Is it possible to experience pain and joy ? I mean it is either you are sad or joyful, or going through pain or pleasure. Can you have joy in the midst of Pain? Amaka’s story beared the irony.
“Ewooo! Afulam`o” (I am finished )
She scatters her hair in deep frustration.
“Why me o! ”
She searched her wrapper again for the fourth time
“Where is it God!! ” she began loosing her cool.
“Ah! But the money was just here Now? ”
She began laughing, pulling her blouse up and shaking it vigorously.
“No now, if this is a joke stop it o God!”
Her frustrated laughter soon turned to tears, streaming down from both eyes making it look like two straight tribal marks on her cheeks.
She threw down her hawking tray which was tucked under her arm all these while and she soon joined the tray on the public ground.
The busy street was getting even busier as people started looking at her, wondering if she was mad. Well, she was mad.
Few minutes ago, she was the happiest person because she had sold all her bananas and now the money Vanished! Gone!! PUFF!!! evaporated!!!
“Where will I go from Here? ” she wondered in her heart as she sat on the side of the road.
She had promised the landlord a little of the rent she owed and what of mama Nkechi, the headmistress of the school ifeoma Attended? She was two terms due of school fees. The Bananas?
“Oh God” she exclaimed as she remembered that she bought the bananas on credit.
“There is no amount of sorrow that worth you denting your dignity young lady” an elderly woman said
Amaka gently lifted her teary eyes to the woman who had a basket on her head.
“Chineke `o hapu g`o m ( God has abandoned me)
She responded dryly.
“He has not abandoned you ”
Amaka ignored the positive response and returned her gaze to her empty tray.
After little hesitation Amaka got to her feet, picked up her tray and tucked it under her arm again. Right then, she was aware of her environment.
The heavy traffic on the road was so bad that cars were on a stand still. Only motorcycles could get pass with their passengers, and even they had to battle with the road side hawkers.
“Gala! Gala! Buy your Gala! Fifty, fifty naira” she heard a hawker shout pass her.
Life was hard, it didn’t care who you are or what you wore, it will just slap you whenever it felt like and life had hit her bad. So bad she didn’t care how dirty she looked or how people stared at her, she didn’t care about her name again, not even when ifeoma beckoned her on getting home.
” Aunty welcome” her six year old niece greeted. She had simply looked at her without replying.
“Aunty, why is your cloth Dirty? ”
“Aunty you sold all the Bananas? ”
Still no response…
“Aunty, why you no want to answer me? Okay, I come first in all my class work”
” I came first in all my class work” Amaka corrected her with a smile and then a giggle.
Ifeoma, her only family in the world was her only source of joy. She was so beautiful with a fair complexion. Her small head engraced with full long black hair was perfect for her slender body. She looked like her mother.
“Ermm… I came first she repeated shyly and smiled revealing white scanty set of teeth.
” have you eaten? ” Amaka asked.
” okay neither have I, so let’s go and soak garri with the remaining palm kernel nut from yesterday”
“Yayyyyyy! ” Ifeoma pitched and ran into the kitchen area.
Amaka smiled after her and then at the ceiling.
“Even if I am helpless, God is the source of my Joy. Thank you.”
That night , she had cleaned up the house and turned off the lights. Ifeoma had already gone to bed and amaka had just joined her. She looked at her little niece sprawled across the bed and she tried to adjust herself beside her.
Both their stomachs were blothed with garri and kernel, looking like a polished calabash. At the thought of that, Amaka began to laugh breaking the silence of the night.
” who talk say poor man no dey chop wella” she laughed harder and sighed, cleaning the tears that had just formed at the corner of her eyes with the back of her palm.
How did her life turn out this way? From a happy seventeen year old teenager with a wonderful jamb and WAEC result to a twenty year old orphan taking care of her late sisters child. She was supposed to be catered for not doing the catering.
If anyone had told her her life will take this dramatic turn, she would have cursed the generation of that person. Now this was her life and she had to live it. The wealth of her parents had been seized after their death by EFCC and ever since, the court cases were unending. Although she was never present at any of he court sessions, the family lawyer had come by two months ago with a discouraging report.
The letter from EFCC that followed two weeks later was not what she needed to compound her problems, so she stacked it up with other documents and locked it up unopened.
Now she thought of it, she had the urging to read it.
“What is the worse that could Happen? She thought.
I have seen it all, heard it all.”
Ifeoma had just rolled and thrown her little legs on hers, if she got up in search of the letter, ify would wake.
“Tomorrow then, by God’s grace” with that, she slept, ready to face life for another day.
With ifeoma out for school, Amaka began her search for the letter. She had already spent 30 minutes without a clue of where it was.
“Lord help me, holy spirit lead me ” she prayed
Immediately, she found it lying in dust at the inner corner of the wooden book shelf.
She quickly dusted it and settled on a kitchen stool to read its content.
Dear miss chiamaka Nwadike,
Hope this letter meets you well. We are fully aware of your absence at all the court sessions following the death if your parents three years ago. Our sympathies.
This is to inform you that the judge has ruled in your Favour and every frozen asset of your parents has been recovered and installed I your name.
Please kindly come down to our headquarters with your necessary identification for claim.
We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you. Thank you.
Words could not express the joy she felt now, God had restored her back. She thought with tears of joy.
No! He never left her, even in her pain of three years, she still had joy in her heart. The joy she had in Christ had exploded to reality. Her story had changed.
It was time to enjoy the joy of her pains.