I had had about forty missed calls from a certain number on imo. See, I don’t pick numbers I don’t know on this app. I had only recently reinstalled it anyway. Then a local number called on the normal MTN line and I picked it.
It was a woman asking for Mrs Enendu.
“Yes, this is she,” I answered
“How are you and how is your husband?”
I concluded it was a 419 call and that the person was only fishing. I asked who it was.
“It’s Mrs Joy…”
I said, I don’t know any such person. And I dropped the call.
She called back. I didn’t pick. Then she sent a message on imo.
“My brother and I were at Garki hospital when your husband was there. How is he? You don’t remember me?”
I couldn’t for the life of me remember her. I told her so. She said, “You were very kind to us. My brother was HIV + and had kidney failure…”
I shouted. I remembered. He looked like a skeleton. Obviously such a good looking guy. The illness had ravaged him. His sister had rushed in from Italy to help her only brother. Our health system frustrated her. She had difficulty accessing her funds so had to go through a lot of red tape. He was treated with gloves and disdain because he was gay. I had sat with her brother several times while Anyi was sleeping after an operation for a pseudo aneurysm in his thigh.
I asked how he was.
“He is fine. Over here with me now. Doing his masters.” She sent me his picture. I was stunned. He looked fantastic. It was unbelievable.
She asked how Anyi was. I told her we had lost him. She wept.
“Such a kind man. You loved each other so”
I gently told her. “Yes we did but it is okay and we are fine.”
Leave a little kindness wherever you go
She said she had never forgotten me. Or my name. Or face. Because we were the only kindness she met in Nigeria during that horrible time. And our prayers for her changed everything. She felt stronger.
I had forgotten everything, and told her so. That I was probably on autopilot. It was nothing special.
“Not to you,” she said, “Every time my brother is in crisis, I wish to meet someone like you to hold my hand”
I told her, sometimes, you have to hold your own damn hand. She laughed.
We chatted some more. She was back there. I didn’t want to ask her what she did. When I saw her back then, I had suspected she was some kind of sex worker. I didn’t judge. And with her brothers medical bills, she probably had to work harder than before sef.
We promised to stay in touch.
That call brought a million emotions to the fore.
The first was surprise. I had assumed that boy would be long dead. He looked so bad then. Wow. The human body is amazing.
The second was pity. Wow. She was still going through that. All alone in a foreign country.
The third was great sadness. The memories of Garki Hospital won’t be gone in a hurry. I saw too many die, met with too many families, comforted too many. Every morning when Anyi was on admission, there was more wailing; another loss.
This world is a horrid, rugged, ravaged place. Leave a little kindness wherever you go. It helps people get through their hell a little easier and be grateful for whatever kindness you get. It is a hand reaching out in the dark to let you know you are not alone.
We are all part of someone’s story. Make your chapter awesome.
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