Dana had almost died in Nigeria. But she eventually grew up in the Republic of Oduduwa after Nigeria itself died. Her spirit of adventure & philanthropy took her to the Republics of Biafra, Arewa, Middle-Belt & Niger-Delta in no particular order. Never by air though. By road, by ultramodern railways, by water but never by air.
She was somewhat a collector too. She had the Biafran currency note bearing the face of Chinua Achebe, the Oduduwan currency note bearing the face of Fela Kuti, the Arewan currency note of Muhammadu Buhari, the Middle-Beltic currency of Gideon Orkar & the Niger-Deltan currency of Ken Saro-Wiwa. She had many other currency notes in her personal collection but these five were her children’s favourites. Though they always teased her for being so old-school in a paperless digital economy.
Dana had five children who gave her beautiful grandkids. Except of course Amina her last child who was a lesbian. Dana thought of her dearest Amina & smiled. If anybody had told her that her shy little girl would blossom into a fearless woman struggling for gay rights, would she have believed it? She could still remember when she adopted her. 2057. Amina was just 6years old at the time & her parents were killed in an unfortunate air crash on their pilgrimage to Mecca. Amina’s uncles cared only for the wealth of their deceased brother & were too happy when a White woman came to take their niece away. That White woman was Dana.
A now 24year old Amina squeezed her old mother’s hand affectionately as if she could read her thoughts. Dana knew that was Amina’s way of telling her without words “Mummy, don’t be scared. The plane is taking off. I’m here.” Dana was scared to death but managed to smile nervously. She relaxed a few seconds later when some passengers began clapping & cheering because of what they called a perfect take-off. “Thank God,” Dana sighed with relief. Her mind drifted off again.
Her previous adoptions had been harder even though Amina’s Islamic Republic of Arewa was the most conservative nation amongst the others. Dana was 36 when she adopted her first child Babatunde from an orphanage in Abeokuta in 2039. Her second child Chinedu was adopted from a home for challenged children in Ngwa state, Biafra in 2043. The home explained to Dana that Chinedu lost his legs & single mom in a fatal ferry accident under the Second Niger Bridge. She first saw her third child Yakubu in a news broadcast in 2045. The helpless one year old was the sole survivor of a raid by Fulani normads on his small village in Plateau. Her fourth child Godswill was the biggest exception. He ran away from his violent pirate father in Ogoni state, Niger-Delta at the age of 15. He was a pickpocket until Dana picked him up from the market one day & he followed her.
Dana smiled for the millionth time. All her children were special to her. They were not her biological children but she was sure that if blood was thicker than water, her love for them was even thicker than blood. She loved them with all of her heart & soul. It was that love that had given her the courage to take this flight from the Ibrahim Babangida Airport, Abuja to Lagos. That love & the way her children constantly pestered her made her face this her phobia for flights. She dozed off. Zzz…
Ever since she woke up from a coma at an undisclosed hospital in Lagos in 2012, she had developed an extreme fear for flying. She had felt excruciating pains all over her body & seen the worried looks on the faces of the doctor & nurses. She heard them ask “What is your name?” but she couldn’t remember anything. “It must be amnesia” they said shaking their heads. They eventually started calling her “Dana”. So Dana became her name. They never told her why. They never told her that she was the little White girl who had been pulled out unconscious & bloodied from one of the buildings which the Dana Boeing MD-83 Flight J992 had crashed into on June 3, 2012. Sixty-three years ago.
“Mummy, mummy…” The 72year old Dana opened her eyes to see Amina gently tapping her on the arm & her other children smiling mischievously.
“We don land? Now, now, now?” Dana asked them in pidgin as she yawned.
“We never land!” Amina, Babatunde, Chinedu & Yakubu replied in unison.
Dana was about to shut her eyes again when Godswill, who had been watching his brothers & sister in amusement, stretched out his hand to pull her up & said “Mama, no mind them jor. We don land.”
Dana gave the others a look that said If-I-was-younger-I-would’ve-flogged-you-naughty-kids & they all burst out in laughter. She was truly glad that she & her children had arrived the Bola Tinubu Airport, Ikeja safe & sound. As from today, the 3rd of June 2075, she knew she’d never be afraid to fly again.