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Sleeping With Yesterday (Episode 18)

Posted by on September 14, 2016.

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It is the worst of times for Nnafuka. She lays in bed, finding it hard to believe the truth around her – that she is back in a hospital, the memories of the day before sprawled on the ceilings above her. She looks at them, the ceilings, like one would look at a collage of photographs. In one she sees Doctor Abiola’s son bathed in blood. In another she sees Helen’s arm waving at her from under the car wreck. She tries to shut her eyes but in the darkness of her eyelids is Doctor Abiola’s son again, this time the little one is smiling at her, blood all over his mouth as though he has had a drink of it.

Nnafuka opens her eyes and calls out, “Doctor! Nurse!” In the interval, she bites her lip, trying to keep off the smell of drugs around her.

After the crash she was seated there by the side of the road when the first vehicle to come by ground to a halt. It was a bus. Passengers came out and threw their hands on their heads. Others wrapped their arms on their chests and snapped their fingers. Looking out into the void, as though there was something that held her attention, Nnafuka would have seen a woman in tears, her hand tearing her headtie from her head while she pointed at Helen’s arm under the wreckage. It was this woman that brought the passengers’ attention to this and the men had rushed to the arm, beating and chipping out bits of the wreckage to reach the mud of blood under that was Helen’s remains. As they all screamed, “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar,” Nnafuka felt herself confused by the voices coming at her.

“Were you in the vehicle? Were you hit? Madam, are you okay. Madam, talk to us.”

Nnafuka was only moving her face from one voice to another, no answer coming from her mouth, no sense coming from the voices.

“Make una no dey ask am na,” the crying woman told the crowd. “Make una carry am go hospital. Bida no far from here, abeg.”

And they helped Nnafuka up, two men holding her on both sides. Her legs felt heavy even though she had been only a witness to the crash. Her legs felt heavy because deep inside her she was beginning to carry guilt, and this guilt was growing with every second. At a point, before they got to the bus, she felt too heavy inside that she pushed the men by her sides and sat down on the tar road. By now more vehicles were stopping. To lift her back up to her feet it took three additional men.

They eventually got her into the bus and the driver sped off to Bida, to this private hospital where the doctor says that she has post-traumatic stress disorder, to this bed where she now sees faces that are out of this world.

“Madam, what is it?” There are hands on her shoulders now. She looks at the face. It is a nurse. The white cap on her head catches Nnafuka’s attention. She lifts a hand to touch it. The doctor walks in.

“What is it?” he asks.

“She started screaming. Doctor, she is acting like a mad woman. Why don’t…”

“Shut up, my friend,” the doctor blared at the nurse. “Go out there and join in finding her relatives.”

As the nurse leaves the doctor comes close to Nnafuka. “How are you, madam?”

“Dayo,” Nnafuka replies. “Dayo.”

“Who is Dayo?”

“Dayo.” There are tears crawling down her face now. “Dayo.” She turns to the doctor’s face, looking at the spectacles staring down at her. “Dayo.”

The doctor produces a pen and writes something on the pad he is carrying.

“Did Dayo die in the accident?”

“Bring Dayo.” She sobs and sobs. “I want to tell Dayo.”

As her shoulders heave up and down the doctor holds them and gently pushes her down to the bed.

Soon she falls asleep; then she begins to see all around her sands and sands. A wave of water washes to her feet and catches on there, binding her feet to the sand like handcuffs. She tries to pull them up but she cannot. The cry of a baby cuts into the air, blocking the slapping of the oceans against rocks that have just appeared.

She looks forward into the dark horizons, and from there a figure begins to emerge, comes closer, closer and closer to her. She is not sure who it is. She begins to make out the face. In one hand, this figure has an earthen pot with something sitting on it. At a second glance Nnafuka sees that on the pot is a child’s head, Seun’s head, lifeless and still. Then she looks at the face again. It still has not formed. She looks to the other arm and there is a baby wrapped in white there. The baby looks at Nnafuka with arms stretched. Nnafuka stretches her hands, trying to take the living bundle that is coming closer and closer to her.

But the figure begins to withdraw the bundle. Nnafuka begins to cry. She tries to pull her legs free, to rush and take that child but she cannot. Eventually she spots the figure’s face.

It is Iya.

Iya brings the pot with Seun’s head closer and closer to her. Nnafuka keeps pulling back until the lifeless head is almost touching her nose.

Iya’s laughter crackles like fireworks.

To Be Continue On Friday

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Categories: Blog Columnist

One Response

  1. hmmmmmm….there is more to this story, weldone @admin

    by nnajiofor on Sep 15, 2016 at 3:40 pm

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