'I Used To Love Her' Part I

She was 15 when she saw him again.

It was a hot sweltering beast of a Nigerian “summer” day...you know the kind...
No breeze.

Sticky. Humid.

Air so still, even a makeshift fan was useless...even the mosquitoes don't bother to make their usual rounds.
The kind of day that made you curse NEPA every 2 minutes while simultaneously trying to sleep away the hours, until it was your streets turn on the “power sharing” rota or until the gate-man put the gen on.

Whichever came first.

She was home alone; everyone else was outside playing in the large yard.
She was too irritable to join.
Besides, she was much older than them and Nnenna was meant to call any minute now.
There was that gist about Carl that was pending.
At least she had something to look forward to! She grumbled to herself as she turned over on her back.

She spread herself some more on the floor of the TV room where she lay, willing a breeze to come through. She’d pulled her top up a little and unbuttoned her jeans so she could fan her tummy.

“mmsssssscccchhhheeeewwwww!” she hissed at the ineffectiveness of the effort.

After a few minutes though, luckily she dozed off.


“I don't think anyone’s home” a rumbling male voice
“let’s go upstairs and see” a female voice

She stirred but didn't wake.

“Hello?” Called the deep male voice
“Oops! I think she’s fast asleep” whispered the female
The male voice chuckled and then its owner nudged her.
She woke up opening one eye, sitting up on one elbow she started to work herself up to lay into the idiot who had dared to wake her!
“Are you mad??! Oh!” she yanked down her top and grabbed at her jeans zipper.

Oh shiiiiit! oh shit shit shit!” she thought cringing as she scrambled up off the floor.

The strange guy looked amused while his equally strange female companion looked at her with pity, nudging the guy, who was openly chuckling by now, to stop.
She narrowed her eyes, deciding on the spot that she disliked them both, ‘strange guy’ a little more than ‘strange female’.
“Ok, so I’m guessing your mum isn’t home right?” the guy said
She looked at the clock that said 2.30pm and gave him a look that said “uh, d-uh??”
“No she isn’t” she said in a polite almost bored voice.
“You’re Chetana...“Tana” right?” he said
She looked at him suspiciously; “yeah..?”
“You don't remember me do you? I’m your cousin Osaretin? Osa? Uncle Osa? Though I think you’re probably too old to call me that anymore.” Grin “This is my girlfriend Lucy.”
Lucy smiled. She was not bad looking.
Tana smiled (grimaced) back.

Tana looked at Osa...Uncle Osa...Uncle Osa...Uncle Osa! who was supposed to be in Ekpoma University or was it Uniben?

Well whatever.

“Oh right...I remember you” she replied, this time sounding really bored “since mum is still at work, I’ll tell her you came by?”
Osa looked at Tana amused “You haven't changed much, have you? Last time I saw you, you were 10 and had just started “spitting fire”. How old are you now? 14? In...um...JSS3?”
Tana stopped herself from rolling her eyes just at the LAST minute “15 and SS2” she said with a little toss of her head.
Osa grinned hugely at that “yup...still spitting fire...but all grown up and beautiful with it.”
Tana blinked, cut off guard “th..thank you..” she mumbled blushing

A hot Uni guy just told her she was beautiful!! Nnenna must hear this ooooooo!

Lucy shifted a little, indicating she was ready to go.
“So tell your mum I stopped by to say hello to her. I’m in Lagos staying with my sis here in Ikoyi for a while so I’ll be by to see her later” Osa said as he led Lucy down the stairs with his hand on the small of her back.
Tana grunted an ok.
As Lucy walked out the front door, Osa turned and gave Tana a look and said; “see you later Fire cat
Tana shut the door and took the stairs back up 2 at a time to get to the phone.


Uncle Osa or Osa as he preferred to be called came by later that evening.
Tana ignored him.
Tana’s mum was very pleased to see her cousin’s son again.
Tana ignored him.
He had dinner at their house and stayed till Tana’s dad came home so he could say hello.
Tana ignored him.
He and Tana’s younger bro, Tobe, got into football chatter and it was quite late when Osa finally left for his sister’s house a few streets away.
Tana was secretly sad he had to go.

Apparently Osa’s university was on strike indefinitely and as a result he became a regular fixture around their house over the next few months.
He’d call ahead on the land line then come over, usually when Tana’s dad wasn’t home...for some reason, Osa felt he needed to keep his interaction with the Old man to the minimum.
Tana & Osa became quite close.
He eventually apologised for walking in on her and embarrassing her like he did and laughing about it too!
He became the big brother Tana, being the first, had never had. He gave her “expo” on guys, told her about all their tricks.
He told her about the games he was running with other chicks besides Lucy, although he swore she was always his number one.
He ate the result of Tana’s first attempt at making stew...all watery and peppery but he ate it with relish.
He would come over almost every night to give them gist and teach her to cook stew properly .He would crash on their couch when Tana’s parents were away as his sister’s husband was giving him a hard time.
His school eventually resumed after almost 10months and he went off, but would come back to Lagos on holidays and in betweens i.e. more strikes.
Tana realised as she got older that she’d always been attracted to Osa on some level, but she put it down to a teenage crush and got over it...she tried very hard.

Tana got very used to Osa.
Tana got very used to all her friends crushing on Osa.
Tana got very used to his deep drawling voice.
She got used to asking his opinion and advice on many things.
She got used to sounding off to him about her parents when they made her mad.
She talked to him about school issues.
He was the one she told about her first boyfriend.
She confided in him when she had sex for the first time, crying about how awful it was and how guilty she felt.
He told her not to worry; it would DEFINITELY get better: the sex AND the guilt.
He said all the right things.
He told her off at the right time.
And he especially taught her to be smart with her body and her heart.

Then one day Osa came to Lagos and said he’d finished uni but would be moving finally to Abuja.
Tana’s heart broke a little...but she was old enough to know he had to go.
She was in her 2nd yr at uni.
They hugged tightly after she walked him to his car.
“I’ll miss you fire cat”
Tana struggled not to cry holding him tighter.
Osa pulled back and smoothed her hair away from her face “We’ll talk on the phone...ah-ah! You wan cry?” he asked softly “don't cry babygirl...”
He looked at her and dipped his head towards Tana.

Everything changed.

Tana jumped back as if she’d been burned.
Osa shoved his hands deep in his pockets and stepped back.
“I’ll call you from Abuja” he said tightly as he opened the car.
“Ok...” Tana croaked smoothing her denim skirt over her hips, picking at invisible lint “bye!” and she turned and ran into the house.
She heard the car squeal off as she shut the door.
She leaned against it breathing hard “what the hell just happened???”
She knew he would not call.

to be continued....