Location: Somewhere in Festac town, Lagos
Ebuka was walking home back from school with three of his school friends. They were laughing and playing at the same time as they shared funny jokes. These guys were his buddies and life after school was never complete without them.
Walter had just gotten his new car from his father and he was more than excited. Life was going to be much more fun than he anticipated. He smiled at his sisters as he picked up the car key and decided to take it for a test drive. He was so going to have fun. Jumping into the driver’s seat, he put on the ignition and started towards the house gate waiting for Abdul to open and allow him exit. Smiling to Abdul, he drove off with an enormous speed forgetting that he was still in the streets.
Ebuka and his friends did not see the car on time. It was moving too fast, more than what a car on the streets of Festac should be moving. Walter was too excited; he didn’t even remember he was on the streets. Putting on loud country music, he jammed his head to the beat. Then he saw them, they were just too close. Pulling the brakes at that time would cost him his life. He wasn’t even putting on his seat belt. He kept blasting his horn, but it did no good. They were just in front of him and his speed limit was just too high. Looking back at what he had done, he drove off without a halt! He had just killed people’s children
Onyinye was sitting on her almost dead wooden chair as she continued frying her bean ball. The first batch had been finished by hungry Festac men who were working on the building site not far from where she was selling. She looked at her almost empty tray and realised she needed to fry more yams too. If only she had a helper, it would have made things easier but she knew their condition. Her husband was just a petty trader, he was already trying hard, what more could he afford. Swiping her palm over her forehead to remove the bead of sweat that lay there, she bent down, picked a tuber of yam and started peeling. Just then, she heard Bayo shouting her name.
“Mama Ebuka, Mama Ebuka…” he was running and shouting out of breathe. He looked like he had been running
“Bayo, are you okay? Where is Ebuka and the rest?” she asked concerned
“Mama Ebuka, one car was driving too fast, it just hit all of us on the road, Ebuka, Kachi and Eloy are still on the floor, they are bleeding.” Bayo finished as he continued panting
“Ehn! You say?” Onyinye screamed out looking distraught as she dropped the yam on the floor “Ebuka! My only son ke,…on the floor?”
“Yes ma” Bayo replied pointing towards the direction where he had come from. Onyinye looked at him aghast as she ran towards the direction screaming for help. Bayo followed suit.
Location: Balogun market; Somewhere around Marina, Lagos Island
Mr. Chidi was calling people to his wares and advertising his new clothes. He was smiling to every passerby even though the market was filled with lots of unsmiling people with varying aims, as he held a shirt, a skirt or a dress trying to persuade them to buy. Some smiled back at him and gave polite replies of why they cannot buy; others merely shrugged him off and continued to be in a hurry to where ever they were hurrying to. Mr. Chidi hoped for a better sale. He was confident that before the close of day, a miracle would happen and someone would just drop buy and pick some items. As he sat down to enjoy the scenery of the mad Lagos market rush, someone ran in. “Nna Chidi, Onyinye has been trying to reach you ooh. Check your phone, she just called me now now and she sounded so bad ooh.” Ejinma finished as he looked at Chidi. Chidi hurriedly grabbed his phone from the floor where he had left it and dialled Onyi’s number. A few second later, chidi looked up from his phone distraught; gritting his teeth, he dropped his phone on the floor.
