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Of Voices And Vermin 12

A lovely Friday, isn’t it? Yeah, well, it’s time for #OVAV!!

So, we’re pretty much at the end of the story. Kinda. Obviously, the major question now is who that mystery person wanting to see Nii is. Well, time to discover who it is…

You’ve always made me sick. With your fancy little intelligent self…

Shut up! I’m under no obligation to accept your apologies and excuses. I can keep whatever is in me…

The past few days weren’t the most pleasant for me. All the things Razzie said that horrible night continued to replay in my mind. It still blows my mind how all along, he despised me because of that issue back in class 4. Like, I’m still stunned. He held on to it, and even feigned forgiveness when I apologized for it after we became closer. I know it was embarrassing and all, but we were kids! I had even often made references to that day every now and then and always acknowledged it was one of the acts I’d love to undo, and he had always insisted it’s in the past. How could he?

It was a rough time for me. After everything that had happened, the least I expected was that I’d be attacked like that. I really was fearing the worst at that point. I honestly thought that I was probably not too far from losing my life.

But from the moment my parents left after their visit on Friday morning, somehow, I was anticipating something positive.

It was the normal encouragement and all, with my dad reminding me not to let this weigh me down. My mother had a little something to keep me company: her Hillsong phone. Yeah, she has a phone that has Hillsong playlists on it. No SIM card. It’s specifically for Hillsong music. To say she’s a Hillsong fan would definitely be offensive to her. She stans for real. In a positive way. Hehe.

The music was definitely a soother for me. It had been a while since I had listened to them, and boy, am I glad I had their beautiful tunes at that period! It just took my mind off all the madness of the past couple of days and drew me in. Oh, the beauty of worship music!

We Glorify Your Name really had me in my feels. Man Of Sorrows really left me deep in solemn thoughts. As for Like Incense… chale. I was in tears by the end of the song. The nurse on duty came to see me sobbing on my bed, hands outstretched as the song ended. She seemed pretty taken aback at first, but then shrugged and came to administer the drugs.

4 pm, and I was sitting on the bed, waiting for the squad to come. As I took deep breaths to see how much of the pain had decreased, there was a knock on the door.

“Yeah, I’m in.”

The door opened, and Kwabena and Ewurabena walked in, holding hands.

“Herh, my heart!” I said, my hands on my cheeks. Honestly, I just can’t seem to get over how beautiful they look together. My brother and his lady followed. “Fada Lord, Your son still awaits.”

“Herh, young man, behave,” Ewurabena playfully scolded as she came to sit by me. “Let’s focus on you getting fully healed before you continue that your prayer.”

“But Nii, this one sef is small,” Sidney said, giving the Afriyies a mischievous grin as he passed by them. “If you knew what they were up to behind your door, eh…”

“Ei, what were they up to?” I asked rather too excitedly.

“Hey, hey, hey!” the two of them interjected.

Sidney, Bambi and I laughed.

“See how he dey come talk like we fire for the balcony,” Kwabena said, giving Sidney an evil eye.

“Oh, naaa, obviously not. But chale,” Sidney responded, a mischievous smirk on his face as he looked at Kwabena, “ibi like you gimme some ideas for the wedding oo.”

Just then, his phone rang. Looking at it, he seemed to give a brief glance at Bambi as he moved out of the room.

“But honestly, have I told you guys how much you inspire me?” I asked teasingly, prompting an unamused look from Ewurabena.

“Well….. not as a couple, but she’s definitely told me you’re one of 2,871 people who have gushed uncontrollably over how beautiful we are together,” Kwabena responded. “Would you like an autograph?”

“Only if you two sign it,” I answered with a smirk.

“Ewurabena shot me an evil look. “Abrantie, you’re pushing the limits.”

I snickered, choosing to save my recovering ribs any kind of pain with a heavier form of laughter. Worrying Ewurabena can be fun sometimes.

Just then, Sidney came back in, nodding at Bambi. She took one of the chairs and placed it right in front of me. “Yes, Nii, you have a visitor. I know you’re going to ask,” she said just as I was about to ask, as the Afriyies got up from beside me.

“Yeah, chale. You have a special visitor today. Someone you wouldn’t be expecting.”

I put on a thinking face, kinda similar to that emoji. “Could it be… Roselyn?”

Sidney rolled his eyes. Roselyn is one of his colleagues at work, who I’m constantly going gaga over because of her cute dimples. “No. It’s not Rosie. And I know all you’ll do is stare at her cheeks, so don’t even count on that happening any time soon.”

Still standing at the door, he opened it wide to reveal who it was.

My eyes widened.

I froze.

*****

“Hello, Nii Ajei. How are you?”

“I-I-I-I’m fi..fi..fine,” I stuttered uncontrollably, feeling terribly nervous and unsure of what was about to happen.

The visitor Sidney had been talking about was definitely unexpected. Totally unexpected. Because I hadn’t spoken to the person in years. Truth be told, we barely spoke. The only time we were ever face-to-face was not a pleasant one, as I faced the fullness of her fury. But when you’re facing your son’s killer, what more do you expect?

Yes. The visitor was Maame Becky. The mother of the boy I accidentally killed.

I was mad frightened at that stage. Even though I was doing good in rationalizing the whole issue and learning not to kill myself mentally with blame, having her around was not a comfortable feeling. It might take a while for me to get over it, but the scars on her heart would undoubtedly remain for as long as she lived. If there was anyone who, in my opinion, deserved to hold a lifelong grudge against me, it had to be her. Definitely not Razzie, but her.

