Last week, my best friend Jacky got really sick. At first, I thought it a minor issue. It was when the sickness got worse after three days that my eyes became clearer. My dog’s eyes were red and watery. It whined in pains when I tried touching it.
Jacky was the only loyal friend I had. It was more dependable than my parents, more faithful than my siblings and had taught me more lessons than any teacher ever did.
“mum, let’s take Jacky to the hospital” I said with tears at the verge of dripping from my eye. She gazed for a moment at my water-soaked eyes before replying.
“Junior, we don’t have any money.”
I was not keen on taking no for an answer.
“I will pay you back I promise”
Mum chuckled. How would a ten year old raise over ten thousand naira for medical bills for a dog when he is unable to raise three thousand naira for his school fees? There’s nothing I could do to save Jacky so I laid down on the floor beside him praying for God to heal him. Dad came back home from his futile hunting and had a long chat with mum.
“I will help Jacky “I overheard dad say before going to his room. My chicks dilated. My face was bright. Daddy was going to do something.
My hopes was dashed few minutes later when dad came back with a bullet, which he inserted into his hunting gun.
“let’s help Jacky die peacefully since it is going to die anyway” he said
“no “I screamed. “You can’t do this,” I protested. I wanted to punch daddy in the eye and make him blind. I felt like collecting the gun and killing him. I wandered why mum watched without resisting his idea. I blamed mum for everything. I pondered why mum despite coming from a poor background decided to marry dad- a poor man too. She would have remained single instead. That way would not have been born and Jacky couldn’t have died.
My attempt to struggle with dad failed woefully as he was much stronger than I was. I ran away from home not wanting to witness his death. I ran aimlessly until I met Okon and his sibling heading to the river for fishing. I joined them in their adventure. Together we caught twelve fish. I was given two in appreciation. I happily went home to show mum and dad the fish. I was expecting mum to yell at me for coming home late. Instead, I was patted at the back and ushered to eat my dinner.
The stew was watery as always. The rice was uncooked with stone particles mixed togetyher. I suspected the kerosene finished while cooking and I wasn’t nearby to fetch firewood so I decided not to complain. What amazed me was the big meat I found on my plate. Since I was born, I have never been served such big meat. It tasted different from the usual bush meat I have eaten. After eating the meat, I went outside to give the bones to Jacky as I always did. Only then did I realise that Jacky was no more and the bones in my hands were his remains. I had just eaten my best friend