Mma ekomdo! Faithi ame yong, my mom’s toothless smile had a knack for twirling my heart and setting the butterflies free in my tummy. I hurried to give her a big hug and rushed off to sit by my dad’s bed. He was already sat up on his side of the bed and patted his side. His sense of perception was like none other I had ever seen, not that I had seen any other blind men in Awa Village. One could bet my dad did hear my footsteps the moment I turned from the tarred road unto the winding sandy street that tapered at our house.
I recounted the day’s events to my daddy, my favorite man in the universe and my best friend. As i relieved the elation as my name rang through the principal’s lips as the first in the entire SS2 class, he squeezed my hands in commendation and pride. He couldn’t see the big grin on my face whenever he did that. I would kill an elephant for that squeeze. When I told him how the principal had challenged every student to emulate my consistent excellence … another grin was inevitable as he nodded vehemently affirming, Akpaniko yin mmi! I was determined to do my family proud by continuing as the best until graduation into the wider world.
It was time for me to nap, so i could be up later in the evening to go collect the physics textbook a classmate had offered to share. I needed more ninety-somethings in the forthcoming MOCK exams to boost my average. Uche! Uche! I called out at the uncompleted building on the street preceding Uche’s family house. His dad was an engineer who had come to our community during the big oil company project. They were very rich and in their house was another world amidst our poverty stricken community. Having called out for well over 5 minutes I turned to return to the house when Ibok, Uche’s best friend called out saying they were trying a couple of practice questions on the inside since it was really quiet and far from the distraction of people returning from the farms in the evening.
Unsuspecting I offered to help out before heading home with Uche’s P.N. Okeke. It was the biggest mistake I have ever made in life. In my head I have walked home and told Ibok I will collect the book in school during break time, but it hasn’t changed anything. It all happened so fast! I had barely stretched to get across the high rising of the buildings floors, when they all came at me. I screamed and screamed but I didn’t hear any sounds as large hands bound my mouth muffling my voice up. One after the other, all four of them had their share. My innocence was taken. I could hear Uche’s loud laughter as he snorted at me the daughter of a nobody who dared humiliate them by performing better than the entire school academically.
The sun was already snuggling its pillow by the time i tried to stand on my legs spent from weeping. I couldn’t bear the pain that would wreck the body of my poor blind father and my mother on hearing this. Maybe, I would just not tell them but what would i say had happened, i was bleeding and could not put my legs side by side, O Abasi mmi mbok.
2 From the end of the earth I call to You, when my heart is overwhelmed and weak;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I [a rock that is too high to reach without Your help].
Psalm 61:2Amplified Bible (AMP)