Mother opened the door of my room slowly and walked in gently with her hands folded loosely on her breasts. Her eyes were reddened and she was sniffing. I knew she had been crying all day and into the night. As she came closer to my bed, I closed my eyes and listened to my breath. – they were heavy and short paced.
“Please God, heal my baby boy…”
I could hear mother say as she knelt beside my bed.
It was on new year’s eve and mother was home alone with me. Father had abandoned mother when he got tired of taking care of a sickle celled son three years after I was born. Mother said he ran off to marry another woman in another city. And in my twelve years of human existence, I had only seen my father in a picture frame. He had looked happy in that suit he was wearing as he held mother close in that white wedding gown. In my twelve years of human existence, I had only seen mother smile so brightly in that picture frame.
Mother continued to cry, begging God to heal me as she held my shivering hand. I wanted to tell her to stop crying, that everything will be OK, but I barely had enough strength to keep my eye lids open, let alone formulate words with my tongue. I managed to open my eyes and I saw the digital clock hanging up on the wall – 11:58. And it was two minutes to the new year. I closed my eyes again.
As mother continued to pray through her crying voice, I heard the cheering sound of screaming people around the neighbourhood. Happy New year!!! They screamed and shouted, as I tried again to open my eyes… LIGHT, WHITE LIGHT… and I saw a man in an immaculate white robe with a most reassuring smile. He beckoned on me and I moved towards him, for I was standing now. As I turned back to see what was behind me, I saw mother still crying and begging God to heal her baby boy and there he was, lying lifeless on the bed.
(C) Peter Akhere