Eze”,“Eze”..I heard my name being called in mumbles,I quickly dropped the cup in my hand and rushed to my brothers bedside,I saw him raise his hands feebly towards the heavens like we did in church
“Brother what is it”I said,as I reached for his hands, he looked into my eyes and held my gaze for a few seconds like he was trying to read my thoughts, then he moved his eyes towards the ceiling as he gradually brought his hands down.
“Eze,where is everyone?”He asked in a hoarse voice,..
“Mama has gone to the market and Nneka is outside playing with her friends”I replied and just then I noticed the tears that were streaking down his face
“Brother why are you crying?,mama will be very upset if she sees you like this”,I don’t think he paid attention to what I said because he asked me immediately to prepare some herbs for him..
“I will prepare the herbs now but brother ‘biko’ stop crying”
“Eze,this tears is the only thing that makes me feel human,I……..”He didn’t complete the statement and in a very peculiar way he burst into tears”
I started wishing Mama was around,she knew how to soothe brother best and seeing him cry dampened my heart
“Brother stop crying,be strong for Mama,for Nneka and even me”those were the words I was able to mutter and I silently prayed he would stop crying..
“What’s the point of strength when all you’ve lived for is gone?”He replied amidst tears.
Two years back brother had been diagnosed with the dreaded disease H.I.V,although at that time I was too young to understand any of it I noticed how that news changed everyone. I noticed brother stopped going to work(I later got to discover he had been sacked as a result of the disease)and in a very short while brother lost so much weight that Nneka practiced her Math counting his ribs,out flow of tears became so normal that It was almost impossible for a day to go by without the sound of wails and screaming.
Its been two years now and we have embraced reality,every morning I notice how Mama enters his room fearing the
worst,we know he’s leaving us very soon and there’s nothing we can do a
“eze,eze”my brothers voice seemed to reawaken me from my thoughts
“i need you to do something for me”
“what is it?”i asked
“my time here is up”
“brother you must not…….”
“ok”i could hear my heart p
“i need you to be strong”
“i will”i replied
“your the father,husband and brother now,i need you to…..”that was all he was able to mutter and the next thing he burst into tears……
“i won’t let you down,i promise i won’t”
i noticed tears were streaking down my cheeks…
i dont know how it happened but the next thing was we were locked in a strong embrace shedding tears uncontrollably….
just then Mama walked in with Nneka in her arms,she must have been startled seeing her son’s weeping but she didn’t say,she simply walked towards us and joined in the embrace…..
nothing was going to stop us from being a family,not even the cold hands of death…