I want she whispered. “Did he hear? Could he understand the depth & source of her desire? Kevwe looked at her journal…the pattern had changed, yes she had matured but this want had stayed with her, through the healing seasons. Talk yes that’s it! I need to talk but would they understand? The lady in the mirror stared back at her, with eyes filled with longing, in response… no, they won’t.

A blue/ivory settee, surrounded by various hues and shades of blue & ivory in the 12”16 side parlour, suddenly needed more than the chequered blue throw pillows, the hand crafted sea blue Arabian rug. Even the flowery shay blue vases looked cold. ‘If you hear me, why are you silent?’ she pleaded.

Kevwe’s vision was blurred as her tears cascaded down her face,’ but you said, you’ll always be with me, she accused, where are you now I need you? Where are you? Weeks of questioning & thinking seemed to explode all at once into mad fury.” all I need to know is you are here, all I want is a response from you”. Not sure I can handle this by myself, I really need you, she said.

****************&&&&&&&&&&&&&***************

April 3rd, 1999

The day had started like any other day, though with the exception to the early morning rush to get to the bus park. All around the early birds bustled and moved like silhouettes on the wall. A few good mornings inundated the slapping of shoes on the tar as people hurried in different directions to start their day.

Surrounded by early morning chit chat as she waited for the bus to be filled, Kevwe chuckled as she observed the people who rose with the dawn. A middle aged man, carrying a sack came to the bus and led them in prayers for safety. This turned out to be the foundation laid to sell drugs to passengers.

It had been a while since she has last used public transportation, but determined to get out of town and be back in without driving saw her here. Kevwe glanced at her watch…hope Laolu won’t be late for school she muttered, as she tried to review if she had made it easy for Bee…lunch pack, check, homework in bag check, both placed on the dinning table check, Laolu’s clothes for school all laid out with socks and shoes…check…
This drug can cure you of that worm wey you dey feed for belle…the sale of the drug man floated around her thoughts from a distance. Focusing on the sack…as a fellow passenger called out: Oga give me one pack, with yet another shouting to be heard above the ding being made how you sey make I drink am? Kevwe had an amused look on her face.

Finally the one chance of the conductor was truly a chance. 1 minute later the bus was off. The bus rattled and shook as it moved along the dusty road, scraping its body as it manoeuvred the potholes which served as good speed breakers. Using the hooking of their horns to both greet their pals and make their impatience with other drivers known, the road users produced a variety of sounds. Kevwe turned her face out the window, the mixture of the smells perforating the air within the bus had a way of choking one anytime, she thought, even so early in the morning when no one ought to have begun sweating.

Looking back in time to see the their driver attempt to use the lane for the oncoming cars to make some head way, Kevwe wondered how far they could go, as the frame of a lorry loomed in front from the bend, tyres screeching, as the driver tried to slow down, the frightened screams of Jesus! Filled the bus, shattering glass sounds as the bus swerved and collided with the lorry….all went black!

April 18th 1999

Bolaji held Kevwe’s hand, it had been 15 days since the call came about the accident; his baby was still in a coma. “Please bring her through this, he whispered’. Dr. Boms had said she was in a stable condition, had got a fractured tibia in her right leg, a few bruises from the pieces of glass that had sprayed her body on her left hand side from her face down.
He had not yet found courage to bring in Laolu to see her in this state. She looked as peaceful as she lay on the bed. Bolaji felt her fingers move. ‘Baby mi, he said I miss you. Softly her eyes flicked open; they scanned the room and rested on his face, ‘Ololufemi she murmured, ‘e bin pa mi’.

After a couple of days for observation at the hospital, Dr. Boms had her discharged and ready to go home and continue recuperating. Everyone who had come around to visit has told her of how lucky she was to have made it though. Some other passengers had not lived through the accident. Kevwe sure didn’t count a cast leg as lucky, or the dotted scars on her face, as she made her way to the parking lot with her husband and mum helping her.

The road to recovery looked long and painful for Kevwe. Though a simple fracture Dr. Boms had said it would take 3 months to heal. That was 3 months from her life, which she sure was not ready to throw away. It is ‘amazing’ how in a fraction of a minute ones whole life can be changed: from the independent strong mum & wife to a dependent handicapped mum & wife.

