“Mum” called Samuel and they all rushed to his side.
“He can hear me. Look he closed his fingers around mine when I put my hand in his palm” he said happily. He didn’t want to use his plan B.
“Keep talking to him” the doctor advised. He didn’t want to tell them that soon he’ll be put on life support. He was still breathing, but it was becoming faint each time he checked. He didn’t want to lose the boy.
“It’s my turn,”Samuel’s mom said to her son. He let go of Samuel’s hands and felt a sense of loss. They left her. Maybe she’ll do the magic.
Chibuzo also felt the sense of loss when Samuel let go of his hand but then it returned. The hand felt a little big and soft. He clung to it selfishly. He didn’t tell Ife about this. He was scared he’ll just laugh at him. The food was ready, and they gathered together to eat. To eat, he had to use his right hand which was clenched tightly by his side. He reluctantly did so and started eating.
She felt his fingers relax and started crying. At this point, she could do anything for the boy even if it meant dying so that he could live. Such a young boy. It has always been one suffering to another. They shouldn’t have left without him. Oh if only we had known, she cried. She should have known something was wrong the day Samuel woke up crying and demanding to see and talk to Chibuzo. She thought it was just a childish tantrum. Her son has always been different, she knew that but refused to admit it to anybody, not even herself. He always knew when she had a headache and when she was on her period. The day her son Prince was rushed to the hospital, he was just a year old and didn’t know anything, but he cried throughout the day. Even the distance couldn’t block the connection he had with the brother he had never met. The whole thing was mind bugging so she couldn’t disclose it to anyone.
The food was delicious. No one talked till dinner was over. They sat at the center of the compound just the three of them enjoying the night breeze. Finally, Chibuzo asked the question that has been bothering him since afternoon.
“They traveled and won’t come back for two weeks” Ifechukwu replied. Chibuzo was so happy. They had the house to themselves. Nobody to disturb them.
The days that followed was an exciting one. They woke up, went to the stream, took their bath and ate. Ife’s sister being a girl felt left out, but Chibuzo tried to include her in their activities. Ifechukwu taught him how to catch animals by laying traps. He learned it quickly and wondered why he hadn’t done it before. Swimming was his best hobby. He started swimming at an early age and now swam like a fish.
Once in a while, he felt that intense feeling that someone was telling him to come home. He didn’t know what it meant because he felt at home here. The most intriguing aspect was that the voices sounded familiar, but he couldn’t place it. One morning, they woke up and went to the farm together. After sweating for three hours, they settled down to eat. It was roasted yam and red oil.
“My friend” he called Ifechukwu. Ifechukwu stopped eating and looked at him.
“I’ve been here for more than two weeks, and yet your parents have not returned. Where did they go?” Chibuzo asked
“Chibuzo my friend. I don’t think you are ready for the answer. You are happy here…. right? With just I and my sister?” he asked
“Yes but I still want to know” he insisted.
“Before I answer that, we have somewhere to go. After that, I’ll answer any question you have”Ifechukwu told him. He nodded and continued eating. When they finished eating, they resumed their work. This went on until the evening and Ifechukwu who was two months older than Chibuzo and had assumed the mantle of leadership called it a day. They walked home in silence, tired and hungry. Branching by the river, they took their baths and went back. Immediately they reached, they lay down and slept.
The man kept looking at the boy on the bed. He had grown more thinner. Oh God let him survive this, he prayed. It has been four months and yet the boy was not improving. The doctor told them it could take years, but they prayed it wouldn’t be the case. They had been transferring him blood once a week. A single tear fell from his eyes, but the professor didn’t care who saw him. This is his grandchild. After looking at him for a while, he said
“Son I’m sorry I didn’t find you sooner. If only I had been around when my daughter came to the states, you wouldn’t be in this condition. Its all my fault” tears were now flowing freely.
“I lost your mother, and for years I carried the guilt within me. I was supposed to be watching the babies, but I stepped out to answer a call. My work was always coming first. Now that I finally found you, am about to lose you too. I promise that if you come back, I will give you the best life has to offer. Please come home” Samuel stood at the door watching him. Tears were falling down his cheeks too. It is time; he said to himself and approached his grandfather.
“Grandpa” he called. The man wiped his eyes and looked at him.
“Yes dear” he answered
“I can bring him back.”
“How do you mean?
“I mean I can go to the place he is and bring him back,” he said watching his granddad intently. The man was speechless. In all his stay abroad, he had learned that some people were born gifted, but he never thought he had one in his family. He looked at the boy again and remembered an incident that occurred years back when the boy was just two years old. He had had a nightmare. It was always the same. Someone knocked on his door, and he jumped up startled. On opening the door, he saw the little boy, and he raised his hands for him to carry him. He carried him inside the room and laid him on the bed. The boy looked at him and said: “It was not your fault grandpa” he was shocked. Now looking at the boy, he felt goosebumps all over him.
“And how do you intend to do that my boy,” He asked
“I will go right after him, but it is risky.”
“How do you mean?
“If he does not want to come back, I will be stuck with him,” he said and shivered
“No son, don’t do it. Your parents will not forgive me if you end up like Chibuzo. We will find another way.”
“There is no other grandpa; I know where he is and he’s happy there. Nothing stands as a threat there, and if we leave him, he will never come back.”
“How did you know where he is?”
“I saw it last night.” This boy is something else, the Professor said to himself.
“We will talk to your parents about it and know if they will approve,” he said. Samuel nodded. He knew they wouldn’t agree. Who would allow their only child to go and get stuck? He will still do something even if they didn’t agree. He’s my brother.