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Endangered By Lockdown #Stories4Health

It was exactly nine-thirty in the morning. The atmosphere was bright, noisy and gay. The morning sun was still tender to the skin as it rose from the East with dazzling beauty. It was just six days of the lockdown. I reside in a public apartment fondly called ‘face me, I face you.’

Before the outbreak of the Corona Virus, my neighbours were not always at home. Some do come back late in the night. We hardly see each other except on Sundays after the church service. I know everyone in the compound very well even though we see each other once in a blue moon. I may know everyone but won’t be able to tell about their personal characters except for Peter. Peter is logorrheic who never gets tired of talking except when he’s asleep. He talks more like a parrot and was ridiculed with this animal.

That morning, I have come out to brush as usual. I sleep late and woke up late also. This is because I spend time surfing the internet and reading the news. Life is kind of boring each time the light is interrupted. I stood brushing my teeth up and down as I spat in every nook and cranny. For those six days of lockdown, I would spend an hour in a particular spot brushing.

Not long enough, she tapped me very hard on the shoulder. I turned with an eeh, to know what the problem was. She did not utter a word. She raised her hand and slapped me so heavily. The crack of arms contacting my skin echoed off in the air. Her arms turned red from the impact. I held my cheek with the speed of light. I was swallowed up by darkness and I saw stars dancing around me. My mouth hung wide open. How would I know that I spat at her?

‘Hie…!’ shouted the children playing football not far from the place I was brushing.

Adanna we all know is an introvert who has not looked for anybody’s trouble in that compound. I needed to retaliate because I’ll be the talk of the street if I did not pay her back in her own coin. I raised my hand back and whipped her face as strong as I could. My hand stung from the impact as she clutched her cheek in shock and pain, tears welling in her eyes.

The voices came from both near and far chanting in support, ‘you be correct man.’ Hardly had I known than she fell on the floor and laid unconsciously. I stood mouth agape as I stared blankly at nothing in awe. My heart plunged to my stomach and stood as though I was electrocuted; brain felt burnt.

Her mother ran out of the room with a tied wrapper. She was untying and retying her wrapper as she cried heavily shouting on top of her voice. Before I could know it, the scene was filled with the neighbours, both the old and young alike. The only thing I heard was the voices blaming me, ‘Ah! This boy is very wicked.’ The father was also there boiling in rage. He was blue on the face and could have sent me to my early grave. Thank the gods for the neighbours that held him from creating another scene. They resolved to take her to the hospital before she joins her ancestors.

I was gripped with fear; what if she finally dies from the ordeal? All sorts of negative thoughts were running through my mind. Soon, we got to the hospital, the nurses were even afraid to attend to us. Every case of sickness brought to the hospital was referred to as Corona Virus. I ran to the doctor and pleaded he attended to her because I’ll be in a dread danger if she finally gave up the ghost.

The doctor looked at me, took a deep breath of relief, said ‘Okay, I’ll attend to her only if you’ll agree to pay thirty thousand naira.

‘Yes, yes, I’ll pay the thirty thousand naira,’ I hurriedly said. Who do I know here? I’m just a serving Corp member deployed to this State. Just two days ago, I received my monthly payment of thirty-three-thousand-naira. I’m about taking out thirty thousand naira from it. I was not thinking of how to feed myself when everything gets back to normal. But saving her life was all I could think of at that time. The doctor accepted to attend to her alone.

Sadly, Adanna did not faint from the impact of the slap. The young maiden and her family have been starving for days. Her father is a bike-man and her mother hawks bread and akara balls, or bean cake at the park. Adanna was revived with a plate of well-prepared fufu and an egusi soup and there was no medication. I have already lost thirty thousand and a thousand naira for the food she ate.

This is just the trouble of the ‘Stay-at-home,’ in a country where several people feed one hand to mouth. It is now hunger pandemic ravaging the streets and not Corona Virus. I’m even afraid of coming out to brush again. I have been brushing in my room. This is a total lockdown.



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Written by Michael Chukwudi Ikegwu (0)

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