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“I came here full of anger at you. I was very mad at you for giving me away. For years I wondered what you looked like…If you cared a...

“I came here full of anger at you. I was very mad at you for giving me away. For years I wondered what you looked like…If you cared about me at all. If you bothered to look for me. Of all your children, how come I was the one you gave up for money? I have carried this burden in my heart for years, feeling like an unwanted person who was sold off to the highest bidder. I tried to drink my life away…it was an attempt to live in a state of constant stupor, so I would not have to face the anger and doubt that had built a fortress in my heart. Each time I came out of my drunkenness, I was still faced with the same thoughts and feeling. Seeing my picture hanging on the wall here…knowing that you had told my siblings all about me and that you tried to find me my anger has been washed away. I can no longer bring myself to be angry at you. I wonder the hardship you have all been through in life.” He reached out and hugged his mother and then his father. Soon, he was smothered by his six siblings. “By the way, this is my girlfriend Mary,” Roland announced. “She has to talk to me, your twin sister. I need to assess her very well before I can offer my approval,” Elochukwu joked. She hugged Roland tightly and said into his ears, “I have been dying to see and know my twin brother. The lost side of me is finally back. We all missed you, even though we did not know you. I always wondered what you looked like and what you did,” she continued. “I am so glad to finally meet you my twin,” Roland replied.

Roland, Mary, Elochukwu, Roland’s biological and adopted parents and his other siblings – James, Amarachi, Ozoemena, Ugochukwu and Miranda were seated in the living room of their new house in Ikorodu.  Roland’s adopted parents had bought them an house. Everyone had come to move their things over to the new house. Roland had gone to work for his adopted parents. He had just returned from a business trip to Dubai. He had been spending as much time as he could with his biological family, eager to catch up on all the experiences he had missed. “You were the lucky one, Roland,” James said. “I remember this night I was asked to buy garri at Boundary market. Dad had given me one hundred and fifty naira. It was the last money we had in the house. On my way to the market, thieves picked my pocket at Boundary. I was heartbroken. I did not know how to return home and tell mom and dad that I had lost the money. I searched for it along the street until the market closed. I went into hiding in an incomplete building on our street. Mom and dad were terribly stressed. They thought I had been kidnapped. Finally, some area boys who had sneaked into the building to smoke Indian hemp found me and returned me home. That night, Ugochukwu wanted to stab me. We had gone all day without food and just about when we thought we could get our first meal of the day, I blew it for everyone. In case you have not noticed, Ugo loves food. He began to cry when I returned home without garri.”  Everyone laughed including Ugochukwu. “Well, that night, mom dished out scoops of soup for each of us. We drank it down and went to bed with our stomachs rumbling thunderously in a massive war with hunger.” “So did you get to eat in the morning?” Roland asked. His siblings laughed at him. “It was a taboo to ask for breakfast in the house back then,” Miranda pointed out. “What a hard life you had,” he replied. “Yes, it was tough, but it brought us together. We learned to look after one another. We learned to care and persevere,” Ozoemena remarked. “Well, except for Ugochukwu. He was the worst hit by the hard times. One day he was so hungry that he went into our neighbor’s kitchen and ran away with their pot of rice,” Miranda said, leaving everyone laughing. “Really?” Roland’s adopted father asked. “Yes, he did,” Mr. Okoroafor answered.

“It was a hot Sunday afternoon. We were playing with our neighbor’s children and soon, their mother served them rice. She was very mean. Normally, you dish a little for your children’s friends, but she did not. We sat there and watched them devour every grain of the rice. The woman left afterwards to see a friend and we continued to play with her children. Soon, the game moved to the front yard. At some point, Ugochukwu excused himself and returned to the kitchen. He lifted their pot of rice and began to run with it. One of the neighbor’s children saw him and began to shouted, but he was so hungry that he did not care. He ran to the next building, dropped the pot and began to feast on the rice,” Elochukwu narrated. “I was so embarrassed when I returned from the market. The neighbor insisted that we refund her the cost of the rice,” Ugodiya added. “That woman was downright wicked,” Ugochukwu said. “I remember the aroma of the rice and stew with goat meat tormenting me as we played. I did not even think it through. The last meal we had was the previous day at lunch time. To sit on their front yard and smell that food without eating it was as if someone had put a knife to my throat, squeezing it into my skin slowly and painfully,” Ugochukwu explained. “Those days were terrible. I thought of running away sometimes, perhaps to some rich family to ask them to adopt me,” Amarachi said.

“I was very lucky. I never went through that, but there is no way to describe the love and oneness that you all share. Such experiences can truly strengthen relationships depending on how the people involved see things.” “You are right,” Ozoemena said. “It definitely brought us together,” he added. “On that note, I want to use this opportunity to thank my adopted parents for what they did for me. They are and will always be my parents. I guess I am special after all…I have four parents now,” Roland said with a smile. Mary was seated beside him while Elochukwu was seated on the floor opposite. She had become attached to her twin brother since he found them. “Thanks for raising him well and for taking good care of him,” Okorafor said to Roland’s adopted parents. “He is our son, so we’ll never hold back from taking care of him,” they answered. “Also, would like to use this opportunity to thank Mary. She has been a major source of strength in my life since the first day I set my eyes on her. She was very beautiful with a gallon of water delicately balanced on her head,” he joked. “In my darkest hour, when I was battling with alcohol, she was there for me. When I lost my way, walking the paths of life emptily and aimlessly, not knowing who I was and what I truly wanted to make of myself. She beamed like a lighthouse at sea guiding me safely back to shore.

“When I was overcome with anger and insecurity…shame and dejection, Mary was my therapist. She was my friend and my lover. Thanks Mary for everything you have done for me,” Mary smiled and said, “You are welcome. You have done even more for me.” Elochukwu moved closer to Mary, produced a small box and flipped it open. “Mary, Roland would like to ask you to marry him,” she said. A diamond ring glistened in the box. Roland dropped to his knees and faced Mary. “I know in my heart that good things can come from Facebook – you are the best thing that has ever happened to me apart from my parents and siblings. Please would you marry me?” He asked. “I get insecure sometimes, Mary. I get angry sometimes too. I lose my way every now and again, but I will never take my eyes off you. Your will, your strength of character and the grace with which you take on life, I admire those…most of all, I need those. Having you as my wife will ensure that I am well grounded in life…besides, I love you so much that living without you would be like standing on the train tracks with a train coming my way.” “Yes…yes, I will marry you with all my heart, Roland,” Mary answered.

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