“When would this suffering end?” Uzo soliloquized. “Or, could it be for eternity?”
Uzo whose father died four years back after a brief illness when he (Uzo) was barely thirteen, was lamenting alone right in his family’s bedroom. He was obviously an exemplarily brilliant chap who was about sitting for his Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) which included WAEC and NECO. Apart from his academic excellence, he was an out-and-out child every parent wished to behold.
Uzo who happened to be the first child among him and his four siblings, was residing in Lagos State with his family. It’s noteworthy that the whole family was living in only one-room apartment. That was where they had been managing since two years back life became tougher and unbearable than it was.
What actually prompted the above lamentation was owing to the fact that the poor boy was yet to register for the aforesaid exams because the needed fund was not available. What else could he do than to wallow in anguish?
His mother, Ugonma who just obtained her National Certificate in Education (NCE) via in-service programme was a primary school teacher, and was in Grade Level 5. She actually entered the Civil Service few years back with her Senior School Certificate. Life wasn’t in any way easy with her; taking care of a family of six including herself was not unlike asking a palm wine tapper to ensure that he produced at least five kegs of palm wine from a particular palm tree on a daily basis.
Indeed, the poignant state of the family was seriously telling on every of its member.
“God,” Uzo called sorrowfully. “Please, come and rescue me from this unending bondage.” He cried, looking at the ceiling.
“Why can’t I be like Musa?” He wondered. “Or, Segun?”
Musa and Segun were his classmates whose parents were well-to-do; their respective drivers drove them to school daily. Just like the saying invariably goes ‘all fingers are not equal’.
Hence, he kept on wondering if his own world was different from that of his aforementioned colleagues, but more pitiably, his candid questions were left unanswered.
He therein began to sing frantically. He was an ardent singer since his childhood. In his church, he happened to be one of the gifted and respected choristers in spite of his tender age.
The soliloquy continued unabated not until his mother who was busy in the kitchen entered the room to checked on him having sensed his absence, unknowingly to her that her precious and lovable son had almost committed suicide.
Uzo’s face coupled with the pillow that was lying on his thighs was covered with fathomless tears. He was helplessly sitting on a bed.
“Uzo…!” His mum exclaimed as soon as she walked into the room, hastily walked to the bed and sat very closely to him, tenderly placed her left arm on his shoulders. “Uzo my son.” She soberly called.
“Mum,” He managed to dish out.
“Why are you doing this to yourself?”
It was on Saturday morning at about some minutes past nine O’clock, and a very sunny moment. His siblings were as usual busy catching their funs outside.
“At 17, you are not meant to bother yourself so much about things of this world.” Ugonma asserted, paused.
He adjusted himself a bit.
“Besides,” She rode on. “That you are poor this year 1994 doesn’t imply you remain poor by next year.”
“Who knows if I would be alive till next year?” He thought aloud.
“Stop saying that.” she scolded. “Where does your faith lie?”
Uzo remained calm, couldn’t utter a word.
“Is this what I have been teaching you?” she queried, frowning. “I keep telling you that God knows everything we are passing through in this family.”
He seemingly became sober.
“And only He knows the expiring date.”
His calm posture that abruptly metamorphosed into a pensive countenance was really absorbing the opium.
Ugonma’s pious nature had obviously helped in her children’s upbringing. Each day that passed in the family was loaded with the needed recipe as regards faith uplift. That was the only gold the poor widow could offer them come rain come shine.
“That you are yet to register for your SSCE does not mean you won’t sit for the exams.” She faithfully assured.
This time, Uzo became stronger emotionally and psychologically.
“Don’t worry,” Ugonma continued. “God will surely provide the money, okay?”
He nodded passionately as he remained seated on the weary bed.
“So, wipe your tears.”
Ugonma who was only putting on a single purplish wrapper, partially untied it and used it to assist him in wiping out the tears in his face.
Thereafter, she made effort to rise him up from the bed and he complied accordingly. “Come and help me in the kitchen.” she urged the moment he rose.
“Okay mum.” He wholeheartedly concurred without hesitation.
To be continued, please.
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