>> Wednesday, May 13, 2009
THE DAY EVERYTHING CHANGED...
He never knew who was to betray him. He never knew that generosity was a trait frowned upon by those he surrounded himself with. Let alone did he know the true agenda of those closest to him.
C was a handsome young man, a Nigerian working and living in Cameroon. He got married young and lived happily in his marriage to U. They looked like the perfect happy couple. The kind that finishes each others sentences and knows what the other one is thinking. She was beautiful, he was elegant. They both carried their afros and wore flare pants with platform shoes, enjoying the thriving newly independent Africa.He had a successful, growing business, and kept on travelling back and forth between Nigeria and Cameroon, bringing goods. He had moved there at a young age with his mother to escape the Biafran war.He brought U with him as soon as they got married. They had their first child in the late 70s, a beautiful baby girl. It didn’t take long till they had a baby boy, followed by two more boys a couple of years later, and then another baby girl.
As C grew more powerful in the community, he became a figure people looked up to. He became the generous person anyone could come to for help, for assistance or a place to sleep. C had taken in his younger brother, A, to stay with them, along with some other younger cousins A was just starting up his business and didn’t have much money to live by, so no other thing was logical for a big brother to do. C built a house in his village in Nigeria, along with the house they stayed at in Cameroon. He bought a motorcycle. He loved taking his oldest boy, B, for rides on that motorcycle. Letting his small hands hold the steering, listening to his giggles.
Their life as a family was blissful. He loved all his children, so the day his oldest daughter and firstborn got sick, he was heartbroken. They had no idea what her sickness was. The doctors tried everything. Nothing was to help her. It went so fast. She died at the tender age of 9.Young B didn’t understand. His parents wouldn’t tell him what happened. He only knew his big sister was gone. He missed her. His family sister had moved in with them and started taking care of him. He had never seen his parents so troubled before.After 6 months, things seemed to get back on the norm. They were back into the routines and his mother didn’t cry every day. Just sometimes...One day, young B had just gotten home from playing football with the other boys on the beach. He was 6 years old. Being the oldest in the house, his mother was busy with his younger siblings. She asked him to help her ground some eguzi. After washing and shining his canvas, he got to it. He started humming a song, thinking about how delicious his mother’s soup would be, excited about dinner time. Suddenly he heard the sound of women’s screams outside. His mother ran out in the yard to see what all the fuss was about. She had a worrying look in her eyes. B ran after her to the door to see what was happening. One woman came running to his mother, grabbing her hands, crying, she said: “C got stabbed! Someone stabbed him! He is hurt in the chest and the abdomen! Oh God! Go to him! Go to him! They don’t know who did it!”B didn’t understand anything at all. He wanted to run to his mother, but one of the other women came to hold him back. He did not see her again that day.
Five days later
B had a lump in his throat ever since that day.He had only been taken to see his father in the hospital once. All he knew is that his dad was really sick. He knew that for sure. He had never seen his mother that worried before. She couldn’t even talk to him. What was going on? Wasn't his father going to come back either, just like his older sister?His family sister was taking care of him, and he was taking care of his little brothers. His mother had strictly told him to stay at home and be careful. A difficult thing for a young boy to do. He was so eager for his father to come home and for everything to go back to normal. So he could go out and play again. Go to the forest and build traps for the birds, only to release them again. Play football on the beach till sunset. His home was filled with peace and love, now there was only an atmosphere filled with uncertainty and dread hovering over them all.He was sitting outside the house, carving on a piece of wood. He loved creating and building things. He saw two of the local women walking up towards the house. Their eyes were fixed on the ground, with a troubled wrinkle between their eyebrows. His heart dropped to his stomach. He knew something wasn’t right. His family sister came out to greet them, and made sure to stand far enough away from him so he couldn’t hear. It didn’t take long before she turned around with an even more troubled look on her face. “B…”
He didn’t want to hear it.
He kept on carving on his piece of wood. “B..listen to me..” He kept on looking at his hand moving up and down, slicing thin pieces of wood off the log, heart throbbing. “B, your father is gone. We have to go to the hospital. Now."