Thursday, February 3, 2011
LUCKY GOOD LUCK
Your mother had finally given up to the cancer cells that had eaten her blood cells and cervix for five years. When Ikenna your five year old brother asked you what had happened to her, you told him that she had gone to meet your dad so they could be happy together forever. The poor five year old boy had no idea what you really meant by this but he burst into a loud cry when he tried waking your mother up and she didn’t respond. You held him in your arms, rocking him and consoling him while you did.
You remembered how she stared at you with a smile earlier that evening as she sat on a low stool in the kitchen with her back rested on the wall. She usually came into the kitchen every evening to keep you company and whenever she did she sat on that same low stool with her back rested on the wall. You held her cold palms in yours which were warmer and rubbed your fingers on the back of her palms. You sobbed silently while you did, murmuring both prayers and ordinary words.
You also remembered her last words and how she called your name softly while she said, “Isioma, be strong when I’m gone. Take good care of yourself and your brother and make sure you thread the right path no matter what”. Although you barely heard most of what she said that evening, you knew exactly what it was she might have said because she had recited the same lines to you over five times that week. You had imagined that she would die lying on her bed, comfortable and peaceful. That evening she left her wheelchair and crawled to the kitchen to meet you, she died. The anger the filled you heart later that evening as you thought it through was enormous. You were furious that she betrayed that one fantasy of yours. Furious that she made herself suffer a long crawl to the kitchen all because she wanted to keep you company. You wanted to hate her for letting herself die that way but you couldn’t.
You couldn’t even if you tried because you loved her way too much.
You blamed yourself for not taking her back to bed to rest immediately. You blamed the doctors for her death. If only they had researched well and found a cure for cervical cancer, your mother would still be alive. She would have lived. You even blamed God for not giving her the miracle she prayed for.
Your mother’s funeral came and went and her grave was dug beside that of your dad. Their tomb stones were exactly the same. Throughout the burial, you wondered how life as an orphan would be. You thought it would suck so much that you would one day wish to be dead too. You were only sixteen years old and you had a five year old brother to look after.
Your father’s older brother took you and your brother in so you had to leave your house in Lagos and move into his house in Asokoro, Abuja. Micheal is his name but you and your brother called him Uncle Mikey. You never really liked the slow and quiet life in Abuja but you had to settle down and get used to that life as you would be staying there for a really long time. Your new school wasn’t exactly bad and the new friends you had made were equally nice people. Life didn’t give you many reasons to miss you parents but you did. When you went to bed, you couldn’t sleep till you had cried yourself to it.
At school, your friends told your you were lucky and blessed to have an Uncle who took you in as a daughter and gave you a chance to continue the good education you enjoyed while your parents where alive. You understood what they meant because you had read stories of people who were turned to slaves by the families that adopted them after their parents died.
You soon started to learn to be happy and comfortable with your new life but your night rituals continued. Your pillow continued to drain your tears and you never stopped seeing your parents in your dreams. You were both willing to live and willing to die. Your name Isioma which means good luck manifested in your life but your parents didn’t share in it. You spent a better part of the year grieving over your parents’ death and ignoring your brother Ikenna who needed your attention and care
One morning, your Uncle called out for morning prayers. Everyone else showed up except you. Your aunty came into your room to wake you up but found you cold-stiff and pale in bed. You had gone to bed the night before complaining that you had a slight headache. Headaches were usual so you took a pill and went to bed. The pill sure did work too much because it took care of both the pain and your life. Both left by morning. Your lifeless body was wheeled to the hospital where the doctor confirmed you dead before they took your remains to the mortuary.