The glare of the sun coming through his window was what woke Toye. He instinctively pulled his blanket over his head, momentarily shielding himself from the sudden brightness. A gentle hand pulled at the blanket and Toye looked up to see his mum standing beside him.
He stared at her for a moment, the random strands of grey on her head, her tired eyes and the firmness of her mouth. He wished he could do for her what she had done for him, a thousand times over.
She pulled the entire blanket off him, folded it neatly and asked him how he felt.
“I’m better than yesterday.” he said. That was always his answer.
She just nodded, rubbed his bare legs and left the room to attend to her business around the house.
He looked at the calendar on the wall. 17 days. It had been 17 days since he’d stopped going to the office because of this ‘sickness’.
Hmmm, sickness? This is a curse!
He often felt drawn towards hating his parents for bringing this on him. Yes they were ignorant, but did he have to pay for that? All of his life?
He fought back tears as his eyes fell on the numerous bottles of pills scattered on the table.
He looked away and struggled to his feet. This was the hardest part of his day… getting up from the bed. He winced as the pain came flooding through his veins. He had determined 5 days ago to do this on his own. His brothers had gone off to work as usual and it was always a bother disturbing the old lady.
The pain was so much.
And this was better. In fact, much better than when he’d awoken 17 days ago, his every nerve screaming in pain. He thought he was going to die. The injections and drips did little to ease his pain, and for fear of overdosing him, the doctors held off from administering excessive shots of the pain killers. It had been a terrible ordeal.
Now, the pain was limited to his legs and hopefully in a few days, he’ll be back to normal.
But For how long, he didn’t know.
He was sickle celled, and he was experiencing a “crisis”
Downstairs, in another part of the house, Damola hurriedly dished out her son’s breakfast. Well, if you call a simple fruit salad breakfast, then yes, she was dishing out her son’s breakfast.
She had been scared to her bones when Toye had woken up screaming that fateful night. She had never seen him in so much agony before… she had also never felt so totally helpless before.
After a week of little improvement, she had taken time off work and settled down to properly take care of her son.
Whenever he had a crisis, she blamed herself. Every sound of pain that came out of his lips was a stab to her heart. Bode had learnt to distance himself from the guilt and do what needed to be done to ensure he was provided the best medical care.
But she was not that lucky.
In their ignorance, they had brought a sickle celled child to this world. They hadn’t known back then, but that didn’t change the fact that it had happened.
Ahh, now his breakfast will be salty
I have to start all over again!
She wiped the tears that had begun to fall from her eyes. She never let him see her cry; not even Bode. That was her burden alone to bear.
As she turned with the tray in her hands, her eyes met Toye’s standing in the doorway. Looking so frail but determined to get through.
I wish I could be as strong as you.
He limped up to her as her tears came pouring down, put the tray aside and held her in a warm embrace.
“It’s okay mum, I’ll eat your tears, I love and appreciate you so much!”
With those gentle words, she broke down in tears right there in his arms.
Stay strong my brother… This too will pass.