For most of the holiday I had used the couch as my bed. It seemed nothing out of the ordinary to me. I had forgotten what it felt like to sleep on an actuall bed. If there was a difference I didn’t know anymore.
It was on that night, a few days before my birthday that I wish to describe today. I had gotten my blanket, prepared my couch and had turned off the lights. If the T.V was on or off, I cannot remember. I thought to myself ‘a few minutes of tweeting before bed never hurt anyone’.
Suddenly a familiar but spontaneously annoying sound rang through the house. It was the both annoying lack of volume control and the horrible sound quality of the sound that pissed me off. It was my mothers Tecno phone. The phone rang for about a minute or two before I decided to go get it as my mother was asleep. Before I could finish my struggle with the blanket, she picked up the phone.
My mother was silent for a few seconds before she made the response that forever changed my life. What she said was in Igbo, but in English it translates “Bro. Atineh what happened to Emeka”. She said it three times, with increasing pitch intensity.
In my life I had only seen my mother run once. Why or where I cannot remember, but I do know it was after she came back from a para-military training programme. But the way my mother ran right through the room and the palour, through the dinning room to the staircase to the arms of my aunty is one I cannot forget because by the time my blanket war ended and I was able to make it upstairs, she was rolling on the floor and looking like she needed to be checked into a psychiatric ward.
I dont need to say I was at a loss because I obviously was. Why on earth was my mother looking like they had recruited Emeka to fight World War III. Immediately I picked up my trusty Nokia C3 and called my father- Emeka. No response the first time. The second and third time was not different. My heart sunk. At this point we were still trying to extract information from my incoherent mother but me, I was being a man, making the right phone calls like men do. By the fourth or fifth time my fathers phone had been turned of.
Never in 18 years had my father turned off his phone while I was trying to reach him. My uncle was woken up and he was handed the phone. By this time my mother was rolling on the floor in his room. I sheepishly walked into his room wondering what was going on. The next thing I remember hearing was “have they done the autopsy?”
It didn’t take a razor sharp mind to realize someone was dead and it was Emeka- My Father.
I called my best friends Tolu Asimi and Emmanuel Arinze. Tolu Asimi, didnt pick the call. Somehow am happy she didn’t. For the first time I had words I was too scared to utter. Arinze picked the call and I said “my dad just died.”
I held my sister as her tears dampened my shirt. I looked into My cousins’ eyes and out of the eight eye balls that looked back into mine, six were teary red and two were lost in sorrow.
That night I did sleep in a bed in my cousins room because my mothers mental stae would not tolerate sleep. That night I wondered “why do bad things happen to good people”.