Each limp round the house fed the desire within her. I want me back, she pleaded’ ‘not in bits, but complete like I was before all this’. Every glance at a mirror filled her with fearful thoughts: will the scars be permanent? Would I have to go into public places wearing a face cap or something? The thoughts of what lay ahead did not placate her fears. “This is not the way it’s supposed to happen at least certainly not to me, Kevwe said, as her eyes brimmed. Bolaji had been a real source of comfort, but he didn’t totally understand, he wasn’t the one with the fractured leg in a cast and limping around.

April 29th 1999

Kevwe adjusted and readjusted her flora dress, her colleagues where on their way to see her. This visit was top on her list of dreaded events since her accident. The scars on her face were just soo obvious, she had tried everything possible she knew to hide them but no… they refused so stubbornly to stay hidden. Mr. Gwinka led the colleagues who came calling, Kevwe forced a smile as she welcomed everyone: Kenneth Duke, Charity Ojo, Chinedu Kalu, Joy Anthony, Ruby Ogha & Jamima Saliu a.k.a Mama, noo Mama went at a high pitch ‘go and sit down,’ as she shooed Kevwe from the doorway, ‘who said you should stand?’ she queried,… ‘you should be resting, off you go’, leading her towards the sofa, ‘gently now, gently’ she cooed till Kevwe sat. Kevwe smiled deeply now I must say… I’ve missed you Mama, a whole lot!

Dearest Secret Keeper
I survived the visit, the shocked stares and gasps, the eyes narrowing a fracture too late to hide pity. We all said the phrase thank God for His mercies over and over, inundating the general chit chat I said am grateful through clenched teeth, trying to keep up my spirit, not quite believing the words I spoke! Does this mean I trust you only when it’s convenient? I truly hate to think so.. am sorry for coming of as unappreciative, but I will really love to lose the scars. I don’t doubt the basis of my beauty, but don’t think am strong enough for this one.

Your beautiful princess
Xxx

May 8th, 1999

Learning to be totally dependant was a tough lesson she was forced to learn and it sure didn’t bring out the best in her. She could only get dressed and undressed with the help of Bolaji, now that mum had returned to Ughelli. Even Laolu sometimes acted as her nurse bringing her objects from glasses to books she could have so easily gone for before all these.

Flipping through her journal, she read the entry of May 2nd…

Today was truly trying, had to wait for Bolaji to be through with Laolu’s feeding and cleaning up, getting him to take his routine siesta before I could get full attention, sitting on the couch staring at the Tele didn’t make it easier.

Dearest secret Keeper, I need you, can’t go to the bathroom without help, Bolaji still gives me a bath…at least I get to arrange my hair and face myself.

Don’t quite feel you here today.
Your baby just tired.
xxx

hmm, she sighed as she snapped the journal close and threw it on the reading table. The flash backs seemed to help fuel the worst she thought. Stretching to pick a book from the top layer of the shelf, she momentarily forgot and put her full weight on both legs, the pain was sharp.

Kevwe opened her mouth really wide and screamed: aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh! With each note in that burst of energy, came anger, anger at the scenes from the flash backs of the accident, anger at the cast, anger at herself and everything; as she held on to the shelf to keep from falling. Freely the tears rolled down…

Bolaji burst into the room, ‘baby ki lo de? He asked, did you hit your leg?’ as he gently held her close as he pried her fingers from the shelf. She shook her head, as more tears filled her eyes as they were so fast to do over the last weeks…am just tired of all this, pointing to the cast, ‘don’t want it, ‘she said’, shaking her head in confirmation of her words.
Turning to him as he gently placed her in a sitting position on the side of the bed, she queried: ‘Do you, still think am pretty? With eyes filled with pain, as she searched his face, she murmured, do you?’ cupping her face in his hands, he replied, ‘you are pretty baby, and I still think so, as he kissed the tip of her nose.

You go on, check on our baby and see what he’s up to I’ll be fine ok,’ as she pulled herself from his embrace and searching eyes. Searching her face with his eyes full of worry, ‘go on’ she gently shoved him, ‘am ok now.’

Reaching for her journal on the reading table, she wrote:

Dearest Secret Keeper,
I need you to help me pull through this, I can’t do it all by myself, Bolaji is ever so helpful, but my mood swings are tough on him too. The pain is unbearable some days. I want the scars on my face totally out and the cast off sooner than the 3 months timeline…Jehovah Rapha, please heal me. Thank you for always.

