I was sitting on a wooden stool, under the mounted maggi umbrella in my store, looking randomly at passersby and making some profit and loss calculations in my head when Mammi called.
“Ada m, please come home, ọ bự kwa nwanne gi nwoke o (it’s your brother o). I don’t know what to do.” I could hear her sniff and pant.
“Mammi, what’s wrong with him?” I had scurried up immediately.
“Ada m, amarokwa mự o (I don’t know o). These people want to finally throw me out of my husband’s house o. They want to put me to shame o.” Her cries were loud and clear, I could hear slap her thighs.
“Mammi, relax. I’m coming right now.”
“Please come o.” I could tell she was fidgeting.
I thought about asking a neighbour to watch my store and help me sell whenever a customer came, but I packed all my goods inside instead and locked my stall.
They could sell and not give me my money, or allow these market thieves smuggle the little stock I had. More so, I didn’t know how long I’ll be away.
From the market, I boarded a tricycle to take me to our gate. I climbed the stairs as fast as I could, skipping some blocks. The door was wide open. I dropped my bag on the couch in our sitting room and hurried inside Mammi’s bedroom.
Ebuka, despite being soaked in sweat, was shivering and his teeth hit violently against each other. I tried touching his side, he winced in pain. I sat on the bed instead.
Mammi was squeezing out liquid from the cloth she used to dry his sweat, crying. “Ada m look what I’m going through. Look the pain your brother is passing through. This is too much.”
When Ebuka placed my hands on his legs and chest, I already knew what he wanted so, I gently rubbed on them, deepening the massage at intervals.
I paused when he closed his eyes to unwrap the Agidi and Pepper soup I had bought for him. The smell made him retch – his favourite food. I carried them to the kitchen.
He retched and retched until there was nothing in his stomach, Mammi kept lamenting, pouring water on his head and using a wet towel to wipe his face. Going to the hospital was against our belief.
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