Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Angel Lost (part 2)

In time, the health centre referred us to the General Hospital, and it was there that we found out it was a tumour; that the lump we were seeing outside was just a part of it with more of the growth having caked itself around the back of your pelvis. We were told that it was fast growing and in a short time might become malignant, and also spread towards major organs like your bladder. We needed to have it out as quickly as possible. We were told also that there is only one way to get rid of it; no cheap injections or drugs to administer, but a full-blown, very expensive surgery. 

You cannot imagine our dejection at such news. What was more, we were told that that kind of surgery cannot be done here in Nigeria. Rather, we would be linked to a hospital in Israel. What a joke! How were we to get the money to process visas not to talk of paying for the plane fare and the surgery itself?

Then Dr. Efe had come in, a woman with a heart of gold like I know you will grow up to be, angel mi. She had advised us to try gathering the money through charity and she had even set things in motion by talking to her friends in a popular media house to run an appeal for help on both radio, TV and the internet.

She had given us hope when we had thought there could possibly be none, and I am forever indebted to her for this, even if we are unable to raise all the money.

Yes, darling Chisom, that is my fear now, that we would never get all that money. It’s millions, you know? So far what has been donated is not even up to half a million, and the one week the media house has promised to run our appeal for ends tomorrow. It frightens me to think of what will happen if we don’t get the surgery done soon. Yet I know I have to keep hope alive. For your sake.

Here, Chi, suckle a bit. I know you are not hungry after the pap you drank, but I feel so full. Go on, take a little.

Your siblings are asleep already and one can’t blame them. After hawking almost all day, it’s only expected they snooze off immediately after eating. I would like to sleep too, but your father, Sylvanus, is not yet home, so I can’t. What can be keeping him? Its 9pm already and I’m getting worried. If only I have a phone to call him with.

Oh! I just touched it. The tumour. How I hate it when that happens, when thoughts of it are forced into my mind by such contact, or when I am forced to set my eyes on it while giving you a bath or changing your napkin. I wish I can just cut it off myself. I wish I can pick up a very sharp knife and slice it off…


“Ah, Sylvanus, you are back.”

“I have been standing here for two minutes at least, talking to you, but no response. You have to take it easy o, Iyabo. You haven’t been sleeping or eating well and you talk to yourself a lot. Please o.”

“I was just thinking about… everything… Why are you home so late today? It’s past 9 already. What happened?”

“A lot happened. In fact, Iyabo, it’s unbelievable. Let me have something to eat first before I tell you, I’m very hungry.”

Your father is a wonderful man, but of course you know that already. I do not regret ending up with him, despite all that we have been through. I just have to take one look at him and it all comes back to me - the way I felt when I first met him. He had totally swept me off my feet, I tell you, just like the heroes of the Mills and Boon novels I loved reading back then. And why wouldn’t he? With his height and fair good looks, he is any woman’s idea of a Prince Charming. I still wonder how such a man had fallen for me. I am far from what you would term Cinderella, I have to admit. Not now, and definitely not back then. He tells me it was my soft-hearted caring nature that had attracted him, but I am sure that my wide hips and large, rounded buttocks had played a larger part. After all, I had been walking in front of him when he first saw me.

I had been fresh out of secondary school then and an apprentice at Aunty Bose’s tailoring school, and he a graduate who was planning on furthering his education. His ambitiousness, personality and charm had completely floored me; no other man stood a chance. Inevitably, we got the result of our love – I became pregnant. My parents would have none of it, not only had their daughter conceived for a jobless man, he was also from another tribe. My mother had wanted me to get rid of the baby, telling me Ismail the mechanic down the street would be a better choice to this Ibo boy no one knew. I remained strong and true to our love, though, and finally they had to let me be his wife, not that I can say any real wedding ceremony took place.

I moved into Sylvanus’s one-room abode, this same one we are living in now, and he had to get a job and put his academic dreams on hold. The only job he could find was one as a primary school teacher, since he was actually a College of Education graduate and not a University graduate as I had thought. The pay had been meager, but we had been able to force ends to a meeting point, but after the birth of Uche, things had gotten harder and as the family got larger, it became increasingly tougher to get a hold on the ends. So, I resorted to selling plantain to help the situation, not that that has been a lot of help.

Still, nights like this make it all worth it. Sitting across him on the bench that serves as our dining table, watching him gobble down huge morsels of egusi-soup-coated eba like it's the world's most delicious meal, makes me feel like a complete woman. I regret nothing, Chisom, and if I have to choose all over again, I would still choose Sylvanus. Who other than he would have given me a beautiful little girl like you? Even if we hadn’t planned to have you eight years after we were done bringing children into the world, you are yet another blessing from God. And who refuses blessings?

“That was a great meal as usual, Iyabo. Thank you.”

“You are welcome, my husband. So, what happened? What made you stay out so late today?”

“You won’t believe what I am about telling you, Iyabo. I am still finding it hard to believe myself.”

I can see from the excitement in his eyes that it’s good news. Oh, Lord, please let it be something about my baby. Let it be…

“Today I got a call from a man who asked me how things were going with my daughter’s operation, if I had been able to gather all the money needed. I told him we have only been able to get together little more than half a million. So he told me he would donate something into my account and asked how soon the operation will commence after we had all the money, to which I replied roughly one month. He then said he would get in touch with me soon and cut off.

“I didn’t think much of it. It’s not the first time people have called me like that with no results. But not up to an hour later I got alert o. Someone had paid exactly twelve million, five hundred thousand naira into my account.”

“Ahhhh. Oh my God! God, thank you o, thank you very much, Baba.”

“Calm down, honey. Your reaction is small compared to mine, though. My pupils must have thought I had lost my mind with the display I gave. I called the number back and thanked the man very well and he said he would get in touch soon to see the progress of things. After the call, I rushed to the bank to be certain that the money is in my account. And it was truly there… all those millions, sitting in my own account. I almost went mad, Iyabo, mad!”

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