Oh my gosh! I still shudder at the memory of it. Standing by and watching as he was carried into the ‘Keke’, unconscious.
It was a Thursday afternoon, after the heavy downpour of the September rain which had thinned down to a drizzle, as I sat in my office attending to a customer, I heard shouts outside. I didn’t bother because there was always a drama going on around my neighbourhoood not until the gradual gathering of people, both neighbours and passersby drew my attention. My customers were already outside, straining their ears to catch the latest, so I decided to go out and see for myself what was happening.
When I came out, I asked someone standing next to me, “Sissy, what is happening?”
“Nna eee, oku na adogbu mmadu”, was her reply. Ew! Electricity electrocuting someone? It was then I looked carefully at the woman wailing. She was the landlady of the woman from whom we usually buy zobo. She was really out of control. It happened that her first son was the victim. The young men who were around, hustled around, looking for a dry stick to push him out.
“How did it happen?” I asked the girl standing next to me.
“He touched a rod at their backyard and at the instant, the rod started shocking him”. Whoop! I don’t remember learning anything like that in school. How can an empty rod shock somebody unless it was connected?
One of my customers muttered in exasperation, “The NEPA should turn off the light electric flow naw! If it were to be in Lagos, they’d definitely notice that something is wrong somewhere and switch off the electricity.”
“Amen”, I said, “Aba NEPA will never detect anything. Sometimes I just wonder why Aba is the worst town for everything here in Nigeria”, I thought aloud to myself.
At last, they succeeded in turning off the house’s electric meter and brought the boy out. Immediately, a tricycle (Keke) was chartered and the boy was rushed to the hospital with the sister and some young men in accompany. The mother was restrained from joining them and kept indoors.
Later in the evening that same day, we received news that the boy didn’t make it. He wasn’t able to survive the shock. O how I grief for the mother. Who could have believed that Emeka would die so soon, in a twinkle of an eye, just like that? Someone who woke up in the morning spontaneously with schedules, maybe he even planned to do one silly or funny thing, now in the mortuary. Now we will never get to see those broad smiles of yours that stretched from your ear like the smile of the sun shining in the midday. Now we will never get to hear your jokes and cackles that can bring joy even to a sorrowful heart. Had I believed in reincarnation, I would have begged the Almighty that you be sent back to us the second time.
Oh how we will miss you, I’m already missing you, even as I write, my heart can no longer contain the grief that I feel, I am bereft, my hands are shaking and my vision blurred by the tears welling up in my eyes.
Now I realize the futility of life. If death could visit someone in his home and take him, how much more outside. Chances are you may not see the person you talked with today, tomorrow. So make the best use of the opportunity you have being alive and reach out to the world.
Ga nkeoma nwokedima, garuo n’udo
Adieu my friend and neighbor. Your memory will remain in our hearts and our prayer is that you rest peacefully in the bosom of our Lord.
We miss you!