(Story recounted with express permission from the direct teller. Names have been replaced for reasons best known.)
At first I thought they were her younger siblings; two little girls, Marachi and Tuochiegwu. My thoughts were with me for days until I heard their big mummy refer to them as her grandchildren. I shock!
Udeamaka is a petite figure,fair skinned with a radiant smile. Looking at her you can’t just accept that she’s a mum of two. From the first day I saw her, I just knew we’d have a rendezvous surely. First, she was all out to make my acquaintance with her continuous and timely kind words and all dem “good-somethings “.
I didn’t mention that one of the kids; the older; Marachi; had a fearful, huge outgrowth round her neck. I fought back the tears each time I saw this kid of not up to 4years in severe pains,especially after she’s gone to receive medi-care on it. She’d cry helplessly. Other times the pains were not just utterable; so she’d groan. This ailment made her look skinny and sickly. You’d mistake her for a sickler. My dear; those sights; horrible.
Mara cried again, and this time, her teary voice slit my heart in two. I came out. Udeamaka, her mum was consoling her and helping her spoon food into the mouth she barely could open. Tuochiegwu is one kid that has a very unbecoming ability to scream atop her voice when she’s crying for nothing. So all join!
I watched in pains, too as I felt the hurt in my chest. Moving close to where they sat, I say beside Marachi.
“Sweetheart, ndo! Chai!” I was short of words. Quickly said a prayer for her and patted her back to serenity. The mum was blanked out. She was lost in thought.
“Nne it’s well oooh.” I tried starting, unsure of where it will lead.
Then it snapped!
“When will all these end? What have I done to deserve this. Look at this innocent child. God, bikozianu.” The tears came pouring. Tuochi got her pause button activated.
“My dear it’s alright.”
“Their father nko? ” I asked; imploring God to grant me access.
“Which of them?” She wiped her face. Their fathers abandoned them. Tuochi’s father calls from time to time. But never visited. Marachi’s never owned up to her fatherhood.”
“Whaaat!” I was shaky already.
“I’m listening. ..”
She continued, “If not for my mum, I don’t know what I would have done. Marachi’s Father was my boyfriend in secondary school. After our WASSCE, he was about to go and learn trade in Lagos. Two days before he travelled we couldn’t keep the urge to get intimate. I knew he’d be away for a long time. And I’d miss him. So we had sex. He travelled and that was all. He promised to come marry me once he made money. Few months later had my tummy bulging. I called to tell him the news. Mimi, I will not forget the slamming of the phone dailer in my ear.
When Mara was about 9months old, I noticed a difficulty with her neck. She’d always let out moans whenever you touched her neck. We treated it as we understood it. Then the outbreak came shockingly.
Mara was only 1year plus when a family friend of ours came visiting one Christmas. He was of great assistance. But I was stupid. I never suspected anything until I have fallen so flat. Before he travelled back to his base, we slept together. I wouldn’t say he forced me. But the persuasion was intense. A flicking candle was already lit. But that event became one of my most dreaded histories as I took in afterwards. Tuochi came 9months later. Marachi’s case grew from bad to worse. We had not enough funds to properly take care of her. My mum took us in when everyone deserted us. Tuochi’s dad sent funds for a while then stopped. Can’t reach him no more.
It’s been hell. Real hell. I don’t regret these kids. I just wished they came at the right time; under the perfect circumstances. Just imagine I alone going through all these. Their fathers all gone. This is my cross to bear. I just wish I knew better………”
I could continue the writing. But I’ve written a handful, already. So that is it…
From Ude’s story and many other similitudes, we can point out many instances that should have waited until later.
Take a look at this again;