“Doctor!” Samuel ran to call the doctor. The others crowded Chibuzo kissing and hugging him. Chibuzo felt so light and hungry. His throat was dry. He didn’t know the one to demand first.
“I’m hungry,” he said, and they all laughed. He noticed that they all had tears in their eyes. Just then the doctor entered with Samuel. He looked surprised. He never thought he would see the boy alive. It’s a miracle, he thought. After examining him, he found out that he was ok. Even pneumonia he had before he went into a coma was gone too. Weird.
“He’s fine now. I know he must be hungry. Its been months after all. Give him liquids for now so that his stomach will get used to it. Young man, you are lucky. Sincerely I didn’t think you will come out of it” he said and left. Chibuzo looked and Samuel and called him.
‘Do you really mean what you told me? That you love me?” He asked hopefully
“We all love you, son,” His grandfather said. He looked at them and broke into smiles.
“Wait! What month is it?”Chibuzo asked looking at them
“Its August,” Said his aunt stroking his head
“I think I missed my birthday,” Chibuzo said
“When was it? His grandfather asked an idea already forming in his mind
“May the thirteenth” Chibuzo replied. His grandfather turned and said to his Son in law “I think we have a birthday to plan” Chibuzo smiled. The future looked bright for him. He now has everything he always wished for….
Twelve years later, eighteen years old Samuel stood at the airport waiting for his cousin brother. He looked around and saw other people apparently waiting for their loved ones.
The plane is supposed to be here, he said to himself. I can’t wait to see him.
He could still remember the day he pulled him out of the darkness of Catatonic trauma. Since then, they had remained inseparable. It was only when he had to travel out to do his university education that they parted but still kept in touch through phone calls and social networks. Just then, the plane landed. He stood in anticipation. People started alighting. “1…2…3….4 and he saw him. Samuel was shocked. The young man that alighted was so different from the Chibuzo he used to know. He was tall and so handsome. Not the traumatized boy of many years ago. Samuel ran to him and put out his hand for a handshake, but Chibuzo ignored it and hugged him instead.
“You’ve grown so tall Sam,” Chibuzo said looking him over.
“You too big bro. So handsome. Do you have a girlfriend now? Samuel asked looking him over. He looks like a black American, he thought
“No but I have someone in mind” he smiled
“Do I know her?” Samuel asked.
“We are still at the airport sam. Let’s get home first” Chibuzo observed. Samuel realized it was right and led the way to the car. At eighteen, he already has his own car. Chibuzo’s own was waiting for him at home, but he didn’t tell him that. When they reached, everyone was outside waiting for him. All hugged him and like Samuel, they started bombarding him with questions. He managed to answer them all. When they entered the house, he stopped and remembered the first day he stepped into the house. It looked big and still looked big. Many things had changed. His and Sam’s Pictures outlined the wall. There was him when they threw him his fifteenth birthday. He had just come back from the hospital and looked so slim. Another was when he received an award as the best student and host of others.
When he came down after taking his siesta, a welcome party was waiting for him. His uncle who was no longer a PA to the vice president but a senator was there with his friends. His friend Slimzy who was now a practicing lawyer was also there with a lady. Chibuzo thought she was his girlfriend but later learnt that she was his sister. She was stunning. He greeted everybody, and the party began. They say that when you are having fun, time seems to fly. Soon it was time for the visitors to go. Chibuzo went to see his friend and his sister off and regretted doing that later. Slimzy told him that his sister likes him and will like to date him. Chibuzo who didn’t want to be rude kept quiet.
“Will you like that, my friend?” Slimzy asked him
“Your sister is pretty Slimzy but am sorry I don’t feel the same way. Please try and understand” he said apologetically.
“Its alright. I’ll let her know. And I don’t feel bad about it ok? Goodnight” Slimzy said and entered his car. His sister was inside waiting for him. Chibuzo entered the house feeling unhappy. He hated turning down his friend.
The days flew by, and he secured a job. He studied medicine at Harvard and was sought after by almost all hospitals in Abuja. He specialized in terminal diseases. People who knew him well knew why he chose that. Since he wasn’t able to save his father, he can be able to save others. After working for eight months, he received his first leave. He decided that it was time to go back to his village and pay a visit to his uncle and friend. He told his uncle this, and he agreed to go with him.
They left early the next morning and arrived at Umuata, the senator’s village around noon. They rested and continued their journey. Before 2 Pm, they were in his village. It’s still the same, thought Chibuzo. The only difference was that some of the roads were now tarred and a secondary school was built. When they got to his Uncle’s house, the place was overgrown with grass.
“Are you sure this is the place son?” The senator asked him
“Yes sir am sure” he replied. It’s the place. He could see the tree stump where he used to sit each time his aunt beat him. Someone passed, and he called him back. The man looked at him in awe. He didn’t know who he was, but he looked rich. Chibuzo saw that look and dismissed it.
“Good afternoon, Please what happened to the people that lived here? Do they have a new house now?” He asked. The man looked at the house in question and shook his head sorrowfully.
“No, they didn’t relocate. They died in a fire,” he said.
“Fire? How!”Chibuzo shouted
“There was a heavy rain that night and they went to bed. They forgot to turn off their switches and it caught fire when lightning struck the house. No one was alive when the fire was quenched” he narrated and left. Chibuzo fell down and wept. His uncle consoled him. It was God who took him out of the house if not he would have been dead by now, the man thought. After a while, he composed himself and went to Ifechukwu’s house. The first person he saw was Adanma. He stopped. She’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, he said to himself. His Uncle noticed this but kept quiet. The girl was a beauty he agreed even without make up. Just then the girl looked up. She was surprised at seeing people there. They came closer and she saw them clearly. The young man smiled and she nearly swooned. He’s so handsome, she thought. Who are they looking for? Not me. She said so sure that she has never seen him before if not she’ll remember.
“Adanma” Chibuzo called. She was so suprised. The Senator saw the sparks and smiled. This is love at first sight.
“How do you know my name, Sir?” She asked bewildered.
“Don’t you remember me? Am Chibuzo”
“The one that ran away many years ago,” He replied. By then his Uncle was already seated watched them.
“Chibuzo!” She shouted and hugged him. Immediately their bodies touched, the sprang apart, each looking shy.
“You look beautiful now you are grown up” Chibuzo teased her.
“You too,” she said looking at him from the corner of her eye.
“Where is Ifechukwu?” He asked
“He went to the farm with my parents,” she said.
“Which one?”He asked
“The one near the river” Immediately she said this, he turned to His uncle and told him he’d soon be back. He ran as fast as he could till he got there. When he got there, he stopped to catch his breath and shouted “Ife” on top of his voice. His friend stopped when he heard his name. Only one person called him that. He turned, and there was Chibuzo smiling at him looking so handsome. He ran to him and hugged him. Chibuzo didn’t mind that his friend was dirty and smelling. That is friendship.
“My friend you now look like a Whiteman. What happened to you?” Ife asked
“My friend it’s a long story” Chibuzo replied. He turned to Chibuzo’s parents who were now watching the young men and greeted them.
“Mama, papa this is Chibuzo” at his parent’s blank look, he continued
“That Chibuzo that used to come to our house years ago. The one, his aunty, called police for me that time.”
“She called police for you?” Chibuzo asked, and he nodded
“Oh! My child come and greet me well. I have remembered him now. So grown up and good looking” said Ife’s father. Chibuzo went and hugged both of them. When he was through, he turned to his friend and said
“We have a lot to talk about” to Ifechukwu’s parents he said
“Mama, Papa I’ll like to marry your daughter Adanma” they all smiled, and Ifechukwu said to himself ‘it’s about time.’