Thursday, June 24, 2010

Footprints in the Sand

As she sat in the waiting room of Berkelyside Memorial Hospital, the thoughts that flooded her head were bizarre and far from organized. She wondered, pondered and considered why she did not just jump off the sofa and make the fastest dash to her car.
However against her present innate instinct, she tried to steady her shaky hands. Somehow she did not believe that fate could be this cruel to her, not after all she had been through, she did not want to have to deal with medical issues.

Lara Onweagba… at least that is what she had been for the last 3 years of hr life had grown accustomed to pain and suffering, at least the emotional variant of it. The superficial lifestyle of covering it all up beneath a smile and a warm hug here and there had become her strong forte; and even though she was not one who would run away from what she was feeling, she kept it carefully concealed. However, when it became unbearable, when she was alone she would soak herself in the misery of what her life had slowly and sadly become.

She stared at the painting on the wall. It was a landscape of an area in Lagos. The burst of the colors employed depicted the brightness of the artist and she got up to get a closer look at the name of the artist. ‘Graham-Douglas’. It was written in that lazy scrawl of his. Somehow she should have guessed that the use of the rues in that painting were consistent with Luke’s work and the lively way he attended to his subjects that gave the observer an insight into his personality and his emotions at the time of creating the work. Lara looked at the date on the painting, March 2004. That was the month after she had moved back to Nigeria, it was the month after he proposed to her.

For a second there she was translated to another time and another place, where she was happy and bright. A time when everything seemed beautiful and she could swear that the world was a much better place to be than now. She glanced at her watch, her appointment was for 2pm but she had arrived here an hour earlier. The anxiety in her heart did not allow her sit still. She needed to get here and receive the doctor’s verdict on her scans.


Luke slashed away angrily at the canvass, he was working on a mix of dark colors. The picture he was working on had yet to be formed clearly in his mind but he needed to do something to keep him from going insane. Luke always found solace in his work and right He stared blankly at the wall behind the canvass for some odd reason, seeking inspiration from nothingness. He felt like Vladimir from one of those books he had read in his teenage years. “Waiting for Godot”
Caught up in the vortex of what he constantly called his failures he felt lost.

A month ago, his long estranged brother was involved in a freak accident. A freak accident indeed for there was no better word to describe how a generator would explode for no reason after being turned on with no previous history of malfunction. Lance Graham Douglas was at the moment lying in the intensive care unit of Abercrombie Infirmary in Victoria Island. The doctors kept telling Luke to be hopeful even though the prognosis was bad.

All he could think of was the last time he spoke to Lance and the strong and virulent words that had passed between them. Lance could not wrap his head around why his brother left their home in America, where he had his work displayed in every major art gallery in the East Coast. Luke felt it was none of Lance’s business where he chose to run his business after all if Lance could live successfully and happily here in Nigeria so could he.
Luke cursed under his breath “damn u Lance for being a ‘know-it-all’”, because somewhere in his heart he felt that his brother might have been right all along.
Even though they were twins, Lance had always felt responsible for his brother. Luke on the other hand, felt he was his own man and could make his own decisions, Lone Ranger style.
He was not making any progress with what he was working on at the moment anyway. The work looked dark and moody and was not a reflection of who he truly was. Sighing he walked toward the window and then his phone buzzed. He glared at it in anger, not much good news comes through the phone these days.

The woman sitting under the tree in front of her house was a constant nuisance, she had tried and failed to displace her and now was not the time to get into that argument. She left her hand on the buzzer at the gate and hoped to the heavens that Effiong was not off on a frolic of his own. With an upraised fist, about to pound on the fist the gate cracked open. “Welcome madam” She gave him a once over and stumped up the stairs towards the front porch.

“Seun” She yelled as she opened the door to the kitchen. The buzzing in her head increased, almost sensing that she was near food. Unable to decipher if the hunger was from anxiety or from the fact that she had not eaten all day, she opened the fridge and grabbed an apple. Where was everybody? She’d come here thinking she would be able to talk to her daughter before the news broke. With kids and the internet generation, one could not be sure what they heard and from where!

'Yes mommy' Her daughter had a frown on her face but Anke could not really be bothered. Giving her a once over she smiled 'no hugs? I don't get a hug'? Her eight year old daughter was the most adorable creature ever, and even when she was scowling she was just so pretty! Seun huddled across the living room to where her mother was standing and gave her a hug! "Mum, I was working on my notes, my recital is on saturday and i need it to be perfect. Mr Lambert says I need to work on my lines" Anke rolled her eyes and marvelled about the passion with which her daugher spoke about her violin and the school ochestra! "Sweetie, mommy needs to talk to you about something very important,and I need you to sit down ok?"

Cautiously, Seun sat down near her mom, and looked in her face. Dear God, give me strength to do this 'cos You know i don't deserve this angelic child...

Taking in a deep breath, she started telling Seun how they came to live in Abuja. A story that was long over due and had now become extremely neccesary!

(To Be Continued)

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