A September To Remember
It was a beautiful week of fun, giggles, big grin, cameras and photographs.
You were in high spirits, getting ready for the day. There was a social activity going on in your college that for once in a lifetime meant something to you. You couldn’t miss it for anything in the world. You dressed really well and catchy. Nobody can match this awesomeness. The excitement was something else and unusual (that can’t be you on a normal day, Monday for that matter!). It was a good thing anyway. Oh, not to mention you had your birthday just the week before. The big 22! How refreshing.
So, in the spirit of good vibes, you locked your anxiety in a box and made a grand entry into another week of awesomeness! You played dress up really well, too. You were having the time of your life just before it came crashing down on your shoulders .
All these while though, your mind has been wandering through different scenarios. You tried to keep it fixed on positive things only.
You couldn’t deal with the thought of your mother not picking nor returning your calls for three consecutive days. They made you believe she was fast asleep after taking her last injection for every time you dialed her number — so much for bad timing.
You have been extremely worried since the last time you saw her lying on the hospital bed. Tears filled your eyes. She was so sick you couldn’t bear the sight of her pain. As much as you hate the smell of hospitals, you also hated yourself for not being there most of the time by her side, praying at least. You hated how she masked her pain in those weak beautiful eyes of hers just to make everyone feel better and go about their businesses. She had this habit of taking care of people and shy away from it when it was time to return the kindness, “don’t worry jare, I’m fine,” she would say.
A tad uncomfortable about not hearing from her at all, you called your father and he gave you a slight ray of hope. “All is well my dear, we’re taking her to a better hospital by Friday,” he said. A deep sigh of relief followed after that. Thank God.
The week went slow and smooth.
This happens to be your favourite day on school days, it came with the early morning sun shining through the rugged and broken window of your room in the girls hostel. It was filled with expectations and excitement roaming in the air like the smell of yam and egg sauce coming from the kitchen . What a great way to begin the day.
And just like every other day; the repeated routine of bathing, dressing up while finding something to munch on at the same time, because the stress and hunger that comes after one period of boring lectures hits harder than ulcer, continues. You were dressed to impress and nothing less. More pictures for the gram, of course.
Yet another day, having the time of your life, just before it came crashing down on your shoulders.
Everything felt different and kind of awkward. The morning sun didn’t wake you up. You beat it’s timing and woke up before it came out from hiding. There was no expectation, no excitement. The air smelt like oatmeal made with cold water. Something is definitely not right. You ignored the feeling and went ahead with your daily routine. You didn’t bother to eat because some days are like that, so you thought. You weren’t dressed to impress — you were just you in a navy blue chiffon top and black pants that made your bow legs look more attractive. You headed for the first bus around 6:15 a.m. Got to school much earlier than usual. There was a struggle to go for the morning prayers, your mind was in a fix.
You went online to keep your mind busy. A message popped up from an unknown number.
“I heard what happened, please take heart”.
“Excuse me, what now? I don’t understand, what do you mean?”
“oh so sorry, wrong number.”
Your heart was beating so fast, your brain started assessing different things at the same time. Just before you went offline, you saw your aunty’s whatsapp status which read, “September why me?”
okay what’s going on? you muttered to yourself. At this point your heart was racing faster than normal. You replied to the status, “What happened na?”
“nothing my dear, just thinking about stuff”.
That wasn’t convincing enough. You had to clear this unsettling feeling in the air and stop the race going on in your chest, so you called your siblings at home with sleepy tones they all answered “no, we haven’t called yet.”
Still not satisfied, you called your aunty who has been by your mother’s hospital bed since she was admitted.
“Hello, good morning ma.”
“Good morning, how are you?”
“I’m fine thank you, ma. Please I’ve been trying to reach mummy for some days now but she’s not picking nor returning my calls.”
“Eh, she has not been able to talk. The doctor just gave her injections and she’s sleeping, when she’s awake you can call to speak with her”
“Okay. What time should I call back?”
“Let’s say by 9/10 a.m.”
“Okay, thank you. Bye.”
You exhaled a deep breath. Your brain finally paused for a second in all that very short moment of extreme confusion. Without any conflicts in your head, you made a decision to go for the morning prayers. It was about 7:15 a.m, not too late.
You prayed. You poured your heart out to God. You cried(if only you knew). You begged God to heal your mother — you begged him genuinely and whole hearted than the previous times. It is finished.
Prayers were done and you headed back to class with a heavy chest. “Lord Jesus, please what’s happening to me?”
Your anxiety broke free and crawled under your skin shamelessly. You couldn’t even pay attention and the Okpa your friend gave you tasted like half cooked semo. You were restless and this time, you weren’t having the time of your life.
Few minutes later, sitting and shaking your legs like it will ease the marathon in your chest, you got a call from a number you didn’t recognise. Apparently, it was your brother calling.
“Hello, how far?”
“I dey, what’s up?”
“Hmm. You get lectures now?”
“Yes, what is it?”
“Ok. I’ll call back after your lectures.”
At this point, Usain Bolt had nothing on your heart beat.
“Just tell me, wetin happen?”
“If you fit come house now, please come”
“I can come, what’s the problem?”
You didn’t wait a second, finally everything was adding up. You weren’t certain but you were sure the veins holding your heart together was at the verge of separating itself. You took your bag from class. Told your friends you got a call from home, they should help take care of your attendance.
You thought you could make it down home all by yourself, hard guy innit. You didn’t want to think of the worst that could have happened. You were hopeful and telling God to not let you down.
Unfortunately you couldn’t make it half way through from your campus gate after breaking down inside the keke you boarded, where the other lady sitting by your side was already panicking on your behalf because you couldn’t control your tear glands. To avoid the “sister are you okay? hope all is well?” questions, you had to call your friends. “I can’t go home alone, please.” They rushed down to your location, in the middle of the road where eyes were gazing at you up and down.
“Hey what happened now?”
You were completely out of control. Your tear glands finally released all the tears it has been storing for weeks. One of your friends drew you closer, hands wide open, as if telling you, “hush little baby, don’t cry now.” You buried your face on her shoulders, and at that moment, in the space of just a few hours, everything crashed down on you. The world became blur.
Trying to find a balance, you saw yourself in a car, taking you home to face a harsh truth you’ll live with for the rest of your life.
Grief and Pain.
The rest is history, an inexpressible one. A story that cannot be put into words. No, not yet.
It is just a September to remember. A month of bliss and sorrow.
Vurzie Kim, 2020.