Before Obiajulum was born Ocheole had had several miscarriages, even countless times being almost taken to the world beyond. She suffered for many years, having no child to call her own, and even bore quite a number of names given to her by the villagers, for not bearing her husband a child.
It was until the day Obiajulum was born, that she was fully recognized. The seed which she had bore, brought great joy and had her tears being wiped away. And now that the seed—her first fruit—was to be taken away, she wouldn’t be able to bear the thought of having him no more. Oh, how the earth would mock me again—thought Ocheole with a rigid smile. She looked at her husband, and then the man seated at her front, and said, “Please, doctor,” she made to kneel, “Do something so my child may be whole.” from a mother’s heart came aching pleas, as misty eyes freed tears, while aging knees kissed the floor.
“I understand perfectly how you feel, ma’am,” the doctor said, “But there isn’t really anything I can do.”
The poor woman gulped, hearing him say.
Seeing the expression on her face, Ozoemena clung to his wife, helping her up. “You’ve heard, mama Aju,” he said, “Come let us go.”
The pained, feeble mind followed him, having nothing more to say.
Obiajulum was taken to the village where a healer was called and much cleansing was done.
All plans to get the boy back on his feet again proved abortive; as this was going on, Obiajulum’s spirit wandered aimlessly in a strange land.
Obiajulum, half-naked with just a piece of clothing covering his sex, looked up and sideways to see who was calling.
Obiajulum made to answer as an old man appeared in front of him. “Don’t!” the old man yelled, the frightened, shaken boy pinned to the spot.
“Who are you?” Obiajulum mustered up courage to ask, as the old man replied, “Who I am or what I am matters not.” the old man spoke with eyes directed up.
“What do you want from me?” Obiajulum questioned further. “How is it that I cannot find my way back?”
The old man turned his head to the side and beckoned to Obiajulum to come.
“I cannot come with you, old man. You are but a stranger.” his words made the old man laugh.
“You need not be afraid, my son,” he said, “This path you see, would lead you right straight to where you seek.” his voice echoed as he was no more.
Obiajulum followed the path revealed to him—coming upon a crossroads that left him confused, he followed his instinct, walking tirelessly until a river brought him to a stop. I guess I’ll never find my way back, he sighed and slumped to the ground.
Nwa m kwụrụ ọtọ–e
Nwa m kwụrụ ọtọ-e
Nwa m kwụrụ ọtọ-e
Nwa m kwụrụ ọtọ…
“E—” Obiajulum recognized the voice and leaped to his feet. “Nne!” he called happily and dived into the river.
A hand soon gripped him, as he struggled, trying to get out.
“Somebody, h-help!” he cried as he drowned.
There was not a single soul nearby to hear. He was slowly giving up, almost losing breath, when a powerful grip gained control, pulling him out of the water.
Things were getting a lot more complicated with Obiajulum still being in coma. His legs were starting to swell and his hands were gradually peeling. This was a strange thing for all who were called in to help the situation, but not a thing done worked as they hoped it would.
Obiajulum’s parents were starting to give up hope—especially with the many healers unable to do their job.
“My husband,” Ocheole called. “I am tired of everything.” she lamented bitterly. “I am really tired of seeing my son suffer.” the sadness in her voice depicted her mood. She could only watch as her son laid, fighting for his life.
Ozoemena looked at his wife, quietly chewing the twig in his mouth, as he spat out the tiny pieces, going back to chewing again.
“Are you not going to say something?” Ocheole looked at him, surprised.
“What do you want me to say?”
Ocheole was shocked at his behaviour. “My husband,” she called. “This is our son we’re talking about,” she reminded, ” Our Obiajulum.”
Ozoemena busied himself, not wanting to talk about their son’s condition. Talking about it gave him much concern, so he rather didn’t.
“Eh, Mama Aju—”
Ocheole understood the signal passed by the call of her name, as she bowed her head and left, saying no more.
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