Ada looked out the window, lost in thoughts; looking out the window had become a favorite pastime for her.
Windows to her represented a way to get away from the troubles she felt bothered about.
Amara’s light touch on her shoulder brought her out of her reverie. “Whatever are you thinking about? You seemed very deep in thought,” Amara said with concern written all over her face.
“It’s been three years now, three years I celebrated Christmas without my sister,” Ada said, sadly turning to look at Amara.
Amara was confused; as far as she knew, Ada’s sister was very much alive and breathing.
Or had she lost a sister before? she wondered.
“What do you mean? did you lose a sister or something? Because as far as I know, your sister is very much alive and breathing,” Amara said confused.
“Yeah, right, you should be confused. Well no, I’ve never lost a sibling or even a sister.
“Maybe I did, at least that very much explains the situation,” Ada said looking away.
“Now you’re getting me more worried and confused, make me understand,” Amara begged, touching her lightly.
“It’s a long story, something I wouldn’t want to relive right now.”
“I see, but talking about it would help in its way. You can’t have all those feelings bottled up in there. Talk to me dear, whatever bothers you, bothers me too,” Amara said, moving Ada to seat on the bed.
“It all started like this,” Ada said giving up.
“Hey Ada!” Shade called out, walking into the class with her cousin. “Sorry I stayed out too long,” she apologized. “I and my cousin got carried away with the food my Aunt gave to us,” she said, rubbing her belly.
“Just look at you,” Ada said mockingly, “well you’re lucky, Ebere isn’t even done with her training yet, she’s still on the field with the rest.”
“Let me call her,” Shade said, moving close to the window. “Ebere! Ebere!” Shade shouted. “It’s time to go home, aren’t you done yet?” she said exasperated.
“Just give me few more minutes,” Ebere shouted back.
“Please hasten up,” Ada shouted.
Few minutes later, Ebere walked into the class, looking very tired.
“Damn! I’m exhausted,” Ebere said as she cleaned herself up.
“Sorry eh, footballer Ebere,” Tomi teased.
“Oh, thank you,” Ebere replied smirking.
“Let’s start heading home,” Ada said and they all left with their backpacks hung on their backs.
“Do you realize we only have few more months with you two?” Shade said as they trekked to the bus stand across their school. “After our WEAC exams, we will be leaving you both.”
“Seriously!” Tomi exclaimed.
“That will be a whole lot of relief. We wouldn’t have you two bossing us around anymore like the seniors you are,” she said.
“Exactly,” Ebere added.
“It wouldn’t hurt to say: ‘Oh Shade and Ada, we are going to miss you both terribly’,” Ada said smiling.
“Of course we would miss you both, I for one would miss you and Shade.”
“I don’t know about Tomi though, but I will definitely not miss your annoyingly bossy attitude,” Ebere said moving away from her sister.
“You shouldn’t have moved away, let me knock you on your head,” Ada said laughing.
“Why do you have your sweater on your head Ebere?” Tomi asked curiously as they all made their way into the tricycle Shade stopped.
“Isn’t that obvious? I mean the sun is scorching, plus I’m feeling head pains, more like a headache,” Ebere replied.
“Hmmm, it’s obviously from training too much, sorry eh?” Ada said to her sister.
“Ebere,” Ada called from the living room, “it’s past 5pm already. We need to fetch water now, there’s no water in the house.”
“But I’m not feeling too well, sister. Please do the fetching yourself,” Ebere complained.
“Don’t even start now with that silly excuse of yours. Any time it comes to house chores, you’re always complaining. You know how long it takes for one person to fill up that drum,” Ada replied.
“Let Uche join you, sister,” Ebere suggested.
Ada laughed. “You mean that little brother of ours that hasn’t even mastered balancing a common bowl on his head, eh Ebere?”
Uche, who was in the living room with her laughed and said, “Sister Ada, didn’t I help you and Ebere fill up the buckets in the toilet on Wednesday?”
“Young man, just like you rightly said, you helped I and Ebere, not me alone.”
“You’re always making jokes,” Ebere laughed.
“Alright, I will join you,” she replied as she got up from the bed, put on her clothes and a pair of socks too, then she joined her two siblings in the living room.
Uche’s loud laughter got everyone by surprise. “Why are you laughing, Uche?” Ada asked him.
“Sister Ebere has socks on her legs,” Uche said giggling.
Ada bent to look at her legs, and as Uche rightly pointed out, Ebere was putting on socks.”
“Humph,” Ada sighed. “Please, let’s just go ahead and do the needful before Mum returns,” Ada said and they all went to get their buckets.
During the fourth round of water Ada and her siblings were fetching, their Mum returned.
“Mummy welcome,” Uche said excitedly, moving close to his mum with the water on his head. Ada and Ebere did the same thing and thereafter, they walked into the house to pour the water into the drum.
Mrs. Eze curiously looked at Ebere as she passed. “Ebere, why do you have socks on your legs?”