Location: A hospital somewhere around Festac
Onyinye kept screaming even as the other women tried to calm her down. She threw her small weight on the floor as she glided her legs dramatically weeping uncontrollably. Ebuka was her only child and she didn’t want to hear that he was dead. It will be okay for him to hurt a few places but not to die. She had been married for fourteen years and Ebuka was the only fruit she had to show for it. Chidi kept pacing the hospital floor; there was no need to sit when his mind was agitated. He saw the other fathers trying to console their wives. He glanced at his wife as she continued to perform her small drama and shook his head. He was optimistic about the surgery Ebuka and the other boys had gone in for. He was not going to die. They had worked hard to suffer like this. No! His God was still alive. Mouthing series of prayers, Chidi continued to pace on. Just then, the doctor came out and saw the chaos in the waiting room. He quietly beckoned to the fathers as they all moved to his office, leaving their wives. The other two men were lucky as their sons had survived the surgery. Ebuka on the other hand being at the forefront of the accident had lost too much blood before they got a chance to even start the operation. Taking Chidi quietly to the theatre, the doctor allowed him see Ebuka for the last time before he was sent to the mortuary. Chidi looked at his lifeless boy and cried like every man would. (I wonder how men cry though) letting fate take precedence, he moved out to meet with his wife. Onyinye looked up and saw the fake smile on Chidi’s face. He grinded his teeth together moving his tongue round his mouth, she put her two hands on her chest and looked on. He shook his head indicating what she didn’t want to think had happened. Getting his drift, onyinye opened her eyes widely and fainted.
Location: Inside an Ambulance, somewhere along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
Chidi sat inside the ambulance as he looked at his son’s corpse. He couldn’t believe that it was indeed true. His only son, just like that? Chineke, why? What wrong did he do that he had to be punished like this. His wife had agreed with him to let him take their son far away from them where they would not have to see his grave. It was too painful to take in. as the ambulance kept driving off in a hurry and swerving at all cuts to avoid whatever traffic they might get into, the bus hit a stone and shook terribly hard that Chidi even hit his head. Recovering from the shock, he looked at the ambulance attendant who muttered a sorry to him. He didn’t even mind, the pain he felt was more than a mere hit on the head. Just then he heard, “Daddy, what is going on?”
Chidi didn’t want to believe what he just heard. He looked at the attendant hoping it was him and not what his mind was readily telling him. They looked at each other and looked down at Ebuka’s body. His eyes were wide open and he was looking deeply worried. “Daddy, is everything okay? Why am I lying here? Am I sick?” he attempted to sit up when his father and the attendant moved back screaming at the driver to stop the ambulance. The three men stood motionless as they looked at Ebuka. He was alive! How could that have even happened? He was dead yesterday. Chidi didn’t even know where to start from. He didn’t know what to tell the boy. Ebuka did not understand why they were all staring at him like they had seen a ghost. He looked at himself again. He was well dressed but he noticed a few stitches. Then he remembered. He had been hit by a car on his way back from school yesterday. Then he remembered Eloy and Kachi. What happened to them? Where were they? He looked at his father as he started to speak “Daddy, where is Eloy and Kachi? Are they alright?”
Swallowing hard, Chidi nodded his head. He picked his phone from his pocket as he dialled his wife. She picked on the second ring. “Onyi, something strange has happened oh.”
“What again this time?” she asked as she sniffed
“Ebuka has woken up!” Chidi did not even believe himself
“Ehn Chidi? My son has woken up? Is that what you said?” she blinked back tears
“Onyi, I can’t believe it too but he just woke up. Do you want to speak with him?” Chidi asked with so much pain
“Eh…give my son the phone. Let me hear his voice.” She cried unable to control herself. Chidi handed the phone to Ebuka who kept staring at his father the whole time. “Hello, mummy, how are you?”
“Ehhhh!!! Ebuka? You are alive?” Onyinye screamed as the other women around her looked up in amazement “Is this really you? The devil thought he had me!” she cried “The devil thought he had me ohh! God is alive!” she said crying and smiling at the same time.
“Mummy, what of Kachi and Eloy? Are they there?”
“My son, thank God for you. They are fine ooh and yes, they are here. Tell your father to bring you back for me. Let him bring you back oh.”
Ebuka handed the phone to his father who dropped the call. Chidi looked up to the heavens and said a word of prayer.
PS: plenty thanks to Rev. Fr. Panachy for his inspiration to this post. His homily helped bring this to life. I thank God for this chance that He gave us by sending his only son to die for us and for the beauty of His resurrection. Happy Easter all, sorry it came late!