Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 115: My Baby Girl

June 16th, 2013

I had the most vivid dream I have possibly ever had in my life. It was so vivid, that I was startled awake at about 4am in the morning. And even when I was awake, I could hear her voice audibly…see her face clearer than I have in the 11 years that have gone by…since her death.

Eme. Emeobong. My kid sister.

In the dream, we had been sitting on the worn sofa in our living room, as we used to do. But unlike that time, when she’d be the one doing most of the talking, with me listening, this time I was the one doing the talking. She listened as I talked all about my pregnancy, our brothers, our new sister-in-law Diana, and of course the drama with the woman who had missed that title by whiskers, Akunna. She had smiled as I’d talked, her light brown eyes glinting. And then she’d rubbed my stomach, and said “You look so beautiful.”

That was the only thing she said in my dream. You look so beautiful. But that sentence had been enough to carry me back to a time when her melodious voice rang through our house, pretty much the entire day. From the moment her eyes opened, she always had something to say…and loudly too. If she was in the house, you’d know. There was never a dull, or quiet, moment with her. Until suddenly, she was gone.

It hadn’t been love at first sight with the two of us. Our youngest child, she was born a few months after my 5th birthday. Phillip was a few months shy of 7, Eteka was 3, and Etim was 2, when she was born. She had captured our father’s heart immediately, being the only one who finally had his own fair colouring and eyes so light brown, they almost seemed green. As if that wasn’t enough, she also got the dimples we’d all inherited from our mother, except hers were so deep, they almost slit her cheeks in half. And her was rich, lustrious, and long! She was like the a little lamb in the midst of wolves, and I resented her for it. I resented all the frequent “Ah, Bassey! You don finally born pikin wey resemble you!”, “Faith, are you sure this is your sister?”, “Your last born fine pass all of una!” I would hear. Each time I heard any of it, it grated on me like scraping my skin with nails. I hated her with a passion! And I took it out on her, pushing, beating and verbally taunting her at the slightest provocation, not caring about the punishment I got from my parents, and even Philip, when they caught me doing this. All I cared about was making her feel as badly as her presence in our lives was making me.

Rather than retreat from me, she kept on clinging to me like a leech. She hovered around me night and day, and sang my praises to anyone who cared to listen. But that didn’t soften me. I kept on being mean to her.

But all that changed the year I turned 13. It was a Sunday morning, and I’d been ironing my Mom’s favorite silk dress. Somehow, I’d gotten distracted by the TV, had left the iron on the dress for a moment too long, and before I knew it, there lay a gaping hole bordered by burnt, shriveled material. I was finished. Eme had been the only one with me in the dining room when it happened, and we had exchanged a stunned look. My fright didn’t even allow me utter a sound, and I was soon trembling from head to toe, wondering what our Mom would do to me.

It hadn’t taken long for her to come to the dining room, wondering what was taking me so long. She’d met me with the iron in my hand, my mouth open, and a burnt dress on the dining table. No words were necessary. She had lifted her hand to give me what would have been a resounding slap, when Eme suddenly spoke, saying she’d been the one who burnt the dress. Our Mom and I looked at her in shock, as she told the tale of how she had pushed my hand by mistake. The story was so silly and convoluted that I suspect even our Mom knew she was lying. But she’d given Eme a stern warning, grabbed her destroyed dress, and stormed out of the room. I was standing in the same position long after, still in a state of shock, until my sister touched my hand to tell me our Mom had left. That was when the tears had come, fast and furious. I was crying not because of the bullet I had just dodged, but out of an overwhelming sense of guilt. That day, I hugged Eme for the first time, and a bond was formed. She was 8.

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After that day, I also started taking pride in her beauty. Whenever people remarked about how she was the best looking in our family, I would emphatically agree. I took delight in braiding her beautiful hair, and ensured that she always looked her best. And our relationship blossomed for the remaining 8 years of her life…

Until a few weeks to her death.

I had turned 21 a few months before, and had desperately tried to get our father to agree to throw me a big party. I was in my 3rd year in University, and I didn’t want to be the odd one out who hadn’t had a big party. But Daddy dearest had insisted on giving me only enough money for a small parlor party. I hadn’t even had enough money for a DJ. The excuse had been that he was broke…which he probably was at that time. Ordinarily, I would have accepted it and moved on…if I hadn’t found out, months later, that Eme was also having a big party for her 16th birthday! I was infuriated. None of us had ever had any party for our 16th or even 18th birthdays…but Dad was throwing his dear Eme a party for her ‘sweet 16’! My eyes flashed red, thinking of the extra budget Dad could have given me to have a more decent party. The age-old resentment crept back, and it remained as she flounced all around the house, talking about nothing but her impending milestone birthday, and the party that would shut down our Close. Adding pepper to my wound was the fact that she was actually getting a proper DJ!!! For me, that had been the last straw.

