I left the backyard and made to go back to my room and check on Ebube when my sister Chinyere walked into the house.
At twenty-seven, she was the youngest child in the family. The only son of the family, Ikenna, who was her immediate senior was thirty. Mama had tried having more kids after Chinyere but one pregnancy had ended in still birth and the other went on to full term but the baby, a boy, named Azuka had died suddenly at six months and Mama had been inconsolable.
As an Igbo woman, she had wanted a lot of sons and when she had Ikenna, she had been overjoyed. However her dream of having more sons ended with the birth of Azuka as the doctor warned her never to get pregnant again as she may not survive it.
Chinyere was a very beautiful girl. Tall, ebony skinned, slender and graceful. People used to joke that she took all the beauty in the house. My brother Ikenna was quite stocky in appearance. Very taciturn and introverted. I, on the other hand, was not fair but not as dark or as slender as Chinyere. I had wide hips which I had inherited from my father’s side of the family. My one redeeming feature was my hair. It was full, thick and quite long for a black woman. Even when I was working, I carried it all natural and it has been like that ever since.
Chinyere was like a butterfly. Her attention span was virtually zero. She rarely concentrated in school most times. She had even changed from one higher institution to a private monothecnic that had sprung up in the state. I secretly believed that she wouldn’t know what to do with herself without the cloak of studentship covering her which is why at 27, she was now an HND 1 student of the monothecnic.
At 27, I had already worked for three years. The only subject that kept Chinyere’s attention for long was men. She once boasted to being a guru on things concerning men and their idiosyncrasies. Their s*xual behaviors too going by the number of boyfriends and sugar daddies I personally knew of.
She and my mother looked alike, thought alike and were like peas in a pod. She was literally the carbon copy of my mother so to say. This meant that we didn’t see eye to eye on so many issues including the fact that I still suspect she slept with my ex-husband but that is a story for another day.
“Good evening Chinyere” I greeted her quietly as she made to enter her room without acknowledging me.
“Oh sister, good evening, I didn’t see you” She greeted me chuckling nervously and removing the strappy sandals she was wearing.
“How was school today?” I asked looking surprised at her agitated behaviour, she was usually very confident.
“Oh! School was fine sister” she said humbly entering her room.
I walked back to my room to still see Ebube sleeping. I frowned and made to wake him up. His hot body alarmed me and quickly I shook him to wake up.
“Ebube, Ebube its mummy” I said trying to lift him up and stand him on his feet. His body was so hot. I was shocked. He had been okay when I left in the morning! School had vacated for the long holidays a few days ago so he was home.
“My head hurts mummy” he moaned leaning against me but refusing to open his eyes.
“Sorry love, I will get you drugs now. Why didn’t you tell grandma? I am sure she would have gotten you drugs and then your head wouldn’t have to hurt you” I told him rubbing his back as I wondered how I was going to brave my mother’s anger and tell her that I needed money to buy drugs for Oluebube.
“But I told grandma” he told me in a small voice.
“She told me to go into the room and lie down” he said trying to lie down again. He looked weak and listless.
I clenched my jaw angrily. My mother saw my son sick and ignored him. What grandmother does that? How wicked can you be to ignore a sick four year old? I got up from the bed and carried Ebube up.
I walked angrily to my mother’s room and knocked. I noticed the television was tuned to another station not Zee world which means Chinyere must have been watching a programme but there was no one in the sitting room.
I knocked angrily on my mother’s door and waited for her response. “Mama, Mama” I called angrily when she refused to open her door. I was beyond caring if she was resting or sleeping.
Anything concerning my son brings out the mother hen instinct in me. He was literally the most important person in my life….