I am a writer, a customer care rep, a business administrator, a lover of life and a successful single lady who sees every child as hers.
Hello grandma! Is anyone home? I asked as I walked into my grandparents eight bedroom duplex. Mama has never been comfortable with house helps, so she would rather just keep the gate man and the driver. She never allowed anyone prepare her food and would take her cloths to the drycleaners every two weeks. The house was usually so big and empty. Everytime I came here, I understood why grandma fasts and prays so much. She was lonely and depressed, so she found solace in God. She craved for more children but could not have anymore after my father who is her first and only child. She also craved for more grandchildren but couldn’t get more from father. And grandpa made the situation worse when he got another family in India. She got more depressed but never admitted she was. She lacked nothing financially from the day she married grandpa. Dad always told me of how grandpa was already a landlord and a successful business man before he married grandma whom he took thirteen years from.
Grandma! I called out again. The door was usually unlocked since the gate man only allowed in those he knew were family friends. But today was very unusual since grandmother knew I was on my way here. She has been so excited about the whole arrangement of me coming down here and had said she would prepare my favorite meal. It’s been a week since he heard the good news and she had to call everyday to make sure I do not change my mind.
Grandma! I called out again as I walked to the kitchen downstairs. It was empty and nothing was on the fire. I hurried through the stairs straight upstairs and got to the main kitchen. There was grandma on the floor with a knife close to her hand. I looked at the scene in shock and I saw some unsliced onions scattered around. Something was boiling on the fire and it smelled like yam.
Grandma! I screamed as I hurried to her on the floor. I tried to raise her up but she was unconscious and very heavy. Grandma was really full in shape. She had the look of a typical urhobo woman, and up till date grandpa always complimented her figure and never ceased to tell us that he married her because of her full behind.
Mama please get up! I begged her but to no avail. She couldn’t hear me. Where is my phone! I asked myself. I need to call father. Is anyone here! I shouted.
I ran downstairs to look for my phone which I had kept in my handbag I had left on the chair in the parlor. I dallied dad's number immediately I got my phone. It rang twice but he didn’t pick. I looked up and saw the gate man bringing my luggage from the car.
Where is grandpa? I asked him.
Small madam wetin dey happen? Why your face be like this? No be so e be when you enter.
Where is grandpa? I asked him again.
Small madam oga don commot since o. He never come back for like three days now.
Please call the driver, we need to take mama to the hospital.
Wetin do big madam? He asked. Why she wan go hospital?
Please I don’t have time for so much explanation! Call the driver! I screamed at him.
Small madam abeg no vex, driver no dey. He talk say his wife born, so he don go hospital go see am.
Okay come help me with mama, so we can put her in my car.
Small madam, wetin do big madam o! He said as he ran behind me to where grandma laid on the kitchen floor upstairs.
When we got there, grandma was still laying exactly how I left her.
Please help me raise her up. I pleaded with the gateman.
Chai! Madam heavy o! He lamented as we tried raising her up.
Abeg try more. I pleaded.
Small madam, make I go bring wheelbarrow, make we wheelbarrow her commot.
You want to put my grandmother, and your madam in a wheelbarrow? Are you high on cheap drugs?
Small madam na the only way o! I no dey use to carry big woman dem. My wife small well well and madam big well well. I never get experience to carry big woman. You know see say big madam get plenty bumbum, and her lap big self, how we wan take carry her commot?
I looked at the gate man, and didn’t even know the exact words to use on him because he really looked sincere and even more confused than me. The truth was, both of us can’t lift grandma from here to the car downstairs.
You are just a lazy man! I finally poured my frustration on him. Na only to chop mama food you know. Are you not a man? I asked him. These are times that makes you a man, not just carrying that thing in between your legs.
Small madam abeg no vex. He said crying. That is why I marry my size. As my man small, I marry small woman wey I fit carry anytime. Make we no let madam die abeg, make I go bring wheelbarrow come.
This guy is such an idiot. I lamented to myself. Oh my God please help me. What’s all this. Please go downstairs and get my phone! I shouted at him.
He ran off before I even finished the words. I looked at grandma on the floor, she was looking like someone in pains, and her skin was already getting cold. Grandma! Grandma! I shouted holding her up. Please don’t do this to us, please! It’s too early for you to leave us. You have to see my children, your great grand children, and great great grand. God has a purpose for you mama, please you can’t leave this world in such pains and incomplete dreams and with all the mocking’s from neighbors. What will they say when they hear this? I asked in tears.
Small madam take the phone. Ali said as he handed the phone to me breathless.
Quickly I called grandpa Ogaga. He was the last person I wanted to communicate with, but he should have been the first I had contacted when I saw grandma in this state.
Hello Ufoma what is it? Came his demanding tone.
Grandpa migwo. I wondered how he knew something was wrong.
Vredo. What is wrong. He asked again.
Its grandma, I met her unconscious on the kitchen floor when I came in.
