Friday, March 22, 2024



Photo Credit: Alvin Balemesa

In the spirit of international women's day - which I know possessed me late - I decided to write a woman-themed story. To show its contrition, this spirit has decided to stay the rest of the month and make all my March stories female focused. 

(Pauses for a minute silence to let the  feminists' cheers calm down). 

*Taps impatiently. Sighs and continues the story regardless.* 

I went to the hospital today. My head hurts. A sharp pain had embedded itself in my cranial nerves. It traveled down my spine to the rest of my body. Soon, everywhere began to hurt too. 

Photo Credit: Camila Quintero Franco

I was whiny and irritable. I lashed out on everyone that dared come close. Just in case they weren't feeling my pain enough, I reminded them every minute. You see, I was on a missionary journey - to frustrate everyone around me. Not even my father's quick journey to the hospital spared me a detour from this quest. The thought of them poking needles into my body in a frantic search of veins made me even more determined to achieve this mission. Poor man. When my father added a mental check-up to my growing list, I didn't raise an eyebrow. 

The doctor took his time. After many years, he appeared in a second and was determined to disappear in the next. Not even the painstaking description of my pain made him bat an eyelid. Instead, he darted a glance on his wristwatch and sighed. 

"A petty inconvenience," it seemed to say. 

I huffed. And puffed.

Photo Credit: Gideon Hezekiah

He scribbled a signature that was supposed to make the pharmacist give me my cure and with a pat on my back, he was out.  If I didn't know better I would have sworn I saw his lips curve in the tiniest bit of a smile. Maybe I was seeing things. And should take my father's advice to go for a mental check-up. Nonetheless, if you ask me about sadistic doctors, I will tell you about this one. 

I was a few steps away from the pharmacy when a sharp piercing scream broke out into the thin air. It split everything it touched including my head. Or what was left of it. So much for nursing a migraine all night. I held the pieces, trying to stay sane. 

The scream came again. And again. Till it became an unsteady rhythm of drum beats. Until it rented the air with its music. Until it tore at my heart. I knew what this was. Suddenly, the throbbing in my head paled. 

Photo Credit: Prince Akachi

The grief drew me in till I was in the ward it oozed from. It smelled like what had happened. Death. My sadistic doctor was there. Trying to keep the crying woman together. But she was not my head. It is not every ailment that can be cured. And it is not all broken things that can be fixed. Even when we succeed, some ailments never lose their symptoms and some scars never fade.

Words rushed out in an endless flow of madness. You will see why the doctor's efforts were futile. There was no need for this woman to keep it together. In fact, she had flung sanity away. Perhaps it landed on me. I was able to make out a few words as I drew closer. 

The dead man was her husband, the breadwinner. There are 5 children to cater for. The youngest was barely off her teats. Born premature, his birth had drained their pockets. She had taken a long break off the labour market to take care of him them.   

“It was supposed to be a brief illness,” she said. 

“We didn't plan for this.  Chi m, where do I start from?” she wailed. 

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt

The floodgates broke open. We were soon drenched. A downpour of emotions she could not hold in. Her cries came out in long howls. I feared for her throat. I knew pain. I cried when I ailed. My cries were well crafted packages tied for others to open and share my pain. This one came from packages that burst open. That hurt from holding it in for so long. It became a dirge, tearing at our heart because it tore hers first. She clung to the doctor's garbs for refuge. 

If you are an African surviving in a patriarchal enthroned society, you may understand the fate that befell this woman. Even if she didn't experience sporadic interruptions in her career (if she had one). Even if she was educated enough to face superstitious customs. Even if she was strong enough to fend off money hungry relatives. Or had a bunch of supportive feminists as sisters. Right here, in the middle of any other hospital in South Eastern Nigeria, in a puddle of her own tears and sweat, we knew she will never be same again. 

Photo Credit: Micheal Awalla

The doctor did a better job. I see why he was impatient. Why he thought I needed more than my ailment to cry. Maybe I judged him a little too hard I thought as I tiptoed out the ward. My father would never hear of my eavesdropping. It was a quiet ride home. I will later lie down in bed that night, in thought, baffled by my own ingratitude. The things I've taken for granted. 

I became thankful for the little things. For Life. Family. Friends. The gift of sharing this ride with them. A generous downpour of Grace. 

To every Rose that grew from Concrete; Blossom!

8 Comentários:

  1. To every Rose that grow from concrete blossom❤️

  2. Great write. I could almost relate

  3. Really emotional.. I like this one

  4. I was so immersed in the story I almost cried.

  5. I feel you sis 😩👏🏽❤️

  6. The ending paragraph ❤️❤️❤️

  7. I too am 'baffled by my own ingratitude' sometimes.
    This is a beautiful piece, very touching 💗

  8. Hey dear, that was an incredible read. Apt rendition!