By Ikenga Chronicles September 9, 2018


–Vicky Bon

You say you’re the therapist, I am ready to talk now. (Coughs)

Therapist: (hands her a handkerchief, she collects it and wipes her mouth calmly)

Thank you.

Things started to fall apart at home when Efe was born. Mama said the doctor told us it will be a miracle, if he reached ten years of age.

His was bad, he was born with a yellow eye. He looked pale when I carried him in my arms the first day. Doctor said he had sickle cell anaemia, meaning that he was born with a SS genotype.

Wasted Years  (Episode 1)

I saw mama cry that morning in the hospital toilet, after the doctor walked out of the ward. I was six years old, but understood that things were not well.

When I asked mama what was wrong, she said ‘nothing.’ In her words, I AM FINE BABY.

She saw the joy of having a baby brother in my eyes, I was excited. I had been the only child of my mother for Six years. She had me when she was a teenager, nineteen. My real father had denied us. And after she’d graduated from the tailoring school, my stepfather loved her, and married her.

Then he adopted me. I was three when I began to call him papa. He took me as his child and waited patiently for my mother to conceive again. It took her three years.

Then Efe came, and then peace left us to the winds, just like that.

My stepfather was angry with God, each time, my brother was taken to the hospital at late hours. He’d asked God several times, why he had AS genotype. We spent money weekly, and on the days God favoured us, we took him to the hospital twice in a month.

I Got Myself A Man (Last Episode)

And then on this morning, we’d almost lost him. I heard when Doctor Tamuno, our family doctor said he had asthma. Asthma? Nobody had such sickness in my family.

Papa had stopped receiving holy Communion, he was Angy with God.

I too, was angry with God. I didn’t understand why my brother was going through so much pains as a neonate.

Efe had struggled to live till he was two years of age. He died one morning in mama’s arms after taking his last swallow of ampiclox drop. He died with his eyes wide open, his eyeballs were not seen. Mama was pregnant for another baby, she was pregnant when Efe died, and we thought this one was going to be different.

We mourned Efe. We cried bitterly, and in our hearts we were happy he had gone to rest. For few months after he was gone, there was silence in the house, there was no cry, no screams and everywhere was calm.

Mama and I had just returned from Church when her water broke. We rushed her to the hospital and before we knew it, another brother had come. He looked exactly like Efe (smiles) just that, he didn’t have yellow eyes. He was so hairy.

Memorable July (Episode 15)

When the doctor confirmed he was SS too, mama broke into another loud cry. I cried too, it wasn’t the best news to be heard at that moment. (tears Rolling down her eyes.)

When we got home, papa flung his heavy missal across the sitting room and broke the TV screen. He was bittered.

He was bittered because he caused his children pains. He regretted marrying mama, I saw the pains in her eyes when he said to her face. There was no naming ceremony, no party; he named him Oghenero.

He cried most nights, had high temperature and caused mama to cry at all time too.

Papa left us. He couldn’t cope anymore. He left mama, Oghenero and I for another woman who had a different genotype.

(Weeps softly) He died, my brother died. He had managed to live for seven years. Mama cried, she couldn’t be consoled.

(Wipes tears) Now I am grown. I own a company of my own. I own a house. A freaking car. (Takes out cigarette and lighter from her handbag, lights it)

Memorable July (Episode 10)

Sorry, I will have to take this to calm my nerves. (she inhales sharply, exhale and continues)

I don’t have a man, I have lost them all to women with AA genotype. The good men, the ones who truly loved me. I haven’t found a single man with a AA genotype. The one I met in Maiduguri said I was too rich for him. (laughs crazily)

I am afraid, so afraid. I do not want to end up like my mother. I want to give her healthy grandchildren. Not those pale babies who caused pains in our hearts. I heard some people survive it to age fifty, I do not want to struggle through life anymore. I need love. I need peace.

I am depressed. I do not know what to do.

Tell me Madam therapist.