Sonia could never make her mind up what aspect of her visits to her Uncle Roland she hated the most. On the one hand there was the humiliation; on the other was the pain. Neither was pleasant, but as to which was the most unpleasant she just wasn’t sure. What she did know, however, was that she would gladly go without either aspect of her dreaded visits, and longed for the day when, at long last, she would be spared the attentions of her mother’s favourite brother.
As each year passed; as she grew more and more mature; more and more a young woman rather than a girl, Sonia told herself that soon — very soon — her fortnightly ‘sessions at uncle’s’ would cease. She had been telling herself this since she was sixteen and in her final year at school. Now, aged nineteen — and just two months away from her twentieth birthday — her visits were just as frequent and showed no signs of coming to an end. Of course, it used not to be as bad when she was younger — after all, having to don school uniform at the age of sixteen or seventeen was quite normal. Now — no longer a schoolgirl — she still had to put on a uniform of sorts — garments specially purchased by her uncle, which were ridiculously too small for her.
It was always the same when Sonia called at Uncle Roland’s — a ritual, if you like. There would be the question, ‘And how have you behaved this past two weeks, my girl?’, to which she would reply ‘Very well, Uncle’. Then he would state that that was not what her mother had told him. Then it would be, ‘Change into your uniform now, Sonia,’ and, reluctantly, she would follow his orders. Turning her back on him, she would divest herself of whatever she happened to be wearing at the time and, item by item, get into the tighter-than-tight outfit. She hated the blouse, for it made very obvious her ample young breasts, but this garment gave cause for nothing in the way of embarrassment when compared with the skirt. ‘Skirt’, in fact, didn’t describe it particularly well, for it — even when tugged down as far as it would go — didn’t even cover all of her white knickers.
Sonia’s uncle always began with two strokes to each of this niece’s palms with his eighteen-inch thick wooden ruler: one on the right, one on the left — then the right again; then the left. This never failed to bring about much rubbing under the armpits from the girl.
Then it would be, ‘Stand in the corner, Sonia,’ and she would have to put her hands on her head with her face to the wall, only too well aware of what she must be putting on display.
Five minutes in the corner — her palms sweaty and throbbing — then Sonia would be called into the centre of the room. During her time facing the wall, a kitchen stool would have been placed there, in the middle of the lounge, and it was this that she would be told to go over for the final — and by far the worst — part of her chastisement.
‘Over you go, Sonia,’ Uncle Roland would say, and, ever so reluctantly, she would carry out the instruction, tugging futilely at the hem of the grey pleated skirt. There wasn’t really any need for the back of the skirt to be lifted, as practically all of her beknickered bottom would already be on display. Nevertheless, the thin cotton garment would be turned back the inch or so necessary to put on show the entire seat of the white regulation school pants.
‘Right, my girl,’ ratty Roland would then say, ‘I think we’ll have these knickers down, shall we?’ And, inch by inch, the skin-tight pants would be tugged down over her mature bottom.
Bent over the stool, her hands grasping the bar on the far side, her plumpish pink bum on full display, Sonia would await the hiding. Quite often she would be kept waiting like this for up to ten full minutes, then, inevitably, the time for her bottom warming would arrive.
Grasping an old size-nine carpet slipper firmly in his right hand, Sonia’s uncle would position himself, judge his distance, take aim and then finally unleash the first of his niece’s many wallops.
There would be a pause of about half-a-minute between each stinging stroke as Uncle Roland built up the tempo. Sonia would jump and wriggle about on the stool as each wallop landed with a Whhupp! across her twitching and naked bottom. She would try her utmost not to let go of the bar as this would result in extra strokes. Try as she might, though, at some time during the proceedings, a hand would come back in an effort to defend her rump. ‘That’s one more,’ he would say as her hand returned to its proper place.
When the slippering had finished, Sonia would be told to get up and her uncle would — caring soul that he was — inspect her trembling bottom. ‘You’ll live,’ he’d exclaim and, with a pat on her right cheek, he would leave her to compose herself before changing back into her own clothes and joining him in the dining room for a refreshing glass of wine.
‘Be a good girl,’ he would tell her as she left for home, with Sonia aware that no matter whether she behaved or not in the ensuing fortnight, her next visit would be identical to her last.
Walking with some stiffness along the tree-lined roads on her way home, Sonia would tell herself that it was the pain that she hated the most… or possibly the humiliation.