A few months later, we received the acknowledgement of our application from the immigration office. Towanda started visiting me frequently and making demands. She wanted a new phone, her car broke down and needed fixing, or she simply needed cash. She expected me to sort out her financial problems.
I couldn’t believe her. I loved her. I would never leave or hurt her. I assured her that if I managed to travel with the Chief that I would immediately send for her once I became settled. She was my soul mate. We were meant to be together and will be together. She was soon reassured and cheered up again.
We continued to watch her as she hitched up her skirt and waded into the river, moving nearer to the marshes to scoop fresh water into her bucket. She started dragging the bucket filled with water back to the banks and I quickly rushed to help her raise and balance the bucket on her head.
I was absolutely convinced that the shock of this squalid and sordid environ would have proved to be too rough on my gentle Maryam. I wouldn’t have endured exposing her to the constant sight of drunken men clutching alcoholic beverages half-disguised in brown paper bags while staggering precariously on the streets.
I had used to dream of Maryam sitting in the car beside me on our way home from the airport, picturing the wonderment and joy in her voice. How thrilled she could have been and bursting into her peculiar hearty laughter at any and everything. She’d have detailed her flight to me in that unaffected manner of hers. It would have been her first time on air, travelling on a plane. She had a fear for heights and regularly marveled at the mystery and ability of planes flying up in the sky. It scared her somewhat, the idea of flying.
Story by: Ejine Okoroafor (Part 1 of 6)
‘Hello, hello. Gogo, are you there, can you hear me?’ I heard the worried voice of my brother, Ndudi, inquiring from the other end of the phone line. He feared our phone connection had dropped but nonetheless had continued to shout, ‘Gogo, hello, Gogo, hello, are you there?’
I heard him clearly but was unable to respond or assure him that I was still on the line and could hear him. I gripped the phone tightly, pressed to my right ear while trying to hang on to the conversation and maintain my balance at the same time. I was dizzy. My mind was muddled. I struggled to comprehend the dreadful news that he had just relayed to me. I felt dazed, transfixed with shock and unable to move or talk. My spirit seemed to have exited outside of my body, leaving me hollow. (more…)
Ejine Okoroafor was born and raised in Nigeria. She initially completed B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria before studying Medicine in the Ukraine.
BIBI is dead; her body was found in the bushes yesterday.” Emeka, my husband had announced dispassionately after he got off the phone. “Aha… …! I responded noncommittally without a flinch and cradled my frail little girl tighter to my chest. You could have imagined by my impassionate response that he could have been announcing the weather or else we were the strangest or coldest couple that you know.