Evil Blanket


Kannene 'lidjiri di', mama kept on reminding her late husband's brother on how they failed to investigate deeply before handing over her daughter to the man she calls her husband. Since her husband joined her in obodo oyibo, she hasn't been sending me dollars anymore...'That "evil blanket" he used to cover her must catch fire! Let me see if God answers prayers' mama keeps resounding into our ears. Kannene was the most fragile of the three of us. She was born with an asthma and mama never made her do strenuous chores nor let her get close to the kitchen whenever she fried her stew. Remember she has 'cough' (this is what mama always referred to asthma). That basket of fishes will be too heavy for her, you and Ugo should carry it along with me to the market place. Mama sold stock fishes in a local market very close to home. I and Ugo assisted her in carrying her basket of fishes on our heads to her shop early in the morning before heading for school each day... She had resumed selling even on Sundays when mama Emeka told her how much sales she makes on Sundays more than every other day. So, mama worked Sunday to Sunday to make more money and meet the demands of I, Ugo and Kannene. I thought mama was being unfair to I and Ugo when she assigns more chores to us until one fateful evening when Kannene's asthmatic attack struck again... It was the worst of all attacks I'd ever noticed. She was at the verge of losing her breathe. Mama quickly carried her on her back and rushed off to Mr. Odili's drugs store. He usually knew the appropriate injections to use on her whenever mama brought her to him. A few hours later, they  returned home. The injections had calmed her and we saw her sleeping on mama's back. She was deprived of many childhood activities, the ones I and Ugo drowned ourselves in. Kannene travelled to America when she completetd her Higher National Diploma. She'd gone to school to collect her call-up letter for National Service when uncle whom has been living in America for many years called her to inform her on how the visa lottery he played  for her had fell through. I could remember the altitude mama leaped for when Kannene shared the good news with her over the phone. Ehen! Chikannene!! (mama called her name in full for the first time) maybe your 'cough' will be over when you get over there... I heard their weather is finer than the one we have here and free of dust, mama said to her calmly... Mummy get ready! You will come and live with me in America as soon as I get there and settle down, she replied. Kannene, has lived in America for fourteen years now, she doesn't remember mama again... She's been married to a man whom never showed marital interest in her until the day he heard she had won a visa lottery. Each day, mama soaks her eyes in tears, hoping that someday that "evil blanket" will catch fire! so that Kannene would see the world as it truely is.




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