By Adebayo Mayowa
Dear diary, sometimes I just wish my uncle had made it abroad or that his wife got him the green card or that the bowl never revealed my face or my father didn’t take him home. The story I heard that morning became a haunting history, not to me alone but to the rest of my family.
I ran to my mom’s room to find Okey desperately trying to comfort my mom. She however would not be comforted as she tried futily to be free from him. I asked no one in particular what had happened but Okey took it upon himself to tell I and Dika that our dad and uncle Iyke died at the Benin-Ore road on their way to the village.
At the mention of the name ‘Iyke’my mom’s wail grew louder and she began to curse saying he will miss heaven and all. My feet were too weak to support me and the world started to spin and my head grew fuzzy. Next thing I knew, Dika was holding me, trying to support me from hitting the ground. When I came to, I couldn’t immediately process the reason why I had fainted until I heard my mom’s subdued sobs. My head began to throb and all I could do was scream.
Why would death snatch my father? I honestly wouldn’t have shed a tear if it was just uncle Iyke. My dad was too young to have lost his life. He was a charmer. Slowly, I shook off Dika’s hands while Okey was still trying to comfort my mom. I went to the entrance of the house and sat there staring morosely. Dika kept trying to comfort me by putting his hands on my shoulders but I kept pushing him away.
When he got tired of that he squatted to carry me but I told him to wait a little that daddy was coming home, he was sure to drive in. I want to be the first to welcome him home. Dika carried me like I hadn’t even said a word, straight to my room. He maintained the same position we had yesterday and continuously wiped my tears. I kept saying death shouldn’t have knocked on our door!
I slept when the tears would come no more and when I awoke, Dika wasn’t by my side. I heard voices in the sitting room and when I got there I saw so many faces I didn’t know. Some neighbours, some church members. I thought and sighed, bad news sure goes more viral and brings attention than good news.
I hadn’t sat down long enough before one of my uncles whom had come from the village asked my mom if the car that my dad was driving was the only car because that one was a write-off. He said he was asking because he noticed there wasn’t anyone in sight. My mom only cried harder and I hissed loud enough for the whole room to hear and I walked out of the room.
Days later, we traveled to the village for the dual burial ceremony and by then, the news about uncle Iyke had been circulated. After the burial, we stayed back in the village for two weeks to perform other rites and went back to Lagos.
No sooner had we entered the house than Hamid, the gate man admitted three of my uncles…
To be continued…