A beautiful lady
xxx

Making her way slowing down the stairs with a crutch, she resolved not to let the fracture keep her depressed. She sure looked a sight, crutch under arm, hands holding on fiercely to the stairs railings… Thank goodness she was home alone.

May 20th 1999

Ok, looking at the mirror is less of a chore now though Kevwe avoided mirrors to boost her faith in a complete healing as she believed for. Kevwe stood in front of her dressing mirror and spoke to her face: you are part of God’s temple, healing is your bread, what He does is ever perfect.

Kevwe made her way to the study, taking her time so as not to stress her leg. Mr. Gwinka had given in to her worrisome calls to allow her do office work from home, so she could keep busy during the period she was home alone.

I walk by faith and not by sight, she said to herself. Hmm, she mused, what if God answers my prayers but not the way I desire, would I still love Him? Kevwe paused on the landing which opened into the study, the realities of life was challenging her ever ready response to this particular question. Right now, only God knows the depth of the ache in her. This need surely was not misplaced?

Shuffling to the study as she eased herself into the rocking chair….pull yourself together Kevwe and finish the work at hand, she scolded herself, you are a strong woman.

May 31st 1999

The rays of sunshine on her face stirred her, ‘it’s a new day,’ Kevwe murmured. ‘Mummie, good morning, wakey, wakey,’ Laolu screamed as he burst into her room running. ‘Daddie says today we are going to stroll, he reported as he hit the bed, and hugged her.
Rolling over to prepare for the day, ‘did he say that now?’ ‘Yes Mummie and Sheba is coming too.’ Swinging the leg of the bed, was much easier now, and also second to her nature. ‘Alright, you go meet your Daddie to give you a bath, while I get ready.’

Standing in front of the mirror as she did daily, she inspected the spots left on her face, a couple of them had left scars which were yet to go. The rate of nightmares has reduced, mum still called often letting her know she and her prayer group still got her covered in prayers and everything was going to be just fine, with or without the scars.

‘am I ready to face the world with the cast on my leg?’ she asked herself…shuffling towards the bath, going to church was one thing, then she was in a car, didn’t have to bother with the stares on the road, strolling with a crutch was another thing all together.

Bathing was not much of a chore anymore; as long as she remembered to take her time, and at dressing…that was fun since she had learnt how to do it herself, save for when she had to stretch to put footwear on the cast leg.

Dearest friend,
My days are much easier since I let you carry me, less depressed with each day. This teaching on trust is taking life in my days. The stroll with the family was worth while; going out in the sun did help to improve my spirit, with Sheba weaving her way between our steps as she wagged her tail. Hope to do this more often.

Thank you for a great day.

Love you
xxx

June 17th, 1999

The scrawling by Laolu on the cast looked cool some days; today they seemed a bit messy. ‘Cute Mummie’, ‘pretty lady’ the different colours of crayons, did give it a bit of flavour though. Whew! Kevwe exclaimed, turning to Bolaji as he ate his lunch ‘could we ask the doctor if my cast can be taken of this week?’ she inquired, with an arm at akimbo. ‘It’s well over 2 months now, what do you think?’ Bolaji, put down his fork, as he swallowed a piece of dodo, its just about a month away, you’ve come this far, surely you can wait, he responded. Hmmm, what do you want?’ he asked.

She looked out through the window as she turned away from him, fighting tears, ‘I don’t know anymore, she muttered, I really don’t know. As she wiped a lone tear from her cheek with the back of her hands. Pushing the chair back as he rose, Bolaji walked quickly and took Kevwe in his arms, it’s ok baby, everything is going to be just fine So gbo’ as he rocked her gently.

Hmm, sure does not feel that way, I get to stay indoors all by myself most of the day while you are of to work and Laolu’s at school, its easier now, but I want to be able to do everything I could before all this…

‘Mummie, are you sad again?, Laolu queried, ‘no sugar Mummie is just having one of those days…but you are crying!, Kevwe turned to look at Bolaji, pleading with her eyes. She could feel the pain resulting from Bolaji’s seemingly helplessness at this point. Laolu why don’t you and Mummie go see what’s happening with Sheba out back and let Daddie finish his meal, Kevwe offered…hmmm,’ ok he said, taking her out stretched hand as she broke free from Bolaji’s arms.