“Mummy, I’m not feeling too well and I’m feeling cold too,” Ebere replied.
“So why then are you fetching water?” Mrs. Eze asked as she got into the house, “please leave the water for Ada and Uche.”
Ebere gladly obeyed her mum and went back to lie down in the bedroom.
Thirty minutes later, Ada and Uche were done fetching water, they both went into the room to take off their wet clothes and change into dry clothes.
It was a Saturday, a day off from school activities for Ada and her siblings.
Ada worriedly looked at Ebere lying on the bed. “You are running temperature, you’ve been like this ever since we came back from school yesterday.
“Funny enough, you look even much more attractive, your complexion seems to be out the more and—”
“Someone’s at the door,” Ebere cut her short.
Ada listened and just immediately, the knock was heard again.
“I will go get the door,” Ada said to her siblings.
Ada walked right from the room to the living room, she moved closer to the door and turn its knob.
It was her mum’s friend that was at the door with a couple of other church members.
“Good afternoon dear,” Mrs. Elayor greeted. “Can we come in?” she requested.
“We have come to declare peace upon this house,” she added smiling.
“Definitely,” Ada said as she let them in. Afterwards, they all settled on the couch in the living room.
“Where are your siblings?” Mrs. Elayor asked after settling down.
“They’re in the room, let me go call them,” Ada replied.
Ada walked back into the living room with Uche to meet Mrs. Elayor and the others, Ebere refused to get up from the bed.
“Since you both are here, Esther, do lead us in a quick worship,” Mrs. Elayor said to her daughter.
Mrs. Elayor ministered the gospel for a couple of minutes and then she concluded her sermon afterwards with a short prayer.
“Where’s Ebere?” Esther asked immediately her mum was done.
“She’s in the room, she’s not feeling too well,” Ada replied.
“All right dear, she will be fine, our regards to her and we’re leaving now,” Mrs. Elayor said and they all moved towards the door.
Ada turned the door knob once again and they made their way out of the house.
“Well, this isn’t something we see everyday,” Ebere said standing close to the entrance of the living room.
Ada turned to see her sister. “I thought you didn’t want to come out?”
“Yeah, but then again, I thought of coming out, but they’re gone.”
“Sister Ebere, you should have come along with us, they could have prayed for you and you will be healed,” Uche said.
“Tell her, my brother,” Ada said smiling. And immediately, there was light, Uche happily shouted ‘Up NEPA’ in excitement and afterwards moved to turn on the TV, while Ada sat on the couch.
“I will be in the room,” Ebere said tiredly and left.
“After the church service on Sunday, Ebere’s condition wasn’t any better, my mum had suggested that there was no need going to the hospital, that she had be fine after taking holy communion in church during the service, Ada narrated further.
“What was very strange to me was how Ebere was acting throughout that Sunday.
When we were on our way to church, Ebere suddenly got weak and insisted she couldn’t go any further.
“Of course, my mum objected and urged her on, but then the way Ebere shouted and refused was unusual, like it wasn’t her speaking.
“Then in church also, after the service, we stayed back to wait for the holy communion service. “A nice usher offered to get Ebere a bed to lay on so she could rest.
“Talking to Ebere was very difficult, she suddenly couldn’t speak audibly, she was trying to say something to me, but I couldn’t understand her well.
“I managed to pick on some of her words though; she mentioned she had been hit with a ball on her head during training.
“To conclude the whole story, Ebere convulsed seriously at exactly 4am on Monday morning. The whole thing was just so overwhelming, we were all just too lax and ignorant.
“With the help of some of our neighbors, she was taken to a nearby hospital. At the hospital, Ebere had to be injected to calm her down and ironically, Ebere was asleep for over a week.
“The doctor mentioned that they couldn’t handle her anymore, so she was moved to a government teaching hospital in the state. Then from there again, she was moved to UCH Ibadan and all this while, Ebere was in coma for a month.
“I have to tell you, Amara, it’s not being a funny journey at all, it’s being very challenging. 2017 was the year I never want to live in again.
“I can’t go any further with the story, all I can say is that Ebere is very much alive, but she lost her memory, more like she’s a new born baby and she hasn’t been able to speak ever since then.
“It’s been two years she’s out of school, Ebere was doing very well in her academics, and in her football training and also, she was the class captain of over hundred students. Ebere doesn’t deserve what happened to her.
“Right now, I don’t know how to feel about Christmas and a new year coming soon, when it’s very much another year counting towards how my sister has been.”
“There’s really nothing to be grateful and happy about Christmas,” Ada said.
“Wow, I never knew you’ve been through this lot, I’m so sorry dear. But you’re wrong Ada, there is a whole lot to be grateful about.
“I mean, we got scouted by one of the biggest modelling agency in Africa and we’ve been making money, and just like you said, I have enough to take good care of my family, and goodness! what better time than Christmas? Tomorrow is Christmas eve, Ada, you should be excited.”