I’m so confused. So tired of everything. Is this what it feels like? Is this what people feel when they say a part of them is missing?
I feel so dead on the inside.
I feel so lost.
Why are they blaming me?
She left me too!
She promised we’d be together, forever and always. But she lied! She never told me she was dying. She never explained to me the fickleness of life.
Why did she leave me?
And now they look at me like I’m the Criminal. But I didn’t know.
I didn’t know she was sick. I didn’t know about the cancer.
When will this pain stop?
Mama, they’re looking for someone to blame. Why me? I didn’t know too.
Mama, they say I’m a witch. That I drank your blood and ate your flesh. They say I used you for blood ritual and that that is how I got rich.
Mama, they forget that when Papa left us, you hawked and scrounged and planned on how to get food for me to eat. My brother had died along with Papa in the forest when they went to hunt the wild pig that had eaten our cassava crops.
He left us Mama. He and Dede. And now you’ve left me too. Mama, why are you so cruel? Mama, I’m alone…all alone.
Uncle Raymond is standing outside with his cohorts. The ones who took everything Papa left for us. They are back again, like the vultures they are, looking for what to take from me.
Mama, I am tired.
Who do I have to talk to now? Who can I share my secrets with?
Mama, I remember all those times you’d pound cassava to sell and tell me of Jesus. You said Jesus was a good man who changed your life. Mama, I never saw Jesus but I saw how happy you were even in our poverty. You told me stories by the dying light of our local lantern. You would say it was good to be good. I never understood that. Until you sent me to the big city to school.
You always said I would be great. That I would be famous. That the white men would know me.
Mama, now they do. Now I am great. Now I am famous. But you are not here.
Mama, who do I share my achievements with?
But who do I share this sadness inside of me with?
Mama, you were my mother, my father, my sister, my brother and my friend. But now, I have no one. Why did you lie to me?
Uncle Raymond is coming my way. He and Udeme the palm wine tapper. They look smug. What do they want now?
Won’t they give me time to grieve, to mourn, to understand why you left me without saying anything?
Mama, I blame you.
I blame Papa.
I blame my brother.
I have no one.
Why am I still breathing?
Uncle Raymond is clearing his throat. He says I have to buy 2 cows, a goat and 2 white hens. He says it is a traditional ceremony to celebrate you. He says the village priest must be given fresh palmwine, kolanuts and cowries to appease the gods.
Which gods, I muse. Which gods would take you away from me?
But Mama, you always say there is only one God. The Father of Jesus. The One who came to die for our sins and to set us free from Ekwensu.
I hear the words coming out from Uncle Raymond’s fat lips but they don’t mean anything.
Mama is still alive. She just went to see Ada, the daughter of her late friend who just gave birth. She’ll come back soon.
But it’s dark now Mama, where are you?