchena. It would not have happened if he hadn’t, of all people, welcomed her into womanhood, buying her sanitary pads. It would not have happened if Uchena knew the girl’s father liked vengeance, that something within him flickered at the sight of fresh blood. A thrilling, soothing feel.
It would not have happened if he knew the girl’s mother, despite her marriage to an assistant pastor, had rubbed juju between her daughter’s thighs at an early age. When she rubbed it, she spat incantations cursing any illegitimate man who tried to force his way into her daughter. If such a man locked his thighs against hers, his penis would freeze and he would be unable to pull out of her until a witness caught him red-handed.
It would not have happened if Uncle Uchena ever imagined this happening to him, that the moment he was about to spill, the girl’s father, who had been watching through the keyhole, hearing the grief-filled moans of his daughter, and Uchena’s husky breaths of pleasure, would barge in with a cutlass and cut.
The year Uchena turned fifteen, his parents enrolled him in a Christian school, Glorious Salvation School, so his life would not be a glorious sin like theirs. Here, ‘Wisdom is the principal thing’ was actually the Principal’s thing, a daily message the students never missed. Uchena wasn’t known as a bad boy or a good one either. He wasn’t the kind of boy who wasted allowances on watches and clothes to impress girls he wished to be naked with. He was not among the Holy Boys League either– the group of boys who were so holy that if a girl fell into a gutter, they wouldn’t pull her up. Instead, they would shout at a girl close by to help.
Uchena was a dreamer, never taking any action but fantasizing. Sometimes he squeezed his nipple, imagining it was someone else’s. He did not shave the hair between his legs because he imagined that one day, a woman would finally love him and playfully tug its strands.
Secretly, during long, tiring classes like Biology, Uchena drowned in his fantasies. Fighting the juicy passion altering his brain circuit, he often rushed to the toilet, his hands shielding his crotch. Once the soothing feeling of assured privacy seeped into him, he dragged his zip down hastily as though he were fighting, as if zips questioned strength. He would begin a journey into a private kind of white: to squeeze his nipple, to stroke his penis, craving the sweet, strong feeling. He would wait, then cup it, watching it relax slightly and then harden.
It would not have happened if the fifteen-year-old girl hadn’t trusted him. Uchena was her father’s brother and she trusted him too deeply. Uchena did not punish like her parents, inhuman disciplinarians who, whenever she had wronged them, lit fire under the girl’s hands and dared her to drop them, her knees kissing the slippery floor. Unlike them, Uchena spent a great deal of his fair salary buying fanny packs and jewelry she showed off at school. Unlike them, Uchena showered her with compliments, always staring at her breasts as he spoke.
It would not have happened if the fifteen-year-old girl hadn’t trusted him. She confided in him, pausing the movie they were watching. She had started bleeding strangely, she said.
Uncle Uchena was the only person she considered telling. She had been too afraid to tell her spark of a mother and hid the bloodied sheets beneath her damp bed. She definitely did not try her father. It would be too heavy an occurrence to share, too awkward a way to bridge the decade-long distance between them. She deftly maintained a tiptoe relationship with him. ‘Daddy this is the school bill.’ ‘Daddy, food is ready.’ There was no significant thread connecting her to her father, no strand of love. It was all a game of eternal avoidance, a desire to evade as much trouble as much as possible. Father was a moneymaker, too away chasing it, too reluctant to spend it on the family but eager to flaunt, to impress as many outsiders as possible.
It would not have happened if her father had been like that, if Uncle Uchena hadn’t seemed the only comfortable option. She trusted him deeply. It would not have happened if he hadn’t welcomed her into womanhood, buying her sanitary pads. It would not have happened if Uncle Uchena hadn’t forced her to let him watch her wear them. It would not have happened if Uncle Uchena knew all the lights in the girl’s head began twinkling to life at that point. It all began to flash: how he had grown the habit of eagerly staring at her chest since she was eleven, how he spun her and then clung to her waist unusually longer than all other children when she was younger, how he always insisted she sat on his laps. It all began to flash: Uchena had pink lips he was always licking and a yellowish hue in his eye that turned red whenever he was angry or excited. With skin the colour of burnt plantains and two big lumps on his temple as though God slammed him with a hammer at birth, his hands were often on his crotch. Scratching, clutching, stroking, cupping. Anything that left his mouth sounded like sex.