Dear God, she silently prayed, where are you? As she patted Bolaji on the back, ok, you go on and finish your lunch, while we take a short stroll out back, you could join us when you are done, she said over her shoulders as they went off: she hobbling and he skipping.

Dearest Secret Keeper

I don’t know what went wrong today, but I got all blue, guess it goes to looking at the cast for too long. I need you to help me; this is affecting everyone in this house. The time between my request and the desired answers seems soo long. Want my life back…want to drive myself somewhere, anywhere, whenever I want, no more public transport for me. And mostly importantly, don’t want this affecting my baby Laolu. Am I insensitive to Bolaji’s loving care? Am I putting him under stress? Some days it hurts bad, today happens to be one of those days.

Still yours
xxx

June 26th 1999

Kevwe pasted a stick on paper with the number 22 written boldly on it on the mirror. As she inspected her face, ‘the scars are gone Bee and I didn’t even realize when they went’, she called out to her husband. Bolaji walked into the bathroom dressed for work, scrutinized her and face and planted a kiss on her cheek…’cute chic’, ‘what’s that?’ he asked gesturing to the number. ‘Am counting down to the day I get to take the cast off,’ she replied with a smile.

Have a great day at work, while I have my muse working over time on my manuscripts,’ Kevwe said, as they exchanged a kiss. Mummie, came to say see you later,’ Laolu yelled as he rushed into say bye, muah! ‘Have fun at school baby.’

Alone with her thoughts and the silence in the house but for her steady breathing, Kevwe paused to think over the past weeks…forgive me father, I’ve been so consumed with getting the cast of, I failed to say thank you for each little miracle as it occurred the nightmares have stopped, the scars gone…

…thank you, thank you, E se gon Olorun mi, you’re the one who heals me, both psychologically and physically. Help me to not miss the little packages you send my way, while I look out expectantly for what you think is best.

Everly grateful
xxx

July 5th 1999

Monday had a slow pace as people where trying to recover from the busy resting weekend. For Kevwe it was a week with a difference, as she swapped the stick on paper with the number 14 for 13. ‘Closer, closer, she muttered to herself, ‘baby did you call?’ Bolaji asked, ‘no temi, my d day is closer than before.’

Picking up the DIY pregnancy stick she had placed on the washing basin to stand in obedience to the instructions on the kit, she exclaimed, yes! As she saw the blue stripe, sticking her head out the bathroom door, she threw it at Bolaji, ‘we are pregnant!’ our little princess is on her wayyyy, with joy in her voice.

Bolaji smiled as he looked at his wife…I like the way your eyes are smiling, chic you are getting back to your ever lively self with each day I must say….Kevwe paused, looking somewhat perplexed, did you hear what I just said, she asked. Uhn? Bolaji said, with mischief dancing in his eyes… you this man she said, as she tried to walk fast towards him without the crutch.

Daddie… we are getting late, Laolu shouted as his shoes were head running towards their room…We’ll tell him when we get back, ok baby, he murmured as he placed a kiss on her forehead. Young man, tell this pretty princess bye and lets be on our way, Bolaji instructed Laolu.

Dearest Secret Keeper,
Life is beautiful, I am carrying another life within, I surely do hope this is our princess, a lil sis for Laolu. My heart is bursting!

Love you
xxx

Walking in to the living room, at the sound of the key at the door, Kevwe dropped the kitchen napkin she held just in time to catch Laolu as he flew at her, ‘I got an A in my test’ he yelled, congrats! And Mummie and Daddie have a surprise for you too, she said looking at Bolaji over the top of Laolu’s head. Please tell me, want to hear it, ‘in a couple of months time we are having a baby, a lil sibling for you.

July 18th 1999

A sunny Sunday it sure was, combined with the dancing during praise, sweat trickled down her arms and face as the heat made her shirt cling to her small frame, Kevwe was delighted. Today, she had walked into church without the cast, as Dr. Boms had taken them off yesterday looking to Bolaji by her side, she could confidently say she was blessed.

All her wants had been satisfied, through the weeks and healing process, not in the ways she has imagined they would be. For though the days had been cloudy and gray, her cry was heard, she has never walked alone as she had thought.

…the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; you made me lie down in green pastures. You are the best!
For oko mi, Laolu and Ifedayo who’s on her way, I’ll ever be grateful.
Yours always
Xxx

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