Okay. He said so calmly. Do not try to lift her up. I am calling the hospital to come pick her up. I will meet you all there.
With that he hung up. Is it so difficult for grandpa to express his feelings? I wondered. He sounded so intact and undisturbed. If not that I had known him to be so, I would have thought something else was going on.
It didn’t take up to fifteen minutes when I heard the sirens. I ran downstairs to lead them up. They place grandma on a stretcher so effortlessly that someone might wonder if she had just lost weight laying on the floor.
I jumped into the ambulance with them, and grandma was administered first aid immediately. I held on to her left hand and prayed silently. Why should something like this be happening to me? I am just fed up with all these drama.
Within minutes we were at the hospital. How we got there so fast, still marveled me. Immediately grandma was brought out on the stretcher and hurried into the hospital, straight to the ICU. I was stopped right at the door, left alone to wait.
I tried calling father again, but he didn’t pick. I tried his line ten more times but still no response. I then decided to leave five urgent messages for him. I sent each message as my mood suggests. I was about sending the sixth one when a young looking doctor came out of the ICU and asked me a question.
Hello I am Dr David Adekose, are you related to Mrs Ruth Ogaga?
Yes. Was all I could mutter.
This was the first black man I have ever fallen for at first sight. God! He is black! His beautiful brown skin was like brown hot chocolate drink, his lips red like apples waiting to be eaten up, his eyes stared at me like a million eagles keenly observing my next reaction. His gaze made me react according! My skin suddenly became warm and the hairs behind my head stood effect. His physic and arms looked so invited, for he stood tall like a racing horse, and broad like bear. His white overall was so sparkling white that I felt he had never worn it before. His gloves neatly fitted his beautiful palms, I looked keenly to measure its size; it was the perfect size.
I am Dr David Adekose. He said bringing me back to present.
I ran into his arms like I knew him before. I am so sorry doctor. I cried in his arms. Is my grandmother okay?
Oh are you Ufoma? He asked.
My heart raced fast at the mention of my name. He knew my name? I asked myself. I brought myself out of his arms half way to level up to his lips. Yes I am. I muttered out hot air.
Its okay. Your grandmother will be fine. We actually need to operate her for appendix. I am shocked she never complained of the pain because it has grown ripe for operation. But it’s a good thing she was brought here on time.
Appendix? I asked still in his arms. His scent was evolving. I had immediately evolved into Mrs David Adekose that it felt so right being in his arms. I looked deep into his eyes and asked if I could see her.
No Ufoma. You can’t see her now. We need to start the operation immediately. I just came out to inform you because I was told a relative brought her in. I have spoken to Mr Sam Ogaga already, he mentioned you and said we should go ahead with the operation. Just be calm, everything will be fine okay.
Are you sure? I asked finding more reasons to remain in his arms. I am so scared.
Don’t be dear. All will be fine.
Dear? Did he just call me dear? I asked inside of me. Okay. I managed to answer.
Okay Ufoma you have to let me go now. He said as his hands that were gently placed on my back, pulled out.
Oh I am sorry. I was so scared. You know David I have been going through a lot and this just got the better part of me. Everything has been so hard and terrible for a long time now.
So sorry to hear that. Take this. He held out a clean white handkerchief he brought out from his pocket. Please have your seat, I will be with you later. Your grandmother needs me more now.
He called out to a nurse close by and strictly told her to stay with me. Then he rushed into the theater to perform the operation.
Dr David Adekose
I held tightly to the handkerchief as if it was David in my hands. It smelt like him and was really fresh and clean. I put the handkerchief to my lips and kissed it. As I closed my eyes, the only person I saw was Dr David Adekose. I didn’t even say a word to the nurse who sat by me patiently, and I wasn’t aware of how much time had flown, because the next tap I got was from grandpa Ogaga.
Ufoma, how are you? He asked me.
Grandpa Migwo. I greeted. When did you come?
Vrendo dear. He replied. I came in just now dear. Have you spoken to your father?
No. I have been trying to reach him but to no avail. It suddenly done on me that father had not replied any of my messages, and neither had he call back. What was wrong with father? I began to shake terrible.
Are you feeling cold? Grandpa asked.
I don’t know. But I will be fine.
Okay. Where is the doctor?
He went in some minuets ago to perform the appendix operation on grandma and hasn’t come out since.
Okay you stay here, let me go see what’s going on.
Grandpa, where have you been and why were you not around when grandma needed you? Just imagine if I had not be there.
Thank God nothing bad happened. She will be fine. He walked out on me quickly, like someone trying to hide his feelings.
Right about then, my phone ran with no caller ID.
Hello. I picked.
Good evening. Am I onto Miss Ufoma Ogaga?
Yes you are.
Your father Efe Ogaga asked me to call you. He said you should come quickly to Jseven mall, he needs to give you something.
And who are you?
I am your fathers personal assistant.
What’s your name?
I am newly employed that’s why you don’t know me. My name is Patrick.
