It was on a Friday evening that everything changed for me. My dad had just returned from the mosque; that was when the alarm clock said eight, and as was his tradition he wouldn’t remove his long white jalabia before he shouted.
Why is the generator not started yet?
I knew within me he was going to complain about my not coming to the mosque that evening which would add up to the problem at hand. To cover up one of the problem I dressed in a long Jalabia and left the house through the back door. I had to pretend I also went to the Masjid.
I sluggishly walked towards the door and tapped on it as though the Chinese door was complaining of body pains.
Who is that?
It’s me, I said stammering
When the door was opened I walked in as though I was carrying the weight of Mount Everest on my legs.
Where you not the one talking in your room few minutes ago? Queried my mum
Oh no? I shouted inaudibly. Mum you have destroyed my plan. How is your headache, she added. By this I knew I had to face my dad’s interview soon. Am getting better I said looking away.
My Dad was sitting on the sofa pressing his tablet pc. It was obvious he was reading news or perhaps on Wikipedia because as far as I knew him he never liked social media. He looked up briefly and turned all of his attentions back to his tablet pc, but I could see the ire inside of him waiting to be released.
Good evening sir, I said as he pretended not to have heard at all. I turned and was about leaving the sitting room when he roared out.
Come back here, you are now taking decisions for me in this house right?
Not so sir, I said babbling
Then how, tell me am listening, he continued. Maybe he was right. Often when ever he was away the house does as I say not because they were afraid of me but because I was given that opportunity and it was getting out of hand since I was misusing the golden opportunity.
Am sorry sir, I said leaving again but this time he got provoked as he stood up almost immediately and gave me the dirtiest slap ever. I slumped and it was the last thing I remember immediately I woke up on the hospital bed the following morning.
I was an asthmatic patient couple with the fact that I was feverish that day that I sweat and felt dizzy after walking few steps even in the room.
Immediately I opened my eyes I saw my Dad sat almost in front of me staring straight into my weakened eyes and it was at this time clear he was very sorry. His eyes carry the colours of a virgin sunset and his facial look was that of a cow. As far as I knew him he would never say sorry even though he was.
How are you feeling now Prof? He said touching my neck maybe trying to feel my pulse. He was fond of calling me Prof right from when I was a kid. I don’t know why but I could tell from his character how my education and lifestyles seems to be more of importance to him compare to my three other siblings.
Am fine, I said even though I knew I wasn’t as he made his way out of the ward. Let me go and see the doctor, he said closing the door behind him.
Immediately he returned, he rigidly supported his back on the wall. He stared vacantly at the window that barely had better curtain and shook his head every seconds and his eyes clouded with tears which he couldn’t shed.
“I will be back,” he said again even though it was not up to two minute he had just returned. The tone rang hollow, his emotions encased in a vacuum. He spoke as if it were some well-rehearsed line he had already repeated a thousand times. The announcement, though cold, remained firm, and it indicated more than just a temporary absence. The finality of the statement slowly took substance, and it lingered in the cozy room.
The words fell upon my senses like a lead weight. I stared at him turning his back, impatiently waiting for further explanation; and I was offered nothing.
Your mum will be here soon, he said as he finally bangs the door behind him.
It was when my mum returned that I was told I needed a blood transfusion, which I was given some hours later. It was getting late and my dad was yet come to the clinic which was some miles away from home.
We waited patiently but he didn’t come but only made a call to my mum that he wouldn’t be able to come until the next morning. My three other siblings were in a boarding school which means he would be alone in the house.
Mum there is something wrong with dad, I said pathetically.
What do you mean?
The way he left this morning had something more to it than just “I will be back” that he said before leaving. I said throwing away my face.
You know your dad, he hardly show his emotions, she said feeling relieved.
It was the next morning. The day was getting closer to noon yet dad was yet to come to the clinic and by this time the panic was high as his number refused to go through. My mum became restless and she couldn’t sit nor stand. Maybe it was because of my statement the previous day.
Hours later, the doctor walked into my ward and his face had stories to tell.
Hajia please come, he said as both leave the ward in slow motion motive. I waited for my mum but she was yet to return. I lethargically came down from the bed and made my way out the ward. In the reception I met one of neighbors and two of my family members sobbing and crying oceans out of their eyes.
What is happening? I asked as none of them answered.
You are not yet strong, the doctor advised as he led me back into my ward.
Towards evening I was discharged and met my house like a stadium. Everyone nodded their head like matured agama lizards.
Somebody help me, somebody please! Can anybody hear me? My mum sorrowful screams pierced through the neighborhood in a heightened tone. Her neck was revealing all the veins that lie therein as she cries the sorrow out of her heart. She shook her head vigorously and stamped her feet heavily on the harden earth yet it wasn’t enough. She rolled herself to the ground as she cried uncontrollably; she was absolutely inconsolable. Her cries of anguish echoed and wildly permeated through neighboring homes and within minutes more people hooted in. the entire compound was crowded with streams of sympathizers. Oh! Dad is dead? It can’t be, I cried
No! It can’t be. He is the most religious in this neighborhood; he can’t kill himself. He knows vividly how punishable it is for one to commit suicide. One of the mosque congregations lectured.
I sluggishly walked into his bedroom where his lifeless body lay in the bed. I was kaput and I bent to touch his feet as his bed was covered with his own pool of blood and the next thing I heard was “Prof, wake up its time for prayer”.
Subhanallah! I shouted. I am dreaming! It was a dream! But how can dream be this long and so true? Thank God I said with tears dripping down my eyes. Even though I couldn’t tell anyone the dream no doubt changed me for better.