Despite these flashes, these sudden growing twirl of suspicions, the girl still trusted him. It would not have happened if she didn’t. It would not have happened if she didn’t continue inviting him to watch movies at her house.
Uchena had slipped too deeply into one of his fantasies. They filled the tiny frame of his mind like large airy balloons. Soon, they popped. For months, he had been masturbating with the girl’s nude picture in mind. On that afternoon, right from the minute she opened the gate, from the moment her trust flashed in her smile, he began to plan. Fighting the juicy passion, he pretended to innocently watch the movie with her, suppressing his urges, unconsciously clenching his teeth. Soon, he noticed the awkward and silent feel of the house. He asked the girl if her parents were around.
‘No, they went out. They won’t be back until evening.’
Uchena licked his lips, suddenly stripping himself of all control, stripping the girl’s clothes and her innocence on the sitting room couch. She screamed and screamed, begging for chance to bring her father’s face.
A key jiggled. Sunlight flooded Uchena’s sweaty frame and the shivering girl. The girl’s mother looked at him wickedly, thinking of what to do to destroy Uchena. She cooled down when she remembered the juju she had rubbed between her daughter’s thighs years ago. She laughed wickedly, recalling the incantations. The girl’s father, enraged, grabbed a cutlass and chopped off three of Uchena’s fingers.
It would not have happened if Uchena knew that the girl’s father, his blood brother, could cut him. It would not have happened if he knew the mother had seen all beforehand, that she was secretly a witch despite her marriage to an assistant pastor. She had seen all the dirty images Uchena conjured of her daughter in his pervert mind and swore over one of his pictures that if he dared break the girl’s hymen, his thing would irrevocably itch forever and lose potency.
It would not have happened if Uchena remembered he was thirty and his mother badly wanted news of a bride and not incest. It would not have happened if Uchena knew what would happen. Ten years later, forty, finally married, he would be childless. His marriage would weaken into a long tiring sigh, his mother, a fiery exhausting influence. It would not have happened if Uchena ever imagined the concoctions his mother would force down his wife’s throat. Tree barks, camphor, cloves, alligator pepper, cow nonsense and mysterious herbs soaked in a dank fluid. It would not have happened if Uchena imagined the endless streams of quarrels, how this childlessness would continue for a decade, how his mother would bring him a new wife one night.
The night would plague Uchena’s wife forever, forced to accept the prospect of sharing Uchena. Uchena’s dramatic mother, too eager to have a grandchild, would bring a hypnotist woman she liked into her unfortunate son’s house to ‘help’ him.
On that night, Uchena, subdued by magic, would not begin his usual tirade on how he loved his wife too deeply to explore another woman’s thighs. Uchena would surprise his wife that night, spewing out reject, telling her to pack her things. Uchena, unable to identify the strong current sweeping him, the magic of the strange woman, would be enchanted without knowing it. He would touch the witch’s young sweet face, showering her with words he never told his wife.
His wife would lose her face to tears. Uchena’s mother would flood her with insults. “This is his new fruitful wife, carry your wasted barren self out. Didn’t you hear Uchena?”
Though big in the places where she should be small and small in places where she should be big, Uchena’s loins would grow hot with lust for the strange woman. The spell won’t wear off until he is atop her. When the enchanting young face suddenly flips to the angry mother of the girl he raped ten years before he married his thin, lifeless wife, he would scream. The woman would laugh wickedly. Trapped by her magic, Uchena would struggle to pull out of her and run. Failing, his thing would disappear.
Screams tearing the night, Uchena’s fears would find their pitch.
© Ife Olatona