“… I know baby, but still, 2 months sounds far far far” Imani said while pomading her legs. Although the lighting in a room was rather dim, I could make out the brand of body lotion she was using. “Hey! We use those here!” I stated with enthusiasm. Now wondering what at all I was blabbering about, she looked into her webcam and raised her eyebrows. “The body lotion, I mean. That’s the same one I use too.” She smiled before rolling her eyes and continued to caress her skin.
It’s been a month since I left Ghana and things weren’t really spot on. Dad was still very busy and so I only got to see him when he returned home late or before he left early for the day. It made me feel like video chatting him with mum from Ghana was similar to how we lived now. If that was the case then coming to Canada wasn’t necessary. What kept me busy, aside from writing and talking to Imani, were the walks I took everyday and the fun I had whenever I got to meet Lili. Edmonton was a very beautiful place filled with all types of beautiful people with wonderful personalities.
I was just about leaving home to meet Lili when I heard a car pull into the driveway. I shifted a part of the curtain so I could peep through the window. “What is Dad doing back home at this time?” I thought to myself. I met him halfway and politely stretched my hand to take his bag. He shook his head and walked past me. From where I stood I looked into the car through the windshield in a desperate attempt to find out what might have got Dad in the mood he was in. I walked back into the house and decided to ignore him just as he was me. But my plan was short lived when he finally spoke. “You have to leave now Jim. Go upstairs and pack whatever you need. We’re going back to Ghana.” “Unbelievable!” I said under my breath. Before I could lash out and ask him why he made me waste my time to come to Canada in the first place, it struck me that he said ‘we’. “Wait, what? We are going to Ghana as in you and me… together?” Dad looked up in the middle of tying his shoes with tears in his eyes. I had never seen Dad cry. I felt the world freeze. “Imani, her mom, and mom were involved in a car acc…” Suddenly the world unfroze and everything seemed to be in fast forward. Before I knew it, we were landing on Kotoka’s runway, pulling up to the hospital and racing down the halls to the ER. I prayed for the three especially Imani. I wouldn’t have forgiven myself for leaving. We had to shove our way into the ward despite the nurses’ insistence on having us ‘wait till the patients stabilise’.
The door pushed open in the most slow-motioned sequence I had ever been in. A single second felt like a whole minute and in it I saw the two mothers lying down; one with a machine plugged into her, the other with nothing. And Imani kneeling by the side of the bed weeping her eyes out. My heart pounded three times as fast when I realised she wasn’t weeping at her mum’s bed side but mine. “No no no no no!” I yelled shaking my head in disbelief. Imani probably heard my voice because she lifted her head to look in our direction. I watched Dad go deeper into the room and embrace Imani in his arms crying just like she was.
I ran out; past the corridors, past the waiting room, past Dad’s car, I continued to run, past the feeling of my calf tightening to tear, past the feeling of the wind slapping against my head, past the feeling of my heart growing heavier by the minute. I didn’t know how to stop running, I lost all self control because my mind was too busy looking for a reason for what was happening to care about what happened to my body.
I began slowing down when my thoughts centred on Imani and how terrified she must have been. I went down on all four and was panting more than I was sweating. Now kneeling down, I screamed towards the sky multiple times until I was certain Heaven heard me.
“There he is!” I said to Mr. Acheampong when I saw Jim walk into the hospital. His clothes had mud patches and he was shivering like mad. I run towards him and wrapped my coat around him before helping him to a seat. I wanted to see him so bad but I didn’t think our meeting would be under such awful circumstances. My cuts had already been cleaned and patched up so I was free to stay with him. I escaped with less injuries only because I was strapped in at the backseat. Everything happened too fast for me to properly understand. Aunty Evelyn swapped seats with me and joked that the back seat would be safer if anything should happen. And so she took my place in the passenger’s seat and now she’s dead. She saved my life and now she’s dead.
“That should be me lying down there, you know?” she said to me. I remembered then that I hadn’t even asked how she was doing. I quickly did a full body scan with my eyes to make sure she was fine before asking what she meant. She explained how mum took her place and saved her in the process. I felt so grateful for mum’s life and wondered how many times I told her how much I appreciated her. She was there through thick and thin. She cherished and loved me, went hungry so I could eat, stayed awake like she was the one with a headache so I could sleep. And Now she’s gone. Just like Daddy did some years ago. The only difference is she’s gone forever.