#5DaysToVals Contest Entry – Submitted by Awotide Damilola
Over and over the bus tumbled.
She woke with a start, taking out the earpiece from her ears.
The first impact made her head hit the roof of the bus. She tried grabbing hold of anything to avoid another sudden hit but it was only thin air that was available for grabs.
The tumbling caused the windows of the bus to shatter in pieces. The door was hanging by a piece of bolt and nut and the trunk was opening and closing with each upside down and right side up turn.
It all happened so fast and within the twinkle of an eye the tumbling stopped.
Earlier that morning, Morire had woken her siblings up and made them get ready for school as she also prepared for the impromptu journey she was to embark on.
She had received a text message the previous night to attend an interview for a job she had applied for a while ago. The interview was a week away and the text message carried a number of documents that she had to take along for presentation during the interview. One of the documents was her State of Origin proof which she had misplaced during her school days, so she decided to get another one. Hence, the journey that day.
Morire was a first class graduate who hailed from Ogun State but lived in Lagos. Her father was late and her mother was a diehard farmer. Her mother had inherited a vast piece of land from her father; Morire’s grandfather, and went back to farming fully when her husband died.
Well-wishers and passers-by had already circled the commercial bus that was involved in the accident. Some men were helping the driver who seemed stuck in his seat. Some others were aiding the passengers that could walk, taking them away from the scene. A little boy kept crying in his mother’s arms despite all her efforts to pacify him.
There was no death recorded and that was quite surprising, seeing the intensity and briskness of the accident. An elderly man, one of the two people that sat in front with the driver broke his left arm when trying to protect his head from hitting the windshield.
Morire stood up by herself and walked a little ways from the bus. She checked herself to see if there was any injury and she found none. Then she noticed her handbag was not with her.
Turning to go back to the bus to get her bag, she heard a crack sound from her back and fell down hard on the ground.
Morire had three siblings; a boy; Sunday and two girls; Fiyin and Tola. Sunday, who came after Tola was the last child.
Been the second eldest, Fiyin was left with catering for her younger ones while their elder sister was in the hospital.
Their mother was with Morire in the hospital.
Sunday was restless as he paced the living room, peeping out the window from time to time.
Morire was going home after almost four months in the hospital. He was the only one who was not allowed to visit her during that period.
After an anxiety-filled fifty minutes wait, he saw his sister wheeled into the house in a wheel chair. Even though he wondered why she did not stand up when he hugged her, he hugged her more excitedly.
He would learn later that she had spinal cord injury that paralysed her from the waist down.
For one whole year so many different doctors attended to Morire. Some of her mother’s friends even took her to ‘special’ places. All was to no avail.
Her mother cried daily and worried so much that she developed high blood pressure.
Through it all Morire tried to be always vibrant, making jokes out of everything, even her condition. She saved the tears and worrying for late at night when everyone was asleep.
One day Fiyin came home, looking downcast. She purposely did not go to Morire’s room to say hello because she knew their mother would be there, sobbing as usual. She went straight into the room she shared with Tola.
“Ahn ahn! Why are you looking like someone that lost money?” was the first thing Tola said.
Fiyin sat on the bed and looked at her sister who was arranging the clothes in their wardrobe. She opened her purse, brought out a piece of paper and gave it to Tola.
“This is excellent news Fiyin.” Tola said excitedly. “You should not be sad.”
“I can’t go to the University.”
Frowning, Tola asked, “What are you saying? You have tried getting in twice before now. You are offered admission and you say you can’t go? I am reporting you to Sister Mo.”
“How would we take care of Mo if l go away for four years?” Fiyin asked.
“Come on. It’s not four straight years. You have semester breaks when you can come home. And I am writing WAEC already, I will soon be fully available to help.”
Fiyin sighed. “Mommy needs someone to relieve her often. It is not easy.”
“Mommy, I want to urinate.” Morire said in a low tone.
Ever since the accident she needed help for everything. Since she was always on bed, she insisted on a sponge bath to avoid putting her family through the stress of undressing her, putting her in the wheel chair, wheeling her to the bathroom, bathing her in the wheel chair, dressing her and cleaning the chair after. And to urinate, she opted for a catheter.
Her mom did not respond to her call. Her head laid backward on the cushion chair she always sat on.
“Mommy, wake up jor.”
She had been holding the urine for quite a while so as not to disturb the poor woman’s sleep. But at that time she could hold it no more.
“Tola!” She shouted.
Fiyin came in instead. “Tola is sleeping.”
“I want to urinate.”
Their mother, who Morire thought was asleep, had actually fainted.
She was taken to the hospital and on her return home Morire and her sisters agreed that their mother should go back to the village and continue with her farming. They thought it was best for her health; fresh breeze, fresh food and fruits and friends to keep her company and keep her from worrying too much.
Due to the absence of their mother who was Morire’s major caregiver, Fiyin and Tola had to come to an agreement on how to take care of their sister who needed for one to be always with her.
“So I stay now and wait for you to finish your OND in the Polythecnic after which I will go for my own OND then you stay. And the same thing with HND. Right?” Tola asked, trying to be clear on what they intended doing.
“Yes. Are you okay with the plan?”
“Anything for Sister Mo. If it was one of us in her state she would have done the same.”
And so it happened that Tola was home for two years while Fiyin studied. And during Fiyin’s one year compulsory Industrial Training, Tola got admitted into a Polythecnic.
During one Christmas period, Tola caught Morire crying early in the morning.
“I don’t know how I can ever repay you for this that you are doing. I am the one that ought to be taking care of you…”
Tola cut her short, “It does not matter how it was meant to be. We are just being the sisters we are meant to be. Please stop crying Sister Mo.”
Three more years later and there was another crying session.
Fiyin’s boyfriend had proposed to her.
She fell on her sister on the bed when she got back home and began to cry. Tola and Sunday were there too.
She told them what happened which made Morire very ecstatic and said the words that made them all cry.
“I wish I could stand up now and hug you, not just for this, but for being a good sister to us all. Especially to me. It was not by right of sisterhood that you and Tola did what you did but by the virtue of love you have for me. Thank you so much, for I know how demanding taking care of me has been. You deprived yourselves of doing so many things and going to so many places, just to stay and take care of me. I only wish I could express my love in return.”
She wiped tears off her face.
“I only wish.”