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“Amara, I have been calling you. Hope you are well?” Funke asked. “I am well, but my mother’s health is bad again,” answered Amara. “I ...

“Amara, I have been calling you. Hope you are well?” Funke asked. “I am well, but my mother’s health is bad again,” answered Amara. “I am very sorry to hear that. Is she in hospital?” “Yes, she is. We are all tired. There is nothing we have not done as a family, but there does not seem to be an answer to her illness. My heart bleeds when I see her in this state. She does not even recognize me fully. She knows what she is doing one minute and the next minute, she is in a different world altogether.” “I am so sorry my dear,” Funke offered. They had been friends since childhood, having grown up together in Kaduna. For as long as Funke could remember, Amarachi’s mother had always had a mental illness. She had tried to burn down their house a few times, without knowing what she was doing. She had to be restrained every now and again. Amarachi and her siblings and father struggled with the idea of restraining her mother, but every now and again, that was the most functionally rational option. “Bola is planning to drive to Kaduna this weekend. Are you going to have time to see him?” Funke asked. “No. I have already called to tell him that I won’t be able to see him this weekend, so he cancelled it. I really wanted to see him. I miss him so much. Truly, having him in my life now is the best thing for me. Knowing that he is there helps me to get over my mother’s health problems.”

“Have you told him about your mother?” “Not really.” “Are you going to tell him?” “Yes, but I think it is too late now. I don’t want him to get the idea that we are a family of mad people. It might make his feet go cold on the relationship.” “I see your point. I think you should tell him at some point though.” “I do plan to do that. I am not ready for it yet.” Okay my friend. Take your time. In two weeks, I will have some time off. I will be coming to Kaduna to spend some time with you.” “Thanks Funke. I need that now.” “I will my friend. I miss you a lot.” “I miss you too Funke.” Shortly after the phone call, Amarachi was seated beside her mother in a hospital room. Her father was on the opposite bed. They were watching her mother as she slept peacefully. About an hour earlier, she was in a feat of rage, throwing things and biting anyone that came around her. They had to sedate her to put her to sleep. Amarachi looked at her. She was still beautiful despite her prolonged mental illness. People often told her that she took after her mother, and she could see the resemblance. That worried her a lot. What if I become like her? She thought. The same thought had gone through her mind for as long as she could remember.

She had seen her mother in one of her few normal spells. She was the nicest soul alive until her mental state went awry. She knew her father still loved her mother and he was willing to stand by her till his dying day. Her father was her hero even though some detractors had rumored that he was responsible for his wife’s ill health. He used her in a voodoo to make money!” Some people had rumored. Amarachi was crushed by the rumor. The doctor had told her that her mother’s ill health started after she gave birth to her…postpartum depression that snowballed into full mental illness. Her phone rang and she picked it up. It was Bola. She walked outside and took the call. “Hi honey, how are you?” She asked, managing some vivacity in her voice. “I am fine. How about you?” Bola replied. There was coldness to his voice. “I am fine honey. Are you okay?” Amarachi asked. “I am fine.” “You don’t sound fine.” “I…have something to ask you.” “Go ahead.” “Is there something you are keeping from me?” “Like what?” Amarachi’s heart began to pound. She could tell something was wrong. What does he know? She wondered. Her hand shook a little bit as her voice quivered.

“I think we should be open to each other. I told you what happened with my last relationship. I laid everything on the table to you. I care about you more than I can explain to you. How come you are keeping things about your family from me?” “Like what Bola?” “You know what I am talking about.” “Why don’t you tell me what you are talking about sweetheart,” she pressed him. Her eyes were closed. She had wondered how to tell Bola about her mother. Does he know? How? I am sure Funke would not do a thing like tell him, she thought. She could not control the million thoughts that ran amok in her head. “Is your mother….Does your mother have a mental condition?” Bola asked ominously. “Yes, she does.” “Why didn’t you tell me about it?” “Would you have mentioned something like that so soon in a relationship?” “But I shared my experience with my ex with you…yes I would have.” “It is easy for you to say. Your relationship with your ex is different, and this is not an attempt on my part to belittle what your ex did to you. However, when you have watched your mother go through what my mother has been through all my life, it takes time and trust to bring that out to the open by sharing it with a lover so soon in a relationship.”

“I told you trust meant so much to me, Amara. If you can’t share something like that with me, then you don’t trust me.” “It is not about trusting you my love. Bola, I love you with every drop of blood that runs through my veins. I was going to tell you about it. I needed some time.” “Is that the reason you did not want me to come to Kaduna this weekend? Perhaps your mother is having an episode.” “Don’t talk like that about my mother!!!” “I did not mean to be mean Amara, I was wondering why you brushed off a trip you and I planned weeks ahead.” “Stop it Bola!!! I wanted you here this weakened. I want you here right now. I want to be in your arms, held firmly by you. I wanted your touch to help smother my pains and worries. I am in hospital right now with my mother and the last thing I want from you now is what you are doing. You are being judgmental Bola and it is not fair…it is not right. You should be supportive. It could be anyone’s mother in this situation. All my life I have been carrying my mother’s pains and troubles on my shoulders. It is the main reason I still live in Kaduna. I need to be near her…to help my father.” Bola said nothing in reply. He took a deep breath.

“Go ahead and say it Bola. Say what is on your mind. You are worried that I might be losing my head in the future like my mother isn’t it?” “No, that is not what I am thinking.” “You are a bad liar Bola. I can tell from your voice that you have thought of that. Why are you so mad about something I was going to tell you anyway?” “Well….I…I…I wonder if it is something that runs in the family.” “So, you want to walk away from me then? I am no longer good enough for you. I could go mad in the future, and that disqualifies me from dating you how much more marrying you. You are sick Bola. I hate you right now!!! I don’t want to talk to you. Stay away from me. By the way, who told you about my mother?” “I got an anonymous text stating that your mother has a mental condition and that it runs in your family. The text said you had been keeping it from me because you are worried I would walk away from you if you told me.” “And that is exactly what you are about to do.” “I am not sure what to do Amara.” “I will make it easy for you Bola. Walk away. I…I really love you, but I cannot have you or anyone who has not been through what my family has been through to sit around and judge me. We did not bring this upon ourselves. You can think what you want, but you are not God. I expected a lot more maturity and Awareness from you Bola. I can’t believe you would act like this.” “You are rushing to conclusions. I have not even acted on the whole things and you are pushing me away.” “It is not what you have done Bola, but what you have not done…what you are thinking in your head. It makes me sick to the stomach.”   STORY CONTINUES...

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