The air inside that room was oppressive, it was better to sit outside and watch the small house that had been our home for many years.
A year ago, Nana left the house after a heated argument with my mother. I remember how mother had been mentioning the sterling qualities of Priests and Nuns who visited out parish. How they comport themselves and how she was sure they will be the first to gain admission into heaven. That Sunday morning, I was already awake. I didn’t even sleep much at night. I couldn’t help but hear the snoring of Father and the sound of Mother who kept waking up to use the restroom. Nana slept beside me but she slept like the very dead.
Nana rolled from one side to the other side.
“Ma?” she replied but her eyes were still closed.
“Are you not going to mass this morning?”
“No Mama, I don’t feel well.”
“You better stand up fast and meet me in the church.”
“But Mama, she says she not feeling well…” I protested but one look from mother silenced me.
At this point, I knew we were cursed. How can a mother be so religious and yet not care for her family? If Nana wasn’t going to church, I wasn’t going either. I would stay back to take care of her.
“You, what are you waiting for?” She asked me.
“I’ll join you soon Mama.”
Father had gone to the pub to meet with those drunkard friends of his and mother had gone to church.
I crouched beside Nana and placed my hands on her head, it was hot.
“Nana, you need to stand up and get drugs. You are not well.”
Nana opened her eyes and looked at me.
“What if I don’t want drugs? What if I want this fever to consume me till I die?”
“Stop talking like that Nana. I know you are tired of everything. I am too but you need to be strong for yourself, for me.”
Nana pulled herself to a sitting position. “Bring my handbag.”
I gave her the bag and she brought out 500 cedis. “Take this, to the pharmacy. Tell them I have fever; they will give you something for me to use.”
“Will you be fine on your own?”
“Why not? You will be gone for a while. Hurry back Omoh.”
I didn’t wait to reply her, I dashed out of the house to the only pharmacy in our small community, owned by Papa Ego. The man gave me the drugs and I rushed back home.
Nana was where I left her, seated on the mat with her head bowed. She used the medicine and I forced her to bathe and eat before she laid down to sleep again. I couldn’t leave her side. What if Nana loses the will to live? What if she leaves me alone? How will I survive with Father and Mother? I was worried.
When mother entered that afternoon from church, she saw us both on the mat and said nothing.
Later in the evening, Nana was feeling a lot better. She sat outside the house and I sat with her. The moon was out and I could hear some children playing in the moonlight. I envied them- children without worries and a care in the world.
“I am going to leave home, Omoh.”
“Where are you going?”
“I don’t know yet but I met a lady at the restaurant she gave me her card and said I could work in the city as a receptionist. She will fix me up.”
“Kumasi is a long way from here.”
“I won’t forget you. I will come back for you. I have held our parents too long and it seems they don’t know how to be adults anymore. Don’t worry, this is for the best.”
“When will you leave?”
“Will you tell them?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Please don’t forget me,” I whispered to Nana.
Plans was set for my sister to make her move when my mother called her.
“Come and sit here,” she patted the bed space beside her.
Nana joined her on the bed. “Omoh, excuse us I want to talk to your sister alone.”
I walked out of the room but waited at the door.
“Nana, you have tried a lot for this family and I’m glad about the woman you are growing to be. However, I want you to consider joining the convent. The mission takes care of the Reverend Sisters and Mothers. Instead of all this stress you are going through to makes ends meet, you will be paid by the mission. Parishioners will also see to your welfare. Besides you will care for your father and I with ease.”
“Thanks Mama for the advice but I don’t want to serve God for selfish reasons. It is not right. God will not prosper such work. God sees all things and he knows our plans. To pull a wool over His eyes will be impossible.”
“You are a fool; you are as headstrong as that your drunk father.”
Nana laughed. “Thank you Mama for reminding me of my foolishness. It is true, I have been a fool for the past three years, feeding you, Father and my sister. I’ve fooled myself into thinking you will snap out of whatever it is you are going through. I am a fool Mama. I accept the title. Where is the award?”
I heard shuffling of feet and slaps, that was when I rushed into the room.
“Omoh, get out!”
“I’m going nowhere.” I looked at Mother with venom in my heart. I hated her and all she made us go through.
“I was going to the CWO meeting before all this. You people will not spoil my mood with your idiocy. Nonsense!”
Mother walked out and with tears in Nana’s eyes she began to pack her clothes. I assisted her and when she was done I asked, “Can I come with you?”
“Yes, you can see me off to the motor park. That is how far I’ll let you.” She pulled out the business card the woman gave her. “Write her address and phone number down, in case you need to reach me you, know who to call.”
I wrote down the address, phone number and I accompanied Nana to the motor park.
“What should I tell them if they ask of you?”
“Tell them you don’t know.”
As Nana entered that bus, I knew my life was going to take a new turn. I knew my parents would have to shape up and I knew our family will never be the same again.
© Booky Glover, 2020
(To be continued next week Sunday)