Laraba: The tears of the Sun

“No daughter of mine will marry a nyamiri Ibo bastard! Over my dead body! ”

My heart fell with those words, and my face did not, could not, hide my feelings.

He looked me up and down, contemptuously, and snarled, “that friendship with. Laraba had better remain just that! She’s not your class or level, who is your father, to start with?”

He stalked off into his private quarters, muttering about a nobody, a son of blasted nyamiri, who was daring to rise above his level.

 

Laraba looked at me with teary eyes. Just two weeks back, she had agreed to have sex with me, sealing a four-year relationship. And we had not ‘condomised’. It was supposed to be a seal, a pledge of our undying love

As I got up to leave, she rushed over to me and clasped me, and despite the dire situation, a warm tingle of arousal danced around my chest, past my belly button, and settled in between my legs. Laraba had breasts like that. I wondered how we had managed to stay off sex for four years, three months and two weeks. Yes, I was counting. She walked me all the way to the bus stop, where I boarded a bus back to the park, and on to Abuja, where I was going to complete the rest of my Service year.

 

She was in final year, in Biochemistry. I was about rounding up my NYSC, having finished from Microbiology. And all around the Faculty of Life Sciences, everyone knew us as, and called us Larabassey. Bassey is my name.

 

Laraba came back to school, and to me. We (she, mostly) treated her father’s disapproval like a silly dream that would be banished once her Father, an immensely wealthy and powerful politician, woke up to the reality of our love. She spent weekends at my Boys Quarters, which was not too far from the University of Abuja, where she was studying.

 

My last weekend in Abuja before passing out finally came, and we were resolved to make the most of our last time together.

Laraba came, cooked, arranged (I never seemed to be able to arrange the house well enough to suit her) bathed with me, spent most of the night alternately gisting and making love….

 

And vomited early the next morning.

“Could it be…….?” I asked

“We haven’t been too careful about protection though, and I’m not on the pill”

Hours later, a pharmacy-bought pregnancy-test kit confirmed our suspicions.

 

I was skeptical. She was overjoyed.

“Now Daddy has no choice but to allow us get married”, she said,

I didn’t share her vibrant optimism, but I would be the last person to dampen her spirits. I kept seeing her father, over six feet of him, staring at me with beetled brows, like a bird will stare at a particularly feisty worm before gobbling it. I kept my reservations to myself.

 

Her father was surprisingly calm, friendly even. The preparations went rather smoothly, considering the fact that he was initially against us. My aunt, who brought me up after my parents passed away, was disturbed.

 

“These people have no human feeling, they are cold blooded killers. Why did you have to go up north to find a wife?”

“Aunty Emem, I love her, I did not choose to, it just happened”

 

Despite her misgivings, Aunty Emem came with some of my uncles to see her folks. We fixed the wedding for the first Saturday in August.

All seemed well, and Laraba was excited, but I couldn’t shake the image of her father’s vehement refusal.

On that Saturday morning, my car was hit by a truck on the way to church. We were four inside the car. Two people died, Aunty Emem, who, for some unknown reason, elected to ride with me, and Frank, the driver, who was one of my friends.

 

That car crash should have taken my life. It took my body from the neck down, leaving me a vegetable. They told Laraba I died in the crash, and indeed I should have. The third-degree burns I sustained have ruled out almost any chance of the extensive spinal surgery needed, if I’m to have even a ghost of a chance.

 

Laraba’s father is paying the bills, he calls me his son-in-law, even though I never actually married his daughter. But the mocking sneer never leaves his face. It never leaves. Laraba is heavy, she will deliver soon, but I don’t want my daughter knowing that this broken, burned out, useless lump of flesh kept alive by wires and tubes is her father. She deserves better. She deserves more.

Wilson, we have been friends for years, please do me a favour. Set Laraba free. Pull this tube out from the drip, let me die quietly. The doctors will find an explanation for it. They always have. They always will.

 

This is Fiction.

 

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