I barely spoke to her for weeks, and on that fateful day, the eve of her birthday, I’d been in my room, sulking, when she came to tell me she’d rather cancel her party than have me angry with her. The sincerity in her eyes made me realize I was wasting my anger on the wrong person. It wasn’t her fault our parents, our Dad especially, had chosen to be unfair to me. So, I’d assured her I wasn’t angry, had swallowed my pride, and gone to help out with preps in the kitchen. Our Mom had been pleased that I’d joined them, and had whispered a promise to get me the mobile phone I had been clamoring for since the advent of GSM the previous year.

All seemed to be well. Preps were proceeding well in the kitchen, NEPA had been generous, so the freezer was on full blast, Phillip had gone to drop his girlfriend, Akunna, at home, and I was planning how to escape from the kitchen to watch Super Story on TV. Then Eme’s friends from the neighborhood had arrived, and they had all dashed out to drop last minute invites in the estate.

The last thing I said to her was, “Buy some noodles on your way home!”

Noodles. The last thing I said to my sister was about noodles.

Not quite an hour after she’d gone, there was commotion at our gate, and I’d peered outside to see what was going on. It was one of our neighbours going berserk, screaming something about Eme being involved in an accident on the major road. All of us had dashed out of the house, the Agonyin women helping us with the food inclusive.

Getting to the road, the crowd I sighted from afar made me immediately fear the worst. And when some of our neighbours noticed my Mom and I, we were immediately prevented from going any further. Mom had fought her way out of their grip and had rushed to see the sight of her daughter, lying on the ground, with her split open. There was no need to ask any questions. She was clearly dead.

We were told that, as she and her friends dashed across the road, Eme hadn’t been fast enough, and had been struck by an oncoming vehicle. The speed had sent her flying in the air, landing on the car with such force that the windscreen was smashed and the bonnet cracked. She had rolled off the car onto the road, and the driver of the car, desperate to flee the scene, had driven over her, crushing her head in the process.

I struggle to remember what happened afterwards. I can still her my Mom’s piercing screams, and recall being shoved from one person to the other, all of them desperate to get us away from the scene, and also trying to find a car willing to convey the corpse to the mortuary. I vaguely recall Phillip arriving, and the desperate look we had both exchanged. I recall how he had taken charge of the situation, and had carried our baby sister in his arms, as blood and grey matter from her brain stained his clothes. But I don’t remember anything apart from that from that night. I just remember the days that followed, and the way our father would sit on the living room floor, crying. I remember that our Mother’s sisters had to move in to take care of her, as she refused to even get out of bed. I remember how Eteka, Etim, and myself would stand around, not quite knowing what to do with ourselves. I remember how Phillip tried to be the strong one; the one who made the required mortuary trips, as well as made arrangements for a small funeral.

I remember the sadness. I remember the despair. But most of all, I remember the silence. Our house had never been so silent. But now, it was. We had lost our melody. We had lost our precious one.

Emeobong. It means precious one of God. And I suddenly knew, almost without a shadow of doubt in my mind, that I am having a girl.

All the names Patrick and I had already chosen for a girl child, suddenly seemed so contrived and silly. Cleopatra! Asia! What were we even feeling like sef.

Without a shadow of doubt, I know that we will name her Emeobong. Because she will be our own precious one…the one to make up for the precious ones we have lost already…Eme, our father, and baby Mathew.

 

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Photo Credit

  1. https://www.pinterest.com

 

Catch up on Faith’s Pregnancy Diary here:

