I woke up to the very annoying ringtone of my “palasa“ Nokia phone. I didn’t know how long I had been gone, “David!!! How far? you hear sey MJ don die?” It was Ifeanyi at the other end, “Who be MJ?”, I asked, apparently shaken, “Michael Jackson” he responded. I shook my head and hung up. Phew. I heaved a sigh of relief, not because I was happy he was dead, but because I had just been saved another devastating blow had it been any close friend/relative. **
**It was a cold Sunday morning, June 7th, 2009, like every other day I got up, thanked God for life and was enthusiastic to discover what the new day had in store for me. Over the past few days, Amanda, my girlfriend had been having a crisis (she had the sickle cell disease). She was on admission and was expected to be discharged the next day. The day before, the nurse advised that she needed rest, so visitors weren’t allowed to see her including me. Maybe, I should have persisted. Maybe, I should have made an extra effort, even if it meant causing a scene. Maybe, I should have, because it cost me the chance of saying goodbye.
Moving on! Ifeanyi and I had stopped at the pharmacy to get some drugs before heading to the hospital. I remember walking down the corridor, with so many things in my mind, I hadn’t seen my love in days, after all the drugs and injections, I didn’t even know what she looked like, poor girl. I was jolted back to reality by Yetunde’s call coming in, Yetunde was Amanda’s friend. I picked up while wondering why she was calling my phone, then I remembered she had gone there that morning to see Amanda. “Hello Yetunde, How are you?” I said; Yetunde didn’t respond to my greeting, all she said was “Ye! David! AMANDA IS DEAD!”
“What? What? Which Amanda?” I hung up, my knees went weak, I started falling when Ifeanyi moved to hold me up. I was shocked to my bones, I figured Yetunde had to be crazy, and insane to think she could just crack such a joke with me that afternoon. How I wish she would retract those words, how I wish she called back and said “I just wanted to scare you”, but, no, she didn’t call back. It was true. Amanda, the one girl that had given me so much joy in the period I had known her, was dead. I had never been so shattered.
Many times I prayed in tears, I questioned God, I wanted to know why He took her away, and if there was a possibility of us trading places. Imagine my shock, and utter dismay when I found out her death was caused by lack of oxygen in the cylinder she was connected to. I was livid, and it took some time for that anger to fizzle out. The death of Amanda affected me greatly, it was evident, so glaring and the pain took a while for me to recover from.
After many years, I found joy, joy in the fact that she wasn’t gone, She was just done. She was done with all the pains and travails of a sickle cell disease patient. She was done with the cruelty of the world she lived in. Evidently, I would have preferred waking up to the smile on her face every day, but I’m comforted that I have her where she’d rather be, here, in my heart, forever, and that to me is a blessing in all its entirety.