Roscoe trotted along, his tail wagging gleefully behind him. “Slow down” I commanded, tugging on his leash. Even at night, Lagos was hot. The moon was bright and small, the sonorous sounds of crickets chirping made it seem like the moon was dancing. Back at home, my mother was getting sicker and sicker. I did not know what to do to comfort her. I tried to be the perfect daughter, cooking and cleaning like she would have done. I noticed that Papa and Jeremiah came home late at night, drenched in sweat and worry from a long day at the factory. Jemimah had given up the most, out of all of us. Last September, she dropped out of school to take care of Mama, full-time. Sometimes, I bathed Mama and cleaned up after her, when Jemimah went to the market.
We were all pulling our weight to bring Mama back to life, again. Just like everyone else in the house, she too was waiting for the best or worst outcome. I was pulled out of my reverie, when I heard a voice from the other side of the road. “Baby girl” the person shouted. I remembered Mama’s voice without the croaking and straining that the illness had caused.
I heard many dogs barking, as I turned into my street. Roscoe’s ears perked up and soon, he had joined the wailing symphony. As I got closer to my house, I heard somebody shouting a word. Short bursts of sound that I could not decipher. Then, I heard it. It was Jemimah and she was shouting, “Mama!” I did not need to go inside; I already knew.
My mind, heart and entire body felt still. The crickets were still chirping, the dogs continued waling and Jemimah’s voice grew so loud, that I could not bear it. The day before, I had written in my dairy that I wanted to become a better daughter to Mama. I would stop playing instead of facing my studies. I would open up to her more and not ignore her attempts at connecting with me.
Guilt and sadness swam around inside of me and I did not notice until my face was damp with tears. I walked into the house.