  1. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 1: BFP
  2. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 2: Lukewarm Response
  3. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 3: The Struggle
  4. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 4: Tricked
  5. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 5: Keeping Her Man
  6. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 6: Men are so Annoying!
  7. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 7: Bleeding
  8. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 8: The 9-Week Mark
  9. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 9: Festive
  10. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 10: The Holiday
  11. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 11: This Thing Called Love
  12. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 12: The Pregnancy Glow
  13. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 13: The Baby & The Bobo
  14. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 14: Wahala
  15. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 15: The Abortion
  16. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 16: A Good Man
  17. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 17: Joy & Pain
  18. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 18: Hostage
  19. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 19: Ammunition
  20. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 21: Famzing
  21. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 22: Stress Relief
  22. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 23: Diana
  23. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 24: Bestos
  24. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 25: The Miscarriage
  25. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 26: In God’s Hands
  26. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 27: Crossing the line
  27. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 28: Last Minute Packing
  28. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 29: Ex-Girlfriend
  29. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 30: Not Just Friends
  30. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 31: Fight For Him
  31. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 32: Faded Beauty
  32. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 33: Holiday Glow
  33. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 34: The Proposals
  34. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 35: Baby Kicks
  35. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 36: Celebration Dinner
  36. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 37: Rainbow Baby
  37. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 38: Lunch with the Girls
  38. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 39: Wedding Season
  39. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 40: Mama Patrick
  40. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 41: Misplaced Love
  41. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 42: Okafor’s Law
  42. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 43: Forgiveness
  43. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 44: Get it over with
  44. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 45: Family Meeting
  45. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 46: The Goof
  46. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 47: Worship
  47. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 48: Gender
  48. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 49: The Introduction
  49. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 50: Messy
  50. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 51: Passionate Love
  51. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 52: Instagram Drama
  52. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 53: 21 Weeks
  53. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 54: Oppressed
  54. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 55: Age is just a number
  55. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 56: Legally Together
  56. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 57: Monkey on my back
  57. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 58: Your secret is safe with me
  58. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 59: Spring in my step
  59. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 60: Level don change
  60. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 61: It’s my time
  61. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 62: Drama & Baby Kicks
  62. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 63: Love, Joy, Fear
  63. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 64: Owerri
  64. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 65: Untouchable
  65. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 66: Foot Soldiers
  66. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 67: Dem Say, Dem Say
  67. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 68: The Side Chick & The Fiancé
  68. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 69: Dim-Witted Brother
  69. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 70: Day from hell
  70. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 71: A Cancelled Wedding & a Kept Woman
  71. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 72: From Bad to Worst!
  72. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 73: The Confrontation
  73. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 74: Away we go!
  74. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 75: Birthday Girl
  75. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 76: Caught Red-Handed
  76. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 77: Played by a Master Manipulator
  77. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 78: Showdown
  78. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 79: Sad Tears, Happy Tears
  79. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 80: Not the forever kind of love
  80. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 81: My Sacred Vow to you
  81. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 82: Facebook Likes
  82. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 83: Pregnancy Queue
  83. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 84: Braxton Hicks
  84. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 85: The Verdict
  85. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 86: Home Sweet Home
  86. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 87: The Bridal Shower
  87. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 88: The Scare
  88. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 89: Nwando’s Wedding
  89. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 90: Time To Face The Music
  90. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 91: The Witch Hunt
  91. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 92: Bump Envy
  92. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 93: This Evil Family
  93. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 94: Thankful
  94. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 95: People Watching
  95. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 96: New Beginnings
  96. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 97: Dispassionately
  97. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 98: Old Woman
  98. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 99: The Premonition
  99. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 100: The Girl is Fine!
  100. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 101: Three Weeks From Now
  101. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 102: Diana & Akunna
  102. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 103: Of Daughters and Honeymoons
  103. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 104: Practice Run
  104. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 105: Cold Revenge
  105. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 106: Absolutely Nothing
  106. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 107: Selfish
  107. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 108: Back and Forth
  108. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 109: Chief Mourner
  109. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 110: He Will Never Be Mine
  110. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 111: The Showers
  111. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 112: Baby Mama
  112. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 113: Counting
  113. Faith’s Pregnancy Diary 114: Soul Searching

Comments

  1. Bos

    oh dear @faith back with such a sad tale….This is heart breaking, death a day before her birthday…..Im soooooo sorry, tears kept falling as i read you vividly explain the details even after so many years. She will forever live in your hearts, May her soul rest in perfect peace……Amen!!

  2. barbs

    Making me cry this Monday morning Faith!
    Names should definitely come with deep tots.. I remember when my toddler started sch & the teacher decided to stick to his Middle name(English) if you see the way DH marched there to correct her.. His name is OLUWATOBILOBA ( He is a great GOD)
    No need to say sorry for your loss as you are about to get double the happiness she once gave u😘

  3. Elsie

    Faith, you’ve made me cry this morning. I remembered someone so precious, she is a talkative too but i loved her so much though we never agree and we are always quarreling. Your baby will fill the hole she left.

  4. Selinam

    What a sad story, my eyes are filled with tears , this story is a reminder that we should always cherish our love ones

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