Akin Smith: Chapter 1 - Part 3
posted by Michael Olafusi , on ,
Oh no! Not again!! I look through the window again and see nothing. Everywhere, outside the window and within the room I share with my siblings, is of thick embraceable darkness. Fortunately, I always keep a torch under my pillow, so, I pull it out and shift the control slider to the ON position. Then, I beam its light on the wall clock, it's two pointers indicate 01:37. A sick feeling creeps into my stomach, very much like the one I felt at nearly this same hour 7 months ago.
It was a Monday and rather than go to school in the morning, I was lying on my bed shivering and sweating at the same time. My mum was very worried and kept trying to feed me my breakfast which I involuntarily threw up. After a short argument, she finally prevailed on my dad to get Nurse Ijeoma, the owner of the drugstore two streets away. Twenty minutes later, my dad not only arrived with Nurse Ijeoma, but also with Mrs Alabi and Mary (her daughter and my self-proclaimed heartthrob). Nurse Ijeoma, despite Mary's sudden torrent of tears, looked at me with piercing indifference, like there was a TV screen between us and I was playing perfectly to some director's script. Then, she pulled my dad aside, spoke with him for some minutes, and left.
Mary clinched her mum and continued sobbing aloud. My mum has now stopped trying to feed me my breakfast, and my dad is looking extremely worried - more from the fact that he would arrive work very late. Then after what seemed like an eternity of silence mingled with Mary's sobs, Nurse Ijeoma came in. She brought with her, two IV drip bags, some bottles of injections, four tourniquets, a funny-looking needle with wings and one very long tubing with adjustable clamp. She tied the two IV drip bags side by side at the top of the window beside my bed, fixed the long tubing to one of the bags, made a hole in that bag with a needle and syringe, left the needle in the bag, inserted the winged needle into a vein in my left arm and I felt a sharp pain shoot from my left arm through my entire body. She inserted the other end into the long tubing, shook 3 injection bottles one after the other, and injected their contents into the bag. Finally, she adjusted the clamp in the long tubing till the fluid in the bag was trickling slowly down the long tubing into my arm.
Then, she placed her right hand on my forehead and left it there for about 5 minutes. She faced my mum and told her to not worry as it was a mild case of malaria and that she'd be leaving. She showed my mum how to close the clamp and instructed her to close it when the bag is fully emptied, and she should send Mary (thinking she's my sister) to call her. I glanced at my dad and noticed him shifting uncomfortably in his chair, and when our eyes locked, he stood up, thanked the Nurse and followed her out of the house.
At about 2:00pm, the bag was done emptying its injection laden fluid into my body. My mum closed the clamp, woke Mary, who was now asleep beside me, and told her to go call Nurse Ijeoma. 10 minutes later she was back, panting, and said Nurse Ijeoma says she is very busy and will come later in the day, and that I should go have my shower, drink yogurts and read my schoolbooks. I only did two of her three suggestions.
At exactly 5:00pm she came, and connected the second bag, added Piriton and some other injections. Not too long after that, I slept. When I woke up, the first thing I noticed was this thick darkness everywhere, I put my right hand under my pillow and pulled out a torch. I beamed its light on the wall clock, it reads 2:05. I looked at the bag and it was empty, I closed the clamp. Then, suddenly, I felt a bitter taste in my mouth and a sick feeling in my stomach. I tried to sleep again, but it wasn't until dawn that I succeeded.
I now feel that same sick feeling in my stomach, but instead of a bitter taste in my mouth, my mouth feels dry. It must have been that second bottle of Chelsea dry gin I took. I stand up, with the torch in my hand, and tiptoe to the kitchen. I pour myself a mixture of garri, sugar and water in a bowl. I, then, tiptoe to the living room to get the bottle of groundnuts dad brought home two days ago. I tiptoe back to the kitchen and finds a dome of wet sugar sitting comfortably on swollen garri. I hurriedly pour some groundnuts on top and sat on the kitchen floor with the bowl between my legs. I, then, spend the next couple of minutes swallowing the ill-mixed garri, sugar and groundnuts. Some parts have more sugar than garri and groundnuts combined, while others only have garri.
I carefully rinse the bowl and tiptoe to return the bottle, and finally tiptoe back to the room. My stomach is now bulging, and it does not take me long to fall sleep.