Patrick? Patrick where is my father please?
Your father is in a meeting at the moment on Jseven mall. That’s where I am calling from. He wants you to meet him there.
But why has he not been responding to my calls and text messages?
So sorry about that madam. He has not been with his phone all through. I told him you have been trying to reach him, so he asked me to give you a call.
How am I sure you aren’t lying? I asked him curiously.
Why would I be lying ma? Is your father my boss, in some of kind of trouble? Why are you scared.
Give the phone to my father, let me speak with him.
I cannot do that ma. He is in a very important meeting. He insisted.
Okay fine. Tell him when he is through with his meeting, he should meet me at grandma’s hospital. She has been admitted there and is presently undergoing surgery.
Okay ma. I will tell him.
As he hung up, I began wondering what was going on. Father had never asked an employee to give me a call before, and meeting him somewhere has never happened. Should I go? I asked myself. Father isn’t responding to calls and I am so worried. I cannot even tell grandpa what’s going on, and besides I don’t even really know what’s going on. What do I do?
As I stood wondering, I saw the nurse Dr David asked to keep me company attending to an accident victim that was just brought in. I needed to find Dr David. I just felt so comfortable with him, that I felt I could tell him anything. I felt so abandoned and alone. Grandma was in Surgery and father was no where to be found.
I decided to go look for grandfather. So I walked down the long hallway searching for a doctor. I bumped into a Dr Dare, who said that Dr David was in surgery and I could walk down the first turn.
As I walked down, I was desperately in need for someone to talk to. I wondered where grandpa has gone. Everyone was in a hurry and no one cared to ask me what I wanted. I lost hope and just decided to give grandpa a call. He picked at first ring and told me he was with grandma and the operation was successful.
Waif for me at the second reception. He ordered.
I hung up and headed for the first turn as directed by the other doctor. I came across the nurse that was with me at the reception.
Nurse please where is Dr David Adekose? I asked her.
He is attend to another patient. But your grandma has been moved to the private ward.
But how come I didn’t see her being moved?
The place you saw her been taken to was just to observe her and prepare her for the next move. She was moved through the other door to the theater. She must be in the private ward now. Go through the elevator, stop on the fourth floor. Ask for the private ward.
Thanks nurse, I really appreciate. I said as I hurried up to the elevator.
On getting to the fourth floor, it wasn’t hard getting the ward. I walked to the door and opened it gently. Right there I saw the mighty Grandpa Ogaga crying like a baby seated next to grandma's bed. Her eyes were still closed, and he held on to her hand sobbing like a baby. I could hear his words coming out like a whisper, softly saying I love you treasure, please don’t ever leave me. You know how much I love you no matter what has happened between us, the love that we share cannot be broken. I love you more than my life and you know I can do anything for you. If it is my Indian family that’s making you hurt this way; then I am ready to disown them just for you.
It was heartbreaking watching grandpa, but I was so relived to see how much love he has for her. I just couldn’t believe it. Grandpa Ogaga the second sobbing away like a baby, and wanting to disown his other family. Father was really like his father, the difference is that grandpa hides his feelings so well.
I closed the door so gently so he wouldn’t know of my presence. What was I going to do? Father was no where to be found, and I had this funny feeling that he was in trouble. I just could not bring myself to tell anyone. Who would I even tell? Grandpa was not in the right mood, and I had promised dad not to tell him anything. Should I go to the mall I was asked to meet father? But dad didn’t tell me to meet him there and the last time we spoke, he sounded as if there was danger somewhere close by.
Right about then, I remember something. My mind flashed back to the food grandma was cooking. I did not remember to put off the stove when the ambulance came and carried grandma. The yam was on the fire!
Oh God, oh no, I muttered as I ran down the hallways, heading for the elevator. I need to go home, if not the whole house may just burn down.
As I hurried out of the elevator, I bumped into someone, and his embrace felt familiar.
Ufoma? Where have you been? I have been looking for you. Dr David Adekose said looking straight into my eyes.
Dr David, I need to go to grandma’s house. I forgot the pot of yam boiling on the stove, I didn’t put off the stove. I need to go home or else grandma will lose her house too just like I am about to lose mine. I don’t even know where father is and grandpa is in a sober mood so I can’t go to him. I need to do something. I explained all that in a rush.
Calm down Ufoma you are not making sense. David tried understanding me.
Please I need to go or else grandmother’s house will burn down.
Is there anyone you can call to put whatever it is down from the stove?
No I don’t have the gate man's number and you don’t know how stupid he is. He may not remember to put off the stove. And I need to find father, he is in trouble; someone called me to meet him in a mall but I have a bad feeling about it. But let me go put off the stove first, or else the whole house will be on fire.
With that I ran off like the wind chasing after dirt, not minding all the calls and pleads that came from behind me. As I ran, I could hear David’s footstep following me behind calling out: Ufoma!
© 2020 Jade George Anibor