FEBRUARY 10TH 1994, we were in Court and the only new development was that the Lady that was raped in the Konwea’s family was in Court to testify to the incident of the night the Car was stolen and their Father murdered. She testified that I was not among the Rapist, so the case was once again adjourned till the 19th of June to allow for further investigation.
Baba Miko was also in Court, he had been in Abakaliki for about two weeks when my Mother was brought to a Psychiatric Hospital, we had not seen for a while and I was happy seeing him but he was sad at my situation.
This time around, the Police had closed in on Mr. Chike and were only waiting for him to make a wrong move.
On our way back to the prison and by special arrangement, we drove to the Psychiatric wing of the University teaching Hospital in Abakaliki to see my mother.
I was so sad after the visit that I became depressed and I fell sick, I was hospitalized at the prison hospital for three days.
My mother was far gone! Immediately I saw her in her ward, I had expected her to react positively on sighting me but she looked past me into oblivion, it was as if I was not there. Her stare was stone cold and pale, she was very thin that I could see her entire skeletal system through her tight skin, apart from being psychologically unstable, she was equally ill, she was on drip, and her eyes were sunken, expressionless and bland. Mama was dying slowly. I broke down in tears at her sorry sight. Every one tried to console me; I was taken out of the ward and later brought back when I got control of myself. I sat on her bed and carried her gently onto my Lap, I pulled her close and held her firmly for some minutes, I recited our family eulogy into her ears while pulling on her graying hair, isang into her ears, her favourite tunes. I was permitted to detach the drip from her arm so I could carry her about in my arms; I kept talking to her as I rocked her walking around the hall called Ward 6. I kept talking to her and begging her to stay with me, I told her my plans for her, I told her I was not dead, I was alive and healthy.
It was barrister Amaka that noticed the tears running down my mother’s cheek! I could not see it as a result of the tears in my own eyes. The nurses were happy that she eventually reacted emotionally; they said it was a good sign. Baba Miko knelt down and started thanking God for the fact that my mother could cry; it meant that she was coming back. He kept saying that he knew I was her cure.
Baba Miko had come to Abakaliki with all the money he had, he said he sleeps anywhere in the Hospital premises but most times he slept with the security guards at the hospital, he said he wakes up early in the mornings and wash up any car parked in the premises then he hangs around and greet the Owners when they want to drive away, that had guaranteed his daily bread since he came to Abakaliki. I promised to send him some money to rent a temporal apartment and for upkeep. I sent it through Oga Inside.
After my recovery from the hospital, mama became my obsession. It was risky for me and Oga inside as he constantly smuggled me to the hospital at least three nights in a week to attend to my Mother.
There was this night I had told Oga Inside to get his Wife to prepare bean cake using palm oil and pap using wheat so we could take to my Mother who had not tasted food for a long time, that was why she had been on drip since she came to Abakaliki. I carried her as usual when I got to the hospital, I then told her I had prepared Akara elepo (Bean cake prepared with palm Oil) and Eko olokababa (Pap made of wheat) for her, I then took a ball of Akara to her mouth, to the astonishment of every one watching, she opened her mouth and gnawed weakly at the ball, there was shouts of joy from the nurses, the other patients in the room started shouting and screaming too and some of them had to be sedated to keep them calm again. Baba mike fell on the floor and started rolling about, he was shouting Jesu oseun! Jesun oseun o! (Thank you Jesus).
Mama finished a big ball of Akara and took eight table spoons full of Pap before vomiting everything on my body; she also urinated and excreted on me. The Doctor said I should not panic as it was very normal for her system to react that way, he said they would continually be trying to feed her with the delicacy.
June came and passed and we did not go to Court due to strike action in the nations Judiciary, all Court cases were postponed indefinitely.
I continued to do my business; I sometimes add Sardines or Geisha to my Stock. Some rich inmates buy Garri and Geisha to prepare cold Eba with Geisha as soup. I stopped smoking Kpoli every night, I smoked once in a while and that was only when Oga Inside was not on night duty.
Through the rest of 1994 I kept visiting mama nicodemously. Her condition kept improving except for her inability to talk. She moved her eyes and followed movements, she could blink her eyes and she tried to smile however wryly.
To Be Continued