“I was born and brought up in the remote ghetto of this enugu.
I was the the first child in a family of two kids”.
My head was resting in my hands, eyes transfixed on Amanda as she relayed her story to me.
Her eyes had lost it’s usual spark and now wore a blank look but still bore a dim glow and she continued.
“the second child was okechukwu. My father was a retired civil servant and he took to carpentry after he retired to help meet ends need.
My mother was a petty trader who had a small stall in front of our yard.
I was in senior secondary school one (S.S.1) while okechukwu was in Junior secondary two(J.S.S.2).
my father slipped into a very severe drinking habbit, always spending the greater percent of the day in a local gin bar, coming home each night dead drunk.
I had no hope of entering into the university if i happen to finish my secondary education due to my father’s inability to meet up even money for food talk more of paying my tuition for university.
A year later, okechukwu fell sick and was rushed to the hospital.
the doctor refused to operate on him unless we come up with an initial deposit of a #100,000.
My mother desperately ran around, selling everything that could fetch even the least triple figured digit.
All her wrappers, jewelries and anything she could spare.
My father also borrowed from his friends and relations but okechukwu died a week later after the surgery due to unknown complications.
It was a devastating blow to our family, my father’s drunk habit intensified.
He now spent over time drinking and chasing after women.
My mother and i tried kept doing all we could to sustain the family. i took work anywhere i could find it, even serving mason.
My father died 2years after okechukwu due to heart failure. then i was through with my secondary education. Life became a hidden hell for i and my mother.
Being the only two survivors of our family, mother was traumatized by the death of both okechukwu and my father.
Being a very beautiful girl, men trooped to our house to ask for my hands in marriage. “Mother always maintained i was too young for marriage” but i on the other hand had vowed within me to change the situation of my family and none of those men, met up with what i had in mind.
I started making moi-moi, taking them to I.M.T to sell, which coincidentally was the same school you started your tertiary education” She forced out a light chuckle.
I smiled hard with a loud sigh.
“Yes go on” I said looking blankly into her face.
and she continued.
“That was where i met sharon, She was a student in the school.
She saw me when she came to the spot i stayed while i sold my moi-moi, she came with a friend who wanted to buy moi-moi.
She started up a discussion with me, established a friendly bond between us and i told her my story.
She said she would help me.
Sharon’s aura oozed of money and comfortability.
she told me she was the one seeing herself through her tertiary education.
I envied her achievements, a girl of not up to 21 comfortably shouldering the responsibility for her education. i resolved within me to do all i can to finish my education.
With Sharon’s help i got admission into I.M.T, and sharon introduced me to the world of runs.
She got deals for me all around the nation, and we often went together.
The pay was good and i was able to pay for my school fees without a hitch, upgraded my mother’s standard of living.
But within me i wasn’t comfortable with the job, i just did what i thought i had to do to survive.
I met your dad during my final year, sharon too got me the deal. he was very good to me and he was the one that stopped me from being a runs girl, he placed me on an allowance and took care of my school bills.
He had told me about his late wife and his about you and Jessy. It somehow reminded me of my own family.
A year later after i finished with my National Youth service. He proposed to me and i accepted.
I convinced my mother and she too consented, and that was how i came to your family”.
My face blanked out, my throat locked that no words could escape.
Amanda became noticeably very quiet, her face tilted to the floor mopping at nothing i could really place.
“Mr Johny, Your father has regained consciousness” I had a strong baritone voice ring out jolting me out of the chasm the story created in my mind.
Turning my gaze to the direction of the voice, the doctor stood with an oversized lab coat.
He was a short stout man probably in his late 50’s.
The situation registered back in my mind. Papa have been unconscious for 3days now, but he’s finally awake.
..To be Continued..
Papa was discharged 2weeks later leaving him with bandages on both his ankles and knees having severed his limbs in the accident with little patches here and there on his face and hands.
The doctor have given us a ton of medicines for papa’s daily use and will be coming from time to time to check on his progress.
Getting home i helped papa into a chair. papa look more feeble now, his skin looked somewhat darker and his face seemed like it was getting older.
Their is nothing i hate more than seeing my papa this way. Jessy on her own part nearly died the day of the accident. * * *
“Sky what did you say happened to papa” she shrieked immediately i dropped the call.
Her eyes glowed with tearful sparkle, Her hands dropped stiff betraying the frightening horror that surged within.
Chioma’s mouth fell agape her gazes focusing towards me and Jessy at interval.
“What did you say happened”? Amanda questioned like she didn’t hear me the first time, her face wearing a look of uncertainty.
“The number that just called now said papa was involved in a motor accident” the words was saying me more than i was saying it. cold tears already formed at the back of my head.
Jessy’s shrieking scream startled everyone in the room as she came crashing down with a loud thud breaking into a resounding loud cry with the words
“my papa is dead” Flying out of her mouth.
Which sent a piercing scare into me.
We rushed down to the scene of the accident met only with the view of what could be called Papa’s car. The black chases of black toyota avalon were reduced to a crumbled piece of metal.
The white hilux it crashed into was also in a bad shape. Wonder how anyone could possibly survive that.
Amanda was the first to break down in tears as we were shown a visual of papa through a transparent glass window demarcating the emergency casualty unit.
All we could make out was a team of doctors surrounded by a stream nurses as they worked and tried to revive two unconscious bodies covered in blood and wounds.
Nurses running aimlessly around in their annoying habit, some would come out of the unit and zoom past us paying deaf ears to our desperate questions we riddled her with, only to zoom back again with nothing tangible in hand. *keep wondering what she went to bring*
Identifying papa was almost impossible from the two unconscious figures being worked on, their faces being covered in blood and bruises.
Jessy already rushed into the changing room, jumped into a light green theater coat and other kits gaining access into the casualty room with her Identity card.
Watched as Jessy joined the doctors on their work, turning back every now and then to cast a gloomy look at me through the glass.
If ever their was a time i was proudest of Jessy being a doctor, it was today.
And am sure papa will be too, this was the kind of situation you’d be thankful you have a doctor in the family.
* * *
“Am still wondering how a brake my mechanic fixed, failed one week after” Papa addressed me raising an eye brow as i guided him to a cushion in the sitting room on getting home after his discharge.
“Papa these things happen, besides your driver is on leave” I countered, “just be thankful you survived”.
“Am sure what am saying Nnam, that brake was in perfect shape, something must have tampered with it” Papa aired out wincing while he raised himself a bit to seat up.
“Eheee Nnam, this accident made me think about many things, one of them being that i have not seen your child so am not supposed to die now” Papa blurted out with a funny but yet serious face.
“Haaa papa, you should concentrate on getting better, my marriage is not relevant now” I chuckled out trying to discard the topic and my surprise.
“Nnam i know what am saying, you are my only son and i need to see your grand children soon” it wasn’t so surprising he insisted being a very strong willed man as i can recall.
Amanda walked pass the sitting room clutching papa’s hospital provisions in a black polythene, she had been just right on the door when papa raised the topic of my marriage.
Throwing a slight wink at me with a smile that pushed her lips to the right side of her mouth, she swayed pass us disappearing up stairs.
“Ok papa i will look into it” I said partly to close the topic but part of me was serious about it.
But deep within me, Papa’s suspicion that someone might have tampered the brakes haunted me.
..To be Continued.
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