“Hmmmm. My dear, I’m glad to hear that. Well, I am also doing fine by God’s grace. It’s not been easy for me at all, but God has been my help and my comfort.”

I nodded, looking nervously at the others, who were sitting quite a distance behind her. Sidney signalled for me to calm down.

“You know, I’ve wanted to meet with you for a while now, but I moved away from your area, and I had no idea how life is like for you, so I didn’t know how to go about it. But one of my nieces was actually among the crowd that came around when you and the lady in the red dress were attacked. When she told me, I knew it was very necessary I come to see you. So I asked around for your brother’s number and told him.”

Had I not been so tense at that moment, I might have teased Ewurabena by singing ‘Lady In Red’.

She sighed as she paused. “Nii, the truth is, life has been different. When Bobby was pronounced dead, I felt a part of me die too. To lose one of my children is one of the worst experiences ever. I know it’s been a couple of years since it happened, and things have changed, like how my beans and kɔkɔɔ business has expanded and all, but the pain still remains. There’s nothing worse than for a mother to lose her child. It’s so painful. When I remember him, so troublesome, but full of joy. So lively…” She trailed off, unable to speak, obviously reliving the pain.

Words cannot express how awful I felt. To be the source of such pain. As I bowed my head, I looked past her. Ewurabena was already taking out a handkerchief to wipe the tears running down her cheek as Bambi put an arm around her and leaned on her shoulder. Being a mother herself, I’m sure she was really empathizing with her. Sidney and Kwabena sat there, looking very somber.

She sniffed. “I miss my son. Every blessed day. I wish to God that He’d do a Lazarus miracle somehow and bring him back. But… I just have to live with this pain for the rest of my life.”

I couldn’t speak. What else could I say? Sorry? That wouldn’t be enough. It would never be enough.

As she wiped her eyes, she looked up at me. “When he was killed, I was so angry with you. I just wanted to see the worst happen to you. I wanted you to pay for taking my son out of this world so early. I must admit, I wasn’t happy with the sentencing, but I was told that was the best option. I just was so angry. And the last time we met, you saw it, obviously.”

I nodded silently. At that point, I was wondering why Sidney allowed her to come at all. At this point, I was just feeling horrible all over again. Now that worship music period seemed so distant and ineffective. So much for thinking something positive was going to happen.

She continued. “However, for a while now, you come to mind, and although I still felt so much anger towards you, I could sense God telling me to look at things differently. I didn’t want to, at first, but… after a while, I relented. And He showed me how this accident affected you as well. The reality is, I was looking at you as a deliberate murderer. But I came to realize that that’s not the truth. I didn’t understand all the court things, since I’m not good with English. And I was too emotionally charged to truly analyse everything. But, all I can say is, it wasn’t your fault.”

That definitely caught my attention. I looked her in the eye, slightly surprised at hearing this.

“I came to full terms after speaking to your brother a few days ago. He told me how badly you were affected by it. How prison was a horrible time for you. How your best friend suddenly became an enemy. That’s when I decided I have to drop all the hurt and come to see you.”

I had no idea what to say.

“I’ve now come to accept that you don’t deserve my hatred. You never intended to do anything horrid to my son. It was a mistake that just went very bad.”

Stunned, with a tiny feeling of relief, I nodded. That was the absolute truth.

She stood up. “Nii Ajei, I forgive you. I may never be able to have my baby back, but I’ll no longer hold anything against you. In fact, I’m taking you as my son now.”

If I was already stunned, that last statement definitely multiplied it. I looked at her with wide eyes. “M..mm…me?” I stuttered.

She nodded, cupping my face in her hands. “I gain nothing by staying mad at you. You are forgiven. My son.”

As she hugged me, I felt so overwhelmed. Confusion. Joy. Relief.

My whimpers turned into full-blown cries as I wrapped my arms around her.

As I cried, I just felt this inexplicable release. It’s like all the hurt, the shame, the guilt, the horror, the voices… they had all officially lost their power over me in that moment.

I felt extra hands patting me on the back as I continued to sob.

“It’s all right, Nii,” I heard Bambi say. “You’re free now.”

As we separated, she patted me on the cheek and wiped away the tear lines on my cheeks. The others stood around, their faces full of delightful relief.

“It’s over, Nii,” my beloved therapist said, taking her spot on the bed. “Now you can truly move on.”

Kwabena raised his hand. “So, uh, Mommi, now that he’s your son, we’re all your children, right?”

Maame Becky nodded. “Of course, you all are.”

“So does that mean we can get discounts on your gob3?”

We all laughed.

“I’ll see what I can do about that,” she responded heartily.

As I laughed lightly, still trying to protect my ribs, I felt this peace flood over me. A feeling of peace I hadn’t felt in years. Especially after the accident. It had felt impossible to have such a feeling, after being responsible for a person’s demise. But now that Maame Becky had not just forgiven me, but taken me as one of her own, I could feel that, in a sense, the powers that had kept me in that dark hole of despair and hopelessness had lost their grip on me.

So that earlier feeling wasn’t so wrong after all. Something positive had happened.

I was free. Finally…

Chale, my emotions were seriously invested in this episode 😭😭😭 I’m not even joking. Such a relief for Nii! Well, this is lovely. But the final episode of #OVAV comes your way this Monday. Time to see just how this story ends!!

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